Biofuel group urges U.S. government to reject retroactive waiver requests By Reuters




By Stephanie Kelly

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. biofuel trade group asked the Trump administration on Friday to deny requests from refiners seeking retroactive biofuel blending waivers after an Energy Department official said the department will review such “gap-filings.”

Refiners are seeking to be consistent with a court decision earlier this year that ruled that any exemptions to biofuel blending laws granted to small refineries after 2010 had to take the form of an “extension.”

The court’s decision created uncertainty over the status of the large number of waivers that the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency has issued in recent years, in that most of the recipients are now thought to be not in compliance with the ruling. Biofuel companies oppose the waivers, saying they undermine demand for their products.

“These petitions for past compliance years are no more than a thinly veiled attempt to circumvent the Tenth Circuit’s decision in Renewable Fuels Association v. EPA,” said Renewable Fuels Association President Geoff Cooper in the letter to EPA, dated Friday.

Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, refineries must blend billions of gallons of biofuels into their fuel pool or buy credits from those who do. Small refineries have been able to get financial waivers from the EPA, after their applications are reviewed by the Department of Energy.

The Energy Department’s Mark Menezes had said on Wednesday that the EPA had asked the department to review waiver requests from refiners covering past years.

“I can assure you that as EPA sends over these gap-filings, if you will, to be consistent with the 10th circuit decision, we will review them expeditiously,” Menezes said in a Senate committee hearing.

The hearing was held to consider Menezes to be Deputy Secretary of the Energy Department.

An EPA spokesperson said the agency was deliberating on how to implement the RFS during the coronavirus pandemic.

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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.



IMF chief lauds Japan’s spending to combat pandemic, urges others to step up By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva speaks during a conference hosted by the Vatican on economic solidarity

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva on Thursday lauded Japan’s plans to spend about 20% of its gross domestic product to respond to the economic challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and boost IMF resources available to help the world’s poorest countries.

She said Japan was the largest contributor to IMF financial resources, and the largest contributor to the Fund’s concessional lending facilities, and urged other member countries to increase their contributions as well.

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. Republican lawmaker urges State Department to boost diplomacy on oil price war By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The sun sets behind a crude oil pump jack on a drill pad in the Permian Basin in Loving County

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A top Republican lawmaker urged a U.S. State Department official on Wednesday to press ahead with diplomatic efforts to end the oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia that is harming U.S. oil producers.

Representative Michael McCaul applauded Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s emphasis, in a call with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, on the need for stability in global oil markets.

“I urge you to continue diplomatic engagement to help stem the devastating economic implications of the ongoing price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia,” McCaul said in the letter to Keith Krach, the undersecretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment.

“We cannot… allow our industries to become the victim of someone else’s price war, so I ask you to continue utilizing every tool at your disposal to press Saudi Arabia and Russia to cut production.”

The price war and a demand drop related to the coronavirus pandemic have about halved U.S. oil prices, below $25 a barrel on Wednesday. [O/R]

McCaul, the top Republican on the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, represents Texas, one of the top U.S. oil producing states.

It was not clear exactly what the Trump administration can do to push Saudi Arabia or Russia to boost oil output. Wars over market share can sometimes last months.

Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of IHS Markit, and an energy historian, said the price war may require collaboration in a broad framework such as the G20, which Saudi Arabia is chairing this year.

“That would permit a discussion going beyond the present Russia-Saudi impasse, bringing in the United States and a larger group of producers and consumers, including Brazil, China, France,” and others, Yergin wrote in an opinion piece in the Washington Post this week.

McCaul’s letter was the latest effort by Republican lawmakers to push the administration to find an end to the price war. Earlier this month 10 Republican senators, mostly from energy producing states, urged Trump to impose an embargo on oil from Russia and Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. Energy Department will soon send Victoria Coates, who recently handled Middle East issues on the White House national security council, to Riyadh as a special energy envoy to work on stabilizing energy markets.

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.



Chilean peso hits historic low amid coronavirus gloom; government urges calm By Reuters



By Aislinn Laing and Froilan Romero

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – The Chilean peso closed at a historic low on Monday, falling 1.82% to 841.50 to the dollar as fears over the global coronavirus outbreak and widespread protests continued to rattle the copper-rich South American nation.

The peso has been slammed by volatility linked to the impact of the worldwide spread of the virus, which initially broke out in China. Continuing protests over inequality and social injustice have also weighed on the economy and the currency.

Finance Minister Ignacio Briones told reporters the virus was a “relevant shock” to the Chilean economy, but that the world’s top producer was able to respond if necessary.

“There have been volatile movements in international financial markets that have impacted us, but the government and the country of Chile have the mechanisms to respond,” Briones said.

He warned against “overreacting to these effects from international markets.”

Chile’s central bank said in a statement it had “instruments” to deal with the situation and extraordinary facilities to bolster liquidity in dollars and pesos, which could be adjusted to the needs of the economy.

“The exchange intervention program is still in force and can be reactivated in the face of a resurgence of volatility of internal origin,” the bank said.

“Monetary policy is in a clearly expansive provision and has space to react to changes in the outlook for inflation.”

Chile’s economy is largely driven by exports, ranging from copper to salmon, wine and fruits and vegetables. The virus outbreak has hit Chinese demand for copper, Chile’s biggest export.

(GRAPHIC: Chilean peso routed – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/editorcharts/CHILE-PESO/0H001R8F9C7H/eikon.png)

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.



WHO Urges Containment; Second Case in New York: Virus Update By Bloomberg



(Bloomberg) — A Westchester County man has tested positive for the coronavirus, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said. The U.S. Federal Reserve delivered an emergency interest-rate cut, and the Group of Seven finance chiefs pledged to use all policy tools to support the global economy.

Australia cut rates to a record low and U.S. President Donald Trump urged the Federal Reserve to “ease and cut rate big.” Malaysia reduced its benchmark interest rate while the Fed, Bank of Japan and European Central Bank all pledged to act.

Infections rose again in South Korea and Iran, where more officials were diagnosed. Businesses in the U.K., which has reported 51 cases, were warned that as many as a fifth of workers could be forced off sick if the country is hit by a widespread outbreak. Japan’s tally of cases approached the 1,000 mark, while Spain’s rose 32% to 150. The International Olympic Committee urged athletes to keep preparing for the Tokyo games amid concern the outbreak could quash that event.

U.S. stocks declined and Treasuries surged as investors worried the Fed’s emergency cut won’t be enough to combat the economic impact of the coronavirus.

Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus and here for maps and charts. For analysis of the impact from Bloomberg Economics, click here.

WHO: Not Time to Wave a White Flag (12:15 p.m. NY)

The head of the World Health Organization said countries shouldn’t be “waving a white flag” and should pursue aggressive containment strategies, even if they have no or few cases of the novel coronavirus.

China has managed to steadily reduce the number of new cases, which dropped to the lowest number since Jan. 20, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the group’s daily briefing in Geneva Tuesday.

In some people the coronavirus can cause much more serious illness than influenza, even if it doesn’t spread as easily, Tedros said. Producers of medical gear need to boost supply 40% because each month the world will need 89 million medical masks, 76 million exam gloves and 1.6 million goggles, he said.

Iran, the center of the outbreak in the Middle East, is in need of medical equipment including ventilators, and the large increases in new cases are a reflection of how medical authorities are being more aggressive in trying to detect the virus, Tedros said. “Things tend to look worse before they get better.”

FDA on Watch for Drug Shortages From India (11:10 a.m. NY)

U.S. health regulators are watching for potential drug shortages after India restricted the export of some raw pharmaceutical ingredients, a move that has potential to disrupt the global supply chain of drugs manufactured around the world.

Earlier Tuesday, India said it would limit export of some common medicines as concerns grow over shortages of chemical ingredients. Many manufacturers in China are shut due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Though India is the source of about 20% of the world’s generic-drug supply, the country is dependent on China for about 66% of the chemical components needed to make them. India wants to ensure that there are enough supplies at home for its citizens.

Homeland Security Closes Field Office in Seattle (10:37 a.m. NY)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security closed a field office in Seattle after an employee was potentially exposed to coronavirus.

An employee in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Seattle developed flu-like symptoms after visiting a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, where a cluster of coronavirus cases have been diagnosed, said Deputy DHS Secretary Ken Cuccinelli.

“The employee had been coming to work in the intervening days between the possible exposure (Feb. 22) and becoming ill (Feb. 26). In an effort to contain the threat of potential spread & out of an abundance of caution, the @USCIS Seattle Field Office was ordered closed,” Cuccinelli tweeted.

Fed Cuts Rates Half Point in Emergency Move (10:20 a.m. NY)

The U.S. Federal Reserve delivered an emergency half-percentage point interest rate cut Tuesday in a bid to protect the longest-ever economic expansion.

“The coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity,” the Fed said in a statement. “In light of these risks and in support of achieving its maximum employment and price stability goals, the Federal Open Market Committee decided today to lower the target range for the federal funds rate by 1/2 percentage point.”

Read the full story here

N.Y. Man in Westchester Tests Positive, Cuomo Says (9:40 a.m. NY)

A 50-year-old man who works in Manhattan and lives in the New York suburb of Westchester County has been hospitalized and tested positive for the coronavirus.

The man doesn’t have a history of foreign travel and it wasn’t immediately clear if he’d had contact with known cases in the U.S. Health authorities around the country are closely watching for coronavirus cases with unknown origins, a sign that the virus could be spreading from person-to-person.

The man lives in Westchester with his family. A school in the Bronx attended by one of his children has been closed as a precaution, Cuomo said.

There are also two families in Buffalo that are suspected of having the virus, the governor’s office said in an email.

New York City has at least one confirmed case so far, a Manhattan woman in her 30s who contracted the virus while traveling in Iran. She was isolated in her Manhattan apartment as of last weekend.

Read the full story here

Pence Visited School Where Student Is in Quarantine (9:40 a.m. NY)

A Florida student whose classmates shook hands last Friday with Vice President Mike Pence has been quarantined after his mother came into contact with a coronavirus patient.

Some White House aides were aware of the case in Sarasota, Florida, but there was no blanket notification about it in the executive mansion, according to people familiar with the matter. Some advisers to the vice president were unaware of the quarantine as of Tuesday morning.

Read full story here

New York City High School Closes on Suspected Case (8:41 a.m. NY)

A New York City high school is closed Tuesday after a suspected case of coronavirus in its community, Reuters reported, citing a statement.

Italy’s Business Lobby Sees GDP Contraction Worsening (8:07 a.m. NY)

Italy’s GDP was already expected to shrink in the first quarter and there’s a high probability of a more significant contraction in the second quarter, Italy’s business lobby Confindustria says in monthly economic survey. “In the absence of effective and timely economic policy measures — not only in Italy — the worst risk is that there is a spiral of supply and demand shocks capable of causing a strong and prolonged recession.”

G-7 Ready to Take Action, Including Fiscal Tools (7:44 a.m. NY)

G-7 finance ministers “are ready to take actions, including fiscal measures where appropriate” in response to coronavirus threat, according to a joint statement released by the U.S. Treasury.

Iran Supreme Leader Says ‘Let’s Not Exaggerate’ Virus (6:53 a.m. NY)

“The coronavirus won’t affect the country for long & will leave,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Twitter on Tuesday. Iran, which has the second-highest number of fatalities from coronavirus, reported 835 new confirmed cases on Tuesday, taking the total to 2,336. The death toll climbed to 77 from 66, while 435 patients have recovered.

Hedge Fund Winners Warn of Bull Trap (6:42 a.m. NY)

Two of the best performing macro hedge funds of recent weeks have a tip for investors: buying the dip in stocks may not work this time. “This could become a textbook bull trap: the market rallies, you think it’s over, mommy and daddy are going to intervene,” said Quadriga Asset Managers’s Diego Parrilla, referring to central banks and governments. “If this doesn’t really play out, it’s game over.”

BlackRock (NYSE:) changed its recommendation on global equities to neutral.

Satellite Data Suggest China Is Getting Back to Work (6:30 a.m. NY)

Satellite data show economic activity in China could be picking up. Nitrogen dioxide levels rose across China’s industrial heartland, according to the most recent Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service data compiled by Windy.Com.

The reddish-brown gas mainly enters the air from burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal and . Levels plummeted in February after Chinese authorities locked down communities to contain the virus.

Carney Sees ‘Powerful’ Global Response as G-7 Call Nears (6 a.m. NY)

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said international policy makers are crafting a “powerful and timely” defense of the world economy against the coronavirus as those from the Group of Seven nations prepared to hold an emergency conference call.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire also said he wants G7 message to be “as powerful as possible.” Le Maire said he’s in close contact with G7 counterparts and spoke with ECB President Lagarde on Tuesday. “I can assure that you at the level of the G7 and the eurozone we will have a coordinated, strong and fast response to this crisis,” he said.

Under pressure from investors to match recent pledges of economic support with concrete action, G-7 finance ministers and central bankers including Carney and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, will discuss their virus response at about 7 a.m. Washington time. A statement is expected to be released afterward.

Thermo to Buy Qiagen for $10 Billion (6 a.m. NY)

U.S. laboratory equipment maker Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc (NYSE:). agreed to buy Qiagen NV, a Dutch maker of tests for diseases including cancer and the new coronavirus, for about 9 billion euros ($10 billion) in the biggest health-care acquisition so far this year. When a new coronavirus emerged in China in January, Qiagen got to work on a test to detect the virus in bodily fluids. The test is now being evaluated at four hospitals in China and one in France. The test gives results in about an hour.

Energy Aspects Cuts Oil Demand Growth Forecast Again (6:50 p.m. HK)

Energy Aspects cut 2020 oil demand growth forecast to 500,000 barrels a day, a 200,000 b/d reduction from previous week’s estimate, because of the impact of the coronavirus. Before the outbreak emerged in late January, EA was forecasting global oil demand growth of 1.1 million b/d this year.

U.K. Firms Are Warned 20% of Staff Could Be Off Sick (6:36 p.m. HK)

British businesses were warned as many as 20% of workers could be forced to take time off during peak periods of infection if the U.K. is hit by a widespread outbreak. The U.K. government published its plan for dealing with the disease, including an estimate that in a worst case scenario more than 6 million people could be absent. Such a peak period of infection would be likely to last around three weeks.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a package of emergency measures to tackle coronavirus on Tuesday after he was criticized for not doing enough to prepare for the spread of the disease. He said he was ready to close schools and cancel public events and that the army was on standby to assist in the worst-case scenario

Merkel Ally Proposes Using Surplus to Offset Impact (6:20 p.m. HK)

A top official in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc proposed using Germany’s budget surplus to help fund a stimulus package to offset any economic damage caused by the virus. Alexander Dobrindt, the co-head of Merkel’s parliamentary caucus, told reporters in Berlin as much as 50 billion euros ($56 billion) could be available this year and the package will be discussed March 8 by the ruling coalition. He ruled out loosening rules that limit government borrowing.

Indonesia Warns Against Hoarding (6:13 p.m. HK)

President Joko Widodo warned against hoarding of food and other essential goods after the country’s first cases of confirmed coronavirus sparked panic buying at supermarkets. The country is working on a second stimulus package, adding to the central bank’s aggressive moves to counter the impact of the coronavirus on markets.

Singapore to Bar Travelers (NYSE:) From Iran, Italy, Korea (5:48 p.m. HK)

Singapore will bar visitors who recently traveled to Iran, northern Italy or the Republic of Korea in the last 14 days, including transits. The measures will take effect from March 4.

EDF (PA:) Tracing Staff Close to Hinkley Point Worker (5:40 p.m. HK)

EDF is tracing people who were in contact with a man working on the U.K. Hinkley Point C nuclear plant site last month to see if they have shown symptoms, according to a company memo seen by Bloomberg. A Chinese national who was on secondment at Hinkley Point fell ill with coronavirus on his return to China after working at the construction project in England between Feb. 15 and Feb. 27.

Singapore to Include Swab Testing at Checkpoints (5:30 p.m. HK)

Singapore will implement new screening mechanisms at checkpoints to tackle the coronavirus spread globally. Travelers entering the country and exhibiting fever or symptoms of respiratory illness but who do not meet coronavirus suspect case definitions will still be required to undergo a swab test.

L’Oreal Freezes Headcount After Halting Business Trips (5:20 p.m. HK)

L’Oreal plans to freeze headcount through June, the company told Bloomberg News in response to questions on Tuesday. The company had suspended business travel through March 31 last week as a precautionary measure.

Confirmed German Cases Rise to 188 (5:17 p.m. HK)

The number of confirmed cases in Germany has risen to 188 and the virus has spread to 13 of the country’s 16 federal states, the Robert Koch Institute said on Tuesday. “We are seeing that the focus is moving away somewhat from China and the rest of the world is more and more affected,” RKI Vice President Lars Schaade said. The threat level for Germany remains at “moderate,” but this could quickly change and more cases are to be expected, Schaade added.

Separately, Belgium’s federal public health service said they had found five new cases after conducting tests the previous night. All of the patients had been traveling in the north of Italy.

Gilead’s Remdesivir May Be Used in South Korea (5:03 p.m.)

Gilead’s experimental antiviral drug remdesivir is expected to be used to treat patients infected with the coronavirus in South Korea as part of a trial, Yonhap reported. The company was given permission from local drug authorities to begin phase 3 clinical trials of remdesivir in adult patiences infected with the coronavirus.

Separately, a medical report on the Japanese Association for Infectious Diseases website said Teijin Ltd.’s asthma drug Alvesco helped treat three patients who contracted the coronavirus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Teijin shares rose as much as 8.2%, their biggest intraday gain in four years.

Hon Hai Sees China Returning to Normal Soon (4:37 p.m. HK)

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Apple Inc (NASDAQ:).’s most important manufacturing partner, expects its Chinese plants to begin operating normally by the end of March after resolving severe labor shortages. The Taiwanese company, which assembles the majority of the world’s iPhones from China, joins a growing number of corporations envisaging a return to normalcy in the world’s No. 2 economy.

Japan Says End of May Key Stage for Olympics Decision (4:30 p.m. HK)

Japan’s Olympics minister said the end of May would be an important point in making a decision on whether to hold the Tokyo Games starting on July 24 amid worries the coronavirus could cause the first cancellation since World War Two.

Seiko Hashimoto said she was aware of the comments by International Olympic Committee senior member Dick Pound, who has said late May would be the latest a decision could be made.

China Pledges More Cuts in Taxes, Fees (4:28 p.m. HK)

China will further reduce taxes and fees to deal with the coronavirus situation and support the economy, Wang Jianfan, head of tax administration department at finance ministry, said.

Pope Tests Negative (4:28 p.m. HK)

Pope Francis has tested negative for the coronavirus after suffering a slight cold which led him to cancel several public gatherings, newspaper Il Messaggero reported on Tuesday.

South Korea Total Exceeds 5,000 (4:15 p.m. HK)

South Korea’s health ministry reported 374 more cases of the novel coronavirus, taking the country’s tally to 5,186. Yonhap News Agency said 31 people have died. The country is “at war” with the novel coronavirus, President Moon Jae-in said earlier, according to a pool report from a cabinet meeting.

Separately, Philippines is lifting a travel ban to South Korea imposed barely a week ago, and citizens are now allowed to go to the country except for the North Gyeongsang province. The ban on foreigners coming from the same South Korean province remains in effect.

Trump Says Fed Should ‘Cut Rate Big’ (2:39 p.m. HK)

President Donald Trump, noting Australia’s central bank rate cut, said the Federal Reserve’s inaction thus far in the face of the coronavirus puts the U.S. at a “competitive disadvantage” and it “must be the other way around.”

Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe earlier reduced the cash rate by a quarter percentage point to 0.5%, a new record low, and said the central bank is prepared to ease monetary policy further to support the economy.





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Irish central bank chief urges more weight for housing in euro zone inflation: FT By Reuters


Irish central bank chief urges more weight for housing in euro zone inflation: FT

(Reuters) – Irish central bank chief Gabriel Makhlouf called for the cost of housing to be given more weight in the way inflation is calculated in the euro zone, according to the Financial Times.

According to Makhlouf, housing costs, at least in Ireland, are the main issue in creating a gulf between public perceptions of price rises versus the official inflation data, the FT said https://www.ft.com/content/86bdebac-5a1e-11ea-abe5-8e03987b7b20.

“If people’s reality (of inflation) is different to the one that we assert then we have got a problem,” Makhlouf, who sits on the European Central Bank’s rate-setting Governing Council, told the newspaper.

A lack of affordable housing and sky-high rents were central issues in Ireland’s national election in February, which saw the left-wing Sinn Fein party win the most votes.

A surge in support for Sinn Fein was related to the major campaign issues of healthcare and the high cost and low availability of housing, and Makhlouf said the supply of housing needed to be addressed in Ireland.

The supply of housing would also depend on changes to the planning system, public infrastructure and availability of labour, Makhlouf added. “It is more than a fiscal question.”

Makhlouf also said a failure between Britain and the European Union to agreed a post-Brexit trade deal was the biggest immediate risk to the Irish economy because of its close trading links to the UK.

Ireland’s economy is likely to be hit by trade tensions, changes to international tax rules and the disruption of the coronavirus outbreak, he added in the FT interview.

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.



China urges coal miners to resume production to keep market supplied By Reuters



BEIJING (Reuters) – China National Energy Administration on Saturday urged coal miners to resume production to keep the market supplied and stabilize prices amid the coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 250 people and infected over 10,000.

The administration will strictly ban activities such as raising coal prices beyond their contracts, refusing to fulfill medium-to-long term contracts or restricting coal sales outside the production areas, it said in a statement on its website.

Local governments in Inner Mongolia region and Shanxi province, the top two coal mining regions in China, have asked their coal companies not to sell the fuel outside the areas to reduce transportation and to prevent the spread of the virus.

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.



New Argentine President Urges Dollar, Export Taxes in Crisis By Bloomberg


© Reuters. New Argentine President Urges Dollar, Export Taxes in Crisis

(Bloomberg) — Argentina’s new government is proposing higher export levies and a tax on the purchase of foreign currency as part of a plan to boost social spending and fix its debt problem.

President Alberto Fernandez on Tuesday sent a so-called emergency bill to Congress, where his coalition will face its first test. He seeks to obtain sweeping powers to renegotiate debt, raise salaries and taxes, while controlling prices of politically-sensitive items such as utilities and medication.

Among the measures proposed are higher taxes on the wealthy, higher tariffs on Argentina’s exports, as well as a surcharge on purchases abroad. It follows recent government decrees for temporarily doubling severance pay and lowering medication prices.

“This bill is the first step to resolving Argentina’s economic crisis,” Economy Minister Martin Guzman told reporters in Buenos Aires. “We have to discourage savings in a currency that we don’t make, which is dollars.”

He added that, in order to put public debt on a sustainable path, the government first needs to “determine a sequence of primary fiscal and trade results that are consistent with a recovering economy.”

Argentina is suffering with double-digit unemployment, inflation above 50%, and more than a third of citizens living below the poverty line. Additionally, the government is running low on foreign reserves and must renegotiate its debts with private creditors and the International Monetary Fund, which gave the previous government a record $56 billion bailout. Investors see a very high chance of a sovereign default.

Still Missing

The large number of measures announced still don’t amount to a comprehensive economic plan. Fernandez’s government has yet to detail its monetary policy, inflation and growth forecasts, as well as fiscal targets for next year. Yet the bill shouldn’t face much resistance in Congress.

“The emergency bill will likely be approved quickly,” Daniel Kerner, managing director at Eurasia Group, wrote in a note published before the bill’s formal announcement. “The government has two main goals with respect to the economy: boost growth quickly through domestic consumption and minimize dollar outflows.”

Other experts pointed out that some measures are ill-timed or could have unintended consequences.

A tax on debit and credit card purchases abroad is “a bad idea” because it will have little impact on Argentines’ travel plans during the holiday season, driving demand for dollars on the black market instead, said Juan Manuel Pazos, chief economist at Argentine firm TPCG.

“We’re about three weeks away from summer vacations, and at this point most agents have already their plane tickets booked,” he said. A widening gap between the official and the black-market exchange rates would only add to the sense that the official rate is overvalued, he added.

Matias Carugati, an economist who has worked as a consultant for Congress’ budget and tax committees, said increasing severance pay for workers “is going to end up discouraging hiring at the margin.”

Higher export tariffs, on the other hand, might be just the first step to adjust levies, said Adrian Yarde Buller, chief economist at Argentine brokerage SBS. “A second phase could come later,” he said.

Balancing Act

The bill is Fernandez’s first attempt to strike a balance between his voters’ demands for higher social spending and the country’s dire financial situation. Guzman has said the government can’t freely print money to cover costs, nor can it continue the previous government’s austerity cuts, which he argues have worsened the recession.

Here are the main proposals sent to Congress:

  • Debt negotiation
    • Authorize the executive government to carry out measures necessary to ensure the sustainability of public debt
    • Authorize the government to issue as much as $4.6 billion of 10-year, dollar-denominated notes to the central bank in exchange for hard currency, which will be used to service dollar debt payments
  • Salaries
    • Boost salaries, attending to the most vulnerable sectors and creating mechanisms to facilitate salary agreements
  • Energy
    • Utility prices will remain unchanged for 180 days
    • Maintain electricity and subsidies under federal jurisdiction and authorize the executive government to start the renegotiation process
    • Authorize the executive branch to “administratively intervene” in national energy regulators
  • Export Tariffs
    • Soybean export taxes may rise to 33% from 30%
    • Wheat and corn export taxes may rise to 15% from 12%
  • U.S. Dollar Purchases
    • Argentina to apply 30% tax on dollar purchases during five fiscal periods
      • Government to use 70% of those proceeds for social security
    • Tax will also apply to foreign transactions
  • Taxes on the wealthy
    • Tax of 0.75% on assets between $3 million and $6.5 million
    • Tax of 1% on assets valued between $6.5 million to $18 million
    • Tax of 1.25% on assets $18 million and higher

(Adds commentary after 7th paragraph; Adds bullet point on dollar debt.)





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World Bank urges Gulf countries to prioritize environmental sustainability By Reuters


World Bank urges Gulf countries to prioritize environmental sustainability

By Davide Barbuscia and Tuqa Khalid

DUBAI (Reuters) – The World Bank has urged countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to prioritize environmental sustainability while diversifying their economies away from a reliance on hydrocarbon revenues in an era of lower energy prices.

The six GCC states – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman – have, as part of their diversification strategies, largely been developing energy-intensive heavy industry such as the petrochemical sector.

In a report published on Wednesday, the World Bank recommended the establishment of “effective” environmental management institutions and practices, in addition to scaling up investments in renewables.

“Looking forward, a diversification scenario that does not consider environmental sustainability is no longer a viable option,” said Issam Abousleiman, regional director for the GCC countries at the lender.

Between 2006 and 2018, GCC countries committed about $10.1 billion to investments in renewable energy but their combined renewable output totaled just 867 megawatts, less than 1% of the 145 gigawatts of installed power capacity at the end of 2018, said the World Bank.

It added that subsidized fuel prices for oil and gas power plants remain a barrier to the implementation of renewable energy projects.

Countries in the Gulf region are dealing with sluggish economic growth this year, with low energy prices and OPEC-led production cuts offsetting improvements in non-oil sectors.

The World Bank expects Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy, to grow 0.4% this year, below Riyadh’s own forecast of 0.9%, while it sees growth in the UAE at 1.8%, below the 2.3% forecast of the UAE central bank.

Qatar’s economy is expected to grow 0.5% this year before accelerating to 1.5% in 2020 and 3.2% in 2021 and it is the only GCC country expected to post a fiscal surplus during the three-year period, said the World Bank.

But it added that Qatar, as well as Kuwait and Oman, should avoid delaying the introduction of a value added tax (VAT), needed to reduce the fiscal impact of oil price volatility.

Oman, whose economy is particularly vulnerable to oil price swings, said earlier this year its plans to introduce VAT were on track, without providing a date.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain have introduced VAT over the past two years.

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Chinese envoy to Canada visits detained Huawei CFO, urges Ottawa to correct ‘mistake’


FILE PHOTO: China’s new ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu speaks during a news conference for a small group of reporters at the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa, Canada November 22, 2019. REUTERS/Blair Gable/File Photo

OTTAWA (Reuters) – China’s new ambassador to Canada visited a senior Huawei Technologies Co Ltd official who is fighting extradition to the United States and urged Ottawa to release her, the embassy said on Friday.

Relations between Canada and China turned icy a year ago, after Vancouver police detained Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. arrest warrant. She is currently out on bail and awaiting court hearings due to start next year.

Ambassador Cong Peiwu, who took up his post earlier this month, on Thursday extended his warm regards to Meng and said Beijing “will continue to urge the Canadian side to correct its mistake” and release her immediately, the embassy said in a statement.

“The great motherland and nearly 1.4 billion Chinese people are your staunchest supporters. We expect you to go back to China safe and sound at an early date,” it quoted Cong as telling Meng.

Shortly after Meng’s arrest, China picked up two Canadian citizens who now face state security charges. It also blocked imports of Canadian canola seed.

The office of Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne was not immediately available for comment. Champagne said last week he had pressed his Chinese counterpart on the case of the two detainees.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Berkrot



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