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G20 Calls for Stepped-up Trade Dialogue; no Agreement on Path Forward

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  • G20 Calls for Stepped-up Trade Dialogue; no Agreement on Path Forward

Global finance leaders called on Sunday for stepped-up dialogue to prevent trade and geopolitical tensions from hurting growth, but ended a two-day G20 meeting with little consensus on how to resolve multiple disputes over U.S. tariff actions.

The finance ministers and central bank governors from the world’s 20 largest economies warned that growth, while still strong, was becoming less synchronized and downside risks over the short- and medium-term had increased.

“These include rising financial vulnerabilities, heightened trade and geopolitical tensions, global imbalances, inequality and structurally weak growth, particularly in some advanced economies,” the G20 finance officials said in a communique.

“We … recognize the need to step up dialogue and actions to mitigate risks and enhance confidence,” the communique said.

This marked a strengthening of language compared to their previous statement issued in March, in which they simply “recognize the need for further dialogue.”

“The latest language suggests a great deal of urgency about resolving these issues,” Australia Treasurer Scott Morrison told Reuters in an interview, adding that the ministers had made it clear in the discussion that they were concerned about “tit-for-tat measures” and that open trade was the goal.

“The language previously had been a bit ambiguous about that, a bit sheepish,” Morrison added.

The weekend talks in Buenos Aires came at a time of escalating rhetoric in the trade conflict between the United States and China, the world’s largest economies, which have so far slapped tariffs on $34 billion worth of each other’s goods.

U.S. President Donald Trump raised the stakes on Friday with a threat to impose tariffs on all $500 billion of Chinese exports to the United States unless Beijing agrees to major structural changes to its technology transfer, industrial subsidy and joint venture policies.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a news conference on Sunday that he had had no substantive discussions on trade with China’s finance minister, Liu Kun, at the G20 gathering, engaging mainly in “chit-chat.”

“Any time they want to sit down and negotiate meaningful changes, I and our team are available,” Mnuchin added.

The Chinese delegation did not speak to media at the G20 meeting.

G7 TRADE OVERTURES

Mnuchin focused instead on other trade relationships at the talks, including those with the European Union, Canada, Mexico and Japan.

He said G7 allies were taking seriously his calls to eliminate tariffs, non-tariff barriers and subsidies among the group, and the Trump administration would pursue such ideas in trade talks next week with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Washington.

Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau called the dropping of barriers a “great idea” and an “aspirational target,” but said it would be challenging to execute because of historical economic differences.

Before any trade talks with the EU could begin, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire insisted that Washington first would need to drop its tariffs on steel and aluminum and stand down on a threat to impose auto tariffs.

European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici told reporters that the meeting was not tense, but produced little movement from entrenched positions on trade.

“We were in mutual listening mode and I hope that this is the beginning of something,” Moscovici said. “But still the positions are not similar.”

Finance ministers for both Mexico and Canada said they saw optimism from Washington that an agreement to modernize the trilateral North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) could be reached in coming months after talks stalled.

ALLIES ANGERED

Trump has angered allies by imposing import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, sparking retaliatory tariffs from the EU and Canada on a range of U.S. products.

Trump, who frequently criticizes Europe’s 10 percent car tariffs, is also studying adding a 25 percent levy on auto imports, which would hit both Europe and Japan hard.

Mnuchin said he did not feel isolated at the G20, holding numerous bilateral meetings with officials, and arguing that Trump’s trade stance was not based on protectionism, but on trying to make trade fairer.

“We very much support the idea that trade is important to the global economy, but it’s got to be on fair and reciprocal terms,” he said.

Hubert Fuchs, European Council representative to the G20, said he welcomed Mnuchin’s candid approach, but said the United States “understands something different under fair and free trade.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Crude Oil

Brent Crude Oil Approaches $70 Per Barrel on Friday

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Crude oil

Nigerian Oil Approaches $70 Per Barrel Following OPEC+ Production Cuts Extension

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, rose to $69 on Friday at 3:55 pm Nigerian time.

Oil price jumped after OPEC and allies, known as OPEC plus, agreed to role-over crude oil production cuts to further reduce global oil supplies and artificially sustain oil price in a move experts said could stoke inflationary pressure.

Brent crude oil rose from $63.86 per barrel on Wednesday to $69 per barrel on Friday as energy investors became more optimistic about the oil outlook.

While certain experts are worried that U.S crude oil production will eventually hurt OPEC strategy once the economy fully opens, few experts are saying production in the world’s largest economy won’t hit pre-pandemic highs.

According to Vicki Hollub, the CEO of Occidental, U.S oil production may not return to pre-pandemic levels given a shift in corporates’ value.

“I do believe that most companies have committed to value growth, rather than production growth,” she said during a CNBC Evolve conversation with Brian Sullivan. “And so I do believe that that’s going to be part of the reason that oil production in the United States does not get back to 13 million barrels a day.”

Hollub believes corporate organisations will focus on optimizing present operations and facilities, rather than seeking growth at all costs. She, however, noted that oil prices rebounded faster than expected, largely due to China, India and United States’ growing consumption.

The recovery looks more V-shaped than we had originally thought it would be,” she said. Occidental previous projection had oil production recovering to pre-pandemic levels by the middle of 2022. The CEO Now believes demand will return by the end of this year or the first few months of 2022.

I do believe we’re headed for a much healthier supply and demand environment” she said.

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Crude Oil

Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts

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Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, rose to $67.70 per barrel on Thursday following the decision of OPEC and allies, known as OPEC+, to extend production cuts.

OPEC and allies are presently debating whether to restore as much as 1.5 million barrels per day of crude oil in April, according to people with the knowledge of the meeting.

Experts have said OPEC+ continuous production cuts could increase global inflationary pressure with the rising price of could oil. However, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said “I don’t think it will overheat.”

Last year “we suffered alone, we as OPEC+” and now “it’s about being vigilant and being careful,” he said.

Saudi minister added that the additional 1 million barrel-a-day voluntary production cut the kingdom introduced in February was now open-ended. Meaning, OPEC+ will be withholding 7 million barrels a day or 7 percent of global demand from the market– even as fuel consumption recovers in many nations.

Experts have started predicting $75 a barrel by April.

“We expect oil prices to rise toward $70 to $75 a barrel during April,” said Ann-Louise Hittle, vice president of macro oils at consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. “The risk is these higher prices will dampen the tentative global recovery. But the Saudi energy minister is adamant OPEC+ must watch for concrete signs of a demand rise before he moves on production.”

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Gold

Gold Hits Eight-Month Low as Global Optimism Grows Amid Rising Demand for Bitcoin

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Gold Struggles Ahead of Economic Recovery as Bitcoin, New Gold, Surges

Global haven asset, gold, declined to the lowest in more than eight months on Tuesday as signs of global economic recovery became glaring with rising bond yields.

The price of the precious metal declined to $1,718 per ounce during London trading on Thursday, down from $2,072 it traded in August as more investors continue to cut down on their holdings of the metal.

The previous metal usually performs poorly with rising yields on other assets like bonds, especially given the fact that gold does not provide streams of interest payments. Investors have been jumping on US bonds ahead of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, expected to stoke stronger US price growth.

We see the rising bond yields as a sign of economic optimism, which has also prompted gold investors to sell some of their positions,” said Carsten Menke of Julius Baer.

Another analyst from Commerzbank, Carsten Fritsch, said that “gold’s reputation appears to have been tarnished considerably by the heavy losses of recent weeks, as evidenced by the ongoing outflows from gold ETFs”.

Experts at Investors King believed the growing demand for Bitcoin, now called the new gold, and other cryptocurrencies in recent months by institutional investors is hurting gold attractiveness.

In a recent report, analysts at Citigroup have started projecting mainstream acceptance for the unregulated dominant cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.

The price of Bitcoin has rallied by 60 percent to $52,000 this year alone. While Ethereum has risen by over 660 percent in 2021.

 

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