Jul 2, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon. Today's PM is 560 words, a 2 minute read.

Situational awareness: The Trump administration has dropped its attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. census.

P.S. 🇺🇸 The U.S. Women's National Team beat England in a fierce 2-1 semifinals match.

1 big thing: Europe's surprise

Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS/Getty Images

International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde will be the first woman to run the European Central Bank — and the first without central banking on her resume — after being nominated today to replace Mario Draghi at the end of October.

Why it matters: The Eurozone is already running negative interest rates, with the prospect of more stimulus coming, Bloomberg notes.

  • "Lagarde will bring the star quality of a politician. ... In an age where the EU establishment is frequently derided by citizens, her skills could help repair the image of central bankers."
  • The New York Times' Neil Irwin tweets: "The important thing here is not that Lagarde will be more/less dovish than other candidates would've been, but that the ECB will be led by someone with real political clout."

The full slate of nominees:

  • German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen as European Commission president.
  • Outgoing Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel as European Council president.
  • Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell as high representative for foreign affairs.
  • IMF head Christine Lagarde as ECB president.

Between the lines: "The choice of Ms. Lagarde will be a surprise to many," the WSJ reports.

  • "Speculation in recent months has centered around German central bank head Jens Weidmann, French ECB members Benoît Coeuré and François Villeroy de Galhau and former Finnish central banker Erkki Liikanen."

The bottom line, via Axios' Felix Salmon: Lagarde has done an excellent job of leading the IMF, and she also ran the French Treasury with aplomb during and after the global financial crisis. She is not an economist, but she has the respect of markets.

Bonus: Pics du jour

Above: Tourists and astronomers arrive at La Silla European Southern Observatory in Chile for today's total solar eclipse over parts of Chile and Argentina.

Below: The main event.

2. What you missed
  1. House Democrats are suing the U.S. Treasury Department in an effort to compel the IRS to turn over Trump's tax returns. What they're saying.
  2. Huge IPO coming: Anheuser-Busch InBev disclosed that it will seek to raise upward of $9.8 billion in a Hong Kong IPO of its Asia-Pacific business. Go deeper.
  3. Homeland Security's watchdog discovered extreme overcrowding, prolonged detention stays and health risks at several Border Patrol stations in the Rio Grande Valley sector in south Texas, according to a newly released report. Pics.
  4. Arizona's Republican governor said he will yank state incentives for a Nike plant following the shoemaker's "terrible decision" to cancel a sneaker line with the colonial-era version of the American flag. Details.
  5. Bernie Sanders raised $18 million from "nearly 1 million donors" during the second quarter of 2019. Go deeper.
  6. Tesla produced 87,048 vehicles and delivered 95,200 in Q2, identifying those numbers as new records and saying they are entering Q3 with an increase in their order backlog.
3. 1 fun thing

A coffee stand at Cypres Creek High School in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Orange County Public Schools via AP

"Coffee bars selling $3 iced lattes are popping up in high schools, helped along by dairy groups scrambling for new ways to get people to drink milk," the AP reports.

Why it matters: "It’s one small way the dairy industry is fighting to slow the persistent decline in U.S. milk consumption as eating habits change and rival drinks keep popping up on supermarket shelves."

  • "In Florida, a dairy group said it paid for coffee carts in 21 high schools this past school year. In the Southwest, a dairy group gave grants to seven schools for coffee programs."

The bottom line: "With consumption of milk in the U.S. down 40 percent since 1975, the dairy industry is looking for all the help it can get."

Mike Allen