February 1, 2019 / 1:27 PM / 6 months ago

Friday Morning Briefing

Fed policy turn not good news for Trump as risks mount, U.S. suspends compliance with INF treaty and China’s oil majors tap new discoveries as they step up drilling. Catch up on the latest headlines.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell holds a press conference following a two day Federal Open Market Committee policy meeting in Washington, U.S., January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis


Fed move hints best days of Trumponomics may be over. The Federal Reserve’s policy twist on Wednesday might seem just what the White House ordered, with a hold put on what President Trump termed “loco” interest rate hikes, and an openness to ending the monthly runoff of up to $50 billion from the U.S. central bank’s balance sheet. But the story the Fed is telling about the economy should give the Trump administration pause.

The United States is suspending its compliance with the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia on Saturday and will withdraw from the landmark 1987 arms control accord in six months if Moscow does not end its alleged violation of the pact, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

“The cold air isn’t pushing off anywhere, it’s just sort of evaporating,” said Brian Hurley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland. The polar vortex that locked the U.S. Midwest in sub-zero weather and led to the deaths of at least 21 people will give way to milder, snow-melting temperatures this weekend.

The U.S. Agency for International Development has ceased all assistance to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, a U.S. official said. The decision was linked to a Jan. 31 deadline set by new U.S. legislation under which foreign aid recipients would be more exposed to anti-terrorism lawsuits.


For three decades, California has led the fight to control tailpipe pollution, with countless policies promoting cleaner gasoline, carpooling, public transportation and its signature strategy - the electric vehicle.

The bankruptcy of major California utility PG&E Corp as a result of over $30 billion in costs from California wildfires sparked by the state’s prolonged drought will likely prompt more companies to discuss how they will respond to the effects of climate change on their businesses.


Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido reacts next to his wife Fabiana Rosales and while carrying his daughter outside their home, after a meeting with supporters to present a government plan of the opposition in Caracas, Venezuela January 31, 2019. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

Venezuela's opposition leader and and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido argued that Russia and China’s interests would be best served by switching the side they back in Venezuela. Guaido told Reuters he had sent communications to both powers, which are Venezuela’s top foreign creditors and support Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in the U.N. Security Council, as global jostling intensified between countries that want Maduro in power and those trying to force him to resign.

A matter of life and death? With just 56 days until Britain leaves the EU, Jo Elgarf has begun stockpiling food in case politicians fail to strike an exit deal, but she says she cannot do the same with vital drugs her disabled daughter needs. For Nora, her four-year-old who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, “this could be a matter of life and death,” Elgarf told Reuters at her home in southwest London.

Lawyers for two Reuters reporters jailed in Myanmar for breaking a colonial-era official secrets law appealed to the Supreme Court against their conviction, as a rights group said the government wielded repressive laws against peaceful critics. “Our petition asks the Supreme Court to finally provide justice to Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, reverse the lower courts’ errors, and order the release of our journalists,” Reuters said in a statement. See the latest updates on the case.

Forty years after its revolution, Iran has no fear of a “declining” America, a senior cleric said at the start of official commemorations of the uprising that made the country a permanent enemy of the United States.


Drill, China, drill: Responding to President Xi Jinping’s call last August to boost domestic energy security, China’s trio of oil majors - PetroChina, Sinopec and CNOOC - are adding thousands of wells at oil basins in the remote deserts of the northwest region of Xinjiang, shale rocks in southwest Sichuan province and deepwater fields of the South China Sea. See this list of key basins and blocks where China’s state energy giants are increasing drilling activities and discoveries, mostly of natural gas, according to company reports over the past few months.

Exclusive: Qatar Petroleum and Exxon Mobil are expected to announce plans next week to proceed with a $10 billion project that will expand a liquefied natural gas export facility in Texas, three people familiar with the transaction said.

Entities outside the United States have until April 28 to wind down their purchases of petroleum and petroleum products from Petróleos de Venezuela SA, the U.S. Treasury Department said.


U.S. job growth surged in January, with employers hiring the most workers in 11 months, pointing to underlying strength in the economy despite a darkening outlook that has left the Federal Reserve cautious about further interest rate hikes this year. But the longest shutdown in history, which ended a week ago, pushed up the unemployment rate to a seven-month high of 4 percent.

Global shares crept lower from their highest levels in two months as data showing shrinking factory activity in China dampened a rally that took them to their best January on record.

U.S. metals importers that applied last year for exemptions from tariffs on steel and aluminum are losing hope the Commerce Department will approve their petitions, as the recent government shutdown added to a wait that for some has stretched to eight months without a ruling.

Reuters TV

Amazon forecast first-quarter sales below Wall Street estimates, as it faces regulatory hurdles in India and a slowdown in e-commerce sales in Europe.

Amazon misses Q1 sales forecast, shares fall
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