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Taiwan objects to Britain’s post-Brexit WTO services trade arrangement

Taiwan objects to Britain’s proposed rules for managing its trade in services after it leaves the European Union and has requested negotiations at the World Trade Organization, according to a document seen by Reuters. Britain voted in a referendum in 2016 to leave the EU, which has spoken for Britain on trade matters ever since the WTO was founded in 1995. As part of the Brexit divorce, Britain needs its own WTO membership texts, known as schedules, to set out how it will treat its trading partners in goods and ...

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UK PM May’s spokesman says not ruling out ‘no deal’ EU exit

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said on Wednesday he was not willing to rule out the possibility that Britain leaves the European Union without an exit deal. Asked if he was ruling out ‘no deal’, in response to a request from opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn that the government do so, the spokesman said: “I am not.” “The prime minister has been very clear that the British public voted to leave the European Union. We want to leave with a deal, but she is determined to deliver on the ...

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Business group fears disorderly Brexit would hamper German growth

Europe’s largest economy will expand by 1.5 percent in 2019 if there is not a disorderly Brexit but growth will be weaker if there are major disruptions to trade between Britain and the European Union, Germany’s BDI industry body said on Thursday. If there are such disruptions, the German economy would grow by around 1.0 at most, the BDI said. “A chaotic Brexit is now getting dangerously close to happening. Companies are looking into the abyss in these times,” BDI President Dieter Kempf said after the British parliament rejected a ...

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China pushes for bonds to be included in global indices even as some foreign investors seek delay

Beijing is pushing hard for the inclusion of yuan-denominated bonds that are traded in onshore markets in major global bond indices, in an effort to encourage needed capital inflows. But some foreign investors are pushing back on an early inclusion, claiming they have not yet created the necessary infrastructure to handle the investments that would result. The Chinese government is urging bond indices to move forward anyway, arguing that lack of preparations by a few investors should not deny other investors the opportunity to own Chinese bonds. Clearly, China needs ...

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Euro zone to open race for replacement of ECB’s Praet

Euro zone finance ministers will invite applications on Monday for the job of European Central Bank Chief Economist, replacing Peter Praet whose term ends on May 31, a senior euro zone official said on Thursday. No candidates have been officially put forward yet, but Ireland’s central bank governor Philip Lane is widely seen as a favourite, in the race that will be decided by the ministers at their next meeting on Feb. 11. “I have not heard about any other candidate … which does not mean that there will not ...

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German Finance Minister welcomes sign that U.S. and China to hold trade talks

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Thursday he welcomed a sign that the United States and China were going to hold talks again on trade after the two world powers spent much of the past months embroiled in a trade conflict. “It is good that patience is paying off and that there are signs that there are further talks between China and the United States,” Scholz told reporters during a visit to Beijing. He added it would be good if this development were successful. He said Germany and China ...

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Singapore’s Exports Unexpectedly Fall in December

Singapore’s key non-oil exports unexpectedly fell in December due to lower demand from key markets and a high base of comparison from last year. Exports of goods made in Singapore fell 8.5% in December compared with a year earlier, after a downwardly-revised 2.8% fall in November, trade promotion agency Enterprise Singapore said Thursday. The median estimate from nine economists in a poll by The Wall Street Journal was for December exports to expand 2.1% from a year earlier. Compared with the previous month, exports fell 5.7% in seasonally adjusted terms, ...

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Some rule changes now on go-slow due to U.S. shutdown

The ongoing federal government shutdown is impeding efforts to advance several rule changes that aim to make life easier for financial institutions. Here are some projects stuck in regulatory limbo: “VOLCKER RULE” OVERHAUL Last year, the two markets regulators and three banking regulators agreed to review the “Volcker Rule”, a post-crisis rule barring banks from proprietary trading. The public comment period on simplifying the rule ended on Oct. 17, and the agencies are currently reviewing that feedback. However, relevant officials at the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading ...

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China quietly cuts borrowing costs while keeping rates on hold

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has been quietly guiding interbank borrowing costs down without actually cutting official interest rates, with the latest move a record one-day injection of cash into the market. The central bank pumped a net 560 billion yuan (US$83 billion) into the financial system on Wednesday, the biggest open market operation on record. While that action was mostly aimed at addressing a funding shortage ahead of Lunar New Year, it also speaks to a policy priority for the PBOC – providing cheaper funding to banks to ...

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China Premier Li Keqiang invites harsh words on economy from private sector top brass

Chinese premier Li Keqiang has asked economists and entrepreneurs to critique his government work report, which is expected to lay out the government’s economic policies for 2019. Li invited some of China’s most celebrated figures in business and economics to give him feedback that “may hurt the ear or stab the heart”, at a time when China’s economy continues to face serious headwinds. Those present included Alibaba chairman Jack Ma Yun, China First Heavy Industries’s chairman Liu Mingzhong, Tao Dong, senior adviser and economist with Credit Suisse Private Banking Asia-Pacific, ...

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Jobless Claims in the U.S. Fell Last Week

The number of Americans filing applications for new unemployment benefits declined last week, signaling the labor market remains on solid footing in the first weeks of 2019. Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., fell by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 213,000 in the week ended Jan. 12, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected 220,000 new claims last week. Data can be volatile from week to week. The four-week moving average of claims, a steadier measure, dropped 1,000 to 220,750 ...

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EU states escalate no-deal preparations after May defeat

EU governments and businesses are ramping up their preparations to minimise the chaos and disruption of a no-deal Brexit, which many see as significantly more likely after the crushing defeat of Theresa May’s deal in parliament. With 72 days until the UK is due to leave the EU, France’s Medef business lobby told companies on Wednesday to prepare for a worst-case scenario, saying the vote “had made it quite possible that the UK will leave on 29 March without a deal”. The Dutch prime minister said that time was running ...

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Euro zone December inflation slowdown confirmed, monthly rate flat

Euro zone inflation slowed in December to 1.6 percent on the year while core indicators remained stable at low levels, the European Union’s statistics office said on Thursday confirming its preliminary estimates released earlier in January. The final figures confirm that inflation has fallen away from the European Central Bank target of a rate below, but close to 2.0 percent, complicating plans for a possible hike in interest rates this year. Eurostat said prices in the 19-nation currency bloc rose 1.6 percent in December on the year, slowing from 1.9 ...

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EU to ensure banks’ access to UK clearing houses in no-deal Brexit – ECB

The European Commission will take temporary measures to maintain banks’ access to UK-based clearing houses in case of a no-deal Brexit, European Central Bank board member Sabine Lautenschlaeger said on Thursday. “However, these measures are just a stopgap, and banks must make sure that they are prepared for what happens next,” she said in Dublin. “There is no time to relax; there is just a little more time to prepare.” She added that as clearing was a highly concentrated business, supervisors should examine whether it was desirable in the future ...

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Fed’s Beige Book Shows Concerns Mounting Among U.S. Businesses

Optimism is waning among U.S. businesses as they grapple with the government shutdown, trade disputes, higher borrowing costs and a volatile stock market. Although the economy continues to grow at a modest to moderate pace, some firms are pulling back on planned investments and paring back their 2019 forecasts, according to a Federal Reserve report released Wednesday. The report, known as the beige book, compiles information from business contacts in each of the central bank’s 12 districts through Jan. 7. With the usual flow of economic data constricted by the ...

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