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The world’s major oil countries will almost certainly extend production cuts by a further nine months at a crunch meeting this week, though they are thought highly unlikely to toughen the curbs.
A landmark deal by OPEC and non-OPEC members, including Russia, to reduce output by 1.8m barrels a day and shore up the oil price, is due to expire at the end of June.
The agreement last November pushed the price of oil up to $50 to $55 a barrel for the past few months, up from the depths of $35 to $50 across much of 2016, when OPEC’s annual revenues reached lows not seen since 2004.
But when oil ministers meet in Vienna on Thursday, where they are expected to agree a Saudi Arabia and Russia-backed nine-month extension to the cuts, their best immediate hope is that prices stay stable in the face of an oil glut. (Guardian – Continue Reading)
Presidential budgets are visionary documents — fiscal roadmaps of where the White House wants to lead the country. For Donald Trump, it is all about growth and a return to prosperity after 15 years of malaise.
The centrepiece of the White House budget is the business tax cut, which will cost about $2 trillion to $3 trillion over the next decade, and the rest of the budget includes some steep cuts in domestic programs to pay for it. Defense spending also gets a boost, as Trump promised on the campaign.
The big money brawl will be over some of the entitlement programs like Medicaid, food stamps, and disability. All of these programs are rampant with fraud and erroneous payments. The government's own auditors say the government spends $150 billion a year in checks and payments.
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney put it well when he said, “If you're able-bodied and on food stamps, we’re going to need you to work." Ditto for disability where claims have skyrocketed over the last decade, even as the workplace has become safer. Food stamp recipients skyrocketed from 28 million to 46 million under Barack Obama (remember the absurd claim that food stamps were an “economic stimulus”?) and still remain 50 percent higher than before the recession. (The Hill – Continue Reading)
The Bank of Canada is widely expected to keep interest rates steady on Wednesday, 24 May amid weak inflation and employment data, which are counter-balanced by strong asset prices and optimism going forward.
In April, BoC raised its economic growth projections in 2017. However, several polls show the consensus forecast remains at 0.5%, a no-change for the BoC's overnight rate. In the latest Reuters poll of economists, the median showed only a 15% probability the next move would be a rate cut. The eight members of CD Howe Institute’s influential Monetary Policy Council unanimously recommended BoC keep its target rate at 0.5%.
Although economists generally project that economic activity will pick up during the coming months as the output gap closes, there are continuing uncertainties related to the new Trump Administration’s trade and fiscal policies and its ability to get them implemented. (LiveSquawk – Continue Reading)
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