US business economists see slower growth and profits ahead

WASHINGTON — U.S. business economists expect economic growth to slow this year, and a rising proportion of them think corporate sales and profits will decline.The National Association for Business Economics said Monday that its quarterly survey of business conditions found that the Trump administration’s tariffs on goods from China, Europe and other countries have disrupted the businesses of about one-fourth of its members.Still, the survey also found that the NABE’s member economists generally expect the economy to keep growing, albeit only gradually, and to avoid a recession in the next 12 months. Just under half say they think the economy will expand 2% or more over the next year — sharply lower than the two-thirds who predicted so in January.Overall, the survey suggested that the economists, who work mainly for corporations and trade associations, expect the economy to cool in part because of the higher costs imposed on imported materials by Trump’s tariffs. (The NABE says 119 of its members responded to the survey.)The results echo the message from the government’s report Friday on economic growth in the April-June quarter. The government estimated that growth slowed to a 2.1% annual rate from a 3.1% rate in the January-March quarter. Businesses cut back on their investment spending for the first time in three years, which most analysts attributed to a more cautionary strategy resulting from the trade war.Overall, 28% of respondents said they thought the tariffs have had a negative impact on their business. That figure was much higher among manufacturers: Three-quarters felt the tariffs had hurt business. Factories have been hit hard by the administration’s expanded taxes on imported steel and aluminum.The survey also suggested that the job market may be cooling slightly. One-third of respondents said that they had hired during the April-June quarter, down from 44% who had said so a year earlier. And just below one-third said they expected to hire in the next three months, down from 41% a year ago.There were some bright spots in the results: Nearly half the respondents expect business investment spending in buildings, equipment and software to increase in the July-September quarter. That’s the highest proportion to say so in a year.Christopher Rugaber, The Associated Press read more

UN agency expanding camps around Mosul to cope with surge in displacement

According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), its newly opened Chamakor camp will help manage the up tic. “[The camp] received its first 200 residents [yesterday] and more arrivals are expected [today] and through the week.” Cécile Pouilly, a spokesperson for the UN agency, said at a media briefing today at the UN Office at Geneva (UNOG).“It is ready to immediately receive 6,600 people,” she added. The UN agency is also building two additional camps – one to the east of Mosul and the other, south – for some 39,000 people and setting up 19 tented halls in the Iraqi Government-built Hammam al-Alil, that will serve as reception centres and transit area. Ms. Pouilly also said that UNHCR is exploring expanding capacity in camps north of the city but is facing serious challenges finding suitable land to build the camps.RELATED: 15,000 children flee west Mosul over past week as battle intensifies, says UNICEFHunger and insecurity biggest reason to fleeHunger and insecurity have been cited as the key factors in the decision to flee by newly displaced families, who told the UN agency of armed groups attacking areas recently retaken by Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), causing sustained civilian casualties.“The newest arrivals are in a desperate condition, visibly traumatized, hungry and dehydrated. Many arrived without shoes and wearing soaking clothes, having walked long distances to reach safety at government checkpoints,” said the UNHCR spokesperson. “Some had left relatives behind, hoping to be reunited once they are able to find safer exit routes from west Mosul. Families recounted surviving on one meal a day – flour and water, sometimes supplemented by bread or tomato paste – over recent weeks.” Currently there are 211,572 Iraqis displaced by the fighting in Mosul, with over 50,000 added since the beginning of the latest operations in west Mosul, launched on 19 February. read more