Yen, Swiss franc advance on trade fears, bleak global data

NEW YORK, Aug 10 — The yen and Swiss franc gained yesterday as investors sought safe-haven currencies due to US-China trade war concerns, political uncertainty in Italy, and weak economic data around the world. Deep liquidity and current account…

Trump roils markets with comments on China trade, Huawei

WASHINGTON, Aug 10 — US President Donald Trump yesterday said he was not ready to make a deal with China and even called a September round of trade talks into question, reviving concerns on financial markets that the bilateral dispute is unlikely…

Trump says US, China still talking on trade but not ready for a deal

WASHINGTON, Aug 9 — President Donald Trump said today that the United States and China were still pursuing a trade agreement but he was not ready to make a deal. Speaking to reporters at the White House before departing for fundraisers in New York…

Mediator denies Bayer has offered to settle Roundup cases

FRANKFURT, Aug 9 — Kenneth Feinberg, the court-appointed mediator between chemical and pharma giant Bayer and thousands of plaintiffs claiming the herbicide glyphosate gave them cancer, today denied reports the company had made an US$8 billion…

Trump says US economy ‘handcuffed’ by Fed, wants further rate cut

WASHINGTON, Aug 9 — US President Donald Trump today called on the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates by a full percentage point, saying the nation’s economy was being “handcuffed” by the US central bank’s monetary policy. Trump,…

Asia markets reverse gains as trade war fears persist

HONG KONG, Aug 9 — Asian markets largely reversed early gains today from a bargain-hunting push as investors remained cautious over the intensifying US-China trade war. Tokyo managed to hold on to its winnings as positive data helped drive the…

China’s producer prices fall for first time in 3 years, add to deflation worries

BEIJING: China’s factory gate prices shrank for the first time in three years in July, stoking deflation worries and putting pressure on Beijing to deliver more stimulus as the economy sputters amid an intensifying trade war with the United States.

With demand slowing at home and abroad, Chinese manufacturers are having to cut prices to keep market share, depressing profit margins and discouraging fresh investment needed to get the economy back on its feet.

Falling prices for crude oil, iron ore and other raw materials are also playing a part.

China’s producer price index (PPI) fell 0.3% from year earlier in July, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Friday.

That compared with zero growth seen in June and a 0.1% drop expected by analysts in a Reuters poll.

It was the first contraction on an annual basis since August 2016, though the index have now dropped sequentially for the last two months.

“Weak demand has started to impact expectations on the production side,” analyst Zou Qiang at Everbright Pramerica Fund Management said in a note.

Zou expects the price contraction to worsen in the coming months due to stricter curbs on the property sector, as regulators try to rein in debt risks.

Producer inflation in other major economies such as the United States and Germany has also been tepid lately, raising questions about the durability of global demand as the year-long U.S.-China trade war looks set to get longer and costlier.

The Chinese industries which saw the steepest factory price declines included oil and gas extraction, and paper and paper product manufacturing, with falls of 8.3% and 7.1% from a year earlier, respectively.

Energy processing firms such as oil refiners and chemical producers also saw extended price declines.

Prices for some major building materials such as steel reinforcing bars were weak in July as high temperatures and rain stalled construction projects.


Friday’s data also showed China’s consumer inflation picked up to a 17-month high in July, mainly driven by a jump in prices of pork and other proteins due to a prolonged outbreak of African swine fever, and dry weather in fruit-growing regions.

The consumer price index (CPI) rose 2.8% from a year earlier, a touch higher than expectations and June.

Food inflation accelerated at the fastest pace since January 2012. The food price index rose 9.1% on year, picking up from a 8.3% uptick in June. Fruit prices surged 39.1% and pork prices jumped 18.2%.

On a month-on-month basis, CPI grew 0.4% in July after dipping 0.1% in June.

Core consumer inflation — excluding food and fuel — remained modest, however, easing marginally to 1.3% on-year. – Reuters

Britain woos Mexico as post-Brexit trade partner

MEXICO CITY: British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab wooed Mexico as a post-Brexit trading partner Thursday, as he wrapped up a three-country North American tour aimed at securing Britain’s global ties when it leaves the European Union.

Raab has spent much of his time traveling in his first two weeks as foreign secretary to new Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as Britain seeks to chart its course after leaving the European Union on October 31. He met with Asia-Pacific foreign ministers last week in Thailand and visited Canada, the United States and Mexico this week.

“My country, the United Kingdom, is about to leave the European Union precisely because we want to broaden our horizons and strengthen our friendship with countries right across the world,” he said in Mexico City.

“So I think this is just the moment for our two nations to do much more together.”

Raab met with Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and Economy Minister Graciela Marquez, signing a series of cooperation deals, including one for Britain to invest up to £250 million ($300 million) in various Mexican programs.

The Mexican government said the two sides had agreed to work on developing an “ambitious” trade relationship and on minimizing the impact of Britain’s exit from the EU.

Raab sought similar reassurances on Wednesday in Washington, where he and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said they agreed on the need to sign a bilateral trade deal as soon as possible after Brexit. – AFP

Asia stocks inch up but gains capped by fresh Sino-US trade worries

TOKYO, Aug 9 ― Asian shares caught the tail of a Wall Street rally today, helped by China's better-than-expected export figures but fresh concerns about Sino-US trade ties are likely to limit gains in the region. Weighing on risk appetite was a…

Sources: Iraq close to pipeline deal with BP and Eni, rather than Exxon

BASRA (Iraq), Aug 9 ― Iraq is close to reaching a deal with oil majors BP and Eni for an export pipeline project that was initially planned as part of a mega-deal with US energy giant ExxonMobil, according to five senior Iraqi oil officials…