Posts belonging to Category Industry

Sanctions against China for the “theft” of US intellectual property

Threats of retaliatory measures

President Donald Trump is poised on Thursday to unveil sanctions against China for the “theft” of US intellectual property, a White House official said, teeing up a second potential confrontation in as many months. Spokesman Raj Shah told AFP that Trump will announce actions following an “investigation into China’s state-led, market-distorting efforts to force, pressure, and steal US technologies and intellectual property.”

Beijing has already warned the Trump administration against the move, urging him not act “emotionally.” It is just weeks since Trump short-circuited White House deliberations and announced a raft of sanctions on foreign-produced steel and aluminum off the cuff.

That move prompted the resignation of top economic advisor Gary Cohn, a global stock market selloff, legal disputes and threats of retaliatory measures.

On Wednesday Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned that the prospect of a trade war was a growing threat to the world’s largest economy. But the impulsive president is showing no sign of backing down.

China wants half of the electric vehicle business

China signed a deal to secure a huge amount of the global supply of cobalt, key component of electric cars batteries

China has signed a huge deal to secure the lion’s share of global cobalt supply — a core component of electric car batteries. The deal will see GEM — a $4.6 billion company listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange — purchase 50,000 tonnes of cobalt from mining company Glencore over the next three years. According to the Financial Times, that’s equal to half of the world’s total cobalt supply in 2017 — and comprises around one third of Glencore’s total production estimates through 2020.

The Glencore deal locks in China’s position as a market leader in the manufacturing of electric car batteries globally — given that it already produces more than 80% of the world’s refined cobalt. Prices for the metal have doubled over the past two years as electric vehicle manufacturers scramble to secure adequate supplies.…  March 15, 2018

VCs planting seeds in the cannabis industry

 Increasing number of US states to legalize marijuana

The startup world has seen a growing number of cannabis-related companies crop up over the past several years, a development that’s likely driven by the increasing number of US states to legalize marijuana in some capacity. The industry is ripe for technological innovation—and several companies and venture investors are taking advantage.

In fact, after already setting a new high last year, VCs are on pace to make a record number of new deals in the cannabis industry during 2017. Here’s a chart showing recent venture investor activity in US-based cannabis companies:…  March 12, 2018

Theresa May’s hopes of a post-Brexit trade deal with Trump in doubt

Trump launches European trade war

Theresa May’s plans for a quick post-Brexit trade deal with the US have been thrown into doubt after Trump announced plans to launch a trade war with Europe.

The president is reportedly planning to impose up to 25% tariffs on imported steel and 10% on aluminium in an attempt to save US industry.

“We are on the losing side of almost all trade deals,” Trump tweeted on Monday.

“Our friends and enemies have taken advantage of the U.S. for many years. Our Steel and Aluminum industries are dead. Sorry, it’s time for a change! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”…  March 06, 2018

Trump announces plans for heavy tariffs on steel and aluminum imports

Ugly trade war with China

President Trump unveiled plans Thursday to slap hefty tariffs on global imports of steel and aluminum, catching much of his administration by surprise, sending stocks plunging and sparking widespread fears that he was leading the United States into an ugly trade war with China as well as key American allies. Trump said he would sign an order next week to impose 25% tariffs on steel imports and 10% duties on aluminum, using his authority under an obscure trade law provision that permits the president to take sweeping measures in the name of national security.

Trump has long been a critic of U.S. trade policies, and he was elected partly on the promise to revamp the way Washington does business with the rest of the world. On Thursday, Trump assured U.S. manufacturers that they will “have protection for a long time .… You’ll have to regrow your industries. That’s all I’m asking.” For months, administration officials with less nationalistic views on trade, such as chief economic advisor Gary Cohn, have tried to dissuade Trump from imposing broad tariffs in response to America’s big trade deficit and what the president views as the world taking unfair advantage of the U.S. The shift was reflected in the recent rise in influence of more hawkish advisors who share Trump’s skepticism of trade, including Peter Navarro.…  March 02, 2018

Stronger Economy Boosts Chance for Rate Hikes

 Republican tax cuts enacted in December boost growth

Federal Reserve officials at their January meeting believed that a brightening global economic picture and the effects of recently passed tax cuts had raised the prospect for solid growth and continued interest rate increases.

The minutes of the Fed’s Jan. 30-31 discussions showed that the officials were more optimistic about the economy than they had been in December. They noted a stronger U.S. and global economy as well as expectations that the Republican tax cuts enacted in December would boost growth.

The minutes said “a majority of participants noted that a stronger outlook for economic growth raised the likelihood that further gradual policy firming would be appropriate.”…  Febuary 22, 2018

Irish government : Brexit talks ‘could collapse at any moment’

Negotiations could break down over the border issue

There is renewed fear within the Irish government that Brexit talks could collapse over the UK government’s refusal to consider staying in a customs union with the European Union. enior figures in the Irish government said privately that they fear that Theresa May’s insistence on leaving the customs union will make a hard border impossible to avoid and lead to a complete break down in negotiations.

A high-ranking member of the Irish government said “talks could collapse at any moment” in a meeting with a prominent British MP this month, a source familiar with the meeting has told Business Insider. The Irish government did not wish to comment when contacted by BI.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said on Friday that border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are “unavoidable” if Britain decides to leave the customs union and single market.…  Febuary 12, 2018

The Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow model is bullish

US economy: 5,4% growth (annual rate) in the first Quarter of 2018

The growth rate of real gross domestic product (GDP) is a key indicator of economic activity, but the official estimate is released with a delay. Our GDPNow forecasting model provides a “nowcast” of the official estimate prior to its release.

The GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the first quarter of 2018 is 5.4percent on February 1, up from 4.2 percent on January 29. The forecast of real consumer spending growth increased from 3.1 percent to 4.0 percent after this morning’s Manufacturing ISM Report On Business from the Institute for Supply Management, while the forecast of real private fixed-investment growth increased from 5.2 percent to 9.2 percent after the ISM report and this morning’s construction spending release from the U.S. Census Bureau. The model’s estimate of the dynamic factor for January—normalized to have mean 0 and standard deviation 1 and used to forecast the yet-to-be released monthly GDP source data—increased from 0.42 to 1.37 after the ISM report.…  Febuary 02, 2018

US: $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending

Trump is looking for help from Congress

President Donald Trump called on the U.S. Congress on Tuesday to pass legislation to stimulate at least $1.5 trillion in new infrastructure spending.

In his State of the Union speech to Congress, Trump offered no other details of the spending plan, such as how much federal money would go into it, but said it was time to address America’s “crumbling infrastructure.”

Rather than increase federal spending massively, Trump said: “Every federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with state and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private-sector investment.” The administration has already released an outline of a plan that would make it easier for states to build tollways and to privatize rest stops along interstate highways.…  January 31, 2018

America’s oil exports are booming

Prices are climbing

The resurgence of the oil industry can be traced back to what happened in Congress one day in December 2015. That’s when lawmakers ended the 40-year ban on U.S. oil exports. Crude pumped in Texas, Oklahoma and North Dakota could suddenly be shipped overseas.

At the time, a glut of supply was wreaking havoc on the energy industry. Crude eventually crashed to $26 a barrel. But that glut is disappearing, thanks in part to booming oil exports from the United States. Crude that was once trapped inside the country is now going to Europe, Latin America and even China.

The United States exported a record 1.7 million barrels of oil per day in October 2017, according to the most recent stats from the Energy Information Administration. That’s four times as much as in 2015, when federal law prohibited shipping oil to most places except Canada.…  January 29, 2018