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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
As the U.S. has abandoned its role as a champion of global free trade, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has quietly been cutting deals around the globe, bolstering free trade pacts and international cooperation many feared (or hoped) were dying in the age of Trump.
What's happening: At this weekend's G20 summit all eyes were on Trump and Xi's agreement to relax further trade war escalation. But perhaps lost in the shuffle was the official announcement of 2 major trade deals by the EU, with Vietnam and the Mercosur alliance, a bloc that includes Brazil and Argentina, South America's largest economies.
Details: The agreements with Vietnam and Mercosur follow recent accords the EU has signed with Canada, Japan, Mexico and Singapore.
"This deal is a real message in support of open, fair, sustainable and rule-based trade," Juncker said of the Mercosur agreement during a news conference on the sidelines of the G20.
What's next? There is a good chance for the EU to ink an agreement with the Pacific Alliance, Latin America's other major trading coalition that includes Mexico (with whom the EU has a separate deal) as well as Peru, Colombia and Chile.
The big picture: The EU also is in prime position to supplant the U.S. in the abandoned Trans-Pacific Partnership, having now secured trade deals with the agreement's major players. TPP was picked up by Canada and Japan, re-labeled TPP-11 (or TPP-minus-the-United States), and signed in December, but lacks a major world power.
The bottom line: With the world's 2 largest economies weakening each other through a potentially protracted trade war, Juncker's dealmaking has put the EU in position to take the reins on the future of global trade, and given fresh legs to hopes for globalization and liberalized international trade.
The amount of bonds with negative yields has grown to more than $13 trillion, data from the Institute of International Finance shows, and unlike in 2016 the amount of debt below zero look poised to grow.
What's happening: Since ECB president Mario Draghi's latest news conference signaling the central bank is poised to further ease its already negative interest rate policy, bond yields have been dropping below zero across Europe.
Investors are trying to find other places to stash their cash. Interest in so-called alternative assets is pushing banks to launch brand new hundred-billion-dollar divisions, and institutional holdings of money market funds have surged in recent weeks to a record high of $1.68 trillion, IIF notes.
The intrigue: Negative yields are primarily on government bonds from Japan and various European countries, but the stock of corporate bonds and securitized instruments with negative yields also has increased, topping $500 billion and $1 trillion, respectively, according to IIF's data.
Tesla's stock is beginning to recover after a brutal start to the year, rebounding about 25% from its June nadir as optimism about second-quarter vehicle deliveries has picked up steam.
But investors would be wise to sit out any celebration, Charley Grant at WSJ writes.
Tesla also now faces more competition on its higher-end Model S and Model X cars, which have much higher profit margins than the mass market Model 3, from Jaguar and Audi.
New sustainable debt instruments, like green bonds and green loans, are seeing a significant pickup in investor interest.
Tami Lash of Michigan won a ribbon at a big llama show in Iowa this weekend. Photo: Jennifer A. Kingson
Roughly 280 llamas, plus a few alpacas, convened in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, this weekend for one of the biggest llama shows of the year — picture the Westminster Dog Show, only with camelids, Axios' Jennifer Kingson writes.
The details: People from around the country who own herds of llamas regularly travel long distances to participate in shows like this one, sponsored by the International Lama Registry.
One contestant, Lauren Wright, drove 1,350 miles from Sarasota, Fla., to show 10 of her animals. "They each have their own personality," she said.
Between the lines: The excitement surrounding the weekend's show is evidence that while the bubbling llama market has calmed, it has not been fully extinguished.