IMF chief says US-China tensions ‘threat’ to world economy

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde addresses the Paris Forum at the Economy Ministry in Paris on May 7, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 07 May 2019

IMF chief says US-China tensions ‘threat’ to world economy

PARIS: The head of the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday that fresh trade tensions between the United States and China were the main threat to the world economy.
“Clearly the tensions between the United States and China are the threat for the world economy,” Christine Lagarde told journalists at a conference in Paris, adding that recent “rumors and tweets” made an agreement between the countries less likely.
President Donald Trump jolted global markets on Monday by threatening on Twitter that tariffs already imposed on $200 billion in Chinese exports to US would more than double to 25 percent on Friday from their current level of 10 percent.
Also speaking at the Paris Forum event, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire warned about the impact of a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.
“We are looking very carefully at the current negotiations between China and the US. We want these negotiations to stick with principles of transparency and multilateralism,” he said, speaking in English.
He called on the two sides to “avoid decisions that would threaten and jeopardize world growth in the coming months.”
“Raising tariffs is always a deadlock and a negative decision for everybody — for the US, for China, for the eurozone, for Europe and for growth all over the world,” he said.
Le Maire cautioned that during a period of slowdown in world growth there should not be “negative decisions that could accelerate that slowdown.”
China said Tuesday its top trade negotiator will visit the United States for talks with his American counterparts this week.
The countries have been locked in talks to resolve tensions that have seen both of them impose tariffs on goods worth $360 billion.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has described the negotiations as 90 percent complete but told reporters that in recent days the talks went “substantially backward,” which he blamed on China reneging on previous commitments.


HSBC France to leave its Champs Elysees headquarters

Updated 18 min 7 sec ago

HSBC France to leave its Champs Elysees headquarters

  • HSBC France has a project of moving its headquarters by 2020
  • The building would be fit for 1,200 employees working mostly in corporate and investment banking and wealth management

PARIS/LONDON: HSBC France said on Wednesday its teams will leave a prestigious headquarters on Paris' Champs Elysees avenue by 2020 in an emblematic move ahead of the planned sale of its retail business in the country.
The exit and planned sale, following a strategic review of the group's French retail activities, are part of a broader cost-cutting effort under interim Chief Executive Noel Quinn.
"HSBC France has a project of moving its headquarters by 2020 to 38 av Kleber, 500 meters away from its actual headquarters that was sold in 2010," the bank said in a statement.
The building would be fit for 1,200 employees working mostly in corporate and investment banking and wealth management.
Another 500 employees will be moved to HSBC's hub in La Defense business district which now houses 4,000 of the bank's employees and to branches close to the Champs Elysees building.
HSBC France sold its headquarters at 103 avenue Champs Elysees, and a building in front of it at 15 rue Vernet, to Qatari investors and has rented them since then.
The move is necessitated because the owner wants to regain control of the buildings and also because HSBC needs to save money, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
Office rents in Paris are rising to levels not seen since at least 2003, according to Immostat data, as vacancy rates are at record lows.
HSBC inherited the historic headquarters when it bought the French retail operations of Crédit Commercial de France (CCF) in 2000.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the building was a hotel where World War One spy and exotic dancer Mata Hari was arrested.
HSBC Holdings has hired U.S. investment bank Lazard Ltd to sell its French retail business, a source close to the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.
Quinn is expected to unveil the first details of his strategic overhaul of the bank when it reports third-quarter earnings on Oct. 28.
Quinn is auditioning for the full-time CEO job and insiders said he is under pressure to take decisive action after Chairman Mark Tucker indicated his predecessor John Flint had not moved quickly enough to turn around the lender's performance.