India in talks with EU for trade deal, open to pact with UK By Reuters


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© Reuters. 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos

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By Aftab Ahmed

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India has started trade talks with the European Union (EU) and is open to dialogue with the United Kingdom for a free trade agreement, the trade minister said on Saturday, as Asia’s third largest economy looks for new markets for its products.

Piyush Goyal said that India is open to engage with the UK for a preferential trade agreement with the ultimate goal of a free trade agreement.

He is also in dialogue with the European Union’s trade commissioner for a deal that could start with a preferential trade agreement. He added that the ultimate goal here too would be to have a free trade agreement.

“We’re talking to the EU and I am in dialogue with the EU trade commissioner. I am looking for an early harvest deal. Open to discussions on a variety of subjects. It’s up to the UK and EU whoever picks up the gauntlet first,” Goyal said.

Negotiations for a comprehensive free trade agreement between the EU and India were suspended in 2013 after six years of talks.

India pulled out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership last year due to fears over China’s access to its markets and is looking for new ways to boost its exports.

The country has also been raising trade barriers to block cheap imports from China and replace them with locally made goods for domestic consumption and exports.

“Apart from pharmaceuticals, we have textiles, handicrafts, leather, furniture, industrial machinery, toys are areas where India can engage with UK & EU at competitive prices,” Goyal said.

India’s economic growth has largely been driven by local consumption and successive governments have struggled to expand exports.

In the last six years Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been trying to push exports through various programmes like “Make in India” but with limited success.

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Mexico gives up OECD in campaign to head World Trade Organization By Reuters




MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Angel Gurria of Mexico, said on Friday he will not seek re-election, in a move apparently aimed at bolstering the chances of Mexico’s candidate to lead the World Trade Organization.

Responding to the announcement, Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said the country was committed to defending multilateralism as a policy priority.

“Angel Gurria has announced that he will not seek re-election in the OECD, but Mexico is promoting the candidacy of Dr. Jesus Seade to lead the WTO,” a spokesman said. “He has the necessary profile, after the successful negotiation of the USMCA to advance with present and future challenges of the WTO.”

Seade, who led his government’s team to conclude negotiations of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal, is currently in Geneva and likely to present his candidacy to the body next week.

Eight candidates are vying for the top job. With three of the six previous director-generals coming from Europe and the others from Thailand, Brazil and New Zealand, pressure has been building to choose a leader from Africa.

Gurria said on Twitter that he would continue to work until June 2021.

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In the Physical Oil Market, Sour Barrels Trade at Sweet Prices By Bloomberg



© Reuters. In the Physical Oil Market, Sour Barrels Trade at Sweet Prices

(Bloomberg) — Leaving behind the waters of the Caribbean Sea, the 1,100-feet long oil tanker Maran Apollo is emblematic of the wider petroleum market.

Steaming at 11.5 knots, she’s heading toward China, where oil demand is fast recovering, hauling a cargo of two million barrels of . But her voyage didn’t start a few days ago. She loaded in early May, and with no buyers during the worst of the coronavirus outbreak, the supertanker stood floating in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico for almost two months, waiting for better times.

Only a few days ago, she weighed anchor and left for the Chinese port of Rizhao — a sign that refiners are starting to pull in crude that went unwanted for months.

It’s not any kind oil on board, though. Refiners are competing for barrels in one corner of the market known as medium-heavy sour crude — barrels with a higher content in sulfur and relatively dense. It’s the kind of oil that Saudi Arabia and its allies pump. And also the type of crude that’s pumped offshore in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico — and that’s what’s in the Maran Apollo’s tanks.

Like the wine industry, the oil market has its own vintages: global refiners seek their barrels much like connoisseurs covet bottles of Bordeaux and Burgundy. Urals of Russia and Arab Light from Saudi Arabia are normally two of the most widely consumed — think Cabernet Sauvignon, maybe a Merlot. But in today’s oil market, such crude is in increasingly short supply due to record output cuts by the two nations and their allies.

“Deep OPEC+ cuts and demand recovery have tightened balances and this has been reflected in improvements in physical differentials,” said Bassam Fattouh, director of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. “But the recovery has not been even, with medium-sour crudes faring better than light-sweet crudes.”

In normal times, medium-sour crude is usually cheaper than other streams, particularly those known as light sweet crude that have a lower sulfur content and are less dense.

But OPEC, which pumps mostly medium-sour crude, has cut output to the lowest since 1991, and Russia has also implemented brutal reductions. On top of that, medium and heavy sour crude accounts for the bulk of the supplies from Iran and Venezuela, where production has collapsed under the weight of U.S. sanctions and lack of investment.

The market is reflecting the under supply. The price of Urals, Russia’s flagship grade, has surged to a record premium to the benchmark. Last week, it briefly changed hands at $2.40 a barrel above Dated Brent, a regional benchmark, compared with a discount of more than $4.50 a barrel in April, according to traders. S&P Global Platts, a price-reporting agency, assessed the grade at a premium of $1.90 for delivery to Rotterdam on June 29, matching a prior record high.

The surge means that Urals is selling in Rotterdam, the main oil refinery hub in northwest Europe, at roughly $45 a barrel, compared with a low point of about $15 a barrel in early April.

The price pattern is similar for other sour crude streams, from Oman in the Middle East to Oriente in Latin America. All are commanding hefty prices at a time when oil demand globally remains down roughly 10% below normal levels. Because sour crude makes a significant chunk of a typical refinery’s diet, the price increase is strangling the plants’ profitability.

“OPEC+ continues to tighten the screws,” Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at consultant Energy Aspects Ltd. said, referring to the group’s output cuts.

With the physical oil market tightening, OPEC is now able to increase the prices it charges to refiners. On Monday, Saudi Aramco (SE:), the state-owned oil company, lifted its official selling prices to Asia for the third consecutive month, largely reversing all the discounts it offered during a brief price war with Russia in March and April.

Aramco and other national oil companies sell their crude at differentials to oil benchmarks, announcing every month the discount or premium they’re charging to global refiners. These so-called official selling prices help set the tone in the physical oil market, where actual barrels change hands.

The Saudi oil giant is now selling its most dense crude, called Arab Heavy, for the first time ever, at roughly the same price at its flagship Arab Light, an indication of the strength of the market for the medium-heavy sour grades. Typically, Arab Heavy has sold at a discount of about $2-to-$6 a barrel to Arab Light.

Not only is medium-heavy sour crude trading at a premium to benchmarks, but barrels for immediate delivery are commanding premiums to forward contracts, a price pattern known as backwardation that also reflects a tight physical-market. Dubai crude, a Middle Eastern medium sour barrel, is one example: backwardation between barrels for delivery now and in three months has surged to 60 cents per barrel. In mid-April it stood at minus $9.24 per barrel because the physical market was so glutted back then.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.



Brazil posts $7.5 billion trade surplus in June: Economy Ministry By Reuters



© Reuters. Cranes are seen in the distance during a workers’ strike at Latin America’s biggest container port in Santos

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil posted a trade surplus of $7.5 billion in June, official data showed on Wednesday, more than the median consensus forecast in a Reuters poll of economists of a $6.95 billion surplus and up sharply from a $5.4 billion surplus a year ago.

Exports totaled $17.9 billion and imports were $10.4 billion, the Economy Ministry said, adding the accumulated January-June surplus of $23 billion was 10% smaller than the same period last year.

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Mexican labor activist’s arrest sends ‘wrong signal’ under North America trade deal By Reuters


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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Susana Prieto, a lawyer and labor activist, advises employees of an Electrocomponentes de Mexico factory during a protest to halt work amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ciudad Juarez

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By Daina Beth Solomon

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – As the new North America trade deal takes effect on Wednesday, the jailing of Mexican labor lawyer and independent union leader Susana Prieto has reignited concern about the challenges of meeting its labor rights provisions.

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was signed last December after a flurry of final negotiations over demands from U.S. Democratic lawmakers for stricter enforcement of Mexico’s labor standards.

As part of the deal replacing NAFTA, as the old free trade pact was known, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has vowed to uphold worker rights.

In the country where workers have historically earned much less and have had weaker protections than their U.S. counterparts, Lopez Obrador has touted a 2019 labor reform meant to make it easier for workers to form independent unions.

But with that reform still several years from full implementation, Prieto’s case has cast fresh doubt on the government’s ability to make good on the promise, underscoring Mexico’s long-running challenge of carrying out federal directives at the local level.

Any serious violation of labor provisions in the USMCA, including the assurance that Mexicans will enjoy real collective bargaining rights, could jeopardize the pact governing one of the world’s largest trading blocs.

Prieto rose to prominence last year leading a series of raucous protests and strikes for better pay at manufacturing plants in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, on the border with Texas. Most recently she showed up at border factories in a white hazmat suit, urging workers to demand a shutdown during the coronavirus pandemic and full pay for everyone furloughed.

The Tamaulipas state prosecutor charged Prieto after her arrest in early June with committing crimes against public servants, including threats and inciting a riot. She has denied the charges.

In an interview, Mexico’s Labor Minister Luisa Alcalde joined calls for Prieto’s provisional release while the case proceeds and recognized that meeting USMCA’s requirements could be tricky.

“This implies a major challenge, since there could be matters where the reform still isn’t implemented, and yet, there are complaints over rights violations, above all about union freedoms and collective bargaining,” she said.

Lopez Obrador has warned against fabricated charges and retaliation in Prieto’s case, but said the matter was in the hands of Tamaulipas authorities.

Asked about Prieto’s detention at a recent congressional hearing in Washington, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer called it “a bad indicator.” He said labor attaches and panels formed under the deal would swiftly call out any labor violations.

U.S. Democratic Representative Bill Pascrell urged the Trump administration to push for Prieto’s release in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday, saying her arrest “sends the wrong signal that the renegotiated NAFTA is not on track to deliver the improved Mexican labor conditions.”

‘UNPROTECTED’

The Tamaulipas state attorney general has said about 400 workers organized by Prieto were violent and threatened government workers in a protest outside the Matamoros labor board last March.

The workers had gathered en masse to demand that union fees no longer be withheld from their pay at Tridonex, a unit of U.S. auto parts firm Cardone Industries, Inc, part of a bid to cut ties with their current union and seek better representation.

Cardone Industries declined to comment.

Prieto had stopped by for about 10 minutes and left without interacting with labor board officials, Prieto’s spokeswoman Alyn Alvidrez said.

A statement from the Tamaulipas labor ministry at the time said it would process the Tridonex workers’ request. It made no reference to any aggressive acts by the protesters and the labor board’s president, Jose Manuel Gomez Porchini, declined to comment.

When she was arrested, Prieto had also been trying to win a collective bargaining agreement for a new union at Michigan-based auto parts maker Fisher Dynamics’ factory in Matamoros.

Prieto told Reuters earlier this year that her National Independent Union of Industry and Service Workers (SNITIS) was already representing Fisher workers. But she said state authorities had stalled in scheduling a vote in which workers could elect SNITIS to administer the contract.

Fisher did not respond to requests for comment.

Under Mexico’s labor reform, which took effect in May 2019, a centralized judicial entity is due to begin taking over from state labor boards in October, partially in an effort to lessen delays.

Prieto has not accused Fisher or Tridonex of orchestrating the charges against her. The Tamaulipas labor ministry said it could not comment on a criminal case.

In addition to 1,300 SNITIS members at Fisher, a majority of workers at five other factories have shown support for joining the union since its founding last year, and Prieto represents workers in about 4,000 labor disputes, Alvidrez said.

“All of them right now are unprotected,” she said at a protest last week in Mexico City, as supporters chanted, “Free Susana!”



No need to have all-encompassing trade deal with UK initially, U.S. housing secretary says By Reuters



© Reuters. U.S. HUD Secretary Carson appears before Senate Banking hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington

LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said on Sunday the United States and Britain could agree a trade deal that did not cover all sectors straight away, instead leaving the more difficult issues for a later date.

Asked by the BBC whether, in his opinion, a UK-U.S. trade deal would have to cover every single sector all at once, Carson told the Andrew Marr Show: “I don’t see any reason that it does. There are areas where President (Donald) Trump and Prime Minister (Boris) Johnson have a lot of agreement and there are some areas where there needs to be further discussion.

“I don’t see why you can’t work on the areas where you have agreement, get that done, with an eye to solving the other problems subsequently,” he said, adding he was not in charge of the trade negotiations.

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India stocks lower at close of trade; Nifty 50 down 0.16% By Investing.com



India stocks lower at close of trade; Nifty 50 down 0.16%

Investing.com – India stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the , and sectors led shares lower.

At the close in NSE, the fell 0.16%, while the index declined 0.08%.

The best performers of the session on the were ITC Ltd (NS:), which rose 5.55% or 10.65 points to trade at 202.50 at the close. Meanwhile, Hero MotoCorp Ltd (NS:) added 2.86% or 71.20 points to end at 2565.00 and Bajaj Finance Ltd (NS:) was up 1.89% or 55.55 points to 2990.00 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Asian Paints Ltd. (NS:), which fell 3.13% or 54.70 points to trade at 1692.55 at the close. Hindalco Industries Ltd. (NS:) declined 2.34% or 3.55 points to end at 147.85 and Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (NS:) was down 2.12% or 1.85 points to 85.25.

The top performers on the BSE Sensex 30 were ITC Ltd (BO:) which rose 5.45% to 202.25, Bajaj Finance Ltd (BO:) which was up 1.93% to settle at 2992.05 and Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. (BO:) which gained 1.67% to close at 1368.00.

The worst performers were Asian Paints Ltd. (BO:) which was down 3.09% to 1692.50 in late trade, Infosys Ltd (BO:) which lost 2.04% to settle at 699.60 and HCL Technologies Ltd (BO:) which was down 1.90% to 548.70 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the India National Stock Exchange by 922 to 687 and 52 ended unchanged; on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 1444 rose and 1095 declined, while 106 ended unchanged.

The , which measures the implied volatility of Nifty 50 options, was up 0.51% to 29.7275.

Gold Futures for August delivery was down 0.26% or 4.60 to $1770.50 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in August fell 1.42% or 0.54 to hit $37.47 a barrel, while the August Brent oil contract fell 0.97% or 0.39 to trade at $39.92 a barrel.

USD/INR was down 0.10% to 75.572, while EUR/INR fell 0.41% to 84.7580.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.27% at 97.388.

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South Korea’s first female trade minister bids for WTO top job By Reuters




SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s trade minister Yoo Myung-hee on Wednesday announced her bid to become the next director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), aiming to be the first female leader at the WTO.

The nominations process began earlier this month to find a successor to Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, who will vacate the post a year early at the end of August.

“The international community is increasingly becoming more protectionist…in order for the WTO to overcome the current crisis, the role of a middle power to mediate conflicts among member states is important,” Yoo said in a statement ahead of a press conference.

“Korea will be able to serve as a bridge, based on its growth experience through trade.”

Yoo is the first woman to hold the position of South Korea’s trade minister since it was created in 1948, and if selected, would be the first female WTO director-general.

Yoo, 53, led South Korea’s renegotiation of a trade deal with the United States and worked on South Korea’s trade pacts with Singapore and ASEAN.

Earlier this month, South Korea resumed a WTO dispute process with Japan over export curbs on some high-tech materials, saying talks to resolve the dispute, born out of a deterioration in bilateral relations last year, had failed to make progress.

South Korea relies much on foreign trade, with exports and imports taking up 63.7% of its 2019 nominal GDP, according to Korea International Trade Association data.

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Oil Retreats Over U.S.-China Trade Deal Comments By Investing.com



© Reuters.

By Gina Lee

Investing.com – Oil was down on Tuesday morning in Asia, giving up its earlier gains from the session.

fell 0.46% to $42.88 by 10:17 PM ET (3:17 AM GMT) and slid 0.61% to $40.48.

Investors were spooked after White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told the press on Monday that the U.S.’s trade deal with China is “over”, crushing hopes of salvaging the hard-won phase one trade deal reached earlier this year.

China, one of the world’s biggest oil importers, has yet to respond to Navarro’s comments, but an escalation of U.S.-China tension threatens a delay in the global economic recovery from COVID-19, in turn increasing the risks of an oversupply.

The statement put a damper on the optimism seen in the previous session, where Brent futures gained 2.1% and WTI futures rose almost 2%. Some U.S. states emerged from extended lockdown, with New York clogged with traffic as the city emerged from over three months of lockdown.

Investors are now awaiting the predictions in crude oil supply from the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), due later in the day and on Wednesday respectively.

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.