• 5 Gray Swan Shocks On the Horizon In 2018

    5 Gray Swan Shocks On the Horizon In 2018

    The Japanese investment bank Nomura (NMR) has 10 “gray swans” to watch out for in 2018. Unlike their cousins the black swans, which simply pop out of nowhere and therefore can’t be predicted, gray swans aren’t hidden or invisible, just largely ignored. At our peril, it seems.

    They are topics that aren’t widely discussed, the bank says — not the question of what to do over North Korea, or whether nationalists will triumph in the Italian elections.

    I’ll tackle the first five in this story and revisit the gray-swan family by addressing the other five in a second piece.

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  • Trump Takes on China in Trade, but Is Wrong With His Attack

    Trump Takes on China in Trade, but Is Wrong With His Attack

    U.S. President Donald Trump stood side by side with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday, despite the fact that Trump continues to depict — wrongly — the China-U.S. trade relationship as toe-to-toe.

    That relationship is “one-sided and unfair,” Trump said in a joint address in Beijing. There’s the “shockingly high” trade deficit to consider, he explained. There’s also the $300 billion in the theft of U.S. intellectual property and forced technology transfer that the United States suffers every year, per U.S. government figures.

    Trump has, to be fair, delivered on this, the most-important trip of his presidency. He has conveyed more precisely in person his message that the United States is disadvantaged by its trade with China and Japan. He’s wrong, but he’s right to express himself so clearly when he previously fudged the point when meeting the leaders of those countries on home soil.

    At least he won applause from the assembled Chinese and U.S. executives in attendance to hear the two leaders speak. It was for a back-handed compliment.

    “I don’t blame China,” Trump conceded, pausing when clapping began. “Who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens? I give China great credit.” Cue more applause.

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