WHAT HAPPENED THIS WEEK?

 

Fast Facts

🎬Green Book won the Oscar for best picture on Sunday, a surprising victory for the low-budget filmed produced by an Alibaba (BABA) subsidiary.

 

🛠Amazon (AMZN) is deploying tools to prevent fake goods from making it to its site, the company announced this week in a response to the continued backlash over counterfeit products.

 

🚙Apple (AAPL) fired 190 employees from its self-driving car department on Wednesday. Apple currently ranks third in California’s number of autonomous miles tested but last in forced human driver interventions (about 1/mile).

 

🤝Uber is rumored to be nearing a deal to acquire Careem Networks FZ, the ride-hailing giant’s Middle Eastern-based rival. The deal would value the acquisition at around $3 billion.

 

💷The pound rallied to $1.32 this week, its highest level against the euro since May 2017, as the chances of Britain leaving the union without a trade agreement seems to be decreasing by the day.

 

Moving the Chains

Due to successful progress in the ongoing trade talks with China, President Trump will extend the March 1st deadline for the increase in tariffs, he announced on Wednesday. Although he did not provide any specifics for the exact date the new deadline will be postponed to, he did outline another meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping sometime next month. Finally some good news after a trade war that has lasted since July 8, 2018– almost 8 full months– that was not even supposed to be a trade war.

In another other exciting trade news, the World Trade Organization ruled that Beijing provided farm subsidies in excess of its international trade agreement budget on Thursday. This ruling is a key trade victory for President Trump as it might force Beijing to decrease its agricultural spending and increase American farmers’ competitiveness in the Chinese city.

 

Everybody Loves Powell

Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell has been the recipient of a lot of backlash– specifically from President Trump himself– since he took office last February. However, his recent dovish pivot this year following 4 interest rate hikes in 2018 has found him a lot more supporters.

 

Ray Dalio, founder of the largest US hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, backed the Fed chair this week for his continued “wait and see” approach to monetary policy. Dalio explained that the chance of a recession before 2020 dropped from 50 to 35 percent in the last 18 months due to the slowdown of our recent contractionary policy.

 

Powell announced on Wednesday that he will soon ease the ongoing shrinking of the US balance sheet, which currently sits at $4 trillion.