January 30, 2019 / 1:02 PM / 7 months ago

Wednesday Morning Briefing

Federal Reserve likely to hold rates steady as it navigates data blind spots, U.S. regulator drops fine against Citi over fair-lending claims and former NSA analysts reveal how they helped the UAE hack into the phones of its enemies. Catch up on the latest headlines.

Highlights

The U.S. central bank is scheduled to release its latest policy statement this afternoon, with investors widely expecting it to leave its benchmark overnight lending rate unchanged in a target range of 2.25 percent to 2.50 percent. In the six weeks since a confident U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates in response to a “strong” U.S. economy, consumer confidence dropped, wholesale prices weakened, financial markets wobbled and home sales fell.

Exclusive: A top U.S. bank regulator has decided not to fine Citigroup for discriminating against minority mortgage borrowers, dropping the public rebuke that some officials had sought, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The United States and China launch a critical round of trade talks amid deep differences over Washington’s demands for structural economic reforms from Beijing that will make it difficult to reach a deal before a March 2 U.S. tariff hike.

Parts of the United States are bracing for record low temperatures, as a blast of Arctic air gripping much of the country spreads further across the Midwest and Eastern states.

Special Reports

FILE PHOTO: General view of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, January 3, 2019. Picture taken January 3, 2019. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

From a converted mansion in Abu Dhabi, a team of U.S. cyber-mercenaries hacked into the communications of people designated as enemies of the United Arab Emirates. Among the targets, they eventually realized, were fellow Americans, including several journalists. 

“It was like Christmas”: A former NSA analyst who had gone on to work for a secret Emirati hacking program told Reuters of the excitement when Karma was introduced to their operation in 2016. The sophisticated tool could remotely grant access to iPhones simply by uploading phone numbers or email accounts into an automated targeting system. Read Reuters’ deep dive into how Karma helped the cyber-mercenaries harvest information on hundreds of prominent targets, including a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

World

Less than two months before the United Kingdom is due by law to leave the EU, British Prime Minister Theresa May was on a collision course with the members of the European bloc after UK lawmakers demanded she renegotiate a Brexit divorce deal that the EU said they would not reopen.

Iran’s president said the country was facing its toughest economic situation in 40 years, and the United States, not the government, was to blame. Workers, including truck drivers, farmers and merchants, have since launched sporadic protests against economic hardships, which have occasionally led to confrontations with security forces.

The fight to control Venezuela, which has the world’s largest oil reserves, has intensified with new U.S. sanctions and legal moves that may bring the arrest of opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido. “Donald Trump has without doubt given an order to kill me and has told the government of Colombia and the Colombian mafia to kill me,” Maduro said, reprising a constant accusation of his and Chavez’s over the years.

Tech

World stocks and the dollar steadied ahead of policy guidance from the U.S. Federal Reserve, with Apple results providing relief while market confidence that a no-deal Brexit can be avoided took a hit. Apple plans to cut the price of some of its flagship iPhones for only the second time in the device’s 12-year history, pegging its retail value to past prices in local currencies outside the United States instead of the rising U.S. dollar.

China’s Huawei has been excluded from a Czech tender to build a tax portal after the country’s cyber watchdog warned of possible security threats posed by the telecoms supplier, documents showed.

Foxconn is reconsidering plans to make advanced liquid crystal display panels at a $10 billion Wisconsin campus, and said it intends to hire mostly engineers and researchers rather than the manufacturing workforce the project originally promised.

Reuters TV

Include trucks, and VW has held onto the top spot among global automakers for a fifth year, but Renault-Nissan is snapping at its heels.

VW holds onto top spot among carmakers, just
0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below