Hawkish U.S. national security adviser John Bolton has been ousted. President Donald Trump tweeted that he had fired Bolton after disagreeing “strongly” with many of his positions and that he would announce a successor next week. Minutes later, Bolton contradicted the president on Twitter, saying that he had offered to resign Monday night and Trump deferred the discussion. Bolton was known for his hardline approach to U.S. adversaries, including Iran, North Korea and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. His departure is a boon for Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, who had clashed with the national security adviser and now assumes an unchallenged role as Trump’s closest adviser on foreign policy.
Tech Weak Link
U.S. senators are concerned about whether American export controls are strong enough to prevent China from getting sensitive American technology through Hong Kong. “We believe it is critical that the United States take appropriate measures to ensure China does not abuse Hong Kong’s special status under U.S. law to steal or otherwise acquire critical or sensitive U.S. equipment and technologies,” a bipartisan group of senators wrote in a letter to Michael Pompeo and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. Intellectual property theft and the drive for technological dominance are key issues in Trump’s trade war with China. Members of Congress also raised concerns that the Chinese government is using technology to suppress dissent in Hong Kong.
Asian futures are in the green after U.S. stocks erased losses in the final moments of trading. Treasury yields rose for a fifth day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed positive, while the S&P 500 was little changed and the Nasdaq ended in negative territory as investors continued to gravitate toward value shares. The Dow had briefly turned up midday following a report that China is ready to buy more U.S. agricultural products. The pound fluctuated as embattled British Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted he won’t ask for another Brexit delay, while most euro-zone sovereign bonds nudged lower as European Central Bank officials prepare to meet. Elsewhere, oil plunged after Trump fired Bolton, though erased the declines after the release of bullish U.S. inventory data.
New measures to make public housing more affordable come into effect in Singapore today. Most people in the city-state live in so-called HDB apartments — properties owned by the Housing and Development Board — rather than privately owned accommodation. Measures include a new enhanced housing grant for first-time buyers, and an increase in the monthly household income ceiling for eligible families to buy a publicly owned flat or a resale flat on the open market. The supply of HDB flats may be increased next year to meet additional demand expected to stem from the changes. In further good news for Singapore, it looks like the economy narrowly avoided a technical recession in the third quarter.
Apple has unveiled three new iPhones with upgraded camera capabilities, better water-resistance and improved Face ID unlocking technology, making incremental tweaks to lure buyers ahead of a more substantial overhaul of its handsets in 2020. At the company’s annual product roll-out in Cupertino, California, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook also introduced updates to the Apple Watch, revealed pricing for new video and gaming subscription services, and debuted a low-cost iPad.
What We’ve Been Reading
This is what’s caught our eye over the weekend.
- A China-India spat is holding up a deal that covers a third of all global trade.
- Foxconn’s Terry Gou takes a step toward a Taiwan presidency bid.
- North Korea is no longer the world’s most-censored state.
- Japan tries to learn sales-tax lessons from the past.
- This forgotten gold-rush hub is producing more than it has in a century.
- In the U.K., a new cross-party group seeks a way out of the Brexit “nightmare.”
- Business-class travel is taking a leaf from the economy “add-ons” playbook.