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IFX Gertrude
post May 16 2018, 05:21 AM
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10-Year U.S. Yield Surge to Highest Level since 2011



The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose on early Tuesday to reach levels since 2011 after a solid retail sales figures underlined the economy's stable momentum.

The rally in yield comes amid resurgent concerns that negotiations between the U.S. and China continue to be challenged, stoking concerns that a potential trade war could drive up prices and inflation higher- which has negative implication for bonds.

Yield on the 10-year Treasury note yield surged 7.5 basis points to 3.070 percent, the highest since July 2011, and notching its biggest single-day increase March 1, according to WSJ Market Data Group. The yield reached an intrasession high at 3.093 percent, according to FactSet data.

The 30-year bond yield rose 8.1 basis points to 3.210 percent, the biggest one-day increase since February 2. The short-dated two-year note yield rose 3.9 basis points to 2.585 percent, extending a yield move close to a decade peak.

The day's trading helped to increase the yield gap between two-year and the 10-year rate to 48.5 basis points.

The threat of increasing borrowing rates have given investors in risky assets a reason to pause, with the benchmark 10-year note again tested the yield level above 3 percent, which have previously caused friction in markets, challenging investors' appetite for assets perceived as risky against safe haven assets such as bonds.

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IFX Gertrude
post May 17 2018, 05:30 AM
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Benchmark U.S. Yield Extends Rally to Almost Seven-Year High



U.S. government bonds experienced renewed selling pressure, allowing the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note to continue a rally that a day prior brought it to its highest level since 2011.

The 10-year Treasury note yield edged up 1.1 basis points to 3.093 percent, after recording the biggest one-day gain since March 1, according to WSJ Market Data Group. The move left the yield at its highest level since July 7, 2011.

The 30-year bond yield increased 0.4 basis points to 3.214 percent, after the long bond market marked its biggest daily yield increase since February 2 in the prior session. Yield on the short-dated two-year note yield, on the other hand, pared an earlier loss to rise 0.4 basis points to 2.589 percent.

The yield curve, which measures the spread between the two-year and 10-year yields, continued to reverse some of its recent flattening.

Markets are now monitoring developments in Asia, with North Korea's threat to withdraw from a summit planned for next month with the U.S., stoking concerns that a brief easing of hostilities between the two nations may be coming to an end.

Meanwhile, Italian government bond yields surged following a report said anti-establishment parties in discussion to establish a government would ask the European Central bank to write off 250 billion euros in debt and ask to renegotiate Rome's contribution to the European Union budget. The yield on the 10-year Italian government bond rose16.2 basis points to 2.113 percent.

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IFX Gertrude
post May 18 2018, 05:32 AM
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U.S. Labor Market Continues to Tighten



New applications for U.S. jobless benefits increased more than expected last week, but the number of people continuing to collect unemployment benefits fell to 1.71 million in the week ended May 5, the lowest since December 1973, which points to diminishing labor market slack.

Separate data also showed a pickup in mid-Atlantic factory activity this month, with manufacturers saying they were boosting employment and asking for higher prices for their products. The combination of a tightening labor market and firming inflation bolsters expectations the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates in June.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 222,000 for the week ended May 12, the Labor Department said.

The labor market is viewed as being close to or at full employment, with the unemployment rate near a 17-½ -year low of 3.9 percent and within striking distance of the Fed's forecast of 3.8 percent by the end of this year. The U.S. central bank increased rates in March and forecast at least two more hikes for this year.

The number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid decreased 87,000 to 1.71 million in the week ended May 5, the lowest level since December 1973. Declining continuing claims underscore tightening labor market conditions and support economists' expectations that wage growth will accelerate in the second half of the year.

The labor market and regional factory data added to upbeat reports this week on consumer spending and industrial production in suggesting that economic growth was picking up early in the second quarter after slowing at the start of the year.

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IFX Gertrude
post May 21 2018, 05:41 AM
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Japan Exports Increased in April



The value of Japan's exports grew at fastest pace in three months in April partly due to a boost in shipments to the US but still ended up missing economist expectations.

Exports in April increased 7.8 percent year on year, according to figures from the Ministry of Finance, accelerating from a rise of 2.1 percent in March but still fell short of a median estimate of 8.1 percent from economists polled by Reuters.

The value of outbound shipments to Asia accelerated to a year-on-year growth of six percent as exports to Hong Kong exited contraction with a rise of 1.3 percent and growth in direct shipments to China edged up 0.1 percentage points to 10.9 percent.

Exports to the US accelerated from March's rise of just 0.2 percent to mark an increase of 4.3 percent in April.

Imports were up 5.9 percent from the previous year, rebounding from a 0.6 percent contraction in the previous month, the first decline since 2016, but also missing economist expectations of a 9.6 percent growth.

Those trade flows unraveled a ¥626 billion (about $5.6 billion) trade surplus that easily surpassed a forecast of ¥405.6 billion and marked only a moderate decline from March's surplus of ¥797 billion.

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IFX Gertrude
post May 22 2018, 05:48 AM
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Wall Street Gains as US-China Trade War Fears Ease



Stocks ended higher on Monday as trade tensions between the U.S. and China eased for the moment, while investor sentiment was also lifted by news of dealmaking activity.

The Dow Jones industrial average soared 298.20 points to 25,013.29. Boeing, Caterpillar and United Technologies, big exporters likely to benefit from easing trade tensions, were the best-performing stocks in the index. Monday also marked the first time since mid-March that the Dow closed above 25,000.

The S&P 500 rose 0.7 percent to 2,733.01 as industrials were up 1.5 percent. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.5 percent as 7,394.04 as semiconductors pushed tech higher.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday the United States and China had agreed to drop their tariff threats on billions of dollars worth of each country's goods, while China on Monday praised a significant dialing back of tensions.

Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, led by the technology sector's 1.21 percent gain. Apple, which counts China as major growth market, rose 1.4 percent, giving the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

The industrial sector gained 1.20 percent, led by a 2.4 percent jump in Boeing, which sells about a fourth of its commercial aircraft to Chinese customers. Caterpillar gained 2.3 percent.

Wall Street also got a boost on Monday amid a slew of dealmaking news.

General Electric will merge its transportation business with Wabtec — a rail equipment maker — in a deal worth $11.1 billion. GE shares rose 2 percent.

Meanwhile, Fifth Third Bancorp agreed to buy MB Financial for $4.7 billion in cash and stock. MB Financial shares soared 12.9 percent.

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IFX Gertrude
post May 23 2018, 05:56 AM
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Oil Slides after Rally, OPEC May Relax Production Curbs



Oil prices fell on Wednesday as the market experienced a respite on expectations that OPEC may lift production as early as June, despite geopolitical risks providing support for the market.

Brent futures slipped 4 percent to $79.53 per barrel, after rising 35 cents on Tuesday. In the previous week, the global benchmark reached $80.50 per barrel, the highest since November 2014.

U.S. WTI crude futures fell 2 cents to $72.18 per barrel, having risen on Tuesday to $72.83 per barrel, its highest level since November 2014.

In a note, ANZ said that geopolitical risks have kept investors on edge. U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo had laid out demands for Iran to stop all uranium enrichment and give nuclear inspectors access to their entire nation. But the lender sid that investors are also focused on the upcoming talks between Russia and Saudi about whether they should consider a controlled easing of over-compliance with their output cut agreement.

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IFX Gertrude
post May 24 2018, 04:48 AM
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Fed Minutes Support Rate Hike in June



Federal Reserve officials at their meeting earlier this month signaled they were likely to raise their benchmark short-term interest rate at their June meeting, and they debated how to characterize an evolving policy strategy that soon would no longer try to stimulate economic growth.

Minutes from the meeting, which ended May 2, reveal Fed officials are on track to raise rates again in June. The minutes also indicate officials are less worried about inflation rising above 2 percent, its current level and the Fed's target rate, than they are about the rate of inflation dipping again.

“Most participants judged that if incoming information broadly confirmed their economic outlook, it would likely soon be appropriate for the FOMC to take another step in removing policy accommodation,” the minutes said.

The readout of the meeting included a call by some policymakers to revise the Fed's monetary policy statement soon to reflect that rates would be close or above long-run estimates before too long.

A number of Fed policymakers, including Chairman Jerome Powell, have been keen to stress they will tolerate inflation rising above the Fed's goal for a time without undue concern. This was reflected in the policy statement earlier this month, with explicit reference made to the 2 percent target being “symmetric.”

Fed policymakers at the meeting decided, as expected, to keep the benchmark overnight lending rate unchanged in a target range of between 1.50 percent and 1.75 percent.

Traders in the federal funds futures market currently see more than a 90 percent chance of a June rate hike.

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IFX Gertrude
post May 25 2018, 05:54 AM
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Trump Cancels Nuclear Summit with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un



President Donald Trump canceled his historic nuclear summit with Kim Jong Un on Thursday, accusing North Korea of "tremendous anger and open hostility."

The meeting, which would have marked the first face-to-face encounter between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader, was set for June 12 in Singapore. The summit aimed to rid the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons.

"Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting," Trump wrote in a letter to Kim, which was released Thursday morning. The president dictated every word of the letter himself, a senior White House official told reporters.

The news came as North Korea made a show of dismantling a nuclear test site, but also on the heels of some sharp words from the North Korean government about America denuclearization demands. Trump's decision also comes more than two weeks after he withdrew the U.S. from the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal, which had lifted sanctions on the Middle Eastern country as long as it limited its nuclear program.

Trump said it was possible a meeting could still take place but warned North Korea against committing "foolish" acts.

The "unexpected" decision, Pyongyang said, was "extremely regrettable".

Kim Kye Gwan, a top official at North Korea's Foreign Ministry, said in comments published Friday by the country's state-run news agency KCNA that Trump's decision runs counter to the global community's wishes for peace on the Korean Peninsula. "We reiterate to the US that we are willing to sit face to face at any time and in any way," said Kim, who has negotiated with US counterparts for years.

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IFX Gertrude
post May 28 2018, 05:18 AM
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Energy Stocks Tumble as OPEC Considers Production Increase



Energy stocks in the Asia-Pacific region slid on Monday after news that producer cartel OPEC was mulling to increase production triggered oil prices to tank on Friday.

The S&P/ASX 200 Energy Index was last down 2 percent, at its lowest since April 26. Among the large producers, Beach Energy edged down 4.7 percent, Woodside Petroleum fell 2.7 percent, Santos edged down 2.4 percent and Origin Energy fell 1.9 percent. The decline in energy stocks weighed down the broader S&P/ASX 200 index by 0.4 percent.

In early trading in Tokyo, the energy sector of the Topix index was the underperformer, falling 3 percent, countering gains from the majority of other sectors and pulling the index into negative territory.

The pressure on energy stocks came after oil prices ended a gaining streak on Friday, with the Brent crude closing down almost 3 percent on the day after OPEC's de-facto leader, Saudi Arabia, and Russia said that they were mulling to ease curbs on production.

The option comes amid potential supply disruption risks from Venezuela and Iran, which are both under threat by U.S. sanctions.

Oil prices also continued to slide on Monday. The international benchmark Brent was off 0.5 percent at $76.04 per barrel and the U.S. WTI, the U.S. benchmark, fell 0.8 percent at $67.34. In recent weeks, both prices have been trading near their highest since late 2014 as the tension over Iran and Venezuela, as well as continued OPEC-led production cuts, propped up prices.

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IFX Gertrude
post May 29 2018, 05:42 AM
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Record U.S. Crude Volumes Affect Russia, OPEC Market Share in Asia



Record crude oil volumes will be exported by the U.S. to Asia in the following months to bite into Russia and OPEC's market share in the region.

The U.S. is slated to export 2.3 million bpd in June, 1.3 million bpd of which will be exported to Asia, according to an estimate by a senior executive with a key U.S. oil exporters.

Data from the EIA show U.S. oil exports reached 2.6 million bpd last two weeks.

The historically high level of outbounds volumes come as U.S. crude production reached all-time highs, weighing down U.S. prices to discounts of over $9 per barrel below crude futures on Monday, the widest in over three years and opening an arbitrage for surplus supplies to other markets.

The spread between the key benchmarks gave a change for Asian refiners to lower light crude imports from the Middle East and Russia after Brent and Gulf prices hit multi-year highs, according to traders in Asia.

In Asia, China is the biggest importer of U.S. crude. The imports are led by Sinopec, the region's biggest refiner. The firm, after cutting Saudi imports, has purchased a record 16 million barrels of U.S. crude, to load in June, according to sources.

India and South Korea are the next biggest lifters in Asia, importing 6 million to 7 million barrels in June respectively , sources monitoring U.S. crude sales to Asia said. Indian Oil Corp purchased 3 million barrels earlier this month via a tender, while Reliance Industries bought up to 8 million barrels, the sources said.

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IFX Gertrude
post May 30 2018, 06:10 AM
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U.S. Consumer Confidence Bounces Back, House Prices Rise



Consumer confidence bounced back in May, but households were a bit pessimistic regarding their short-term income prospects even as they expected strong job growth to persist, which could restrain consumer spending.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index increased 2.4 points to a reading of 128.0 this month from a downwardly revised 125.6 in April. The index was previously posted at 128.7 in April.

U.S. financial markets were little moved by the data amid a deepening political crisis in Italy. The dollar climbed to a 10-month high versus the euro, while U.S. Treasury yields dropped. Stocks on Wall Street fell, with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting near three-week lows.

The Conference Board's so-called labor market differential, derived from data on respondents' views on whether jobs are plentiful or difficult to get, rose to 26.6 in May, the best reading since May 2001, from 22.7 in April.

That measure, which closely correlates to the unemployment rate in the Labor Department's employment report, suggests that labor market slack continues to shrink.

However, consumers were less upbeat about their short-term income prospects. The share of consumers expecting an improvement in their income dropped to 21.3 percent in May from 21.8 percent in April. The proportion expecting a decline rose to 8.2 percent in May from 7.9 percent in the previous month.

A separate report showed the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller composite index of home prices in 20 metropolitan areas rose 0.5 percent in March after climbing 0.8 percent in February. House prices were up 6.8 percent in the 12 months to March after rising by the same margin in February.

The strong gains are at odds with recent data which had suggested a cooling in house prices. The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported last week that house prices were slightly higher by 0.1 percent in March from February.

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IFX Gertrude
post May 31 2018, 05:49 AM
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German Inflation Rebounds in May on Higher Energy Prices



German consumer price inflation jumped in May to reach the highest level in over a year, data showed, surpassing the European Central Bank's rate target of just under 2 percent for the eurozone as a whole.

German consumer prices, harmonised to make them comparable with inflation data from other European Union countries, increased by 2.2 percent year-on-year after a rise of 1.4 percent in the previous month, the Federal Statistics Office said.

Energy prices increased at an annual rate of 5.2 percent, driven by a sharp rise in the price of crude oil. “A major reason for the increase in the inflation rate is the price development for liquid fuels (heating oil and motor fuels),” Destatis said.

Food prices were also up markedly, to a year on year pace of 3.5 percent.

“German headline inflation won't surge from here, but it could nudge a bit higher in coming months, before easing into year-end,” said Claus Vistesen, chief eurozone economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

The stronger-than-expected inflation figures are likely to play into the hands of policy hawks, including Bundesbank head Jens Weidmann, who want the ECB to end its asset purchases this year and see room for a rate hike towards the middle of 2019.

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IFX Gertrude
post May 31 2018, 05:50 AM
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German Inflation Rebounds in May on Higher Energy Prices



German consumer price inflation jumped in May to reach the highest level in over a year, data showed, surpassing the European Central Bank's rate target of just under 2 percent for the eurozone as a whole.

German consumer prices, harmonised to make them comparable with inflation data from other European Union countries, increased by 2.2 percent year-on-year after a rise of 1.4 percent in the previous month, the Federal Statistics Office said.

Energy prices increased at an annual rate of 5.2 percent, driven by a sharp rise in the price of crude oil. “A major reason for the increase in the inflation rate is the price development for liquid fuels (heating oil and motor fuels),” Destatis said.

Food prices were also up markedly, to a year on year pace of 3.5 percent.

“German headline inflation won't surge from here, but it could nudge a bit higher in coming months, before easing into year-end,” said Claus Vistesen, chief eurozone economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

The stronger-than-expected inflation figures are likely to play into the hands of policy hawks, including Bundesbank head Jens Weidmann, who want the ECB to end its asset purchases this year and see room for a rate hike towards the middle of 2019.

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IFX Gertrude
post Jun 1 2018, 03:21 AM
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U.S. to Move Forward with Tariffs on Steel, Aluminum Imports from Canada, EU, Mexico



The U.S. on Thursday said it was moving forward with tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, concluding a two-month exemption and potentially paving the way for a trade war with some of America's top allies.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told media on a telephone briefing on Thursday that a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico would become effective at midnight on Friday.

He said that the U.S. looks forward to continue negotiations with Canada and Mexico, as well as the European Commission with regards to other issues that needs to be resolved.

Ross told reporters that talks with Canada and Mexico over overhauling the NAFTA were taking longer than they had expected. Negotiations with Europe had made some headway but not sufficient for additional exemptions, he said.

European Commission President Jean Claude-Juncker reacted to the announcement, stating that the EU will impose countermeasures on the U.S. He added that the European Commission will immediately introduce a settlement dispute with the World Trade Organization.

The newly announced tariffs are also seen to hinder negotiations between the US, Canada and Mexico on NAFTA. Both Mexico and Canada promised retaliatory tariffs in response to U.S. levies.

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IFX Gertrude
post Jun 4 2018, 05:40 AM
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U.S. Allies Retaliate Against Trump Administration’s Steel, Aluminum Tariffs



Canada and Mexico retaliated against America's move to impose additional duties on steel and aluminum imports and the European Union had its own countermeasures prepared, reviving concerns of a global trade war.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the tariffs in a telephone briefing on Thursday. The move ends months of uncertainty regarding possible exemptions and indicated a toughening of the Trump administration's stance on trade negotiations.

Ross told reporters that a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports will be imposed on the EU, Canada and Mexico from midnight on Friday.

The measures, which were first announced by President Donald Trump in March, received criticism from Republican lawmakers and the nation's top lobbying group. It also affected global financial markets.

Canada and Mexico, currently engaged in talks with the US to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement immediately responded to the announcement. Canada, the biggest supplier of steel to America, said it will impose tariffs covering C$16.6 billion on imports from the U.S. It will include whiskey, orange juice, steel, aluminum and other products, according to Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland.

In a news conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized the decision made by the Trump administration and was clearly going to result in retaliatory measures.

Mexico announced what it called an “equivalent” measures on a wide range of U.S. farm and industrial products. The measures target pork legs, apples, grapes and cheese as well as steel and other products, which will be implemented until the U.S. government removes the tariffs, according to Mexico's Economy Ministry.

The EU threatened tariffs on Harley Davidson motorcycles and bourbon, measures aimed at the political bases of U.S. Republican lawmakers.

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IFX Gertrude
post Jun 5 2018, 05:33 AM
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Tech Rally Powers Wall Street Higher, Nasdaq Notches Record Close



Wall Street's three benchmark indexes rallied on Monday, led by broad gains in tech stocks, driving the Nasdaq to a record closing high as investors wager on the retention of solid economic growth, while declining oil prices affected the energy sector.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 178.48 points, or 0.72 percent, to 24,813.69. The S&P 500 rose by 12.25 points, or 0.45 percent, to 2,746.87.The Nasdaq Composite jumped 52.13 points, or 0.69 percent, to hit 7,606.46, a record closing high.

Apple shares climbed to their highest level in history due to investor expectations on its annual developers conference and Microsoft received nods for its latest acquisition, driving the S&P 500 technology index to a record high. Meanwhile, Amazon.com outperformed among consumer stocks. The S&P 500's technology sector was the benchmark index's biggest gainer, 0.8 percent higher.

According to traders, better-than-expected U.S. jobs data for ay was still a main factor to investor optimism as traders looked past recent trade war concerns.

Despite the impressive jobs report, markets are worried about the U.S. government's announcement last week of steel and aluminum tariffs for Europe, Canada and Mexico, which concluded a two-month exemption.

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IFX Gertrude
post Jun 6 2018, 05:28 AM
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Mexico Hits Back against Steel Duties with Tariffs on U.S. Imports



Mexico has announced new levies on U.S. imports in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to impose hefty tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum.

The peso fell on Tuesday after Mexico imposed tariffs on U.S. products including bourbon, apples, potatoes, cheese, and pork in retaliation to the steel duties.

Mexico's peso was down 1.4 percent at 20.35 to the dollar in early trade.

The announcement of tariffs ranging from 15 percent to 25 percent came as the future of the NAFTA trade deal came under new pressure from the White house. The list of U.S. products subject to fresh tariffs did not include the top two US agricultural exports to Mexico: Corn and soybeans. This would enable the animal feed products to continue to enter Mexico's domestic livestock and poultry industries.

The new tariffs came after the Trump administration restated its desire to push for bilateral talks on NAFTA with Mexico and Canada. According to Larry Kudlow, economic adviser to Trump, Washington was now inclined towards such change, saying that countries that are different potentially deserves varying deals. Mexico has opposed such attempts to split the NAFTA allies.

Jaime Zabludovsky, one of Mexico's original Nafta negotiators, said Trump's desire to negotiate separately was senseless and also put the interests of US private sector at risk.

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IFX Gertrude
post Jun 7 2018, 05:29 AM
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Oil Prices Rally on Venezuelan Supply Disruptions



Oil prices rallied on Thursday to pare some of the prior session's losses, propped up by declining exports by OPEC-member Venezuela.

Brent crude futures traded up 33 cents or 0.4 percent, to $75.69 per barrel. Meanwhile, U.S. WTI crude rose 33 cents or 0.6 percent at $65.11 per barrel. It finished the prior session 1.2 percent lower at $64.73 per barrel.

Venezuela, a member of the OPEC,is lagging in shipping crude to clients from its main oil export port for almost a month, according to Reuters data, as chronic postponements threaten to breach state-run PDVSA's crude supply contracts if they are not quickly delivered.

Tankers waiting to load over 24 million barrels of crude,almost as much as PDVSA sippined in April, are waiting in the country's main oil port. Reuters data showed that the backlog is so serious, PDVSA advised some customers it may announce force majeure, allowing it to temporarily stop contracts if they do not take on new delivery terms.

Venezuela's supply troubles come amid voluntary production cuts by OPEC which have been implemented since 2017 in order to rebalance the market and drive up prices. The cartel is slated to meet at its headquarters in Vienna, along with top producer but non-OPEC member Russia, on June 22 to talk about production policy.

Iran, a member of OPEC, said on Wednesday that a production boost was not up for consideration as the market was steady and prices were good.

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IFX Gertrude
post Jun 8 2018, 06:09 AM
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Chinese Australian Imports Rise but AUD Does Not, May Fall Rather



The Australian Dollar headed lower after May’s Chinese trade data crossed the wires. In both Yuan and US Dollar terms, China’s surplus missed expectations. This suggests a lower-than-anticipated boost to local economic growth as net exports are one of the four components of GDP. However, in both measurements, exports and imports rose above estimates.

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