International News in Brief: Abbott’s Asia trade mission impossible?

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott is seeking to do the impossible during Australia’s largest ever trade mission: sign free trade deals with three classic Asian rivals.
Following his last-September election pledge, Abbot will seek to close deals with Japan, South Korea, and China all by the end of this year.
Canberra is prioritising these three bilateral trade deals ahead of a wider Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, which is currently being negotiated between the US, Japan, Australia and nine other Pacific Rim countries, The Financial Times reported.
Abbott, who touched down in Tokyo on Sunday, declared last September that “the Asian century will be Australia’s moment too”.
It’s set to be a delicate deal, and the Prime Minister has already fallen fowl of South Korea and China last year when he labelled Japan as Australia’s “best friend” in Asia.
 
The director of the International Monetary Fund has warned that the political crisis in the Ukraine could lead to problems in the broader world economy.
In a speech in Washington, Christine Langarde said global growth five years after the recession remains “too slow and weak”, The Telegraph reported.
The low inflation rates in Europe and Japan are a worry because of the impact on demand and output, and consequently jobs, she said.
It was recommended that the European Central Bank consider lowering interest rates even further and using unconventional policies to support growth.
High corporate leverage in emerging economies is another threat, which if not addressed will be worsened by the turmoil from eventual monetary tightening in advanced economies.
"The third obstacle is the rise of geopolitical tensions, which could cloud the global economic outlook," Langarde said. "The situation in Ukraine is one which, if not well managed, could have broader spill over implications."
Last week the IMF announced a $14 billion to $18 billion scheme to rescue Ukraine's economy after the overthrow of president Viktor Yanukovich.
 
The once-golden Manchester United has had a terrible season, currently sitting in seventh place on the English Premier League; however Manchester United Stock (MANU) is on a total tear.
Surprisingly, shares in the stock are up 6%, showing that what happens on the pitch doesn’t necessarily affect the business itself, reported Bloomsberg Business Week.
Potentially this could be because much of the broadcasting money is split league-wide and sponsorship deals can run for years: The team has already signed a seven-year almost $560 million deal to use the Chevrolet brand on the jerseys.
Executive vice chairman Edward Woodward told Bloomsberg that the key to the great performance was the build-up of the brand base.
“It takes a long, long time to build up a huge fan base, to have, if you like, the equity values of what we are as a business and as a club projected out there so that people can understand from a commercial perspective why it makes sense to partner with us. And I don’t think that that will go away for a long time,” he said.

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