Fed Chair Powell will speak at 10 PM EST tonight on “Monetary Policy Normalization and Review” at Stanford University, CA Watch it live here.
President and Mrs. Trump will depart the White House at 9:20 AM EST this morning for Fort Benning, GA, arriving at 11:35 AM EST. They will spend the afternoon viewing tornado damage in Alabama. Then they will depart for the weekend to Mar-a-Lago, arriving at 4:55 PM EST. At 6:30 PM, the President will do a fundraiser with a 7:30 PM speech.
USTR Lighthizer will testify on March 12 before the Senate Finance Committee on the WTO outlook. He’ll also be bombarded with questions about negotiations with China and with the EU. I’ll forward a transcript as soon as it become available.
President Trump’s FY20 Budget will be posted here next Monday morning. Congress is very unlikely to adopt its 5% nondefense spending cuts. A defense increase to $750 b. may be another matter.
Treasury Secretary Mnuchin will testify on March 14 before the House Ways and Means Committee on President Trump’s FY20 Budget. Mr. Mnuchin will probably spend a lot of his time responding to questions about turning over President Trump’s personal and business tax returns.
Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought will testify before the House Budget Committee on March 12 on President Trump’s FY20 Budget. There’s little chance Mr. Trump’s FY20 Budget, or even parts of it, will pass either house of Congress.
“U.S.-China Trade Deal Isn’t Imminent So No Summit Date Set, Envoy Says.” This morning’s Wall Street Journal article leads with:
BEIJING—The U.S. and China have yet to set a date for a summit to resolve their trade dispute, the U.S. ambassador to China said Friday, as neither side feels an agreement is imminent.
“A date hasn’t been finalized” for a meeting between President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Terry Branstad, the U.S. envoy to Beijing, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. He said preparations for such a meeting aren’t yet under way either.
Mr. Branstad said negotiators need to further narrow the gap in their positions, including on enforcement of an eventual deal, before summit arrangements are made.
“Both sides agree that there has to be significant progress, meaning a feeling that they’re very close before that happens,” Mr. Branstad said in his office at the U.S. embassy in Beijing. “We’re not there yet. But we’re closer than we’ve been for a very long time.”
Mr. Branstad’s remarks add to growing doubt that Washington and Beijing can speedily resolve their yearlong trade battle that has rattled global markets and businesses.
Tax Refunds totaled $142.395 b. through March 1 versus $147.577 b. during the comparable period last year, down 3.5%. Returns with refunds processed so far total 46.416 m. versus 48.452 m. last year, down 4.2%. The average refund has been $3,068 so far versus $3,046, up 0.7%. Check out all of the filing season data through March 1 here.
$227 b. deficit estimated by CBO for the 2 PM March 22 Monthly Treasury Statement. At 2 PM yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office estimated February’s deficit was $227 b. versus $215 b. in February, 2018, receipts of $171 b. versus $158 b., and outlays of $398 b, versus $371 b.
The federal government incurred a deficit of $227 billion in February 2019, CBO estimates—$12 billion more than the deficit in February 2018.