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FILE PHOTO: A man checks phone at Lujiazui financial district in Pudong, Shanghai, China March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song
April 22, 2019
BEIJING (Reuters) – China should fine-tune monetary policy in a pre-emptive way ,based on economic growth and price changes, the official Xinhua News Agency said on Monday, citing a top-level meeting chaired by President Xi Jinping.
Monetary policy should be kept neither too tight, nor too loose, Xinhua quoted the meeting as saying, adding that China will step up fiscal policy and strengthen macro counter-cyclical adjustments, a phrase that usually refers to efforts to reduce pressure on the slowing economy.
(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Kim Coghill)
Sudanese demonstrators chant slogans as they attend a mass anti-government protest outside Defence Ministry in Khartoum, Sudan April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah
April 22, 2019
KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan’s ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) warned on Monday against protesters blocking roads and limiting the movement of citizens as protests continued after president Omar al-Bashir was forced from power.
The TMC also said it was unacceptable that some young people were exercising the role of the police and security services, in violation of the law, a reference to youths who have been searching protesters taking part in a sit-in outside the Defense Ministry.
The TMC and the opposition have traded threats since Sunday, with the Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA), the main organizer of the protests, saying it would suspend talks with the Council.
“We have decided to opt for escalation with the military council, not to recognize its legitimacy and to continue the sit-in and escalate the protests on the streets,” Mohamed al-Amin Abdel-Aziz of the SPA told crowds outside the Defense Ministry on Sunday.
The protesters have kept up the sit-in outside the Ministry since Bashir was removed by the military on April 11 and have demonstrated in large numbers in recent days, pressing for a rapid handover to civilian rule.
TMC head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan told state TV on Sunday that the formation of a joint military-civilian council, one of the activists’ demands, was being considered. “The issue has been put forward for discussion and a vision has yet to be reached,” he said.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates said on Sunday they had agreed to send Sudan $3 billion worth of aid, throwing a lifeline to the country’s new military leaders.
(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Yousef Saba; Editing by Gareth Jones and David Holmes)
FILE PHOTO: A woman shops in a wet market in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 18, 2016. REUTERS/Olivia Harris
April 22, 2019
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia’s consumer prices are expected to edge higher in March, rebounding after two months in deflationary territory, a Reuters poll showed on Monday.
The consumer price index in March was forecast to rise 0.3 percent from a year earlier, according to the median estimate among 13 economists surveyed.
The index turned negative in January for the first time since November 2009, declining 0.7 percent year-on-year. In February, it dropped 0.4 percent.
Price pressures have been mild since the government scrapped an unpopular consumption tax in June 2018 and reinstated a narrower sales and services tax (SST) three months later.
The central bank has said, however, that Malaysia did not face serious deflationary pressures. Headline inflation, which came in at 1 percent in 2018, was likely to average higher this year, Bank Negara Malaysia said.
(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
FILE PHOTO: Small toy figures are seen in front of a displayed Huawei and 5G network logo in this illustration picture, March 30, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
April 22, 2019
BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s Huawei Technologies launched on Monday what it said was the world’s first 5G communications hardware for the automotive industry, in a sign of its growing ambitions to become a key supplier to the sector for self-driving technology.
Huawei said in a statement that the so-called MH5000 module is based on the Balong 5000 5G chip which it launched in January. “Based on this chip, Huawei has developed the world’s first 5G car module with high speed and high quality,” it said.
It launched the module at the Shanghai Autoshow, which began last week and runs until Thursday.
“As an important communication product for future intelligent car transportation, this 5G car module will promote the automotive industry to move towards the 5G era,” Huawei said.
It said the module will aid its plans to start commercializing 5G network technology for the automotive sector in the second half of this year.
Huawei has in recent years been testing technology for intelligent connected cars in Chinese cities such as Shanghai, Shenzhen and Wuxi and has signed cooperation deals with a swathe of car makers including FAW, Dongfeng and Changan.
The company, which is also the world’s biggest telecoms equipment maker, is striving to lead the global race for next-generation 5G networks but has come under increasing scrutiny from Washington which alleges that its equipment could be used for espionage. Huawei has repeatedly denied the allegations.
(Reporting by Yilei Sun in Beijing and Brenda Goh in Shanghai; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on Friday said that President Trump’s supporters were similar to Bernie Sanders’ supporters because they both feel marginalized and want to tear down the system.
The comments came during a campaign stop in downtown Nashua, N.H. before a crowd of mostly high school students, according to The Washington Examiner.
The 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind. said that a sense of “anger and disaffection” grows from neighborhoods and families who are struggling to get by despite reports of a healthy economy.
“It just kind of turns you against the system in general and then you’re more likely to want to vote to blow up the system, which could lead you to somebody like Bernie and it could lead you to somebody like Trump. That’s how we got where we are,” Buttigieg said.
Buttigieg drew a distinction between himself and the 77-year-old Vermont Senator, saying that although he greatly admires Sanders, “I don’t have the same views on everything that he does.”
Source: Fox News Politics
The Trump administration is set to inform five nations that they will no longer be exempt from U.S. sanctions if they continue to import oil from Iran, reports said Sunday.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to announce the policy move on Monday, which would no longer renew sanctions waivers for allies Japan, South Korea, and Turkey. The other countries no longer exempt are China and India.
The waivers for sanctions will expire on May 2. The Washington Post first reported on the move, and three sources confirmed the report to the Associated Press.
President Trump finalized the measure on Friday, according to the Post, in an effort to apply “maximum economic pressure” by cutting off its oil exports and reducing its main revenue source to zero.
In reaction to the administration’s move and expectations of tightening supply, early trading on Monday indicated Benchmark Brent crude oil futures rose by as much as 3.2 percent to $74.31 a barrel, the highest since Nov. 1, Reuters reports.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
FILE PHOTO: Visitors leave Bank Indonesia headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia, January 17, 2019. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
April 22, 2019
JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia’s central bank will keep interest rates on hold on Thursday, a Reuters poll showed, though some economists say a rate cut to bolster economic growth is coming – and one sees a possible trim next month.
All 23 analysts in the poll predicted Bank Indonesia (BI) will hold its 7-day reverse repurchase rate at 6.00 percent, where it has been since hikes of 175 basis points (bp) between May and November 2018 to defend the then-ailing rupiah.
A slowing global economy and halt of U.S. Federal Reserve policy tightening have shifted rate cut expectations in much of Asia to probable from possible.
Indonesian central bank officials have noted that a steady rupiah, backed by strong capital inflows and benign inflation, support policy easing, but say a narrower current account deficit is needed before rate cuts.
Surprise trade surpluses in February and March have made some economists anticipate a loosening cycle.
Six of the seven analysts in the poll who gave views on the year-end expected lower rates then.
ANZ’s Krystal Tan has penciled in two 25-bp cuts.
“The conditions for BI to unwind its earlier rate hikes are finally starting to come together,” Tan said.
“Any signs of a dovish pivot in BI’s policy messaging should open the door for a move as soon as May, followed by another in August,” she added.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist Mohamed Faiz Nagutha expects BI to “commence a mini easing cycle and cut policy rates by 75 bps over June-August”.
Citi economist Helmi Arman brought forward his forecast of a 25 bps rate cut to the third quarter, from the fourth, during which he expects another 50 bps in reductions.
But Antonius Permana of Bank Negara Indonesia cautioned that the current account gap may widen again in April-June, which could delay a BI cut.
However, Permana also noted that capital inflows may swell to comfortably cover any size of current account deficits, after unofficial quick counts for the April 17 election showed President Joko Widodo securing a second five-year term.
“Foreign capital inflows have the potential to grow bigger because the political uncertainty has subsided,” he said.
Financial markets in Southeast Asia’s largest economy surged when they opened a day after elections last week, buoyed by news of Widodo’s victory, though gains were pared in the afternoon. Markets were down on Monday.
Bucking the consensus, Fitch Solutions – a research affiliate of Fitch Ratings – said in an April 10 note BI could raise rates by 25 bps by end-2019, based on a prediction of higher inflation as a post-election rollback of subsidies.
(Polling by Tabita Diela and Maikel Jefriando; Writing by Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Richard Borsuk)
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The campaign of U.S. Sen. David Perdue paid a $30,000 fine to federal regulators for violations discovered in the Georgia Republican’s fundraising reports from the 2014 election.
The civil penalty to the Federal Election Commission was disclosed Monday in Perdue’s campaign finance report for the first three months of 2019.
FEC documents show the fine stemmed from violations uncovered by an audit of Perdue’s fundraising and expenditures from five years ago, when the former Dollar General and Reebok CEO was first elected to the Senate. Now an outspoken ally of President Donald Trump, Perdue will seek reelection in 2020.
“After undergoing an exhaustive four-year-long random audit process, we reached a reasonable settlement agreement regarding some typical bookkeeping errors that occur on a campaign of this size in order to bring this matter to close,” Perdue campaign consultant Derrick Dickey said.
The settlement says an FEC auditor found Perdue’s campaign took more than $117,000 in prohibited contributions during the previous campaign, as well as more than $325,000 that exceeded legal limits on campaign donations. The FEC also found Perdue’s campaign failed to disclose $128,972 in debts and obligations.
The document says Perdue’s campaign disputed the amount of illegal contributions and presented documentation that “reduced the amount of apparent excessive contributions.” But it doesn’t say by how much. The agreement also says the campaign amended its financial disclosures to account for the unreported debt.
Perdue raised more than $14 million for the 2014 election in which he defeated Democrat Michelle Nunn, the daughter for former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn.
Former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson has filed paperwork with the FEC to position herself as a potential Democratic challenger to Perdue. Democrat Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the race for Georgia governor last year, has also been weighing a 2020 Senate campaign. Abrams has not announced a decision.
Source: NewsMax Politics
FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians are reflected on an electronic board showing stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan December 27, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
April 12, 2019
By Andrew Galbraith
SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Asian shares turned lower on Friday as trepidation ahead of the start of the U.S. corporate earnings season and underlying anxiety over the global growth outlook eclipsed some reassuring U.S. economic data.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was last down 0.1 percent, having see-sawed within a tight range throughout the morning session
Despite broad weakness in the region, with Chinese blue-chips down 0.8 percent ahead of the release of trade data, higher Chinese iron ore prices helped to push Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index up 0.7 percent.
Japan’s Nikkei stock index gained 0.5 percent.
Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets and Stockbroking in Sydney, said markets were in a “holding pattern” as they waited on Chinese trade data and the U.S. earnings season.
Matt Simpson, senior market analyst at GAIN Capital in Singapore, said a dovish shift by central banks, together with possible progress on a U.S.-China trade deal and U.S. President Donald Trump’s talking up of the markets could help to support equities in the coming weeks.
“Consumer discretionary and information technology are more than outperforming the S&P 500 rebound, and that generally is what you see in the start of an upswing, not near the end of a cycle,” he said.
The tepid performance of Asian markets Friday followed a choppy session on Wall Street that left major indexes treading water, hemmed in by anxiety ahead of corporate earnings and worries about a global economic slowdown, which capped gains stemming from upbeat U.S. economic data.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.05 percent to 26,143.05, the S&P 500 closed flat at 2,888.32 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.21 percent to 7,947.36.
Tempering expectations for a sharp slowdown in U.S. growth as data that showed the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits dropped to a 49-1/2-year low last week
Comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida that the U.S. economy is in a “good place” but reemphasising the Fed’s patience on rate hikes, also helped to reassure investors.
“One of the big takeaways from the past few days has been the broad decline in volatility across markets,” National Australia Bank (NAB) analysts said in a morning note. NAB attributed the muted reaction to recent events to dovish policy shifts by central banks, signs that China’s stimulus measures are having an effect, continued U.S.-China trade talks and the Brexit delay.
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said on Thursday that the six-month delay of Britain’s exit from the European Union avoids the “terrible outcome” of a “no-deal” Brexit, but does nothing to lift uncertainty over the final outcome.
Underscoring ongoing threats to the health of the global economy, IMF Deputy Managing Director Mitsuhiro Furusawa warned that a bigger-than-expected slowdown in China’s economy remains a key risk to global growth.
U.S. Treasury yields inched lower amid the cautious retreat in shares, after earlier rising on the U.S. jobless claims data, stronger producer prices and a weak 30-year bond auction.
On Friday morning, the yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes fell to 2.497 percent compared with its U.S. close of 2.504 percent on Thursday. The two-year yield was unchanged at 2.356 percent.
In currency markets, the dollar was up 0.1 percent against the yen at 111.75, but a strong gain in the euro, which jumped 0.36 percent on the day to buy $1.1290, pushed the dollar index down 0.2 percent to 96.979.
Traders said demand for the euro jumped among Japanese players amid speculation toward cross-border flows.
U.S. crude ticked up 0.35 percent at $63.80 a barrel, while Brent crude was up 0.28 percent at $71.03 per barrel.
Gold was flat after falling more than 1 percent on Thursday to break below the key $1,300 level following solid U.S. data. Spot gold traded at $1,292.03 per ounce.
(Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Additional reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro in TOKYO; Editing by Sam Holmes & Shri Navaratnam)
FILE PHOTO: A woman dressed as Marie Antoinette from the video game “Assassin’s Creed: Unity” promotes the game in the Ubisoft booth at the 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo, known as E3, in Los Angeles, California June 10, 2014. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian/File Photo
April 17, 2019
By Gwénaëlle Barzic
PARIS (Reuters) – French video game developer Ubisoft said on Wednesday it will offer free access to its “Assassin’s Creed” game, which allows players to roam in a meticulously reconstituted Notre-Dame Cathedral during the French revolution.
The fire that devastated the nine-century old monument on Monday has raised a wave of enthusiasm in France and abroad, pushing people to donate for its reconstruction and pushing Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” novel up the top-selling book charts.
“We stand in solidarity with our fellow Parisians and everyone around the world moved by the devastation the fire caused,” Ubisoft said on its website. “We want to give everyone the chance to experience the majesty and beauty of Notre-Dame the best way we know how,” it added.
During one week, the company will let players download for free the “Unity” version of its game that was released in 2014. The game is set in 1789 Paris and players are part of a secret society of hit men roaming the city chasing victims from a rival group.
The version includes a digital 3-D version of the Notre-Dame cathedral elaborated with real plans, historical documents and pictures of statues and old stones.
The reproduction required 5,000 hours of work and included the reconstitution of 140 stained glasses.
Players can climb on the cathedral’s arches and gargoyles and admire a reconstitution of Paris’s 18th-century skyline. There is, however, a small anachronism: the cathedral includes its spire, which was added only in the mid-19th century.
(Reporting by Inti Landauro; Editing by Dan Grebler)
A newly released prisoner, part of over 8,000 inmates granted amnesty by Myanmar’s President Win Myint to mark Myanmar’s new year, hugs his family outside Insein prison in Yangon, Myanmar April 17, 2018. REUTERS/Ann Wang
April 17, 2019
By Thu Thu Aung
YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar began releasing more than 9,000 prisoners on Wednesday, with many drug offenders among the first to walk free, but just two political detainees, after the president declared an amnesty on the first day of the traditional New Year.
President Win Myint said 9,535 local prisoners, and 16 foreigners, had been pardoned in a gesture designed “for the peace and pleasure of the people, and taking into consideration humanitarian concerns”.
Authorities were scrutinizing who should be pardoned among the rest, he said in a statement on his Facebook page, without elaborating.
Myanmar regularly orders such releases from its overcrowded prisons to mark the holiday.
Dozens of people waited in sweltering heat for hours at the gates of Insein prison, the colonial-era jail on the outskirts of the commercial capital of Yangon, hoping their relatives would be among those pardoned.
Under the setting sun, prisoners began to trickle through the gates as crowds cheered and waved green Eugenia leaves, symbols of good fortune.
Many of those released said they had been convicted on drugs charges, some receiving long sentences for possession of small quantities of banned substances.
“There are too many people who should be released inside the prison,” said 33-year-old Paik Paik, who said she served four years of a seven-year sentence, some of them spent breaking rocks at a labor camp separated from her children, after she was arrested with two methamphetamine pills.
“The punishment does not fit the crime,” she added.
Two Reuters reporters jailed for breaking the Official Secrets Act were not among those being pardoned, a senior official at Insein, where they are being held, told Reuters.
Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party came to power in 2016 promising to free political prisoners from jails across the country, but activists say they continue to be imprisoned.
In the past week, a filmmaker accused of defaming the military was denied bail and sent to Insein, while several satirical poets were charged with online defamation for broadcasting a New Year performance critical of the army.
Two political prisoners, of a total of 364, were released on Wednesday, said Aung Myo Kyaw of a human rights group, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
Maran Gam and Zau La, members of an ethnic armed group, were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2000 on drug trafficking charges. Activists said the military invited them to a meeting and arrested them when they arrived.
Among the political prisoners behind bars or facing trial are people accused of criticizing the army and ethnic minority activists jailed after protesting against war between government forces and minority insurgents.
It was not immediately clear if there would be further releases later. A government spokesman did not answer telephone calls from Reuters to seek comment, while a spokesman for the ruling party said he did not know.
(The story is refiled to correct number of freed prisoners, paragraph two.)
(Reporting by Thu Thu Aung; Additional reporting by Sam Aung Moon; Writing by Poppy McPherson; Editing by Robert Birsel and Clarence Fernandez)