Saturday, June 16th, 2018


Singapore Exchange to continue SGX Nifty trade despite India dispute

MUMBAI, June 16 — The Singapore Exchange (SGX) said today a court-appointed arbitrator had told it to continue listing and trading SGX Nifty contracts beyond August 2018, during a dispute resolution with India’s National Stock Exchange (NSE)….

Dutch MP calls for Shell dividend tax probe

THE HAGUE, June 16 — A Dutch MP called today for a parliamentary enquiry into how oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has been paying billions in share dividends through the British Channel islands without tax. GroenLinks MP Jesse Klaver, who leads the…

Ex-CEO of France's Carrefour to give up part of payout after pressure

PARIS, June 16 — Former Carrefour chief executive Georges Plassat is to give up part of his departure package, the French retailer said today after facing pressure from employers’ bodies, unions and the government over his payout. Shareholders…

Thailand spearheads regional fund to cut reliance on big Asian economies

BANGKOK, June 16 — Thailand is spearheading a new Southeast Asian fund for infrastructure and development projects, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told a summit in Bangkok today, a bid to counter reliance on Asian giants, such as China. The…

Egypt raises gasoline prices by up to 50pc

CAIRO, June 16 — Egypt raised gasoline prices by up to 50 per cent, the oil ministry said today, under an IMF reform plan that calls for the slashing of state subsidies on some consumer products. Oil Minister Tarek El Molla said the price rises…

Boeing, others assessing impact of US-China tariffs

NEW YORK: US trade groups and some large companies such as Boeing said Friday they were beginning to evaluate how new tariffs in the US-China trade spat could affect their operations.

“We are assessing the impact these tariffs and any reciprocal action could have on our supply chain and commercial business,” said Boeing spokesman Charles Bickers.

The comments came in response to news that President Donald Trump would impose 25% tariffs on tens of billions in Chinese imports, sparking immediate retaliation from Beijing.

Boeing garnered about 12.8% of its 2017 revenues from China and is frequently seen as among the more vulnerable US multinationals to an all-out trade war.

“We will continue to engage with leaders in both countries to urge a productive dialogue to resolve trade differences, highlighting the mutual economic benefits of a strong and prosperous aerospace industry,” Bickers added.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association, while praising the Trump administration for dropping an earlier plan to place levies on key equipment and machinery used by the industry, said China's retaliatory measures could harm American farmers and textile manufacturers and add costs to the industry's supply chain.

“President Trump is fixated with tariffs, which he believes he can wield freely; but there are grave consequences to the use of tariffs,” said AAFA president Rick Helfenbein. “Congress needs to step in now to end this dangerous obsession”.

“The tariffs imposed on products imported by American businesses — and the resulting retaliatory tariffs against exports made by American manufacturers and farmers — amount to a huge 'Trump Tax' on American workers, American consumers, and the American economy,” Helfenbein said.

Other trade groups opposing the US tariffs included the Business Roundtable and the US Chamber of Commerce.

Among those expected to be hit by bruising tariffs are US automakers, which have targeted China as a growth market.

Ford on Friday reported a dip in May sales in China but said it had recently implemented a price cut on imported Ford cars and Lincoln vehicles following a cut in tariffs. Ford has sold 338,386 cars thus far in China in 2018, about one-third the number in the US.

“We continue to encourage both governments to work together through negotiation to resolve issues between these two important economies,” a Ford spokesman said.

Friday's announcements cap months of sometimes fraught shuttle diplomacy between Washington and Beijing, in which Chinese offers to purchase more US goods failed to assuage Trump's grievances over the soaring trade imbalance and the country's industrial development policies.

Eurasia Group analysts said the latest maneuvers meant there was “a substantial risk of escalation and a more prolonged dispute” that could last well into the fall. — AFP

US farmers stressed, angry at trade wars

NEW YORK: US farmers find themselves in the crosshairs of a trade war with China and others launched by President Donald Trump, who was elected with the support of many in rural America.

On Friday, Trump announced long-threatened trade tariffs on tens of billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods, sparking an immediate retaliation from Beijing on an equivalent of US products including agricultural goods, notably soy.

“For American farmers, this isn't theoretical anymore, it's downright scary,” the Farmers for Free Trade lobbying group said of the prospects for escalating tariffs.

“It's no longer a negotiating tactic, it's a tax on their livelihoods.”

China is the largest buyer of soy beans, buying US$12 billion, (RM47 billion) in 2017, about 30% of the US harvest.

“We were already in a depressed market. These trade uncertainties add a lot of stress to this situation,” said Jamie Beyer, a farmer in Wheaton, Minnesota who grows soybean, corn, sugar beets, wheat and alfalfa.

“We feel these tariffs are very damaging to our agricultural economy.”

Farmers are the most at risk in this trade battle, as their incomes already were falling, declining by around 50% since 2013, and this year expected to reach the lowest level since 2006.

Easy target

The sector already was shaken up by the difficult negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico, two major importers of agricultural products.

On her family farm in Oklahoma, Hope Pjesky raises cattle and grows winter wheat, and says she is “very nervous” about recent developments.

“Unfortunately, agriculture seems to be the industry that they hit back on when there is retaliation. I just wish there were a better way to go about addressing that issue,” she said.

That is according to plan since US trading partners have singled out American products from states strongly supportive of Trump, in hopes of increasing the pressure on him to reconsider.

But Pjesky noted that “there are a lot of people who voted for him that still have faith that it is just going to end up well”.

It is difficult to quantify the precise cost of Chinese sanctions, but Missouri corn and soybean farmer Blake Hurst said he already is seeing an impact on prices.

The weather remains the main factor influencing the price of corn, wheat, soybeans and cotton, but the threat of renewed tensions between Beijing and Washington hit the market hard this week and the soybean price fell by more than six percent.

“It will affect our profitability” and cut the number of acres cultivated, he said.

Trump support

Roger Johnson, who leads the country's second largest agricultural union, the National Farmers Union, said the group supports the White House goal of reducing the US trade deficit.

“But our organization grows increasingly concerned that this administration does not have a plan to ensure family farmers and ranchers aren't thrown under the bus for the sake of these goals,” he said.

Even so, few blame Trump directly.

Hurst said many in Missouri are still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

But, he cautioned, “if we don't see any success, then patience will wear thin”. — AFP

Global stocks pressured by US, China tariff announcements

NEW YORK: Revived trade war fears weighed on US and European bourses Friday following tit-for-tat tariff announcements by the United States and China.

US President Donald Trump announced 25% tariffs on tens of billions in Chinese imports, sparking immediate retaliation from Beijing and bringing the world's two largest economies to the brink of an all-out trade war long feared by markets and industry.

“There remains a substantial risk of escalation and a more prolonged dispute that lasts through the summer and into the fall,” said a note from Eurasia Group.

Wall Street stocks opened the session solidly lower following Trump's decision before recovering some of the losses. The Nasdaq still ended down 0.2%, retreating from Thursday's record. The Dow and S&P 500 also ended lower.

Trump's action follows weeks of back and forth between Washington and Beijing that have veered in tone from conciliatory to hostile and left observers unsure of the likelihood of a trade war that could bruise global growth.

“In the on again-off again discussion about the menacing specter of a trade war, things are on again this morning,” said analyst Patrick O'Hare.

“It's hard to know if this is just a big game of political chicken that will get resolved without anyone getting permanently hurt or if it is the start of something bigger that will create some real economic damage,” he added.

Earlier, European stocks had also fallen, with Paris shedding 0.5% and Frankfurt 0.7%.

The euro rallied somewhat after falling sharply on Thursday's European Central Bank announcement that it would keep interest rates down for longer-than-expected.

Oil prices, meanwhile, fell sharply a week before a crunch meeting of OPEC and its allies who are to decide whether to extend a production cut agreement that has been in force since late 2016.

“Reality seems to be setting in a bit regarding OPEC's looming production increase,” said a note from BMO Capital Markets. “The market has already begun pricing it in perhaps and therefore we saw a healthy sell-off today.”

Analysts also attributed the oil market's pullback in part to worries over a trade war.

Key figures around 2100 GMT

New York – Dow Jones: DOWN 0.3% at 25,090.48 (close)

New York – S&P 500: DOWN 0.1% at 2,779.42 (close)

New York – Nasdaq: DOWN 0.2% at 7,746.38 (close)

London – FTSE 100: DOWN 1.7% at 7,633.91 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.5% at 5,501.88 (close)

Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.7% at 13,010.55 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.4% at 3,511.50 (close)

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.5% at 22,851.75 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.4% at 30,309.49 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.7% at 3,021.90 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at US$1.1606 from US$1.1568 at 2100 GMT Thursday

Pound/dollar: UP at US$1.3281 from US$1.3262

Dollar/yen: UP at 110.68 yen from 110.63 yen

Oil – Brent Crude: DOWN US$2.50 at US$73.44 per barrel

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN US$1.83 at US$65.06 per barrel — AFP

Ringgit likely to weaken against US dollar next week

KUALA LUMPUR, June 16 ― The ringgit is expected to weaken against the US dollar next week after the US Federal Reserve (Fed) struck a more hawkish tone on interest rates at its monetary policy meeting on Wednesday. FXTM Global Head of Currency…

Trump tariffs a rounding error for US economy so far, that may change

WASHINGTON, June 16 ― US President Donald Trump's new trade tariffs will lop at most a couple of tenths of a per centage point off US growth and add a similar amount to inflation, small fry for a US$19 trillion (RM75.8 trillion) economy that is…