DealBook Briefing: A Rate Cut Now Looks All but Certain


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Jay Powell, the Fed chairman, strongly signaled yesterday that the Fed could cut interest rates when it meets later this month, Jeanna Smialek and Matt Phillips of the NYT write.

• The Fed expects unemployment to stay low and inflation to gradually rise, Mr. Powell told the House Financial Services Committee.

• But he added that “uncertainties around trade tensions and concerns about the strength of the global economy continue to weigh on the U.S. economic outlook.”

• Of orders for soybeans and wheat, Larry Kudlow, the White House’s top economic adviser, said this week: “Haven’t seen them yet.”

And China has reshuffled its negotiation team, which reportedly has some White House officials nervous about the prospect of progress, according to Robert Costa and David Lynch of the WaPo:

• “Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, regarded by some White House officials as a hard-liner, has assumed new prominence in the talks.”

• Dennis Wilder, a former China analyst for the C.I.A., told the WaPo, “I am sure his instructions are to get tougher with the U.S.”

U.S. officials have “privately expressed concern this week that the Chinese are digging in and avoiding firm commitments,” Mr. Costa and Mr. Lynch add.

More: How companies that wanted tariffs are faring now.

The White House will host a gathering today to discuss “the opportunities and challenges” of social media. But it will also feature right-wing trolls who side with President Trump’s gripes about U.S. tech giants.

Among those invited: James O’Keefe, the right-wing founder of Project Veritas; Bill Mitchell, a pro-Trump conspiracy theorist; and a pseudonymous Twitter user who created a doctored video of former Vice President Joe Biden that Mr. Trump retweeted. (More mainstream conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation are also expected to attend.)

Who hasn’t been invited: Facebook and Twitter, according to Kevin Roose of the NYT. Both have faced criticism from conservative activists as allegedly punishing right-wing viewpoints, which the companies deny. The tech giants have taken steps to reduce the spread of misinformation and hateful content, which have resulted in bans and takedowns for some high-profile conservatives.

Some experts say the aim of the gathering appears to be rallying Trump supporters around bias claims and a way to “intimidate social media companies out of enforcing their rules,” Mr. Roose writes.

It may also “serve the valuable purpose of shifting attention from the halls of Washington, where Mr. Trump holds ultimate power, to the platforms of Silicon Valley, where he doesn’t,” Mr. Roose adds.

“France is unfairly targeting the tax at certain U.S.-based technology companies,” the U.S. trade representative said yesterday, adding that the tax focused on services “where U.S. firms are global leaders.” The investigation is being pursued under the same legal provision that President Trump has used to impose tariffs on China.

This is the administration’s latest attempt to protect American companies, Ms. Swanson writes, adding, “The measure will open yet another front in a global trade fight that the Trump administration says it has undertaken to level the playing field with both allies and adversaries.”



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