Turkey agreed to a five-day temporary pause of military operations in Syria that could be extended if Kurdish fighters, formerly allied with America, leave the border region, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced Thursday. On a hastily arranged visit to Ankara, Pence said the “immediate” cease-fire will last 120 hours, speaking at a press conference following about five hours of talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Pence added that the Syria-based YPG, which consists mostly of ethnic Kurd fighters previously aligned with the U.S., has provided assurances that they’ll make a “safe and orderly withdrawal.” He declined to describe any concessions made by Turkey. Turkey, on the other hand, said the one-page accord wasn’t a cease-fire, but a pause, with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu boasting that Turkey had gotten what it wanted from the U.S.
President Donald Trump is taking playing host in his stride: He’s chosen his Doral golf resort in Miami as the site of next year’s Group of Seven summit, the White House said on Thursday, a decision that reignited claims he’s violating a constitutional prohibition against profiting from the presidency. The announcement comes at an interesting time, given that the president is currently facing a House impeachment inquiry. Trump, on the other hand, has been deploying the dead-cat strategy in attacking rival presidential candidate Joe Biden, saying that when he was vice president, he used his position to further his son Hunter’s business interests.
A Deal, At Last?
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces his biggest battle yet — the U.K. Parliament. Johnson’s Brexit deal with the European Union was barely agreed before it ran into trouble at home, as his Northern Irish allies in parliament said they could not support it. Before Brexit observers had time to give a sigh of relief over the agreement with the EU, Johnson’s aides back in London began trying to muster the votes needed to get the plan through parliament, where he does not have a majority. The latest in the developments: The Democratic Unionist Party said they won’t support the deal. But it’s unlikely the bloc’s leaders would refuse a request for an extension if the U.K. seeks it, according to an EU official. Meanwhile, investor nerves continue to be tested: The pound rallied on news of the agreement between the U.K. and the EU, before dropping again as the scale of the remaining challenge became clear.
Asian stocks looked set for a cautious start Friday ahead of a slew of economic data coming from China. U.S. equities posted modest gains amid mostly positive earnings reports. Futures edged up in Tokyo, were lower in Australia and flat in Hong Kong. The S&P 500 Index fluctuated for most of Thursday around the 3,000 level, as Morgan Stanley became the latest big bank to defy expectations for weak growth. Doubts over whether a Brexit deal can win approval whipsawed the pound, while treasuries edged lower and the dollar declined. The focus Friday moves to the latest reading on the health of China’s economy with the release of third-quarter GDP, September industrial production and retail sales data. Elsewhere, oil turned positive hours after a U.S. government report showed large declines in fuel inventories, outweighing a bigger-than-expected crude build.
Facebook’s China Threat
Facebook has a warning for those in Washington determined to derail the company’s plans for creating a cryptocurrency: Doing so would be a huge win for China. David Marcus, the executive leading the company’s Libra crypto initiative, said Beijing is plowing ahead in establishing a digital payments system with global reach, even as U.S. officials try to figure out how to regulate Facebook’s coin. The cause for concern? Chinese progress could represent a real threat to U.S. influence. “The future in five years, if we don’t have a good answer, is basically China re-wiring” a large part of the world “with a digital renminbi running on their controlled blockchain,” he said Thursday during an interview at Bloomberg News’ Washington bureau. Still, Facebook is struggling to persuade skeptical lawmakers and regulators that Libra is a good idea.
What We’ve Been Reading
This is what’s caught our eye over the past 24 hours.
- The global economy is in a “great sag,” Ray Dalio says.
- A guy on Reddit turns $766 into $107,758 on two options trades.
- The NBA has already hemorrhaged money after that Hong Kong tweet.
- China has detained two American citizens, as diplomatic tensions rise.
- Australia’s central bank governor says interest rate cuts are working.
- Chinese sneakerheads are chasing 6,600% returns flipping Air Jordans online.
- How the world’s longest flight aims to beat the curse of jet lag.