Morning Agenda: Mnuchin’s Global Debut, and the Goldman Connection


The chief executive of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd C. Blankfein, is taking issue with the perception of coziness between his company and the White House.

Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Steven T. Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, makes his first appearance on the global stage today.

At a gathering of G-20 finance ministers and central bankers in Germany, he’ll be trying to balance President Trump’s “America First” economic platform with the fears of other countries.

But it will be a tough sell, The Wall Street Journal explains.

For one, Mr. Trump’s vows to rewrite trade deals could prompt retaliatory moves from other countries.

The president also says he thinks the dollar is too strong, while the renminbi and the euro are too weak, giving them an unfair trade advantage. But his domestic proposals are expected to bolster the value of the dollar.

(The dollar is strengthening as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates, a move that has already affected some emerging market currencies.)

“It is not our desire to get into trade wars, it is our desire to deal with where there is imbalance in certain trade relations,” Mr. Mnuchin said on Thursday.

The Goldman Connection

It can be useful to have friends in high places, and it doesn’t get much higher than the White House, so Goldman Sachs should be sitting pretty.

And sure, the bank, which has plenty of former employees installed in the administration (including, for example, Mr. Mnuchin), has seen a healthy rise in its shares since the election.

But sometimes friends can be a bit of a drag, too. At least, that’s what some people close to Goldman say.

In their view, the Trump connection may actually be more of a liability — the two organizations are different in style and substance. And the links attract more scrutiny to the bank.

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