Posts belonging to Category Prices

China February exports surge most in three years

Global trade war fears build

China’s exports unexpectedly surged at the fastest pace in three years in February, suggesting both its economy and global growth remain resilient even as trade relations with the United States rapidly deteriorate.

Trade tensions have jumped to the top of the list of risks facing China this year, with planned U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum signaling more measures may be on the way, Zhou Hao, senior emerging markets economist at Commerzbank, told the Reuters Global Markets Forum this week.

China’s February exports rose 44.5 percent from a year earlier, far more than analysts’ median forecast for a 13.6 percent increase and January’s 11.1 percent gain, official data showed on Thursday.

Imports grew 6.3 percent, missing forecasts for 9.7 percent growth and down from a sharper-than-expected 36.9 percent jump in January.…  March 08, 2018

Despite Trump’s attacks, Obamacare sign-ups dip only slightly

Millions of Americans opted to sign up for coverage on the exchanges for 2018 anyway

Some 11.8 million people selected plans on the federal and state-based exchanges, down 3.7% from last year, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy. The data, released Wednesday, provides the first look at sign-ups for 2018 nationwide. Just over 8.7 million people signed up on the federal exchange, while a little over 3 million picked plans in the 11 states and District of Columbia, which run their own marketplaces. Obamacare advocates had feared that sign-ups would plummet after the Trump administration cut the open enrollment period in half, slashed advertising by 90% and reduced support for enrollment assistance. Also, insurers hiked premiums for many plans amid the uncertainty in Washington, D.C. and President Trump’s elimination of funding for Obamacare’s cost-sharing subsidies. However, in a strange twist, richer federal premium subsidies actually made coverage more affordable for many people.  Febuary 08, 2018

The store of the future

Inside Amazon Go

Long lines at checkout are common at grocery stores. But at Amazon’s new cashier-free store, you’ll only need to worry about clumps of tourists. The small test store in Seattle, which opened to the public for the first time on Monday, could be what automated shopping spaces will look like in the future. It uses cameras and sensors to detect what food you’ve taken from a shelf, then automatically charges you when you walk out. I stopped by to try out the store, located in the base of Amazon’s corporate skyscraper, on Thursday morning. Three days after its grand opening, the massive lines had mostly disappeared. There were only a handful of shoppers inside at 10:15 a.m., but business picked up at lunchtime and there was a short line to enter.

To walk in, you need a few things: an Amazon account, a recent smartphone, and the Amazon Go app. You enter the 1800-square-foot space through six high-tech turnstiles. Open the app and wave a code on your screen above a gate to open it. It’s a familiar experience to anyone who has ridden a subway or used a mobile boarding pass at the airport.…  January 29, 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

Trump angers US solar installers with panel tariff

Job creator, or job killer?

U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law a steep tariff on imported solar panels on Tuesday, a move billed as a way to protect American jobs but which the solar industry said would lead to thousands of layoffs and raise consumer prices.

The 30 percent tariff on solar panels is among the first unilateral trade restrictions imposed by the administration as part of a broader protectionist agenda to help U.S. manufacturers, but which has alarmed Asian trading partners that produce lower cost goods. The administration also introduced a tariff on imported washing machines. “You’re going to have people getting jobs again and we’re going to make our own product again. It’s been a long time,” Trump said as he signed the order.

But the solar industry countered that the move will raise the cost of installing panels, quash billions of dollars of investment, and kill tens of thousands of jobs, raising questions about whether Trump’s move will backfire by triggering mass layoffs.…  January 24, 2018

Legal recreational pot in California: What you need to know

California becomes the nation’s largest state to offer legal marijuana sales

California voted to legalize in 2016. The goal is to tighten regulation of the state’s long-running medical pot sales while encouraging operators in the vast black market to enter the legal system.

In general, California will treat cannabis like alcohol, allowing people 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of pot and grow six marijuana plants at home. The state in December began licensing businesses for the new economy, including retailers who will sell it and distributors who will move it from fields to storefronts.… Mon., 02  January 2018

Americans keep waiting for bigger paychecks

The increase in wages remains frustratingly low given the health of the overall job market

Average hourly earnings rose 2.5% over the past 12 months. That’s a slight improvement from the 2.4% increase the government reported for October. Still, it remains below the 3% increase that most economists (not to mention workers) would like to see. People are finding jobs. That’s not the problem. The economy added 228,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate remained at 4.1% — its lowest level since December 2000.… Wed., 13  December 2017

Brexit: Divorce deal agreed

May: there will be no hard border in Ireland

Britain and the European Union struck a deal on Friday to move on to talk about trade and a transition period after they agreed the outline of their divorce, easing the pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May. The European Commission said enough progress had been made after the two sides worked through the night to end an impasse over the status of the Irish border that had scuppered an earlier attempt to clinch a deal on Monday.

The Commission gave its verdict in a statement after intense talks, which resulted in British Prime Minister Theresa May taking an early-morning flight to Brussels to announce the deal alongside Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Donald Tusk, the chairman of European Union leaders, welcomed the deal but said London still needed to provide more clarity on the new relationship after Brexit, and bemoaned the fact the first round of talks had taken so long.

“We all know that breaking up is hard, but breaking up and building a new relation is much harder,” he said. “So much time has been devoted to the easier task and now … we have de facto less than a year” left for talks before Britain is due to leave in March, 2019.… Fri., 08  December 2017

UK could pay £50bn Brexit divorce bill

Bowing to EU pressure

The UK has bowed to EU demands on the Brexit divorce bill in a move that could result in the UK paying £50bn to Brussels, in an attempt to get France and Germany to agree to move negotiations to trade.

Non-stop behind-the-scenes negotiations have led to a broad agreement by the UK to a gross financial settlement of £89bn on leaving the bloc, although the British expect the final net bill to be half as much.…  Wed., 29  November 2017

Bitcoin’s Daily Trade Volume Surpasses $5B

After the Canceled Fork Announcement Bitcoin Trade Volume Spikes Exponentially

Action across bitcoin markets have been all over the place. For instance, on Tuesday, November 7, the price dipped below the $7K zone and rebounded back above that territory a few hours later. The very next day on November 8, immediately following the announcement that Segwit2x was canceled, bitcoin’s market value spiked to a high of $7,900 per BTC. The peak didn’t last long, and the price per bitcoin has been hovering between $7,100-7,450 over the course of the past 12-hours. The last few days bitcoin has been trading over $3B a day in 24-hour trade volume, but on November 9 the decentralized currency swapped over $5B in BTC trades. Presently, bitcoin’s value is trading at $7,150-7,210 across a variety of global exchanges.…  Tue., 14  November 2017