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White House mulling tax cut to avoid recession, says report

WASHINGTON, Aug 20 ― The White House is considering cutting taxes or reversing tariffs to head off a recession, US media reported yesterday, despite President Donald Trump's insistence the economy was in rude health. Senior White House officials…


Baidu Q2 revenue beats expectations but profit drops

SHANGHAI, Aug 20 ― Chinese internet giant Baidu regained momentum during the second quarter, posting better-than-expected revenue today thanks to strong traffic growth, though it also announced a huge drop in net profit. The Beijing-based search…


Robust baht, travel trends rattle Thai tourism market

BANGKOK, Aug 20 ― A strong Thai baht and a slowdown in arrivals from China are battering the kingdom's moneymaking tourism machine even as the country hopes to welcome a record 40 million visitors by the end of the year. Most travellers to…


Huawei dismisses new suspension of ‘unjust’ US ban

BEIJING: Huawei on Tuesday dismissed Washington’s three-month delay to a ban on US firms selling to the Chinese tech giant and said the decision would not change the fact it had been “treated unjustly”.

The US Commerce Department effectively suspended for a second time tough rules stopping the sale of components and services to the telecoms titan and a prohibition on buying equipment from it.

However, it also said it would add 46 more companies to its list of Huawei subsidiaries and affiliates that would be covered by the ban if it is implemented in full — taking the total on the list to more than 100.

The original ban was announced earlier this year by US authorities who claim it provides a backdoor for Chinese intelligence services — something the firm denies.

“It’s clear that this decision, made at this particular time, is politically motivated and has nothing to do with national security,” Huawei responded in a statement, adding that the actions “violate the basic principles of free market competition.”

“They are in no one’s interests, including US companies. Attempts to suppress Huawei’s business won’t help the United States achieve technological leadership” Huawei said.

“The extension of the Temporary General License does not change the fact that Huawei has been treated unjustly.”

Monday’s move means Huawei can continue to buy US-made semiconductors and other materials crucial to its phones and network equipment, and that US telecommunications companies can continue to buy Huawei’s networking equipment.

Huawei — considered the world leader in superfast 5G equipment and the world’s number two smartphone producer — was in May swept into a deepening trade war between Beijing and Washington, which has seen punitive tariffs slapped on hundreds of billions of dollars of two-way trade.

The suspension of the ban does not signal a change in US concerns that Huawei equipment poses a national security threat or lift a general prohibition on the use of its 5G systems in the United States.

“As we continue to urge consumers to transition away from Huawei’s products, we recognise that more time is necessary to prevent any disruption,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Huawei unveiled its own operating system called HarmonyOS, highly anticipated software considered crucial for the tech group’s survival as the looming ban could remove its access to Google’s Android operating system. – AFP


Sources: China CNPC suspends Venezuelan oil loading, worried about US sanctions

SINGAPORE, Aug 20 ― China National Petroleum Corp, a leading buyer of Venezuelan oil, has halted August loadings following the latest US sanctions on the South American exporter, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters…


White House mulling tax cut to avoid recession: report

WASHINGTON: The White House is considering cutting taxes or revering tariffs to head off a recession, US media reported on Monday, despite President Donald Trump’s insistence on the economy’s health.

Senior White House officials are considering several moves to stimulate the economy including temporarily cutting the payroll tax to increase workers’ monthly take-home pay, The Washington Post reported.

Also under consideration is reversing new tariffs the Trump administration imposed on Chinese goods, according to The New York Times.

The discussion is still in the early stages, and officials have not brought up the idea with Trump, who would have to seek approval from Congress, the newspapers said.

The White House disputed the reports in a statement to the Post, saying “cutting payroll taxes is not something under consideration at this time.”

Trump on Sunday pushed back against talk of a looming recession after a raft of US data reports last week gave a mixed outlook for the economy.

“I’m prepared for everything. I don’t think we’re having a recession. We’re doing tremendously well,” Trump told reporters.

“And most economists actually say that we’re not going to have a recession.”

Earlier on Monday, a survey was released showing that a majority of economists expect a US recession in the next two years — right around the time of the 2020 election in which Trump is standing for a second term.

Only two percent of the survey’s 226 respondents predicted a recession this year, but 38 percent expected a downturn to hit in 2020 and 34 percent in 2021, according to the polls from the National Association for Business Economists.

Payroll taxes were cut temporarily during President Barack Obama’s term in 2011 and 2012, in an effort to counteract a sluggish recovery from the 2008 recession. – AFP


Bank of England chief pulls out of Chinese event

LONDON, Aug 19 — Bank of England governor Mark Carney has withdrawn from a high-profile business event with China’s ambassador to London, sources said today, as pro-democracy protests continue in Hong Kong. Carney had been due to speak at the…


Stock markets rally on fresh trade talks hopes

LONDON, Aug 19 — Stock markets rallied today after US President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser hailed “positive” trade talks with Chinese negotiators. “As the new week kicks off, stocks are in demand amid increased optimism over US…


Foreign outflows continue for fifth consecutive week on Bursa

PETALING JAYA: Offshore investors sold RM598.1 million net of local equities on Bursa Malaysia last week, the fifth consecutive week of outflows.

On Tuesday, the market reopened from the Hari Raya Aidil Adha holiday which saw foreign investors take out RM209.6 million net of local equities amidst geopolitical turbulence from Argentina and Hong Kong.

• “This was the highest foreign net outflow seen during the week, pulling the local bourse below 1,600 points to settle at 1,592.88 points on the same day, the lowest close since late August 2015,” said MIDF in its fund flow report.

On Wednesday, the level of net outflow receded to RM73.3 million as US President Donald Trump delayed some tariffs on Chinese goods, which spurred a relief rally around the world.

“Furthermore, Chinese officials also planned to proceed with plans to have a face-to-face trade meeting with Washington in September, signaling that trade talks remain despite the last escalation of tariff threats by the US,” it said.

However, the pace of foreign selling swelled to RM196.8 million on Thursday due to concerns

that the US economy may slip into a recession following the inversion of the US treasury yield curve.

On Friday, net outflow slowed down to RM118.1 million as Malaysia posted a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 4.9% year-on-year, beating market expectations.

On a month to date basis, August has seen a net foreign outflow of RM1.9 billion with year to date net outflow stands at RM6.64 billion, making up around 57.0% of last year’s total foreign net outflow.

In terms of participation, foreign investors experienced an 11.9% weekly drop in the average daily traded value (ADTV) to reach RM982.2m.

“Nevertheless, this was the smallest drop amongst other investor groups; the retail market and local institutional funds saw a weekly drop in their ADTV of more than 15.0%,” said MIDF.


Bursa Malaysia continues decline, marking sixth week of losses

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 — Bursa Malaysia continued its decline last week, marking the sixth week of losses last seen in May to June 2015, in line with performances of regional peers, said MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Bhd Research.  In the weekly…