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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Africa working to counter growing Chinese investment in the continent as the U.S. tries to fight China's rising global influence.
Why it matters: China has upped its spend on the continent in recent years while the Trump administration has not and looks to be trying to make up for lost time.
What's happening: China has ramped its financing of infrastructure projects like bridges, airports, dams, power plants, and Africa's largest port.
Between the lines: Chinese companies are investing in African manufacturing companies as a means of avoiding U.S. tariffs on exports, making products in countries like Senegal and shipping to the U.S. from there.
On the other side: Though the U.S. created the International Development Finance Corporation to increase funding for Africa and other developing nations just last year, the Trump administration's latest budget proposed cutting aid and development funding to African states and is weighing cutting troops throughout the continent.
The bottom line: The administration seems to be waking up to Africa's strategic importance in the trade war and in its ambitions to counter China.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Axios' Felix Salmon writes: Mike Bloomberg makes billions of dollars from Wall Street every year. But his plan to rein in the financial sector is very aggressive. If he were to become president, it would be fought vociferously by all the biggest clients of Bloomberg LP, the financial-information company that's the source of the candidate's wealth.
Why it matters: Bloomberg's detailed financial reform policy, released Tuesday, could cost Wall Street trillions of dollars while significantly increasing regulatory scrutiny of financial activities. It's a vision that would not be at all surprising coming from Elizabeth Warren, but that was less expected from an avatar of red-blooded capitalism.
How it works: At the top of Bloomberg's wish list is for banks to hold significantly more capital on their balance sheets. While the policy doesn't specify a number, it does approvingly footnote a paper from the Minneapolis Fed that would end "too big to fail" by raising the so-called "capital requirement" for banks from 13% to as much as 38% for the biggest banks.
Also on Bloomberg's list:
The bottom line: Where Trump deregulated Wall Street, Bloomberg wants to re-regulate it — and he wants to go significantly further than even former President Obama managed with the post-crisis Dodd-Frank legislation.
Fintech investment fell in 2019, as the number of deals and the total amount of money invested both declined significantly from 2018's record pace.
Why it matters: The data shows fintech investors are increasingly moving their dollars away from young companies with higher risk and growth potential and consolidating investment in bigger, more established names that are foregoing public markets in favor of staying private and raising more funding.
Details: Annual funding fell by 15% year-over-year in 2019 to $34.5 billion across 1,913 deals.
Expectations of global growth were cut in half in the latest Bank of America survey of asset managers.
What's happening: The survey showed money managers are less bullish this month than in January, but had also cut their cash holdings to 4.0% from 4.2%, which was the lowest since March 2013.
Details: Only a net 18% of investors surveyed said they expect the global economy will improve in the next 12 months, down from 36% in January. However, that number remains well above the lows of 2019.
Oh, word? When asked what would increase their expectations for inflation to rise, 26% of those surveyed responded Modern Monetary Theory, while 24% selected a G7 commitment to infrastructure spending.
Of note: "February saw big rotation into US bonds, tech, and EM, out of banks, energy and value," BofA analysts said in the report.
Foreign private buyers continue to pile into U.S. government debt while foreign governments again pulled money out, led by China.
What it means: The U.S. Treasury International Capital Report showed a net inflow of $78.2 billion — $134.2 billion of foreign private inflows and net foreign official outflows of $56 billion.
Why it matters: Market analysts say the decline in foreign government holdings of Treasury bonds and the increase of issuance due to steadily rising U.S. budget deficits may be a prime factor in market stress, including issues in the structurally important repo market that banks use to get fast cash.
The big picture: For 2019, private buying netted to $197.6 billion, while official government purchases declined by $332.2 billion, BMO Capital Markets said in a recent note.
Benjamin Oliver Davis Sr. was a Howard University-educated war hero who fought in the Spanish-American War, commanded the Buffalo Soldiers, and went on to become the first African American colonel and the first general in the U.S. Army.
The next generation: His son, Benjamin O. Davis Jr., became the second African American general in the U.S. military and the first in the Air Force, where he led the Tuskegee Airmen.