Global economic outlook darkens

A man lifts a boy for him to reach soap bubbles made by a street artist in Frankfurt. The US-China trade row has a major impact on German exports. (AFP)
Updated 13 August 2019

Global economic outlook darkens

  • The auto industry is under pressure to meet lower greenhouse gas emissions limits imposed by the EU

BERLIN: The economic outlook has deteriorated worldwide as the trade dispute between the US and China escalates, a survey showed on Monday.
Germany’s Ifo economic institute said its quarterly survey among nearly 1,200 experts in more than 110 countries showed that its measures for current conditions and economic expectations have both worsened in the third quarter.
“The experts expect significantly weaker growth in world trade,” Ifo President Clemens Fuest said, adding that trade expectations hit the lowest since the beginning of the tariff conflict last year.
“Respondents also expect weaker private consumption, lower investment activity, and declining short- and long-term interest rates,” Fuest said.
US President Donald Trump said on Friday he was not ready to make a trade deal with China and even called a September round of talks into question, raising fresh doubts in financial markets that the dispute is unlikely to end anytime soon.
The US and China are important export destinations for German manufacturers, so the tit-for-tat tariff dispute between the world’s two largest economies is having a large impact on German goods producers.
The German economy, Europe’s largest, is widely expected to have contracted in the second quarter, and sentiment indicators suggest hardly any improvement in the third.
“We’re in the twilight zone of a marked economic slowdown and a recession,” said Commerzbank economist Joerg Kraemer.
Germany’s Federal Statistics Office will release preliminary gross domestic product figures for the April-June period on Wednesday. A Reuters Poll of analyst predicts a 0.1 percent contraction quarter-on-quarter.
Some of Europe’s troubles cannot be blamed on the trade dispute.

BACKGROUND

• The US and China are important export destinations for German manufacturers.

• The tit-for-tat tariff dispute between the world’s two largest economies is having a large impact on German goods producers.

• The German economy is widely expected to have contracted in the second quarter.

The auto industry is under pressure to meet lower greenhouse gas emissions limits imposed by the EU. Automakers had expected to rely on more fuel-efficient diesels to help meet the requirements, but saw diesel sales plunge after Volkswagen was caught in 2015 cheating on diesel emissions tests.
Another source of uncertainty is Britain’s impending departure from the EU, currently set for Oct. 31. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he wants to leave without an extension even if that means no divorce deal to smooth trade.
In an effort to ward off a steeper slowdown or possible recession, the European Central Bank has signaled it could provide more monetary stimulus at its Sept. 12 meeting, including new purchases of bonds, which pump newly created money into the economy. It’s a measure of Europe’s reversal of fortune that a four-year, €2.6 trillion ($2.9 trillion) bond purchase program was halted only in December.
“What is hurting German exports currently is the uncertainty which has spread across the globe and has also paralyzed many European economies,” said Carsten Brzeski, chief economist for Germany at ING.
“Looking ahead, the outlook for German exporters is clearly in the hands of the US and China.”


Jubilant cheers as Dubai begins one-year countdown to Expo 2020

Updated 20 October 2019

Jubilant cheers as Dubai begins one-year countdown to Expo 2020

  • Dubai prepares for eye-catching countdown on Burj Khalifa
  • Live performances from singer Mariah Carey and acclaimed Emirati singer and Expo 2020 ambassador Hussain Al-Jassmi

DUBAI: Crowds gathered at different locations in the UAE on Sunday night to mark its one-year countdown to Expo 2020 in October next year, with host emirates Dubai staging a spectacular concert, topped by a light projection on the iconic Burj Khalifa.

American superstar Mariah Carey was the star of the night, which also saw performances from regional artists including Khalifa, Shamma Hamdan, Abri and Funk Radius, Showcase and Jaysus Zain. The audience also grooved to a few Arabic tunes from Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jassmi.

A make-shift stage was set up at the Burj Park in Dubai’s downtown area to host the performances, while people also enjoyed a good view of the tallest building in the world. The countdown was facilitated by Emirati social media sensation Khalid Al-Ameri and Bollywood actress Shraddah Kapoor. 

A 3-minute firework display lit up the skies of Dubai as the crowd eagerly waited for Carey to appear on stage.

The 49-year-old singer sang her all-time favorite songs, including “Emotion,” “We Belong Together,” and a revival of the Motown classic “I’ll Be There,” to an enthusiastic audience who didn’t mind the heat and humidity at the outdoor venue.

The other six emirates also marked the occasion with free-for-all activities in venues such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah, Ajman Museum, Umm Al Quwain Corniche, Al Qawasim Corniche in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah Fort.

The events, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Expo 2020 Director-General Reem Al-Hashimy said, will “offer a window into the once-in-a-lifetime celebration that awaits from October 20, 2020.”

“The next 12 months will see us put the finishing touches to ensure an exceptional World Expo,” she added, in a report by state-run WAM.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi featured YouTube sensation Sandra Sahi, as well as singers Stephon Lemar, Layla Kardan, the Emirati Trio.

Indian band ROOH, singer and pianist Clarita de Quiroz, Egyptian oud player Rami Zaki and other regional artists were celebrating the count down at Sharjah’s Al Marjaz waterfront.

While the Ajman Museum hosted Arabic fusion band, pop-rock musician Hydyy, Emirati soul singer Chakram, poet Storm Fernandes, artist Humaira Hussain and MC Mohammed Enaba.

The 6-month Expo 2020, to be held at a vast new site in the south of Dubai, will officially open on Oct. 20 next year, with organizers expecting an estimate of 25 million visitors.