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A trade war between the United States and Europe is coming and the fallout could tip Germany into recession, according to analysts at German lender Commerzbank.

EU leaders have now agreed to negotiate fresh trade arrangements with Washington but have restricted the talks to industrial goods only. That scope of debate is likely to irk President Donald Trump who is under pressure from Congress to win access to EU agriculture markets.

In February, Trump said he would impose tariffs on cars imported from the European Union if U.S. talks with the bloc can’t produce a new deal. The EU has since threatened to tax 20 billion euros ($22 billion) worth of U.S. goods.

Both sides have cautiously hung on to existing agreements, promising to take no action until talks are concluded.

In a research report Friday, analysts at Commerzbank said the chances of a trade deal that satisfied both European leaders and U.S. lawmakers looked slim. It noted that France, holding a powerful voice in the corridors of Brussels, had already erected a serious barrier.

“President (Emmanuel) Macron has already voted against opening negotiations with the U.S. because the U.S. is no longer participating in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement,” noted Commerzbank.

The bank said on the other side of the ledger, U.S. Congress has made it clear that it will not rubberstamp any agreement that excludes agriculture — a tricky proposition given many EU nations fiercely protect prices paid to their farmers.

“It is therefore likely that Donald Trump will announce the imposition of duties — probably at rates of 25% — on imports of autos and auto parts from the EU,” said Commerzbank.

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Apple’s earnings would drop by nearly 30% if China bans its products

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Tim Cook, Apple CEO

John Chiala | CNBC

The U.S.-China trade war could take a big chunk out of Apple‘s bottom line if China retaliates by banning its products, according to an analyst at Goldman Sachs.

Analyst Rod Hall said in a note to clients that Apple’s earnings could drop by 29% if the company’s products were banned in mainland China.

Apple’s China business accounted for more than 17% of its sales in its fiscal second quarter, coming in at $10.22 billion. The company also sells billions of dollar worth in iPhones every year in China.

“Should China restrict iPhone production in any way we do not believe the company would be able to shift much iPhone volume outside of China on short notice,” Hall said. “We believe that Apple is near its annual rapid ramp of new iPhone production to prepare for new device launches in the Fall so even a short term action affecting production could have longer term consequences for the company.”

Hall also noted that China’s “tech ecosystem” and local employment could take a hit if Apple products are banned. Most of Apple’s supply chain rests in mainland China, including the iPhone’s final assembly, which is executed at Foxconn.

Apple shares are down 7% for the month through Tuesday’s close as China and the U.S. ratchet up trade fears. The U.S. hiked tariffs on $200 billions worth of Chinese goods earlier in May. China retaliated by raising levies on $60 billion worth of U.S. imports.

Hall is not the only analyst raising concern over Apple’s exposure to China. On Monday, HSBC analyst Erwan Rambourg cut his price target on the tech giant to $174 per share from $180. Meanwhile, Credit Suisse analyst Matthew Cabral said Tuesday that Apple’s earnings per share would fall by about 15 cents a share for every 5% drop in Greater China sales.

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England will ban plastic stirrers, straws and cotton swabs from 2020

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saulgranda | Moment | Getty Images

A ban on plastic drinks stirrers, straws, and plastic-stemmed cotton swabs will come into force in England next April.

“Urgent and decisive action is needed to tackle plastic pollution and protect our environment,” Environment Secretary Michael Gove said in a statement Wednesday.

“These items are often used for just a few minutes but take hundreds of years to break down, ending up in our seas and oceans and harming precious marine life,” he added.

The ban follows on from a consultation which found that more than 80% of respondents supported a ban on the distribution and sale of plastic straws, with 90% backing a ban on drinks stirrers and 89% in favor of a ban on cotton swabs. The consultation ran from October 22, 2018 to December 3, 2018, and had 1,602 respondents.

Outlining details of the ban, the U.K. government said there would be exemptions to make sure that people with a disability or medical requirements could continue using plastic straws.

In practice, this means that while restaurants and bars will not be allowed to display plastic straws or “automatically hand them out” they will be able to provide them upon request.

Another exemption will apply to the use of plastic-stemmed cotton swabs for “medical and scientific purposes” where such items are “often the only practical option.”

The CEO of Surfers Against Sewage, Hugo Tagholm, said the charity welcomed the ban. “Stopping the production and distribution of these single-use plastic menaces will prevent them from polluting beaches nationwide,” he added. “It’s a really positive and bold step in the right direction in the battle against plastic pollution.”

Several major businesses are already looking to move away from using plastic in their stores. Fast food giant McDonald’s is rolling out paper straws to stores in the U.K. and Ireland, while upscale supermarket Waitrose now only offers paper straws in its cafes.

The issue of plastic pollution is a big problem. Europeans produce 25 million tons of plastic waste per year, according to the European Commission. Less than 30% of this is collected for recycling.

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Twitter exchange with Elon Musk lands a British man a job at Tesla

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Elon Musk, chairman and CEO of Tesla, addresses a press conference in Beijing on October 23, 2015.

ChinaFotoPress | Getty Images

Tesla has hired a British man behind a viral tweet that caught the attention of Elon Musk last month.

Adam Koszary, who engineered a viral Twitter exchange between Musk and an English museum, will begin a new role as Tesla’s social media manager in July.

Back in April, Koszary, the digital lead for the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL), tweeted a photo of a ram with the caption: “Look at this absolute unit.”

The picture has been liked more than 100,000 times to date – and its popularity really took off when Elon Musk used the image as his own profile picture on Twitter.

“I’m an absolute unit too,” he said in a tweet, temporarily changing his Twitter bio to “absolute unit.”

In response, the MERL switched its own picture for one of Elon Musk, sparking an ongoing exchange between the two accounts.

Koszary, who had been due to start a new job at the U.K.’s Royal Academy of Arts (RAA), announced on Twitter on Tuesday that he had instead accepted a role with Tesla.

“I’m no longer moving to the Royal Academy. Instead, I’ll be Tesla’s Social Media Manager from July,” he said.

The RAA said in a tweet on Tuesday that it was “very sad that the lovely and talented Adam now won’t be joining us, but know he’ll do a great job at Tesla.”

A spokesperson for Tesla was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.



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