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World

Elizabeth Warren lashes out, says Trump ‘chaos’ harms Asia policy

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China’s massive surveillance system, including its control over information on smartphones and the internet, has helped it to “close off” the country, she said.

“We told ourselves a happy-faced story that never fit with the facts, and now … the United States cannot avoid facing a very different reality with China,” Warren said.

Warren’s visit to Northeast Asia follows the abrupt firing of Rex Tillerson as U.S. secretary of state and the Trump administration’s continued failure to fill many crucial positions.

Tillerson lost the support of many of the State Department’s 75,000 workers over his moves to cut the budget, leave key leadership positions vacant and downplay human rights and democracy promotion as diplomatic priorities.

Warren said “consistent efforts to take the legs out of our diplomatic corps” by understaffing the service stands to undermine America’s foreign policy efforts.

“That’s someone whose information, whose thoughts, whose analysis doesn’t get put into the mix,” she said.

Warren said that there could be no military solution to the dispute with North Korea and that she has been told that “it will take strong economic and diplomatic efforts” to reduce the threat posed by Pyongyang.

Warren didn’t disclose details of her discussions with Beijing officials, including key economic adviser Liu He, but said “the Chinese have not deviated from their talking points.”

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Morgan Stanley on ‘blue wave’ effect on U.S. economy, Fed rate hikes

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A Democratic sweep in the coming U.S. elections will likely unleash more fiscal stimulus, but it could also cause the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates earlier than expected, said a Morgan Stanley portfolio manager.

The first rate hike by the Fed could be brought forward from around 2024-2025 to 2023-2024 — depending on how other policies, such as taxation, turn out in the event of a “blue wave,” said Jim Caron, a senior member of Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s global fixed income team.

The Federal Reserve Board of Governors seal.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

A “blue wave” refers to an election outcome where Joe Biden defeats Donald Trump in the presidential race, and Democrats win a majority in both chambers of Congress.   

Caron told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Wednesday that the U.S. economy, under pressure from the coronavirus pandemic this year, was already expected to rebound in 2021. Additional stimulus that’s likely to come with a “blue wave” would boost that growth potential further, he added.

“That means the growth impact could go into not just 2021, but also 2022,” he said.

“The effect that this has though — that we need to be wary of — is that this could bring the first rate hike, nobody wants to talk about rate hikes right now, but this could bring the first rate hike by the Fed in from 2024 to 2025 to maybe 2023 to 2024,” he explained.

The Fed has maintained its policy rate near zero since March and indicated that rates could stay at that level through 2023. That has kept Treasury yields low, even though they rose on Tuesday on a potential stimulus package ahead of the November elections.

But Caron warned that a Democratic win in the November elections might not be all good for the U.S. economy. He said there could be “more questions than answers” on issues such as the Democrats’ tax policy and their approach toward regulation, which could create uncertainties.

Many investors fear that a Biden win could result in higher taxes and tighter regulations — which could lead to lower corporate profits and less economic growth.

“I think the markets are being a little bit complacent about, just thinking that: ‘Well on Nov. 3, the day of the election, we’re going to get all the answers and everything’s going to be great going forward’,” said Caron.

“I actually think there’s going to be more questions than answers after the election than there is right now.”

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WEF says machines will create jobs but warns of pandemic disruption

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A worker debugs a robot at a Sany Heavy Industry plant in Changsha, central China’s Hunan Province, on Feb. 20, 2020.

Chen Zeguo | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

LONDON — Advances in robotics and artificial intelligence will lead to a net increase in jobs over the next five years but the coronavirus pandemic will result in “double-disruption” for workers, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

In a report published Wednesday, the organization said that the rise of machines and automation would eliminate a huge 85 million jobs by 2025. But at the same time, the WEF expects 97 million new jobs to be created, meaning an overall addition of 12 million jobs.

“There has been a slowdown in the rate of job creation,” Saadia Zahidi, managing director of the World Economic Forum, told CNBC’s Julianna Tatelbaum in a TV interview. “That’s not a surprise given the lockdowns that have been underway and the recession that has followed.”

“But at the same time, if we look at the projections that heads of HR and those at the frontlines of making these decisions are saying, we find overall the rate of job creation will still surpass the rate of job destruction.”

Nevertheless, the WEF is not complacent. The institution expects work to be divided equally among humans and machines by 2025, with computers handling much of the heavy lifting with respect to data processing, administrative tasks and routine manual jobs for white and blue collar workers.

That will require a significant level of “reskilling” and “upskilling” from employers to ensure staff are sufficiently equipped for the future of work. According to the WEF, half of all employees will need some level of retraining in the next five years.

“The window of opportunity that we have to ensure that workers have the right kinds of skills for the future just got a whole lot shorter,” Zahidi said. “We will need a lot more effort from business, government and workers themselves to ensure that they have the kind of reskilling and upskilling they need.”

‘Double-disruption’

The Covid-19 outbreak has ravaged the global economy, with the International Monetary Fund forecasting a 4.4% contraction in GDP this year due to the crippling impact of public health restrictions. The crisis has also put millions of jobs on the line, with sectors such as travel and the arts more severely affected than others.

“Automation, in tandem with the COVID-19 recession, is creating a ‘double-disruption’ scenario for workers,” the WEF said in its report. “In addition to the current disruption from the pandemic-induced lockdowns and economic contraction, technological adoption by companies will transform tasks, jobs and skills by 2025.”

The WEF also highlighted the rapid shift to remote work that came about in the spring as the health crisis led companies to close their offices. It said employers could move as much as 44% of their workforce to operate remotely but added 78% of business leaders expect current ways of working to negatively impact productivity as some industries struggle to adapt.

These are the jobs the WEF expects to be lost to machines by 2025:

  • Data entry clerks
  • Administrative and executive secretaries
  • Accounting, bookkeeping and payroll clerks
  • Accountants and auditors
  • Assembly and factory workers
  • Business services and administration managers
  • Client information and customer service workers
  • General and operations managers
  • Mechanics and machinery repairers
  • Material-recording and stock-keeping clerks

And here are the new roles expected to face growing demand:

  • Data analysts and scientists
  • AI and machine learning specialists
  • Big data specialists
  • Digital marketing and strategy specialists
  • Process automation specialists
  • Business development professionals
  • Digital transformation specialists
  • Information security analysts
  • Software and applications developers
  • Internet of things specialists

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Amazon coronavirus work from home policy extended through June 2021

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The Amazon headquarters sits virtually empty on March 10, 2020 in downtown Seattle, Washington. In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Amazon recommended all employees in its Seattle office to work from home, leaving much of downtown nearly void of people.

John Moore | Getty Images

Amazon will allow employees who can work from home to do so through June 2021, CNBC confirmed Tuesday. 

“We continue to prioritize the health of our employees and follow local government guidance,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement. “Employees with work that can effectively be done from home can continue to do that work from home through June 30, 2021.”

News of the extended work from home policy was first reported by Bloomberg

Amazon follows in the footsteps of several tech companies that have extended their work from home policies until at least early 2021, including Apple, Facebook and Uber. Twitter has allowed employees to work from home “forever” if they wish.

The move pushes out the timeline for a return to work for Amazon’s corporate employees, who’ve been working from home since March. The company previously said that employees could work from home until January. 

Amazon’s fulfillment operations have functioned as an essential business during the pandemic, which requires warehouse employees and delivery drivers to report to work. The topic has been a source of controversy for Amazon, as lawmakers and labor groups have criticized the company’s treatment of frontline employees amid the coronavirus crisis.

As of Tuesday, the U.S. has reported more than 8.2 million coronavirus cases and at least 220,649 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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