1. German Elections topped the Global Macro Scoreboard this week after coalition talks between Angela Merkel's CDU, the liberal FDP, and the Greens failed. Increased attention to EU Reform means the pressure is still on Merkel to help clear the way for meaningful progress toward greater integration as the one-year countdown to Brexit looms, even as Germans are likely headed to the polls early next year.
2. Global audiences paid attention to U.S. trade issues this week. Despite President Trump's friendlier rhetoric during his visit to Beijing, the internet appears to be bracing for renewed friction in the U.S.-China trade regime. Our index that tracks volatility in the relationship almost hit its highest level of the year, driven upward in part by anomalous attention to the Trump administration's Section 301 investigation into whether Chinese intellectual property and technology transfer practices unfairly restrict U.S. commerce and to The Coming China Wars, a hawkish 2006 book by senior Trump trade economist Peter Navarro. In the past, the index has shown sensitivity to events that imperil Sino-U.S. trade, such as Trump's appointment of confrontational trade officials and the launch of the Section 301 investigation in late August. According to our backtest engine, steel rod and rebar futures tend to rise in the days following a spike in the index.
3. Meanwhile, the fifth round of NAFTA renegotiations wrapped on Tuesday in Mexico City. U.S. negotiators expressed frustration with the lack of headway. Increased volatility in our signal that tracks online interest in the talks tends to precede depreciations in the peso against the dollar.
4. Though largely a done deal at this point, French Labor Reform, championed by Emmanuel Macron, showed a strong swing in digital attention this week, driven by traffic on pages related to the peculiarities of various working contracts and conditions in France.
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