Dhaka, May 19 (UNB) - Citi has been named as the best bank in Asia by Corporate Treasurer Magazine, Asia’s leading trade magazine covering corporate treasury and finance.
The best bank award was decided by a poll of over 1,200 corporate treasurers and CFOs across the Asia Pacific region arranged by the magazine and East and Partners, global specialist business banking market research and analysis firm, said a media release on Sunday.
The poll asked companies for their primary bank and their satisfaction with it across transaction services, including cash, trade and FX services.
The winner was then determined by the combined scores of market share and this satisfaction rating.
“We were delighted with the level of engagement in this ground breaking original research by Corporate Treasurer and East. For Citi, the award was a significant milestone marking its journey in Asia,” said the editorial announcing the award.
“The award is important recognition from clients that Citi is delivering on our commitment to be their most trusted banking partner. We would like to thank all our clients for this trust they place in us. Underpinning this win is a team across the region and I would like to congratulate them,” said Jan Metzger, Asia Pacific Head of Banking, Capital Markets Advisory.
In the first quarter of 2019, Citi Asia Pacific reported a 60 percent rise in net income quarter on quarter across its Institutional Clients Group in Asia, which bank’s Asia’s leading corporates and global MNCs doing business in the region.
“The year is already off to a strong start. We’re seeing an increased demand for banking services as more of our global clients invest in opportunities across the region and we continue to support Asia’s local champions with their local, regional and global aspirations. Our regional network has never been stronger and this strength is helping us broaden and deepen banking relationships,” added Metzger.
Washington, May 18 (AP/UNB) — Bogged down in a sprawling trade dispute with U.S. rival China, President Donald Trump took steps Friday to ease tensions with America's allies — lifting import taxes on Canadian and Mexican steel and aluminum and delaying auto tariffs that would have hurt Japan and Europe.
By removing the metals tariffs on Canada and Mexico, Trump cleared a key roadblock to a North American trade pact his team negotiated last year. As part of Friday's arrangement, the Canadians and Mexicans agreed to scrap retaliatory tariffs they had imposed on U.S. goods.
"I'm pleased to announce that we've just reached an agreement with Canada and Mexico, and we'll be selling our product into those countries without the imposition of tariffs, or major tariffs," Trump said in a speech to the National Association of Realtors.
In a joint statement, the U.S. and Canada said they would work to prevent cheap imports of steel and aluminum from entering North America. The provision appeared to target China, which has long been accused of flooding world markets with subsidized metal, driving down world prices and hurting U.S. producers. The countries could also reimpose the tariffs if they faced a "surge" in steel or aluminum imports.
In Washington, some were urging Trump to take advantage of the truce with U.S. allies to get even tougher with China.
"China is our adversary," said Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb. "Canada and Mexico are our friends. The president is right to increase pressure on China for their espionage, their theft of intellectual property, and their hostility toward the rule of law. The president is also right to be deescalating tension with our North American allies."
Earlier Friday, the White House said Trump is delaying for six months any decision to slap tariffs on foreign cars, a move that would have hit Japan and the Europe especially hard.
Trump still is hoping to use the threat of auto tariffs to pressure Japan and the European Union into making concessions in ongoing trade talks. "If agreements are not reached within 180 days, the president will determine whether and what further action needs to be taken," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
In imposing the metals tariffs and threatening the ones on autos, the president was relying on a rarely used weapon in the U.S. trade war arsenal — Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 — which lets the president impose tariffs on imports if the Commerce Department deems them a threat to national security.
But the steel and aluminum tariffs were also designed to coerce Canada and Mexico into agreeing to a rewrite of North American free trade pact. In fact, the Canadians and Mexicans did go along last year with a revamped regional trade deal that was to Trump's liking. But the administration had refused to lift the taxes on their metals coming into the United States until Friday.
The new trade deal — the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement — needs approval from legislatures in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Several key U.S. lawmakers were threatening to reject the pact unless the tariffs were removed. And Canada had suggested it wouldn't ratify any deal with tariffs still in place.
Thomas Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the lifting of the tariffs "will bring immediate relief to American farmers and manufacturers. Critically, this action delivers a welcome burst of momentum for the USMCA in Congress."
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau credited his government for holding out to get the tariffs removed.
"We stayed strong," he said. "That's what workers asked for. These tariffs didn't make sense around national security. They were hurting Canadian consumers, Canadian workers and American consumers and American workers."
Trump had faced a Saturday deadline to decide what to do about the auto tariffs.
Taxing auto tariffs would mark a major escalation in Trump's aggressive trade policies and likely would meet resistance in Congress. The United States last year imported $192 billion worth of passenger vehicles and $159 billion in auto parts.
"I have serious questions about the legitimacy of using national security as a basis to impose tariffs on cars and car parts," Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement Friday. He's working on legislation to scale back the president's authority to impose national security tariffs under Section 232.
In a statement, the White House said that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has determined that imported vehicles and parts are a threat to national security. Trump deferred action on tariffs for 180 days to give negotiators time to work out deals but threatened them if talks break down.
In justifying tariffs for national security reasons, Commerce found that the U.S. industrial base depends on technology developed by American-owned auto companies to maintain U.S. military superiority. Because of rising imports of autos and parts over the past 30 years, the market share of U.S.-owned automakers has fallen. That has caused a lag in research and development spending which is "weakening innovation and, accordingly, threatening to impair our national security," the statement said.
The market share of vehicles produced and sold in the U.S. by American-owned automakers, the statement said, has declined from 67% in 1985 to 22% in 2017.
But the statistics don't match market share figures from the industry. A message was left Friday seeking an explanation of how Commerce calculated the 22%.
In 2017, General Motors, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and Tesla combined had a 44.5% share of U.S. auto sales, according to Autodata Corp. Those figures include vehicles produced in other countries.
It's possible that the Commerce Department didn't include Fiat Chrysler, which is now legally headquartered in The Netherlands but has a huge research and development operation near Detroit. It had 12% of U.S. auto sales in 2017.
The Commerce figures also do not account for research by foreign automakers. Toyota, Hyundai-Kia, Subaru, Honda and others have significant research centers in the U.S.
Meanwhile, Trump is locked in a high stakes rumble with China. The U.S. accuses Beijing of stealing trade secrets and forcing American companies to hand over technology in a head-long push to challenge American technological dominance. The two countries have slapped tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in each other's products. Talks broke off last week with no resolution.
The hostilities between the world's two biggest economies have weighed heavily the past couple of weeks on the U.S. stock market, threatening a long rally that Trump touted as a vindication of his economic policies. Opening a new front in the trade wars against EU and Japan likely would have worried investors even more.
Beijing, May 15 (AP/UNB) — Asian stocks followed Wall Street higher Wednesday after President Donald Trump downplayed his escalating tariff war with Beijing and said a settlement is possible.
Benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney advanced as investors mulled the likely costs of U.S. and Chinese tariff hikes on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other's goods.
Trump said on Twitter the conflict over Beijing's technology ambitions and trade surplus was a "little squabble" between friends. He said, "When the time is right we will make a deal with China."
Global equities rallied on that "positive tone," said Edward Moya of OANDA in a report.
Despite no sign of a deal or even a date for more talks, "no escalation in tensions was good enough of a reason for investors to return to buying stocks," said Moya.
The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.1% to 2,915.28 and Tokyo's Nikkei 225 added 0.2% to 21,118.72.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.7% to 28,326.32 and Seoul's Kospi rose 0.6% to 2,094.09. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 was 0.8% higher at 6,289.00 while India's Sensex gained 0.6% to 37,522.72.
Markets in Taiwan, New Zealand and Thailand also advanced. Singapore and Indonesia retreated.
Trump threw financial markets into turmoil with his surprise May 5 announcement of plans to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25% from 10%. When that went ahead Friday, Beijing retaliated by raising duties on $60 billion of American goods.
Investors worry that in addition to depressing trade, the fight sparked by U.S. complaints about China's technology ambitions might hurt consumer and business confidence, depressing spending and investment.
On Wall Street, tech stocks led the way higher Tuesday after suffering a beating the previous day. Qualcomm and Cisco both rose, along with Oracle, Adobe and others. Banks also rose. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and others moved higher.
The benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.8% to 2,834.41. It recovered nearly a third of Monday's loss and would now need to rise 3.9% to regain the record it set a couple weeks ago.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.8% to 25,532.05 and the Nasdaq composite index jumped 1.1% to 7,734.49.
CHINA ECONOMY: China's April factory output and consumer spending weakened as a tariff war with Washington intensified. The data prompted suggestions Beijing will need to prop up economic growth with more government spending. Growth in factory output decelerated to 5.4% over a year earlier from March's 8.5% growth. Growth in retail sales declined to 7.2% over a year ago from the previous month's 8.7%.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 47 cents to $61.31 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 74 cents on Tuesday to close at $61.78. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 30 cents per barrel in London to $70.94. It jumped $1.01 the previous session to $71.24.
CURRENCY: The dollar edged up to 109.63 yen from Tuesday's 109.61 yen. The euro rose to $1.1209 from $1.1208.
Beijing, May 14 (AP/UNB) — U.S. officials listed $300 billion more of Chinese goods for possible tariff hikes while Beijing vowed Tuesday to "fight to the finish" in an escalating trade battle that is fueling fears about damage to global economic growth.
The U.S. Trade Representative's Office issued its target list after Beijing announced tariff hikes Monday on $60 billion of American goods in their spiraling dispute over Chinese technology ambitions and other irritants. Chinese authorities were reacting to President Donald Trump's surprise decision last week to impose punitive duties on $200 billion of imports from China.
"China will fight to the finish," said a foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang.
"We have the determination and capacity to safeguard our interests," Geng said. "China's countermeasures have shown our determination to safeguard the multilateral trade system."
The latest U.S. list of 3,805 product categories is a step toward carrying out Trump's May 5 threat to extend punitive 25% duties to all Chinese imports, the USTR said. It said a June 17 hearing would be held before Washington decides how to proceed.
The list "covers essentially all products" not already affected by punitive tariffs, the USTR said.
It includes laptop computers, saw blades, turbine parts, tuna and garlic. The USTR noted it excludes pharmaceuticals and rare earths minerals used in electronics and batteries.
"The risk of further escalation is far from over," said Timme Spakman of ING in a report.
Also Tuesday, China's tightly controlled social media were filled with comments lambasting Washington following weeks of little online discussion of the dispute. That suggested official censors might have blocked earlier comments but started allowing those that favor Beijing to deflect potential criticism of President Xi Jinping's government.
The United States is "sucking the blood of the Chinese," said a comment left on the "Strong Country" blog of the ruling Communist Party's newspaper People's Daily. Another comment on the site said, "Why are Chinese people bullied? Because our hearts are too soft!"
Trump started raising tariffs last July over complaints China steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology and unfairly subsidizes businesses Beijing is trying to build into global leaders in robotics and other fields.
A stumbling block has been U.S. insistence on an enforcement mechanism with penalties to ensure Beijing carries out its commitments.
Odds of a settlement "remain high," said Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics in a report. "But suddenly a number of other scenarios seem possible, even one in which the U.S., China and the global economy suffer a recession."
Asian stock markets fell Tuesday as the fight, with no negotiated settlement in sight, fed investor anxiety about the impact on global economic growth. China main market index lost 0.7 percent while Tokyo's benchmark declined 0.6%. Hong Kong, Australia and Taiwan fell.
But shares in Europe rebounded and the future contracts for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 were up 0.5% and 0.6%, respectively.
On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.4% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 3.4% for its biggest drop of the year.
That came after China's Finance Ministry announced duties of 5% to 25% on about 5,200 American products, including batteries, spinach and coffee. Details of what the duties were before the increases were unclear.
Also Monday, Trump said he still was considering whether to go ahead with penalties on the additional $300 billion of Chinese goods. He told reporters, "I have not made that decision yet."
Trump warned Xi on Twitter that China "will be hurt very badly" if it doesn't agree to a trade deal. Trump wrote that Beijing "had a great deal, almost completed, & you backed out!"
The last round of negotiations ended Friday in Washington with no word of progress. Both governments indicated more talks are likely but set no date.
Trump said Monday he would meet Xi during the Group of 20 meeting of major economies six weeks from now on June 28 and 29 in Osaka, Japan.
The time before then will be "highly volatile" for financial markets, said Macquarie Bank analysts in a report.
"Both sides have the incentive to act half-crazy and unpredictable before that in order to cut a better deal," they said.
The two governments have given themselves a few more days to make peace before their latest tariff hikes hit.
Chinese tariffs announced Monday don't take effect until June 1, 2½ weeks from now. The U.S. increases apply to Chinese goods shipped starting Friday, which will take about three weeks to cross the Pacific and arrive at U.S. ports.
Tariff increases already in place have disrupted trade in American soybeans and Chinese medical equipment. That has sent shockwaves through other Asian economies that supply Chinese factories.
Beijing is running out of U.S. imports to penalize because of their lopsided trade balance. Chinese regulators have instead targeted American companies in China by slowing down the clearing of shipments through customs and the processing of business licenses.
Beijing, May 14 (AP/UNB) — Sending Wall Street into a slide, China announced higher tariffs Monday on $60 billion worth of American goods in retaliation for President Donald Trump's latest penalties on Chinese products.
Duties of 5% to 25% will take effect on June 1 on about 5,200 American products, including batteries, spinach and coffee, China's Finance Ministry said.
With investors worried about the potential economic damage on all sides from the escalating trade war, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 617 points, or 2.4%, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq plunged 270 points, or 3.4%, its biggest drop of the year. Earlier, stocks fell in Europe and Asia.
"We appear to be in a slow-motion train wreck, with both sides sticking to their positions," said William Reinsch, a trade analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former U.S. trade official. "As is often the case, however, the losers will not be the negotiators or presidents, but the people."
Beijing's move came after the U.S. raised duties Friday on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25%, up from 10%. In doing so, American officials accused China of backtracking on commitments it made in earlier negotiations. The same day, trade talks between the two countries broke up without an agreement.
On Twitter, Trump warned Xi that China "will be hurt very badly" if it doesn't agree to a trade deal. Trump tweeted that Beijing "had a great deal, almost completed, & you backed out!"
The rising trade hostilities could damage the economies of both countries. The tariff increases already in place have disrupted trade in such American products as soybeans and medical equipment and sent shockwaves through other Asian economies that supply Chinese factories.
Still, the two countries have given themselves something of an escape hatch: The higher Chinese tariffs don't kick in for 2½ weeks. The U.S. increases apply to Chinese goods shipped since Friday, and those shipments will take about three weeks to arrive at U.S. seaports and become subject to the higher charges.
Also, both countries have indicated more talks are likely. Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Sunday that China has invited U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to Beijing. But nothing has been scheduled. And Trump said Monday that he expects to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in late June at the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan.
The president has repeatedly insisted that increased tariffs on Chinese goods don't hurt American consumers. But Kudlow, head of the president's National Economic Council, acknowledged over the weekend that U.S. consumers and businesses will bear some of the costs.
"Both sides will pay," he told Fox News.
In the U.S., prices of soybeans, targeted by Chinese tariffs last year, fell Monday to a 10-year low on fears of a protracted trade war.
In a statement, American Soybean Association President Davie Stevens, a soybean farmer from Clinton, Kentucky, expressed frustration that "the U.S. has been at the table with China 11 times now and still has not closed the deal. What that means for soybean growers is that we're losing. Losing a valuable market, losing stable pricing, losing an opportunity to support our families and our communities."
Trump told reporters Monday that a new program to relieve U.S. farmers' pain is "being devised right now" and predicted that they will be "very happy." The administration last year handed farmers aid worth $11 billion to offset losses from trade conflicts.
Trump seemed to suggest that the aid will make up for or partially cover the $15 billion that he said represented "the biggest purchase that China has ever made with our farmers." In fact, U.S. farm exports to China approached $26 billion in both 2012 and 2013 and came in at $19.5 billion in 2017 before his trade war began taking a toll on agricultural sales to China.
The president's allies in Congress scrambled to limit the damage to farm country.
Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said it is time for U.S. allies to "get in the game" to push China to the negotiating table. "China needs to get with it," he said. "You can't move these goalposts like they're moving them and expect to be respected."
The highest tariffs announced by China will apply to industrial chemicals, electronic equipment, precision machinery and hundreds of food products.
Beijing is running out of U.S. imports to penalize because of the lopsided trade balance between the world's two largest economies. Chinese regulators have instead targeted American companies in China by slowing down the clearing of shipments through customs and the processing of business licenses.
Oxford Economics calculated that the higher tariffs will reduce the U.S. economy by 0.3% in 2020, a loss of $490 per American household.
Similarly, forecasters have warned that the U.S. tariff increases could set back a Chinese recovery that had appeared to be gaining traction. Growth in the world's second-largest economy during the January-through-March period held steady at 6.4% compared with a year earlier, supported by higher government spending and bank lending.
The tensions "raise fresh doubts about this recovery path," Morgan Stanley economists said.
The latest U.S. duties could knock 0.5 percentage points off annual Chinese economic growth, and that could widen to 1 percentage point if both sides extend penalties to all of each other's exports, economists say. That would pull annual growth below 6%, raising the risk of politically dangerous job losses.
China's state media tried to reassure businesses and consumers that the ruling Communist Party has the means to respond.
"There is nothing to be afraid of," said the party newspaper People's Daily. "The U.S.-instigated trade war against China is just a hurdle in China's development process. It is no big deal."
Trump has threatened to extend tariffs to the remaining $300 billion or so in Chinese tariffs that haven't been targeted yet, but told reporters Monday: "I have not made that decision yet."
The president started raising tariffs last July over complaints China steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology and unfairly subsidizes Chinese businesses that are striving to become global leaders in robotics and other technology.
A stumbling block has been U.S. insistence on an enforcement mechanism with penalties to ensure Beijing carries out its commitments.