- China Says World Trade System Not Perfect, Needs Reform
The current world trade system is not perfect and China supports reforms to it, including to the World Trade Organization, to make it fairer and more effective, Beijing’s top diplomat said.
China is locked in a bitter trade war with the United States and has vowed repeatedly to uphold the multilateral trading system and free trade, with the WTO at its center.
But speaking late on Thursday to reporters after meeting French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi said some reforms could be good.
While certain doubts have been raised about the current international trading system, China has always supported the protection of free trade and believes that multilateralism with the WTO at its core should be strengthened, Wang added.
“At the same time, we do not believe that the current system is perfect and without flaws,” he said.
“China supports necessary reforms and perfection of the current system, including to the WTO, to make it fairer, more effective and more rational,” Wang added.
The basic tenets of the WTO, in opposing protectionism and supporting free trade should not change, but the rights of developing nations should also not be overlooked, he said.
“The aim of reform should be to allow countries to enjoy the development fruits of globalization more fairly, not to further widen the differences between south and north,” Wang said.
WTO reforms need to include listening to voices from all parties and broad consultation, and should especially listen to a respect the opinions of developing countries, rather than just allowing “one person to have a say”, he added.
“The issue of WTO reform is extremely complex, and involves many areas. (China) hopes all parties remain patient, and advance step by step.”
His remarks come as China and the United States may return to the negotiating table with the threat of new U.S. tariffs looming. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has extended an invitation to talks to his counterparts in Beijing.
“TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SHOULD NOT BE MISTAKEN”
But China will not buckle to U.S. demands in any trade negotiations, the major state-run China Daily newspaper said in an editorial on Friday, after Chinese officials welcomed an invitation from Washington for a new round of talks.
The official China Daily said that while China was “serious” about resolving the stand-off through talks, it would not be rolled over, despite concerns over a slowing economy and a falling stock market at home.
“The Trump administration should not be mistaken that China will surrender to the U.S. demands. It has enough fuel to drive its economy even if a trade war is prolonged,” the newspaper said in an editorial.
If the United States imposed new levies on Chinese imports then Beijing “will not hesitate to take countermeasures against U.S. tariffs to safeguard China’s interests,” it added.
President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Thursday that the United States holds the upper hand in talks.
“We are under no pressure to make a deal with China, they are under pressure to make a deal with us,” Trump tweeted. “Our markets are surging, theirs are collapsing.”
The U.S. administration is readying a final list of $200 billion in Chinese imports on which it plans to levy tariffs of 10-25 percent in coming days, which would ramp up the trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
Trump said last week that he also had tariffs on an additional $267 billion worth of goods ready “on short notice if I want.”
A meeting among Cabinet-level officials could ease market worries over the escalating tariff war that threatens to engulf all trade between the world’s two largest economies and raise costs for companies and consumers.
However, the last round of talks, between mid-level U.S. and Chinese officials in August, failed to reach any agreement.
Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts
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.”
Gold Hits Eight-Month Low as Global Optimism Grows Amid Rising Demand for Bitcoin
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.
Oil Prices Extend Gains to $64.32 Ahead of OPEC+ Meeting
Oil Prices Rise to $64.32 Amid Expected Output Extension
Oil prices extended gains during the early hours of Thursday trading session amid the possibility that OPEC+ producers might not increase output at a key meeting scheduled for later in the day and the drop in U.S refining.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria oil is priced, gained 0.4 percent or 27 cents to $64.32 per barrel as at 7:32 am Nigerian time on Thursday. While the U.S West Texas Intermediate gained 19 cents or 0.3 percent to $61.47 a barrel.
“Prices hinge on Russia’s and Saudi Arabia’s preference to add more crude oil production,” said Stephen Innes, global market strategist at Axi. “Perhaps more interesting is the lack of U.S. shale response to the higher crude oil prices, which is favourable for higher prices.”
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, together known as OPEC+, are looking to extend production cuts into April against expected output increase due to the fragile state of the global oil market.
Oil traders and businesses had been expecting the oil cartel to ease production by around 500,000 barrels per day since January 2021 but because of the coronavirus risk and rising global uncertainties, OPEC+ was forced to role-over production cuts until March. Experts now expect that this could be extended to April given the global situation.
“OPEC+ is currently meeting to discuss its current supply agreement. This raised the spectre of a rollover in supply cuts, which also buoyed the market,” ANZ said in a report.
Meanwhile, U.S crude oil inventories rose by more than a record 21 million barrels last week as refining plunged to a record-low amid Texas weather that knocked out power from homes.
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