China, U.S. take trade war to the next level

The trade war between China and the United States ratcheted up again. The Trump administration announced that tariffs would be imposed on a further $189 billion-worth of Chinese imports, including furniture and car parts. A rate of 10 percent went into effect on Monday. It will rise to 25 percent on Jan. 1 if there is no deal by then. China retaliated, slapping duties on another $60 billion-worth of U.S. goods.

 

Russia experienced its first interest-rate rise in four years, an increase of 0.25 percentage points to 7.5 percent. The country’s central bank blamed inflation of 3.1 percent in August.

 

Britain also saw higher inflation than expected, 2.7 percent, in August. House prices in London moved in the opposite direction, falling by 0.7 percent in the year to July, the largest drop since September 2009.

 

The European Central Bank confirmed plans to wind down its program of quantitative easing by halving monthly bond purchases, to €15 billion ($17.5 billion), from October. It pointed to the robustness of European labor markets for the move.

 

In the wake of a money-laundering scandal that saw an estimated €200 billion in questionable funds, much of it Russian, flow through its Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015, Thomas Borgen, the chief executive of Danske Bank, resigned. The bank was warned by Russian regulators about the branch as early as 2007.

 

On its trading debut in Hong Kong, the shares of Meituan Dianping jumped by more than 7 percent. The loss-making firm, which has 340 million users, is known as China’s “everything app.” It is also the world’s largest food-delivery firm.

 

A leading manufacturer of brakes used in lorries and trains, Knorr-Bremse, announced plans to list in Frankfurt. Valued at €10 billion, it may be Germany’s biggest IPO of 2018.

 

Tesla confirmed that the U.S. Department of Justice had requested documents relating to the announcement in August by its boss, Elon Musk, that he had secured funding to take the company private.

 

The European Commission announced it was investigating BMW, Daimler and VW over possible collusion to avoid competing to develop emissions-limiting devices, such as ones that can clean nitrous oxides from diesel cars or particles from petrol ones.

 

Separately, the commission announced that it would investigate whether Amazon used data from sales by third-party sellers on its platform to gain an edge in deciding what products it should sell, and at what price. No formal case has yet been begun.

 

Tesco announced it was launching a new discount chain, Jack’s, to compete head-on with two German discount retailers, Aldi and Lidl. In recent years, the pair have gained an ever-growing share of the fiercely competitive British grocery market.

Global politics from the Economist

 

Russia and Turkey agreed to patrol a buffer zone around the province of Idlib, the Syrian rebels’ last bastion, where 2 million to 3 million civilians fear they may be caught up in a final onslaught by the regime’s forces. The zone is supposed to be demilitarized by Oct. 10. No one knows whether the deal will be upheld.

 

Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, approved the release of more than 2,000 prisoners, including opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, who had been sentenced to eight years in jail in 2012, a term later increased to 15 years.

 

Cuba’s president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, announced his support for a proposal to include the legalization of same-sex marriage in the country’s new constitution, on which a referendum will be held in 2019. If the proposal succeeds, Cuba will become the sixth country in the Americas to allow same-sex unions.

 

The leaders of North and South Korea held their third summit in six months and pledged to reduce tensions along their border. North Korea also offered to allow foreign inspections of a missile-testing facility — a step far short of what U.S. negotiators have been demanding in talks on its nuclear weapons program.

 

A court in Pakistan ordered the release of Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister, while it hears his appeal against a conviction for corruption. Nawaz had been expected to serve 11 years in prison. Lawyers say that an acquittal is now more likely than previously thought.