U.S. Treasury chief Mnuchin says optimistic about U.S.-UK trade deal By Reuters


© Reuters. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks at Chatham House in London

By Elizabeth Howcroft and William Schomberg

LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that he was optimistic the United States and Britain, soon to be out of the European Union, would strike a trade deal this year and that he had discussed it with Britain’s finance minister on Saturday.

U.S. President Donald Trump is keen for progress on trade talks before November’s presidential election, while in Britain the prospect of a deal has been touted by Brexit supporters as a way to offset the impact of leaving the EU and to exert leverage over the bloc in trade talks between London and Brussels.

“I’m quite optimistic. I think the prime minister and the president have a very good relationship,” Mnuchin told an audience at the Chatham House think tank in London.

Mnuchin said he had a breakfast meeting with his British counterpart minister Sajid Javid on Saturday, having also spoken to him this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“We’re focused on trying to get this done this year because we think it’s important to both of us,” he said.

After the United States recently concluded the initial phase of a trade agreement with China, deals with Britain and the European Union were now the priority, Mnuchin said.

While Mnuchin conceded that Britain may need to finalize some issues with the EU before it could discuss them with Washington, he didn’t see this leading to a delay.

“I think a lot of the issues can be dealt with simultaneously and again we look forward to continuing a great trade relationship, and, if anything, I think there will be significantly more trade between the U.S. and the UK,” he said.

Asked by a reporter if Britain’s plan to implement a digital services tax on U.S. technology giants such as Facebook (O:) and Google (O:) could hinder the trade negotiations, Mnuchin said that he discussed the issue on Saturday with Javid.

Washington is threatening to put tariffs on products from the EU’s member states if they follow through with a plan to introduce a new tax on U.S. tech giants.

“The U.S. feels very strongly that any tax that is designed specifically on digital companies is a discriminatory tax and is not appropriate,” Mnuchin said.

Britain has said it intends to implement the tax, while France has put off its plans to wait for broader negotiations within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Mnuchin said he wanted to narrow the U.S. trade deficit with the EU but that differences between the bloc’s member states would complicate negotiations.

“When we talk about the EU, one of the challenges is some of these issues are really only a couple of countries, but I think, as you know, because of the EU we can’t negotiate these things on a bilateral basis,” he said.

“One of the challenges of dealing with the EU is even within the EU they have different views,” he added.

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ConsenSys to Build Global Trade Platform for Agribusiness Giants By Cointelegraph



Covantis, a blockchain initiative backed by global agribusiness giants like Cargill, has selected major Ethereum-focused firm ConsenSys as a technology partner.

Within the partnership, ConsenSys will build an Ethereum-based blockchain platform to digitize the post-trade finance industry and bring efficiencies and cost savings to the international agribusiness supply chain, Covantis said in a Jan. 23 press release.

Continue Reading on Coin Telegraph

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Exclusive: Guyana opening search for oil firm to trade its crude


© Reuters. Mark Bynoe, the director of Guyana’s Department of Energy, talks to Reuters in Georgetown

By Luc Cohen

GEORGETOWN (Reuters) – Guyana’s government next month plans to begin a search for an oil company or trading firm to market its share of the South American country’s crude, the director of the Department of Energy, Mark Bynoe, said in an interview.

The government is entitled to a portion of the light, sweet crude that a consortium led by Exxon Mobil Corp (N:) began producing last month after making 15 discoveries in recent years. The finds are set to transform the economy of Guyana, an impoverished country of fewer than 800,000 people.

With no refining capacity, Georgetown last year began selling its share of crude through open-market tenders, the first one awarded to Royal Dutch Shell Plc (L:) for loading the first three cargoes allocated to the government. After that, it will depend on a trading firm to sell its oil to export markets as the state builds up capacity to do so itself, Bynoe said.

“We don’t yet have the kind of back office support that is necessary,” he told Reuters on Wednesday afternoon in his office, lined with books on energy and development including historian Daniel Yergin’s “The Prize.”

“We’re moving to this simpler methodology to be able to ensure that as we build out, we are not losing value.”

Bynoe said the government next month expects to begin asking international oil companies (IOCs) and energy trading firms for proposals to operate as the agent.

But he said the selection would not necessarily be made before Guyana’s March 2 elections, given the length of the bidding and evaluation process after launching the search.

Irfaan Ali, who is challenging President David Granger, has pledged to review the terms of oil deals signed by the current administration. He has argued that the government was not transparent in choosing Shell to lift the first cargoes. Bynoe disputed that.

He said the government invited nine oil companies to present bids because crude from the Liza field was new to the market, and the government wanted to see how it performed in different refineries.

He declined to disclose the price included in Shell’s winning bid.

Latin American nations including Mexico and Ecuador have signed contracts with trading companies in recent years so the firms market a portion of their crude exports. Critics say that by doing so, the countries or their state-run firms can lose an opportunity to obtain better terms by dealing directly with refiners.

MORE TO COME

After finding more than 6 billion barrels of recoverable oil and gas resources in Guyana, Exxon and its partners Hess Corp (N:) and CNOOC Ltd (HK:) expect to produce 750,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude by 2025.

Several other firms – including Tullow Oil (L:), Repsol SA (MC:) and Total SA (PA:) are also exploring off the coast, though none have yet made commercial finds.

Bynoe said Guyana expects to hire a company within two months to conduct new seismic surveys in the shallow continental shelf and some in deeper waters to provide hints as to where else oil may lie. He later added that after the procurement was complete, the contract could still take some time to finalize.

That would set the stage for a new licensing round for offshore acreage around the second quarter of 2021, he said.

The government is also working on a new template for production-sharing agreements (PSA) that could apply to future offshore development, but Bynoe reiterated that Guyana has no plans to renegotiate the Exxon deal.

The opposition and outside observers have criticized the Exxon agreement, which includes a 2% royalty and 50% profit share after Exxon recovers its costs, as too generous. But the company and the government argue incentives were necessary to attract investment to a risky play.

Bynoe did not specify what could change with the new PSA, parts of which would need to be approved by Congress, but said Guyana’s basin was a less risky play after Exxon’s discovery, allowing the government to “move from a position of greater knowledge.”

He added that the country expected to hire an international consulting firm to help update its petroleum legislation, which was passed in 1986, by next week at the latest.



Exclusive: Trump to sign USMCA trade deal Wednesday at the White House – source


U.S. President Donald Trump walks to Air Force One to depart for travel to Florida at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. January 23, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis

DORAL, Fla. (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump will sign a trade pact between the United States, Mexico and Canada on Wednesday during a ceremony at the White House, an administration official told Reuters on Thursday.

Invitations had been sent out and the White House location would allow lawmakers from all over the country to attend, the official said.

The ceremony is likely to take place while an impeachment trial against Trump proceeds on Capitol Hill.

The official said Trump would be touting the pact after the signing during travel around the United States.

“This is a major accomplishment for the president and he will be taking this on the road in the coming weeks,” the official said.

Trump has made pursuing new trade deals a signature of his presidency and one of his key promises as a political candidate. The Republican president is running for re-election this year.

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which replaces NAFTA, still needs to be formally approved by Canada.

The deal cannot take effect until it has been ratified by all three member nations. Last week, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved the legislation, sending the measure to Trump for him to sign into law.

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Sandra Maler and Tom Brown



Source link

Underperforming Euro auto shares reflect fear of new front in U.S. trade wars By Reuters



By Danilo Masoni and Julien Ponthus

MILAN/LONDON (Reuters) – Euphoric stock markets celebrated the China-U.S. trade truce by marking record highs but European auto shares continue to suffer, reflecting the stress the industry is under and fears U.S. President Donald Trump will target Europe next.

There’s no shortage of issues which could trigger a fresh trade row between the continent and the United States, from plans for a tax on big digital companies like Amazon (O:) and Facebook (O:) and subsidies for Airbus (PA:), to the involvement of China’s Huawei in building 5G networks and different approaches to tackling Iran’s nuclear program.

Autos look particularly vulnerable, and this week’s meeting of world leaders in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos gave Trump his latest stage from which to threaten a 25% tariff on car imports from the European Union, if the bloc doesn’t agree to a trade deal.

Tariffs would be an additional blow as carmakers struggle with an auto industry downturn, particularly in key market China, and the need to increase electric vehicle investment as several countries move to eventually ban combustion engines.

On Thursday, auto stocks () were among the top fallers in Europe, down 2%, making them the worst sectoral performers so far in 2020.

Last year, they fell 17% while the broader European Stoxx 600 index () had its best year in a decade with a 23% rise.

Since late last year, auto shares also have decoupled from Germany’s DAX (), the export oriented index of Europe’s largest economy, plunging to a 10-year low relative to the index.

(Graphic: European autos vs DAX, https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/13/1474/1449/European%20autos%20chart.png)

“Trump has long been lamenting about the trade imbalance with Europe and this could be another card to play during the presidential election year,” said Michele Pedroni, fund manager at Decalia in Geneva.

“(He) has already taken or threatened action, for example in the auto sector, which is among the most sensitive to trade. Not all of his threats were just rhetoric,” added Pedroni.

While the signing of a “Phase 1” trade deal between Washington and Beijing has removed some of the uncertainty hanging over markets and dampening global business sentiment, the relief could prove short-lived for Europe if Trump’s attention shifts, leaving German luxury cars first in the firing line.

TRADE WAR PRESSURE

Evercore ISI has estimated that VW (DE:) faces a 2.5 billion euro hit if the U.S. imposes 25% tariffs on EU imports, with Daimler (DE:) facing a 2 billion-euro blow and BMW (DE:) 1.7 billion euros.

“Investors need to be vigilant”, said Maximilian Kunkel, Chief Investment Officer Germany at UBS GMW in Frankfurt.

The U.S. is the main export destination for EU-made cars. According to Eurostat, cars from the bloc accounted for 29% of total U.S. auto imports in 2018, well ahead of China’s 17%.

“There is indeed trade war pressure on the sector, that’s something we talk about with investors”, said Roland Kaloyan, head of European equity strategy at Societe Generale (PA:).

However, he added that while European carmakers are commonly used as a proxy for trade tensions with the U.S., the risk that they won’t be able to curb emissions in time to abide by new EU rules was also weighing on the sector.

Daimler’s latest profit warning on Wednesday, one in a long line from European auto and auto parts makers, highlighted the stress the sector is under, Kaloyan said, adding that the expected upswing in global auto sales may also disappoint.

(This story has been refiled to amend capitalisation in headline)



British taxes are a matter for us, not United States, says UK trade minister By Reuters



LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s tax policy is a matter for the British government, not the United States or the European Union, trade minister Liz Truss said on Thursday when asked about pressure from the U.S. administration over a planned digital tax.

“Let me be absolutely clear, UK tax policy is a matter for the UK Chancellor, it’s not a matter for the U.S. it’s not a matter for the EU, it’s not a matter for anybody else, and we will make the decisions that are right for Britain,” Truss said.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



U.S. economy to coast, no big boost expected from trade deal: Reuters poll By Reuters



By Rahul Karunakar

BENGALURU (Reuters) – The initial trade deal between Washington and Beijing is unlikely to provide a significant boost to the U.S. economy and will only reduce the downside risk or at best help activity moderately, a Reuters poll showed.

While financial markets were optimistic in the run-up to and after the trade agreement – with U.S. stocks hitting all-time highs last week – the growth and inflation outlook in the latest poll was little changed from the previous few months.

The Jan. 16-22 Reuters poll of over 100 economists – taken as business leaders gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos to be greeted by the IMF cutting its global growth forecasts again – showed a significant pickup in the U.S. economy was not on the cards.

“The recent Phase 1 deal between the U.S. and China suggests decreasing odds of an escalation to a full-blown trade war. However, the deal so far is not comprehensive enough to significantly boost economic momentum,” said Janwillem Acket, chief economist at Julius Baer.

That was also clear from predictions for the Federal Reserve to remain on the sidelines this year and on expectations the next likely move would be a cut rather than a hike.

“It is almost a one-way bet on the Fed right now, that either they are on hold or they are easing this year. I mean there is virtually no chance of tightening,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. macro strategist at TD Securities.

Reuters polls over the past couple of years have repeatedly pointed to the U.S.-China trade war as the prominent downside risk for the American economy and warned it would bring the next recession closer.

Now, despite a signed trade agreement, albeit a partial one, the chances of a U.S. recession were similar to predictions in recent months – around 20-25% in the next 12 months and about 30-35% in the next two years.

“Recession odds, which we peg at roughly one-in-four in 2020, will wax and wane with developments on the trade war front,” said Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO.

“While recent progress is encouraging, we remain skeptical that a broad accord can be reached this year as complex issues, such as state industry subsidies and forced technology transfers, still need to be resolved.”

All 53 respondents polled said the latest deal would either “reduce the downside risk to the U.S. economy” or “help U.S. economic growth moderately.” Not a single economist said it would “significantly boost growth.”

Reuters poll graphic on the U.S. economic outlook https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/editorcharts/USA-ECONOMY-POLL/0H001QXXSBK3/index.html?eikon=true

The U.S. economy will coast with annualized growth expected to have barely moved from the latest reported rate of 2.1% at the end of the forecast horizon – the second quarter of 2021.

“The growth slowdown has probably troughed, but we do not anticipate a V-shaped recovery,” noted Kevin Loane, senior economist at Fathom Consulting.

While the schism in forecasters’ views was clear, with 28 respondents saying the risks to their growth forecasts were skewed more to the upside and 22 seeing downside risks, most economists agreed any significant boost was unlikely.

That was largely attributed to several other events which could prove disrupting – including a period of uncertainty in the lead-up to the U.S. presidential election in November.

“Our views for 2020 are upbeat but cautious. A rebound from last year’s global manufacturing and trade slump is likely, but businesses will be hesitant to invest amid a host of ongoing uncertainties,” said James Sweeney, chief economist at Credit Suisse (SIX:).

With little change expected in the inflation outlook compared to recent months, all 105 economists polled forecast the Fed would keep rates unchanged at 1.50-1.75% when it meets Jan. 28-29.

The Fed was forecast to extend that pause through to the end of 2021 at least, with the probability of a rate cut this year seen at 30%.

While there was a clear sense of near-term optimism among economists compared with last year, nearly 75% of respondents forecast growth to be below the latest reported rate of 2.1% by mid-2021, up from around 60% in December.

“The (trade) deal may encourage some business investment in the near-term, but the deal is only a temporary and unstable equilibrium. It is very likely to break down, and that would undermine confidence again. So any boost to economic growth will be short-lived,” said Philip Marey, senior U.S. strategist at Rabobank.

Reuters poll graphic on U.S. recession probability https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/editorcharts/USA-ECONOMY-POLL/0H001PBJD5BF/index.html?eikon=true

(Additional reporting, polling and analysis by Indradip Ghosh, Sumanto Mondal and Nagamani Lingappa; Editing by Ross Finley and Andrea Ricci)



Israel stocks higher at close of trade; TA 35 up 0.83% By Investing.com


© Reuters. Israel stocks higher at close of trade; TA 35 up 0.83%

Investing.com – Israel stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the , and sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Tel Aviv, the added 0.83% to hit a new all time high.

The best performers of the session on the were Shapir Engineering Industry (TASE:), which rose 11.67% or 278.00 points to trade at 2660.00 at the close. Meanwhile, OPKO Health Inc (TASE:) added 5.10% or 27 points to end at 558 and Liveperson (TASE:) was up 4.13% or 600 points to 15120 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Isramco Negev 2 LP (TASE:), which fell 2.44% or 1.4 points to trade at 55.9 at the close. Delek Drilling LP (TASE:) declined 2.13% or 18 points to end at 828 and Israel Corp (TASE:) was down 1.75% or 1170 points to 65730.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange by 252 to 146 and 28 ended unchanged.

Shares in Shapir Engineering Industry (TASE:) rose to all time highs; up 11.67% or 278.00 to 2660.00. Shares in Liveperson (TASE:) rose to all time highs; rising 4.13% or 600 to 15120. Shares in Israel Corp (TASE:) fell to 52-week lows; falling 1.75% or 1170 to 65730.

Crude oil for March delivery was down 2.60% or 1.52 to $56.86 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March fell 2.11% or 1.36 to hit $63.23 a barrel, while the February Gold Futures contract fell 0.03% or 0.45 to trade at $1557.45 a troy ounce.

USD/ILS was up 0.16% to 3.4605, while EUR/ILS rose 0.20% to 3.8367.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.04% at 97.333.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



U.S. Agriculture Secretary says no need for more farm aid after China trade deal By Reuters



By Mark Weinraub

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – With China poised to increase purchases of U.S. agricultural goods this year as part of a Phase 1 China trade deal, the U.S. Agriculture Secretary said on Monday there is no need for a third year of trade-related aid for farmers.

Farmers have increasingly relied on aid from the U.S. government to survive during the past two years as exports have lagged throughout the U.S.-China trade war. But USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said China will soon begin buying U.S. farm goods to meet the $40 billion in agricultural purchase agreements it made, alleviating growers’ need for more aid.

China, which typically buys the bulk of its U.S. agriculture products during the fall and early winter, will likely change the timing of its purchases, Perdue said.

“If China is going to achieve that, and we believe they are, we think they have to buy earlier than the traditional export season from the United States,” said Perdue, speaking at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention.

His remarks came one day after U.S. President Donald Trump addressed the convention, promising farmers that the deal will be good for them.

Washington and Beijing signed the pact on Jan. 15, though tariffs on major U.S. farm exports have not been removed and structural economic differences were not addressed.

Perdue said the third tranche of a $16 billion aid package announced in May will be paid to farmers “imminently,” but that they should not expect a 2020 aid package.

China bought roughly 60% of U.S. soybean exports before the trade war and also was a major buyer of sorghum, dairy and pork.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said Chinese firms will buy American products, “based on market conditions,” raising doubts that the country will meet its commitments under the pact.

Growers are used to dealing with seasonality in the export program and could afford to wait without fresh trade aid, said Lane Osswald, 44, a farmer from Eldorado, Ohio.

“Everyone is prepared for the South American harvest to hit the market every year,” Osswald said.Soybean futures have dropped 1.3% since the trade deal was signed.

The China deal, and the recent passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, will allow farmers to prosper, Perdue said.

Trump gained support among American farm families at the end of 2019, Reuters/Ipsos poll data showed, as Trump touted the trade deal ahead of its signing. Farmers broadly voted for Trump in 2016.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Gold Prices Inch Up as Traders Weigh Trade Deal Impact on Markets By Investing.com


© Reuters.

By Alex Ho

Investing.com – Gold prices inched up on Monday in Asia amid speculation of the potential success of the U.S.-China trade deal that was signed last week.

for February delivery on New York’s COMEX traded 0.1% higher at $1,562.05 by 1:27 AM ET (05:27 GMT).

The yellow metal initially fell China agreed to purchase at least $200 billion worth of US goods over the next two yearslast week, but recovered some of its losses as analysts began to question the potential success of the deal, and the chances of the trade war recurring with both nations keeping much of the tariffs they had imposed on each other prior to the agreement.

Elsewhere, the U.S. Commerce Department reported strong U.S. housing starts and retail sales figure last Friday, reducing chances that the Federal Reserve would cut rates later this month.

The Fed slashed rates by a quarter percent point for three months back to back in 2019, before bringing that easing cycle to a halt in December. With U.S. economic data mostly upbeat now, analysts do not expect the central bank to embark on a new round of cuts unless the trade war recurs.

“Following a noteworthy positioning squeeze, the yellow metal is creeping higher once again,” TD Securities said in a note. “Along with positive expectations for growth comes the potential for inflation to creep higher, and without a commensurate Fed response, this would translate into lower real rates.”

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.