Beijing, Aug 29 (AP/UNB) — Asian stock markets edged higher Wednesday after Wall Street gained on strength in technology and retailing shares.
KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 0.5 percent to 22,927.35 points and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 22 points to 28,373.74. The Shanghai Composite Index was off 2 points at 2,775.89 and Seoul's Kospi gained 2 points to 2,305.98. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 advanced 0.3 percent to 6,321.20 and benchmarks in Taiwan and New Zealand gained.
WALL STREET: The Standard & Poor's 500 index closed at a new record. Shoe retailer DSW surged 20.2 percent after reporting stronger-than-expected results. Apple added 0.8 percent and chipmaker Qualcomm gained 3.6 percent. The S&P 500 rose less than 0.1 percent to 2,897.52. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.1 percent to 26,064.02. The Nasdaq composite gained 12.14 points, or 0.2 percent, to 8,030.04. Energy companies dipped along with oil prices.
NAFTA: Canada's foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, said she had a "constructive conversation" with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer about how to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement. Freeland arrived in Washington for talks after the Trump administration reached a preliminary deal with Mexico to replace NAFTA. While some experts think stocks could rally if the U.S. and its partners make progress on new trade deals, others say it is unclear how much tensions have harmed stocks.
ANALYST'S QUOTE: "The initial euphoria from the U.S.-Mexico agreement died down" and "mixed views" from Canadian officials gave investors little guidance, said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report. Investors appear to be looking at the Mexico talks "to project how the U.S. administration would likely remain adamant as well in dealing with China that could invite further tensions ahead," said Pan. "One to watch, nevertheless, as more tariffs loom."
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 10 cents to $68.63 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract sank 34 cents on Tuesday to close at $68.53. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 6 cents to $76.35 in London. It shed 21 cents the previous session to $76.29.
CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 111.29 yen from Tuesday's 111.19 yen. The euro advanced to $1.1692 from $1.1696.
Washington, Aug 29 (AP/UNB) — Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said her meeting Tuesday with United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer was "a very good, constructive conversation" about how to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Freeland told reporters after the meeting she and her team plan to work this week in "a full-steam effort" and said both parties will start diving into specific issues Wednesday morning.
Freeland hurried to Washington a day after the Trump administration reached a preliminary deal Monday with Mexico to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.
She doesn't have much time, because Lighthizer intends to formally notify Congress of the deal with Mexico on Friday.
Freeland said both parties "are set for an important and constructive week" but also warned that "we are prepared for all scenarios."
She said significant concessions from Mexico in the areas of labor and rules of origin on cars "really paved the way for what Canada believes will be a good week."
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Mexico had agreed to ensure that 75 percent of automotive content be produced within the trade bloc (up from a current 62.5 percent) to receive duty-free benefits and that 40 percent to 45 percent be made by workers earning at least $16 an hour. Those changes are meant to encourage more auto production in the United States.
Tuesday's meeting was the first time Freeland had met with her U.S. counterparts in Washington since May.
Umm Al-Quwain, UAE, Aug 29 (UNB/AsiaNet) – UAE based ADAB Solutions company is launching the First Islamic Crypto Exchange (FICE), which is very unique, as it is the only Shariah compliant crypto exchange at this moment.
This project gives access to the technologically innovative financial sector for 1.8 billion Muslims living on the planet. FICE will create a reliable crypto trading platform, which will become a universal solution for the involvement of Muslims and users of Islamic finance in the crypto market.
This will be the first project, which allows crypto transactions to be performed in accordance with the principles of Islamic finance and will be open to all users, regardless of religion.
According to the Islamic Finance Development Report 2017 by Thomson Reuters, the crypto economy is one of the key innovative areas in the field of Islamic finance. However, the multitudes of contradictions in this market, and the ambiguous position of the Islamic community regarding the admissibility of investments in this market, have led to the distancing and wait-and-see attitude of Muslim investors.
By adhering to the high moral requirements set forth by the Shariah community, the company will utilize the in-house Shariah Advisory Board represented by international Shariah experts to ensure that FICE activity will comply with Shariah principles at all times. These new standards set forth by the FICE will ensure an enhanced quality of assets on exchange, as well as an enhanced inclusion of Islamic crypto assets enthusiasts and traders.
"Ideas that correspond to the norms of the Shariah are based on the understandable material value, have a clear business strategy, and this allows us to confidently assert that halal projects are incomparably safer more successful than the beautiful signs of many cryptocurrency initiatives," says Founder and CEO of ADAB Solutions, Timur Turzhan.
"By investing in FICE, you will not only support the needed and well-timed project for the Islamic Ummah of the whole world, but also make a valuable acquisition that can bring a decent profit. Our team is dedicated to its business and will do its best to achieve all the goals set."
ADAB Solutions Company registered under the UAE jurisdiction. The company aims to provide solutions to attract Muslims community to the crypto economy.
Beijing, Aug 28 (AP/UNB) — Faced with plunging U.S. orders, surgical glove maker Ren Jiding is hunting for new markets amid Chinese government calls to reduce reliance on the United States. But none can absorb the 60 percent of his sales that went to American customers last year.
"Other countries import much less than the United States," said Ren, a co-owner of Hongyeshangqin Medical Science and Technology Co., Ltd. in the eastern city of Zibo.
From medical products to smartphone chips to soybeans, Beijing is responding to President Donald Trump's tariff hikes by pushing companies to trade more with other countries. But there are few substitutes for the United States as an export market and source of technology for industries including telecom equipment makers Chinese leaders are eager to develop.
Beijing has announced tariff cuts and other changes while rejecting U.S. demands to scale back plans such as "Made in China 2025," which calls for state-led creation of Chinese champions in robotics, biotech and other fields. American leaders say those violate Beijing's market-opening promises and might erode U.S. industrial leadership.
The response highlights the cost the ruling Communist Party is willing to pay in lost sales and jobs to stick to plans that are fueling conflict with Washington, Europe and other trading partners.
"China sees its technology and industrial policies as fundamental to its growth," Tianjie He of Oxford Economics said in an email. "It is thus hard to see China's leadership committing to significant changes."
Trump has raised duties on a total of $50 billion of Chinese imports including ultrasound scanners and industrial components that Washington says benefit from improper policies. China retaliated with similar penalties.
The U.S. is poised to raise duties on $200 billion of imports including the gloves made by Ren's company. Beijing has issued a list of American goods for retaliation.
The impact on China is "small and is containable, at least for the time being," said Vincent Chan of Credit Suisse. He said the "worst case" outlook if all threatened U.S. tariff hikes go ahead would cut China's growth by 0.2 percentage points this year and 1.3 percent in 2019.
Chinese leaders have tried to cushion the blow to their own economy by targeting American goods its importers can get from other countries — soybeans from Brazil, gas from Russia, cars from Germany and fish from Vietnam.
Beijing has promised to use revenue from the higher tariffs to help struggling exporters and has ordered banks to lend more freely to them.
The biggest jolt so far came from Beijing's cancellation of orders for soybeans, the biggest American export to China at $21 billion last year. That hammered farm states that voted for Trump in the 2016 election. It also pushed up prices for Chinese farmers that use soybeans for animal feed and food processors that crush them for cooking oil.
That could be a windfall for Brazil. But China already is its top market and consumes two-thirds of the global supply. Chinese total imports last year of 95 million metric tons were 50 percent more than the South American giant's entire exports.
"The Chinese can talk all they want about finding other sources of soybeans," but 80 percent come from the United States, Brazil and Argentina, said Michael Cordonnier, president of Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc., a U.S. research firm.
"If you want to import soybeans, it generally must be from one of those three countries," said Cordonnier in an email.
Regulators also cut import duties on automobiles on July 1 but raised them on vehicles from the United States. That helps luxury brands that import from Germany and Japan.
Replacing markets for Chinese exporters that support tens of millions of jobs will be harder.
The United States bought $430 billion of China's exports last year, or 20 percent of the $2.2 trillion total. The No. 2 market was the 28-nation European Union at $370 billion.
"We can't afford to lose the U.S. market," said David Hu, general manager of Sinohood Bags Factory Ltd. in the southeastern city of Yiwu.
Americans bought 40 percent of his canvas tote bags last year, including the most profitable customized versions with Christmas and other designs.
"What we export to Europe is lower-end products with lower prices," said Hu. "We could explore the Indian, Vietnamese or Philippine markets. But the prices they offer would be too low."
Chinese officials point to potential markets in the "Belt and Road," a multibillion-dollar initiative led by President Xi Jinping to boost trade by building ports, railways and other infrastructure across Asia to Europe.
That has brought a flood of contracts to Chinese state-owned builders but complaints about costs have hurt its appeal. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia announced this month the cancellation of plans for Chinese-built projects including a $20 billion rail line.
"There is potential for development in areas such as central Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and South America. But their problems are development imbalance and economic instability," said Li Yong, a senior fellow at the China Association of International Trade, an industry group.
Local officials have met with exporters to exhort them to "diversify markets," according to the state press.
Authorities in the central city of Jingzhou visited exporters to help with customs forms, financing and other details, the website China Industry and Commerce News said.
Ren, the surgical glove maker, said his 300-employee company was looking at Europe and developing countries but demand was sluggish.
Some companies are confident of keeping their U.S. market share. That reflects the possible success of official efforts to develop higher-tech goods instead of competing on price alone.
The general manager of Yihua Electronic Equipment Co. in southern China's Guangdong said the tariffs should not affect sales of its digital soldering guns, one fifth of which are sold to the United States.
"With the 25 percent tariffs, ours still are cheaper than similar German- or Japanese-made products," said the manager, who would give only his surname, Gou. "We are not producing something like shoes and clothing that could be easily replaced."
Trump's pressure is likely to backfire by encouraging Beijing to throw even more resources at nurturing its own technology creators.
China's search for non-U.S. suppliers could help companies such as Taiwanese chipmaker MediaTek Inc. But redesigning a phone or network gear and then gaining regulatory and customer approval can take a minimum of three to five years.
"For now," said He of Oxford Economics, "China remains technologically dependent on the U.S."
Tokyo, Aug 28 (AP/UNB) — Asian shares were mostly higher Tuesday after the White House said it reached a preliminary agreement with Mexico on replacing a North American free-trade deal.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 finished at 22,813.47, up 0.1 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6 percent to 6,304.70. South Korea's Kospi edged up 0.1 percent to 2,302.42. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was virtually unchanged, inching down less than 0.1 percent to 28,257.12, while the Shanghai Composite index fell 0.3 percent to 2,772.66, adjusting from gains the previous day.
TRADE DEAL: Asian economies generally benefit from trade deals that will encourage exports to the U.S. The Nasdaq composite index topped 8,000 for the first time after the NAFTA news, although the trade deal isn't final. The U.S. still needs to reach an understanding with Canada, the third party in the accord.
WALL STREET: The S&P 500 index climbed 22.05 points, or 0.8 percent, on Monday to 2,896.74. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 259.29 points, or 1 percent, to 26,049.64. The Nasdaq composite gained 71.92 points, or 0.9 percent, to 8,017.90. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 2.73 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,728.41.
THE QUOTE: "Risk sentiment continues to improve with U.S. markets bolstered by the progress in the latest NAFTA progress, set to inspire Asian market higher into the session," said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.
TOYOTA GAINS: Toyota Motor Corp. shares got a perk from the NAFTA news as the top Japanese automaker benefits from free trade. The manufacturer was also boosted by its announcement that it was investing $500 million in ride-hailing service Uber and will partner with Uber to build self-driving cars. Toyota was trading up nearly 2 percent in the morning session on the Tokyo Stock Exchange but settled at 0.9 percent higher in the afternoon.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 11 cents to $68.76 a barrel. It edged up 0.2 percent to $68.87 a barrel in the New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 9 cents to $76.12 a barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.21 yen from 111.19 late Monday. The euro rose to $1.1677 from $1.1611.