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BEIJING, July 13, 2018 (News Wires) - China’s trade surplus with the United States swelled to a record in June as its overall exports grew at a solid pace, a result that could further inflame a bitter trade dispute with Washington.

But signs exporters were rushing shipments before tariffs went into effect in the first week of July suggest the spike in the surplus was a one-off, with analysts expecting a less favorable trade balance for China in coming months as duties on exports start to bite.

The data came after the administration of US President Donald Trump raised the stakes in its trade row with China yesterday, saying it would slap 10 per cent tariffs on an extra $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, including numerous consumer items.

China’s trade surplus with the United States, which is at the centre of the tariff tussle, widened to a record monthly high of $28.97 billion, up from $24.58 billion in May, according to Reuters calculations based on official data going back to 2008.

The record surplus “won’t help already sour relations and escalating tensions”, Jonas Short, head of the Beijing office at Everbright Sun Hung Kai, wrote in a note.

Trump, who has demanded Beijing cut the trade surplus, could use the latest result to further ratchet up pressure on China after both sides last week imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on $34 billion of each other’s goods. Washington has warned it may ultimately impose tariffs on more than $500 billion worth of Chinese goods - nearly the total amount of US imports from China last year.

The dispute has jolted global financial markets, raising worries a full-scale trade war could derail the world economy. Chinese stocks fell into bear market territory and the yuan currency has skidded, though there have been signs in recent days its central bank is moving to slow the currency’s declines.

China’s June exports rose 11.3 per cent from a year earlier, China General Administration of Customs reported, beating forecasts for a 10 per cent increase according to the latest Reuters poll of 39 analysts, and down from a 12.6 per cent gain in May.

China’s commerce ministry confirmed last month that Chinese exporters were front-loading exports to the US to get ahead of expected tariffs - a situation that could exacerbate any slowdown in shipments toward the year-end.

 

Beat plastic pollution

By the Gazette Editorial Board

THE UN did well to choose combatting plastic pollution as this year’s theme for World Environment Day which falls on June 5, every year.

 

"On World Environment Day, the message is simple: Reject single-use plastic. Refuse what you can’t re-use. Together, we can chart a path to a cleaner, greener world," said UN Secretary-General, António Guterres in a speech to mark Environment Day which was celebrated yesterday in more than 100 countries including  Egypt.

 

Plastic products have become a major world problem with growing dependence on their use for various purposes and faulty disposal of plastic waste.

 

A thorough understanding of the real threat posed by plastic waste, we need to review some shocking figures. Around the world, one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute. Every year we use up to five trillion disposable plastic bags. In total, 50 per cent of the plastic we use is single use.

 

The biggest problem, however, is caused by the way we get rid of plastic waste. As most plastic is made out of petroleum and natural gas, getting rid of it by burning pollutes the air, land and water and exposes workers to toxic chemicals, including carcinogens.

 

Besides, around one third of the plastic packaging we use escapes the collection system, which means that it ends up clogging our streets and polluting our natural environment.

 

Some environment centres have proved that up to 13 million tonnes of plastic leak into our oceans every year. This amount could circle the earth four times in a single year adversely to affect marine life, coral reefs and other precious creatures.

 

Unlike most substances, plastic can last for up to 1000 years before it fully disintegrates.

 

So how could we turn this year’s theme of beating plastic pollution into a working agenda to reduce this major threat facing our environment?

 

On the one hand, we could use this year’s motto of combatting plastic pollution to launch a year-long campaign to increase public awareness of the problem and to lessen people's reliance on disposable plastic bags and bottles. Local governments could also ban the use of plastic bags.

 

However, this will not produce any results unless projects are initiated for the manufacture of alternative, environment-friendly packaging materials. The government could encourage the youth and young investors to create small projects for the production of paper bags and other non-plastic packaging, for use by the big supermarkets and shopping centres.

 

Such projects would protect the environment in two ways: they would cut dependence on plastic bags and at the same time help recycle paper waste to make paper bags and boxes.

 

On the other hand, with the start of the summer season, millions of Egyptians will spend their summer holiday on the beach. Why not launch a campaign to clean the beaches and clear them of plastic waste?

 

This year’s theme, “Beat Plastic Pollution,” should be used as a call for action by everyone, to counter this environmental nightmare and protect the world from a hazard that is threatening the whole of life on our planet.

THE UN did well to choose combatting plastic pollution as this year’s theme for World Environment Day which falls on June 5, every year.

 

"On World Environment Day, the message is simple: Reject single-use plastic. Refuse what you can’t re-use. Together, we can chart a path to a cleaner, greener world," said UN Secretary-General, António Guterres in a speech to mark Environment Day which was celebrated yesterday in more than 100 countries including  Egypt.

 

Plastic products have become a major world problem with growing dependence on their use for various purposes and faulty disposal of plastic waste.

 

A thorough understanding of the real threat posed by plastic waste, we need to review some shocking figures. Around the world, one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute. Every year we use up to five trillion disposable plastic bags. In total, 50 per cent of the plastic we use is single use.

 

The biggest problem, however, is caused by the way we get rid of plastic waste. As most plastic is made out of petroleum and natural gas, getting rid of it by burning pollutes the air, land and water and exposes workers to toxic chemicals, including carcinogens.

 

Besides, around one third of the plastic packaging we use escapes the collection system, which means that it ends up clogging our streets and polluting our natural environment.

 

Some environment centres have proved that up to 13 million tonnes of plastic leak into our oceans every year. This amount could circle the earth four times in a single year adversely to affect marine life, coral reefs and other precious creatures.

 

Unlike most substances, plastic can last for up to 1000 years before it fully disintegrates.

 

So how could we turn this year’s theme of beating plastic pollution into a working agenda to reduce this major threat facing our environment?

 

On the one hand, we could use this year’s motto of combatting plastic pollution to launch a year-long campaign to increase public awareness of the problem and to lessen people's reliance on disposable plastic bags and bottles. Local governments could also ban the use of plastic bags.

 

However, this will not produce any results unless projects are initiated for the manufacture of alternative, environment-friendly packaging materials. The government could encourage the youth and young investors to create small projects for the production of paper bags and other non-plastic packaging, for use by the big supermarkets and shopping centres.

 

Such projects would protect the environment in two ways: they would cut dependence on plastic bags and at the same time help recycle paper waste to make paper bags and boxes.

 

On the other hand, with the start of the summer season, millions of Egyptians will spend their summer holiday on the beach. Why not launch a campaign to clean the beaches and clear them of plastic waste?

 

This year’s theme, “Beat Plastic Pollution,” should be used as a call for action by everyone, to counter this environmental nightmare and protect the world from a hazard that is threatening the whole of life on our planet.

BEIJING, May 4, 2018 (News agencies) - China has offered to buy more US goods and lower tariffs on some goods including cars as part of negotiations to resolve an escalating trade dispute, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter and a document reviewed by Reuters.

China also asked that Washington treat Chinese investment equally in its national security reviews and stop issuing any new restrictions on investments, the sources told Reuters as officials wrapped up two days of talks in Beijing.

China also demanded that US terminate its Section 301 intellectual property probe and not implement the 25 per cent tariffs proposed as part of that probe, they said.
The sources declined to be identified because the information was not public.

China also proposed that the US should listen to ZTE Corp’s appeal of sanctions imposed on the firm in April and amend the ban on US companies’ sale of components and software to the firm, the sources said.

China also told the US side that it would actively consider information provided by US firms on Beijing’s anti-dumping investigation on sorghum imported from the United States, the sources said.

MANILA, Philippines, May 1, 2018 (AP) — Workers and activists marked May Day on Tuesday with rallies to demand their government address labour issues.

International Workers' Day is a public holiday in many countries, though activities are restricted in some places, sometimes leading to confrontations.

A look at some of the events around the world:


PHILIPPINES

About 5,000 people from various groups rallied near the presidential palace in Manila to protest the failure of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to fulfill a major campaign promise to end contractualisation, the widespread practice of short-term employment.

The protesters also demanded that the government address issues including low wages, unemployment and trade union repression.


SOUTH KOREA

Thousands of labour union members rallied in downtown Seoul for a higher minimum wage and other demands.

They chanted slogans urging the government to implement a 10,000 won ($9.34) minimum wage and convert all non-regular employees to regular workers with equal pay and treatment.

The rally was organised by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions. The police estimated the crowd at 10,000 people.

The union members also demanded that the government scrap the restructuring of the shipbuilding and automobile industries, and reform the huge conglomerates that dominate the South Korean economy.


INDONESIA

About 10,000 workers from various labour groups rallied near the presidential palace in Jakarta to voice their demands.

Most of the workers came from Jakarta and nearby suburbs, but some traveled from West Java and Surabaya.

The protesters urged the government to avoid outsourcing, and to raise their wages. They also asked the government to stop foreign labourers from working in Indonesia, saying it decreases employment opportunities for local workers.


CAMBODIA

About 2,000 garment workers gathered at a park in Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh, for a rally organised by a garment union coalition.

The workers wanted to march to the National Assembly to urge lawmakers to help them address labour-related concerns, but the group was stopped by riot police.

Prime Minister Hun Sun spent May Day with some 5,000 garment workers just outside Phnom Penh. He thanked the workers by announcing that each of them will receive 50,000 riel ($12.50).

LONDON, April 25, 2018 (Reuters) - World shares were on their longest losing streak of the year on Wednesday, as a rise in US bond yields above three per cent and warnings from top global firms about rising costs fed fears a boom in earnings may have peaked.

All eyes will be on scandal-hit social media firm Facebook later when it reports its results though there was plenty keeping investors occupied till then.

Falls in Asia’s and then Europe’s main bourses pushed the 47-country MSCI world share index down for a fifth day running to its lowest level in over two weeks.

The benchmark US 10-year Treasury yield was still pushing further beyond 3 per cent US10YT=RR in early European trade though, having broken the key level on Tuesday for the first time since the start of 2014.

It has been down to a mix of factors. A strong US economy and rising commodity prices which are upping the chance of more US interest rate hikes, as well higher debt and improving relations between Washington and China and North Korea.

“The now healthier global economy justifies these higher yields,” said JPMorgan Asset Management’s Seamus Mac Gorain.

“We expect 10-year Treasuries to end the year between three and 3.5 per cent. A move beyond this level would likely require an acceleration of inflation in the euro zone and Japan, which is not yet evident.”

Eurozone bond yields — yields are a proxy of borrowing costs — were dragged up in the slipstream of the US moves though Thursday’s looming European Central Bank meeting ensured there was a touch of caution.

BENGALURU, April 25, 2018 (Reuters) - Gold prices dropped on Wednesday as benchmark US bond yields poked above the three per cent level and lifted the dollar to its highest in more than three months.

Spot gold was down half-a-per cent at $1,323.59 per ounce, as of 07:59 GMT. The yellow metal rose 0.5 per cent on Tuesday to break a three-session losing streak.
US gold futures dropped 0.6 per cent to $1,325 per ounce.

Higher interest rates tend to boost the dollar and push up bond yields, putting pressure on the greenback-denominated gold.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, rose 0.4 per cent to 91.117, its strongest since Jan. 12.       

"The strength of the dollar index and rising Treasury yield confirm that the Fed's hawkish stance is not going to change anytime soon," Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst, Think Markets.

"However, I do believe that with sell-off in the equity market, investors would have to put their money (elsewhere). The safe-haven gold would attract that money flow," Aslam said.
Gold is often seen as an alternative investment during times of political and financial uncertainty.

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