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From NATO, new proof that Belgium and Germany are pathetic allies

“In 2014, Belgium spent 0.98 percent of GDP on defense, and Germany spent 1.18 percent” writes Screenshot Nato for washingtonexaminer.com. In 2018, Belgium spent an insane 72.06 percent of its defense budget on personnel, and Germany spent 46.97 percent.The leader of Europe’s largest economy is happy with the current status quo, in which the U.S. accounts for 50.1 percent of total NATO GDP and 70 percent of total NATO defense spending. Source: washingtonexaminer.com

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The Trump budget’s economic forecasts should work, for now

“As for labor force growth, Hassett points to rising levels of labor force participation as an indication that even in times of low population growth, we can still enjoy the contributions of a growing labor force” reports washingtonexaminer.com. When the Trump administration unveiled its 2020 budget proposal this week, attention quickly focused on its strong assumptions about future economic growth.The next chart shows that year-over-year growth in output per hour for U.S. labor, labor productivity, in other words, hit 1.76 percent.Ultimately, the limits of GDP growth are set jointly by…

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GDP growth slows to post-crisis low but the deficit falls

“The economy is braced for its weakest growth since the financial crisis in 2009 as businesses slash investment until they know what is happening with Brexit” writes Tim Wallace for telegraph.co.uk. However, the deficit is still falling faster than expected because rising employment and surging pay is generating extra taxes. By 2023-24 the deficit will be down to £13.5bn, more than £6bn lower than the £19.8bn predicted in October’s numbers. “The economy ended 2018 growing a little less strongly than we expected in October,” said Robert Chote, head of the…

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China said to be planning $90 billion cut in VAT for manufacturers

“The 0.6% GDP boost is according to estimates by Morgan Stanley, who also estimated that the boost to the economy (cut amount) could be worth up to $90 billion” reports forexlive.com. If anything, this continues to show that Chinese authorities are still taking more proactive measures to support the economy and that they certainly won’t let it free fall. Bloomberg reports, citing a person familiar with the matter, saying that China is planning to cut the value-added tax rate that covers the manufacturing sector by 3% as part of measures…

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Tim Mullaney: GDP comes in close enough to 3% — not bad, but probably as good as it gets for Trump

“The star of investment spending right now is actually intellectual property spending, a category where software investment supplies about half the dough” writes Tim Mullaney for marketwatch.com. President Donald Trump came close to delivering 3% economic growth in the first year of his big tax cut — the preliminary numbers on Thursday put growth at 2.9%.Consumer spending rose a solid 2.6% for the year — and Trump can take a little credit for that, since the tax cut did help drive real after-tax income higher. Source: marketwatch.com

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GDP comes in close enough to 3% — not bad, but probably as good as it gets for Trump

“The star of investment spending right now is actually intellectual property spending, a category where software investment supplies about half the dough” writes Tim Mullaney for marketwatch.com. President Donald Trump came close to delivering 3% economic growth in the first year of his big tax cut — the preliminary numbers on Thursday put growth at 2.9%.Consumer spending rose a solid 2.6% for the year — and Trump can take a little credit for that, since the tax cut did help drive real after-tax income higher. Source: marketwatch.com

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News Stocks 

Global Stocks Firmly Higher on US-China Trade Hopes; Dollar Rallies on GDP Data

“Britain’s FTSE 100 was also marked 0.5% higher, while Germany’s DAX global trade-sensitive index paced the market with a 1.09% gain” writes Martin Baccardax for thestreet.com. Global stocks traded firmly higher Friday, boosted by a move from one of the market’s biggest index providers to increase the weighting of China stocks on world benchmarks and bullish comments on trade talks between Washington and Beijing from one of President Donald Trump’s top advisers.European stocks were off to a firm start at the open Friday, as well, with the Stoxx 600 rising…

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Pace of Growth Slows After Losing Momentum Generated by Tax Cuts

“Many economists expect growth to drop below 2 percent in the first quarter, in part because of the partial government shutdown, which began in December and extended through most of January” reports nytimes.com. The American economy slowed at the end of 2018 — and there could be a further slowdown to come.It’s important to keep the cooling economy in perspective.That marks a significant slowdown from the middle of the year, when a sugar high fueled by tax cuts and government spending increases briefly pushed growth above 4 percent. Source: nytimes.com

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Stocks end lower after failed Trump-Kim summit, but benchmarks log strong February gains

“However, market participants highlighted the economic reports highlight expansion that is tapering from heady levels of a 4.2% growth rate in the second quarter of 2018” writes Markets Reporter for marketwatch.com. U.S. stocks finished lower Thursday after a sudden breakdown in denuclearization talks with North Korea weighed on sentiment, even though main indexes posted strong gains in February.The Commerce Department’s estimate of fourth-quarter GDP growth showed the U.S. economy growing at a rate of 2.6%, well above consensus expectations of 1.9%, per a MarketWatch poll of economists.LB, -4.60% shares declined…

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Economy grew by 2.9 percent in 2018, just short of Trump’s goal

“Comparing the fourth quarter of 2018 to the fourth quarter of 2017, the economy grew 3.1 percent” reports washingtonexaminer.com. Federal Reserve officials, for instance, see GDP growth slowing to around 2.3 percent in 2019, and then slowing even further to 2.0 percent in 2020.The figure fell just shy of President Trump’s stated goal of yearly 3 percent growth.In the years ahead, however, growth is expected to slow as the U.S. population ages. [Also read: Entering year 3: Trump’s economy better than Obama’s, jobs highest ‘in decades’] In one way of…

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