Business review from the Economist
U.S. turns up trade heat on European Union
The United States ratcheted up its trade dispute with the European Union, warning that it was preparing a list of tariffs on $11 billion-worth of E.U. goods in retaliation for subsidies given to Airbus, which the World Trade Organization has ruled are illegal. The WTO is yet to decide on the amount of tariffs that the United States can impose on the E.U. in light of that ruling, but Brussels said $11 billion is an exaggeration. It is drawing up its own catalog of U.S. products that it will levy penalties on if Washington goes ahead with its threat.
Airbus recommended René Obermann to shareholders as its next chairman. Obermann is a nonexecutive director on the aerospace company's board and used to run Deutsche Telekom. Guillaume Faury started his job as chief executive at Airbus this week, succeeding Tom Enders.
Boeing's share price fell sharply, after it temporarily reduced production of its 737 aircraft by a fifth following two fatal crashes involving the 737 Max 8. Boeing said it wanted to focus resources on updating the software for the 737 "to prevent accidents like these from ever happening again."
The IMF forecast global economic growth of 3.3% this year, down from the 3.7% it had projected back in October. The fund highlighted the risks of a no-deal Brexit, estimating that the resulting border disruption would slice 1.4% off British GDP in the first year and 0.2% from the E.U.'s.
Britain's economy grew by 0.3% in the three months ending February compared with the previous three months. That was a bit faster than markets had expected. Manufacturing output in February grew to its highest level since April 2008, probably because firms were gearing up ahead of the original Brexit deadline of March 29.
The threat of protectionism was one factor cited by the European Central Bank as it repeated its pledge not to raise interest rates in the eurozone until "at least" the end of 2019 and to continue its monetary-stimulus program. The IMF downgraded its forecast for eurozone growth this year to 1.3%.
Pinterest, one of a number of tech firms launching noteworthy stock market flotations this year, provided an initial price range of between $15 and $17 a share for its IPO. That could value the social-media site at somewhere around $11.3 billion, less than the $12 billion it was reckoned to be worth by investors in 2017.
Uber also prepared its prospectus, ahead of its long-awaited IPO. The ride-hailing firm will have noted Lyft's flotation. Two weeks after its market debut, Lyft's share price fell by almost 11% in a day, to end up 16% below the IPO price of $72.
In a surprise, the judge hearing the fraud trial of John Varley, a former chief executive of Barclays, and three other former senior executives at the bank, discharged the jury.
Standard Chartered agreed to pay more than $1 billion to settle allegations with U.S. and British regulators that it violated sanctions on Iran and other countries. It is one of the biggest fines to date levied on a bank for busting sanctions.
Global Politics from the Economist
Sudanese army ousts president
Following months of mass protests in Sudan, it appeared that Omar al-Bashir had been ousted as president by the army. Al-Bashir had misruled since taking power in a coup in 1989. His civil war against non-Muslim black Africans ended with the secession of South Sudan. Separately, the International Criminal Court charged him with overseeing genocide in Darfur.
Benjamin Netanyahu won a record fifth term as prime minister of Israel. His Likud party tied with Blue and White, a centrist rival. But the right-wing and religious bloc, of which Likud is a part, won a majority of seats in the Knesset.
Khalifa Haftar, Libya's most powerful warlord, attacked Tripoli, which is controlled by the U.N.-backed government. Dozens of people were killed in the fighting.
Theresa May, Britain's prime minister, attended a summit in Brussels to discuss another delay to Brexit. The European Union offered Britain six months, pushing the deadline to Oct. 31, Halloween. That means Britain faces having to vote in elections to the European Parliament next month, though British members of the European Parliament will have to step down if Brexit actually happens.
Julian Assange, a founder of WikiLeaks, was arrested by British police in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil's president, sacked the education minister, Ricardo Vélez, who shared his socially conservative
South Korea's constitutional court ruled that the government must end the country's ban on abortion, in place since 1953.