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Brazil agriculture official says China will not renew sugar tariff

The Chinese government has indicated it will not renew import tariffs on sugar, Brazil’s agriculture trade secretary Orlando Leite Ribeiro told reporters on Friday. Brazilian sugar exports to China plunged after the Asian nation started to charge an additional 45 percent on sugar imports from several countries in 2017. Brazil is conducting discussions on the issue with China through the World Trade Organization. Source: Reuters

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Vale’s Good News Doesn’t Improve Its Outlook

In 2015, a waste containment dam ruptured at one of Vale’s (NYSE: VALE) Brazilian mines. Earlier this year, another of the global iron ore miner’s Brazilian containment dams broke. Lives were lost in both instances, but, understandably, the government of Brazil is taking a harder line with the company after the second mishap. Still, following a broad shutdown, Vale has been allowed to increase production at a key mine in the country. But if you step back and look at the big picture, most investors should remain wary of Vale ...

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Norway’s Equinor remains cautious on LNG expansion: CFO Bacher

Norway’s Equinor remains cautious about investing in global LNG projects having “screened” but rejected several possible investments in the sector, CFO Lars Christian Bacher said. Speaking following the release of the company’s Q1 results, Bacher said expansion into the LNG sector — seen by some as a gap in Equinor’s asset portfolio — would be judged in the same way as any other investment: on its economic viability. “We are not distressed. We don’t have to buy [assets]. LNG is one alley that we are pursuing and looking at, but ...

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Refinery news roundup: Changes of ownership in Middle East emerge

While upgrades and launches remain in the focus in the Middle East, news is emerging on some changes of ownership. Saudi Arabian Oil Co. said it would buy Royal Dutch Shell’s 50% stake in the SASREF refinery in Jubail Industrial City, Saudi Arabia, for $631 million. “The acquisition supports Saudi Aramco’s plan to increase the complexity and capacity of its refineries, as part of its long-term downstream growth strategy,” it said in a statement. The sale is expected to be completed later this year, subject to regulatory approval. NEAR-TERM AND ...

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Record-breaking rally leaving energy stocks behind

The stock market surge since the start of the year that has sent the benchmark S&P 500 index up to new record highs is leaving behind one sector that typically outperforms in an expanding economy: energy. A sharp rebound in the price of oil has not been enough to offset a long-standing reluctance on the part of investors to hold energy companies after prices collapsed in 2014. Energy companies in the S&P 500 are down 13 per cent over the last year, while the broad index is up 10 per ...

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Stars are aligned for economy as it closes in on record for longest expansion

Is it time to worry about the economy? After all, the stock market is hitting record highs again, the jobs market is booming and the inflation bogeyman is no where to be found. Isn’t the economy due for a letdown after a nearly 10-year expansion that will set an all-time record in two months? Don’t count on it anytime soon. For one thing, the economy actually isn’t running at full-tilt and doesn’t appear to be generating the sort of excesses that emerge right before recession. Manufacturers have hit a rough ...

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Fed Officials Diverge on Need for Possible Interest-Rate Cut

Two Federal Reserve officials laid out the case for a possible interest-rate cut just days after Chairman Jerome Powell said there was no reason to move in either direction. Two other U.S. central bankers sounded more comfortable with the current policy stance. St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard and Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, both policy voters this year, expressed caution Friday over weak prices and said the central bank may have to act to lift inflation out of a persistently low trend. That contrasts with Powell’s dismissal ...

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Weidmann Joins ECB Doubters on Draghi Move to Soften Rate Impact

Go inside the global economy with Stephanie Flanders in her new podcast, Stephanomics. Subscribe via Pocket Cast or iTunes. Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann broke his silence on Mario Draghi’s initiative to rethink the institution’s negative interest-rate policy, joining colleagues in speaking out against the move. The German, commenting on the European Central Bank president’s push to consider softening the effects of sub-zero borrowing costs, said so-called tiering to partially relieve banks from the impact may offer some advantages. That’s outweighed by the risk of sending the wrong message on when ...

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April Jobs Report Won’t Alter Federal Reserve’s Wait-and-See Approach

The solid April employment report likely makes Federal Reserve officials more comfortable with their decision to signal no preference toward raising or lowering interest rates later this year. Employers have added an average of 169,000 jobs a month over the past three months, a sign the economy’s job engine is humming nicely after fears of a global slowdown late last year sent U.S. stock markets reeling and fanned worries about the domestic economy. Those tremors prompted the Fed in January to shelve plans to keep lifting interest rates, and markets ...

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China-U.S. trade talks must conclude in good faith

China and the United States held the tenth round of high-level economic and trade talks on April 30 and May 1. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, led the Chinese delegation during the China-U.S. comprehensive economic dialogue. He co-hosted the talks with U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin. Although statements from both sides have been sparse, both sides nevertheless appear to be quietly confident that many gaps have ...

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Buffett Will Be Bigger Force in Deal Financing After Occidental

Warren Buffett said he’d like his company to deploy much more than $10 billion to help companies pursue acquisitions in the next couple of years. Days after Berkshire Hathaway Inc. agreed to inject $10 billion of preferred equity in Occidental Petroleum Corp. to help finance an acquisition of Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Buffett said he’d like to put more cash to work that way, whether the next one comes along in a month or three years. “It won’t be identical, I hope it’s larger,” he said Saturday at Berkshire’s annual meeting ...

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US steps up belt and road offensive saying it offers fairer deals than China’s ‘debt trap’

The United States has stepped up its attacks on China’s Belt and Road Initiative claiming Washington offers a better option through “transparent, free and fair trade deals”. ShareAmerica, a website managed by the Department of State to promote US policy and culture, warned in a new video that as China pushes the initiative, countries should be careful “not to get caught in China’s belt and road debt trap”. The video – which has been subtitled in six other languages, including Chinese – repeated warnings from the Centre for a New ...

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ADB should uphold multilateralism, foster development in Asia-Pacific

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) should uphold multilateralism and foster a development environment in the Asia-Pacific region, Finance Minister Liu Kun said on May 4. Speaking at the business session of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank’s Board of Governors which is being held in Nadi, the third largest city of Fiji, Liu said that ADB should uphold multilateralism and foster an enabling development environment for the prosperity of Asia and the Pacific. ‘At present, one of the major risks that threatens the endeavor of international development ...

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China: Continuity, stability key policy goals

Chinese economic policies will maintain stability and continuity to enhance international macroeconomic policy coordination and tackle headwinds, economists said. The importance of international collaboration in macroeconomic administration has been stressed by Chinese leaders as they have drawn a plan for more comprehensive opening-up. Beijing’s stance comes amid growing spillover effects of policies among countries and, according to forecasts by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the likelihood that global growth may lose some steam this year, economists said. One of the key ways to strengthen policy coordination is ...

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Hope fades that US-China deal will substantively tackle subsidies

US businesses are tempering their expectations that a trade deal with Beijing will force China to significantly cut back on its state subsidies. “We’re likely to get language that … touches on transparency, but we’re not likely to get the commitment that we want from the Chinese, in terms of they’re really cutting back and eliminating subsidy practices, not just in the steel and aluminium sectors but in a range of sectors,” said Myron Brilliant, the US Chamber of Commerce’s head of international affairs. China’s complex web of subsidies and ...

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