The daily business briefing: August 13, 2018

Trump tweets support for a Harley-Davidson boycott, Turkey's currency falls to a new low, and more

The Harley logo in NYC
(Image credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

1. Trump tweets support for boycotting Harley-Davidson

President Trump on Sunday tweeted that it would be "great" if customers boycotted Harley-Davidson. Trump has criticized the iconic American motorcycle maker since it announced in June that it was moving production of motorcycles to be sold in Europe to factories outside the U.S. Harley-Davidson said the move was necessary to avoid European tariffs imposed to retaliate against Trump's tariffs on steel, aluminum, and other products. Trump tweeted that "many" Harley-Davidson owners intended to boycott the company if it went ahead with the production shift. On Saturday, Trump met at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf course with about 180 bikers who are part of a "Bikers for Trump" fan group. Harley-Davidson, which said it expected new tariffs to cost it $100 million a year, declined to comment.

The Associated Press

2. Turkey launches economic action plan as currency dives

Turkey, facing a financial crisis as its currency plunges, launched a new economic action plan on Monday, with its central bank pledging "all the liquidity the banks need." The country's currency, the lira, nevertheless continued sliding and hit a new low against the dollar. Turkey's central bank said financial institutions would be able to borrow foreign-exchange deposits from the central bank for short terms. Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said Sunday that the government's plan would include "all necessary steps" to support the country's banks through the crisis, echoing a statement by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the currency's plunge was part of "an attack" on the country's economy. The currency has lost more than 45 percent of its value this year, mostly over concerns about Erdogan's influence on the economy.

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Reuters MarketWatch

3. Turkey's economic troubles drag down stocks

Turkey's economic crisis continued to weigh on global stocks on Monday. Stock markets across Asia dropped by as much as 2 percent and stocks in Europe opened lower as investors showed fear that Turkey's problems would spread. The three main U.S. stock indexes appeared headed for a tumble, too, as Turkey's crisis pushed investors away from risky assets. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 0.4 percent, while those of the S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 dropped by 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. All three of the indexes fell by 0.7 percent or more on Friday. "From a global perspective the greatest risk lies in contagion to other emerging countries and even to European assets as some banks are reported to have large exposure to Turkey," ActivTrades senior analyst Ricardo Evangelista wrote in a Monday research note.

The New York Times MarketWatch

4. Russia responds to U.S. move but stops short of retaliatory sanctions

Russia will further reduce its holdings of U.S. securities in a response to the Trump administration's new sanctions against Moscow, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Sunday on state TV, according to the RIA news agency. Siluanov said Moscow had no plans to shut down U.S. companies in Russia. Two days earlier, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Russia viewed U.S. policies targeting Russian banks as a "declaration of economic war," although the Kremlin has not yet ordered retaliatory sanctions. The Trump administration last week announced that the sanctions, which could restrict purchases of Russian government bonds, would take effect by late August to punish Russia for allegedly using a nerve agent against a former Russian agent and his daughter in Britain. The news of the sanctions sent Russia's currency, the ruble, to a two-year low.


5. The Meg tops box office with stronger-than-expected $44.5 million debut

The Meg led the weekend box office with a $44.5 million debut, nearly doubling forecasts by some analysts. The shark thriller, an American-Chinese co-production between Warner Bros. and China's Gravity Pictures, also did well internationally, taking in a total of $96.8 million. It made $50.3 million in China alone. "This was a fun, dumb popcorn movie that just looked interesting to the public everywhere around the world," Jeff Goldstein, distribution chief for Warner Bros., said. Mission: Impossible — Fallout dropped to No. 2 after two weeks on top, and Spike Lee's critically acclaimed BlacKkKlansman opened with a strong $10.8 million, Lee's best debut in a decade.

The Associated Press

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.