Global News July 31, 2018

  1. BBC
  2. Global News July 31, 2018

“U.S., China Said to Seek to Restart Talks to Defuse Trade War.”

The U.S. and China are trying to restart talks aimed at averting a full-blown trade war between the world’s two largest economies, two people familiar with the effort said.
Representatives of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He are having private conversations as they look for ways to reengage in negotiations, according to the people who spoke about the deliberations on condition of anonymity. They cautioned that a specific timetable, the issues to be discussed and the format for talks aren’t finalized, but added there was agreement among the principals that more talks need to take place.
Negotiations to resolve the dispute have been stalled for weeks, with both sides refusing to budge. High-level U.S. talks on the trade posture with China are taking place this week, according to a third person who also spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Complicating Mnuchin’s efforts is a harder line taken by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who has jurisdiction over the U.S.’s 301 investigation that sparked the tariffs. That case concluded China was stealing American technology and tariffs were needed to offset the damage.
The next wave of U.S. tariffs is set to kick in as early as Wednesday, with the possible imposition of duties on another $16 billion of Chinese imports. Officials in Beijing have vowed to respond with the same amount of tariffs on U.S. products.


“Oil to hold steady into 2019 as OPEC, U.S. compensate for supply hitches.”

Oil prices are likely to hold fairly steady this year and next as increased output from OPEC and the U.S. meets growing demand led by Asia and helps to offset supply disruptions from Iran and elsewhere, a Reuters poll showed on Tuesday.
A survey of 44 economists and analysts forecast Brent crude LCOc1 to average $72.87 a barrel in 2018, 29 cents higher than the $72.58 projected in the previous month’s poll and above the $71.68 average so far this year.
U.S. crude futures CLc1 were seen averaging $67.32 a barrel in 2018, compared with $66.79 forecast last month and an average of $66.16 until now.
This is the 10th consecutive month in which analysts have raised their oil price forecasts.
“We expect prices will largely remain range-bound in the second half of 2018 and 2019. On the one hand, robust U.S. shale production and market concerns over the brewing U.S.-China trade war will help keep a lid on prices,” said Cailin Birch, an analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit.
“On the other hand, the recent decline in global stocks will make prices more sensitive to any geopolitical risk, which will keep prices from falling significantly below current levels.”
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC countries agreed to raise supply in a meeting last month to meet rising global demand, but the group did not specify a clear target for the output increase.
Meanwhile, U.S. sanctions on Iran that will come into force later this year will force a decline in exports and help support prices, analysts said. “The disruption to Iranian barrels will weigh on oil markets in the second half of 2018 and H1 2019 as there are few spare barrels in the market that can offset a big disruption to Iranian supplies,” said Emirates NBD commodities analyst Edward Bell.


“Euro-Area Economy Gets Higher Inflation But Weaker Growth.”

A bumper day of euro-area economic releases showed the region’s vital signs remain good, if not great.
The region’s economic expansion entered a sixth year but growth slowed to just 0.3 percent, the weakest in two years. Inflation accelerated further above the European Central Bank’s goal, though that was largely driven by stronger energy prices. Unemployment remained at the lowest since 2008.
The data confirm what ECB President Mario Draghi foreshadowed last week: Some of the sluggishness in output in the first quarter continued into the second, while underlying price pressures remains generally muted.
But with that assessment came a message of confidence. Policy makers, who are planning to start scaling back stimulus by year end, expect an “ongoing solid and broad-based economic growth” that will bolster wages and produce the right kind of inflation down the line.
“So far the ECB is putting a brave face on it,” said Nick Kounis, an economist at ABN Amro Bank NV in Amsterdam. “They decided to wind down their quantitative-easing program on the basis that they’re getting increasingly confident about the macroeconomic environment, so I think that they need to continue to tell that story until they really become worried. But there is still quite a lot of uncertainty.”
Investors seem to have given the 19-nation economy the benefit of the doubt. The euro remained higher after the reports, trading up 0.17 percent at 12:12 a.m. Frankfurt time, at $1.1726. The yield on German 2-year notes was little changed at minus 0.58 percent.
While domestic demand remains generally healthy thanks to rising wages and employment, global uncertainty over the threat of a trade war seems to have left its mark on the region. The ECB has singled out protectionism as a key risk to the outlook, after exports propelled growth last year to the strongest in a decade.


BBC News
“North Korea working on new missiles, US officials say, despite thaw.”

North Korea appears to be building new ballistic missiles despite recent warming ties with the Trump administration and pledges to denuclearise, reports say. Unnamed US officials told the Washington Post that spy satellites had spotted continuing activity at a site that has produced ballistic missiles. Reuters quotes an official as saying it is unclear how far the work has gone.D onald Trump met North Korea’s Kim Jong-un in Singapore in June.
After the first meeting between sitting leaders from the two countries, the two men pledged to work towards denuclearisation. Mr Trump later said North Korea was «no longer a nuclear threat».But Mr Trump was criticised at home for making concessions without securing any firm commitment from Mr Kim to end the nuclear and missile programmes.
These are not the first reports that North Korea may be continuing its weapons programme, casting doubt on the real impact of the summit in Singapore.O
n Monday, the Washington Post newspaper quoted officials as saying North Korea appeared to be building one or two new liquid-fuelled intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) at the Sanumdong facility near the capital, Pyongyang.
The factory is known to have produced the Hwasong-15, the first North Korean ICBM capable of reaching the US. However, a US official told news agency Reuters that a liquid-fuelled ICBM didn’t «pose nearly the threat that a solid-fuelled one would because they take so long to fuel».