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EU must diversify trade ties, develop own value chains: Germany’s Altmaier

The European Union must diversify its trade relations, become less dependent on Asian suppliers in certain areas such as medical precursors, and develop its own value chains within the 27-member bloc, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told Reuters. “The coronavirus pandemic has taught us that Europe must stick together and diversify its trade relations,” Altmaier said in remarks cleared for publication on Friday. “That means that there must be no spanner in the works of the EU’s internal market and that we have to ensure more resilient supply chains, the ...

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UK retail rebounds in bright spot for COVID-hit economy

British shoppers spent more last month, taking sales further above pre-COVID levels, as strong online demand helped much of the sector rebound faster than the rest of the economy. Retail sales volumes rose by 0.8% in August, the Office for National Statistics said on Friday — slightly above the average 0.7% forecast in a Reuters poll. Compared with a year earlier, they were up 2.8%, just below forecasts of 3.0% annual growth. Sales had already overtaken pre-COVID levels in July and now stand 4.0% higher than before the crisis, although ...

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How the next WTO chief will be chosen and the task ahead

Five candidates from Nigeria to South Korea are bidding to become the next director-general of the World Trade Organization to replace Roberto Azevedo, who stepped down at the end of August. The next chief will broker international trade talks in the face of widening U.S.-China conflict, protectionism increased by the COVID-19 pandemic and pressure to reform trade rules. U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies have upended the global trading order and presented an existential threat to the WTO. Trump has called the institution “broken” and “horrible.” His administration has ...

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BOJ Kuroda says will work closely with new government to combat COVID-19 pain

Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Friday the central bank will work closely with the new government led by Yoshihide Suga to combat the pain inflicted on the economy by the coronavirus pandemic. “Japan’s economy will likely follow an improving trend. But the pace of improvement will only be moderate as the impact of COVID-19 remains worldwide,” Kuroda said in an online seminar hosted by the Asian Development Bank. “The BOJ will continue supporting the economy in cooperation with the new government,” he added. Source: Reuters (Reporting by ...

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Interview: “China did the right thing at the right time,” says Swiss banker

China has done “the right thing at the right time” in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Fiorenzo Manganiello, first vice president of the Swiss private bank Banque Profil de Gestion (BPDG). China’s further economic opening-up and a simplified regulatory environment are good news for foreign investors, Manganiello told Xinhua in a recent interview. “China became an example of efficient dealing with uncertain events like the global pandemic. It was because of the resources China has, whether manpower or technology,” Manganiello said. “The infrastructure and measures needed at the ...

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China-Russia Economic and Trade Index Report (2020) officially released by CEIS

The China-Russia Economic and Trade Index Report (2020) was officially released by the China Economic Information Service (CEIS) on Wednesday. The report reflects the trade volume between China and its regions with Russia, and scientifically monitored the development level and trend of bilateral trade via the establishment of a quantifiable index system. Per the index result, China-Russia trade index showed a steady upward trend in 2019, up 12.66 percent from that in 2018. The monthly China-Russia economic and trade index shows that although global trade has shrunk sharply due to ...

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China expected to keep benchmark LPR unchanged for 5th month

China’s benchmark lending rate will likely remain steady for a fifth straight month at its September fixing on Monday after the central bank left rates on its medium-term lending facility (MLF) loans unchanged this week, a Reuters survey showed. Thirty-one out of 35 traders and analysts in a snap Reuters poll, or nearly 90%, saw no change to either the one-year or the five-year Loan Prime Rate (LPR). The one-year LPR stands at 3.85% after two cuts this year, while the five-year rate is at 4.65%. The LPR is a ...

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China says Australia turning away Chinese firms will dent confidence

China’s foreign ministry said on Friday that Chinese companies’ confidence would be dented by the fact that Australia has recently turned several away in the name of national security. Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin made the comments at a regular media briefing. Source: Reuters (Reporting by Yew Lun Tian; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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Fed begins tussle over practical meaning of new inflation policy

Federal Reserve policymakers on Friday began fleshing out what their new tolerance for inflation will mean in practice, an issue critical to how investors and households reshape their own outlooks even if it may not be relevant to any immediate decisions by the U.S. central bank. The new policy, laid out in a strategic document last month and incorporated into a policy statement issued on Wednesday, pledges to keep interest rates near zero until inflation has hit the Fed’s 2% target and is on track “to moderately exceed” it “for ...

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Around 5 million UK jobs still furloughed at end of July, government says

Around 5 million British jobs remained fully or partly on furlough at the end of July, down from a peak of just under 9 million but still leaving millions of workers facing uncertainty with the scheme due to be wound up at the end of next month. Provisional tax data released on Friday showed employers had registered 4.8 million jobs as furloughed as of July 31, down from a peak of 8.9 million in early May. The government said final data could show an upward revision of around 10%, making ...

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China to improve cross-border yuan policy to stabilise foreign investment and foreign trade -c.bank

China will improve cross-border yuan policy to stabilise foreign investment and foreign trade, the central bank said on Friday. China will relax restrictions on use of yuan income under some capital account categories, and remove restrictions on the reinvestment of yuan funds by some foreign-funded firms, according to draft guidelines issued by the People’s Bank of China. Individuals will also be supported in conducting cross-border yuan business, the guidelines said. Source: Reuters (Reporting by Lusha Zhang and Kevin Yao; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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U.S. current account deficit jumps 52.9% as COVID-19 disrupts trade

The U.S. current account deficit soared to its highest level in nearly 12 years in the second quarter as the COVID-19 pandemic weighed on the export of goods and services, offsetting a shrinking import bill. The Commerce Department said on Friday the current account deficit, which measures the flow of goods, services and investments into and out of the country, jumped 52.9% to $170.5 billion last quarter. That was the biggest gap since the third quarter of 2008 when the economy was working its way through the Great Recession. Data ...

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China’s economic recovery will march ahead despite COVID-19 impact

China’s economic recovery will continue to move forward, but it will take time to return to normal. International travel restrictions have not been fully lifted, the global economy is enduring hard times, while many sovereign governments still maintain stringent social distancing measures and that will keep the world economy under gloomy conditions. Anti-China sentiments are on the rise through much of the world, which will inspire other governments to impose stiffer business restrictions on Chinese companies doing business overseas. We are witnessing this first hand with Washington, London and Brussels ...

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Euro zone August price fall confirmed, core inflation slows

Euro zone consumer prices fell in August, the EU’s statistics office confirmed on Thursday, pulled down by a drop in energy prices, but core inflation that excludes such volatile elements decelerates sharply too. Inflation in the 19 countries sharing the euro fell 0.4% month-on-month in August for a -0.2% year-on-year decline, Eurostat said, in line with its own earlier estimate and market expectations. Energy prices which fell 7.8% year-on-year in August had the biggest impact on the overall consumer price index, subtracting 0.77 percentage point from the final number. Non-energy ...

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Rising virus rates threaten economy, warns Bank

The Bank of England has warned that the rising rate of coronavirus infections and a lack of clarity over the UK’s future trade relationship with the EU could threaten the economic recovery. It said much of output lost during lockdown had been recovered but the outlook remained “unusually uncertain”. The UK is still in a deep recession, while Covid-19 infections are at their highest level since mid May. Citing the uncertainty, the Bank held interest rates at 0.1%, a historic low. It added that it would continue its monetary support ...

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