Secretary of State Tillerson Replaced
March 13, 2018
Mike Pompeo replaces Rex Tillerson as Trump’s Secretary of State; U.S. consumer prices rose 0.2% in February, matching economists’ expectations; U.S. Small-Business optimism rises to highest level since 1983.
- Mike Pompeo replaces Rex Tillerson as Trump’s Secretary of State. President Trump on Tuesday removed Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State and replaced Mr. Tillerson with Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director and former Tea Party congressman, who forged a close relationship with the president. Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the C.I.A., the first woman to be chosen for this role. It was an abrupt end, after months of speculation, to a rocky tenure for the former oil executive who never meshed with the president. Mr. Tillerson clashed repeatedly with the White House staff and broke publicly with Mr. Trump on issues ranging from the dispute between Saudi Arabia and Qatar to the American response to Russia’s cyber aggression. Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House that he and Mr. Tillerson “were not really thinking the same” to explain his decision to replace Mr. Tillerson. A senior administration official said that Mr. Trump decided to replace Mr. Tillerson to have a new team in place before upcoming talks with Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, who Trump plans to meet by May. The president is also seeking a new chief diplomat for various ongoing trade negotiations. [NYTimes]
Economic Indicators & News
- U.S. consumer prices rose 0.2% in February, matching economists’ expectations. The consumer price index rose 0.2 percent in February, in line with economists’ expectations and helping to alleviate concerns that inflation is about to accelerate, according to the Labor Department. On a year-over-year basis, the consumer price index increased 2.2 percent, a bit ahead of the 2.1 percent increase reported in January. Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, the CPI was up 0.2 percent for the month and 1.8 percent annualized, unchanged from January. A decline in energy prices helped to keep inflation in check while apparel contributed the most to the price gains, adding to gains posted in January. Energy prices overall increased just 0.1 percent, while apparel surged up 1.5 percent. [CNBC]
- U.S. Small-Business optimism rises to highest level since 1983. Small businesses in the U.S. were the most optimistic in more than three decades after recent tax cuts and economic growth spurred expectations for sales gains, according to a National Federation of Independent Business survey released on Tuesday. The index rose 0.7 points to 107.6, the highest level since 1983. 32% of survey respondents said that now was a good time to expand their businesses, while a net 43% expected business conditions to improve. Almost all of the 10 index components, including inventory plans and sales expectations either increased or held steady in February, increasing the gauge to its second-highest level since the survey began in 1973. Amid tax cuts and deregulation, businesses cited improved profit trends at the best level since 1987. [Bloomberg]