Since a three-decades-old global quota system
expired on 1 January, US figures show Chinese textile imports to North
America have surged 54% year-on-year.
In response, the Bush administration has blocked
billions of dollars' worth of shirts, trousers and other clothing
under a special textile "safeguard" provision that China
accepted when it joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001.
We hope we can resolve this in one more meeting,
but we will take however long it takes
David Spooner, the chief US textile trade
negotiator, said both sides were keen to reach an agreement following
the end of the talks in San Francisco on Wednesday.
"We hope we can resolve this in one more
meeting, but we will take however long it takes," he said.
"Both sides say they'd rather take a little more time to reach a
good deal rather than a hasty deal."
Mr Spooner said there had been no agreement as yet
on the length of any deal, or the possible limits on any category of
'Climate of uncertainty'
The two days of talks began as part of
consultations required under WTO rules if a nation has imposed
Mr Spooner said the two sides were trying to ease
the "climate of uncertainty" being felt by US manufacturers,
importers and retailers, and by Chinese exporters.
CHAVEZ MAKES US OIL EXPORT THREAT
Oil exports to the US could stop amid growing
tensions between the two countries, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
He described recent US government actions as
"aggressive" in a speech at a youth festival in Caracas.
As a result, Venezuelan oil "instead of going
to the United States, could go elsewhere," he said.
Venezuela exports about 1.3 million barrels a day
to the US and is the world's fifth largest oil producer.
Tensions between the two countries have escalated
since President Chavez accused the US Drug Enforcement Administration
(DEA) of spying on his government.
Washington denies the charge and has accused
Caracas of failing to co-operate in the fight against
On Friday the Venezuelan government withdrew
diplomatic immunity from DEA agents working in the country in response
to a US decision to revoke the visas of six Venezuelan officials based
Venezuela is an important transport route for
cocaine from neighbouring Colombia, which produces 80% of the world's
FATWAS PUT SAUDI INVESTORS IN A FIX
Religious rulings or fatwas from various sheikhs,
at times contradicting each other, with regard to Shariah compliance
status of various instruments are creating confusion in Saudi
financial markets, putting potential investors in a fix.
Since most business dealings in banks are using
systems that do not comply with Islamic law, potential investors,
seeking Shariah compliant investment instruments, look for fatwas from
religious clerics or at least get their opinions before investing
money in stocks or banks, Al-Riyadh newspaper reported.
Most bank experts say the difficulty comes when the
activities of companies and local banks are defined. Companies may get
loans from foreign banks one day and the next day from an Islamic
The next part of the problem was that some local
sheikhs inexperienced in financial matters issue fatwas banning
investment in some companies and permitting investment in other
companies. This can have the effect of putting the brakes on private
sector economic growth.
MORE CHINESE CLOTHES FACE EU CURBS
European clothing retailers face a further headache
after their quota of Chinese-made women's blouses hit an EU import
ceiling last week. Retailers and some governments have already
expressed concern after Chinese-made sweaters and trousers were
impounded at ports and warehouses as quotas for those categories were
exceeded in recent weeks.
The quotas were agreed between Brussels and Beijing
in June as a way to slow soaring Chinese clothing imports entering the
EU. But the quotas were quickly reached as importers made huge orders
ahead of the autumn-winter season.
Data from an EU imports database showed 100 percent
of a 2005 quota of nearly 24.8 million Chinese blouses had been
cleared for entry into the EU as of Thursday last. Two further
categories - including T-shirts and brassieres - are also close to
reaching 100 per cent of their 2005 quotas.
The dollar got a boost Thursday last from a surge
in demand after US traders came into the market, with hedge funds
among those said to be buying. The euro fell to 1.2176 dollars in late
European trading from 1.2271 late Wednesday in New York. The dollar
rose to 110.53 yen from 109.92 Wednesday.
The dollar's late rise pushed the euro convincingly
under the 1.22-dollar level and the pound under 1.80 dollars.
"It's hard to put the finger on it but some
hedge funds are buying," said Paul Bednarczyk at 4CAST.
AUSTRALIA-CHINA FREE TRADE TALKS NEXT WEEK
Australia and China will hold a second round of
talks in Beijing next week on a "once in a lifetime
opportunity" for a free trade agreement, Trade Minister Mark
Australian negotiators will outline barriers faced
by Australian industry in doing business with China, Mr Vaile said, as
they seek a deal that could be worth more than $20 billion to the
The talks from Monday to Wednesday would follow an
introductory meeting in Sydney in May and will be the first
opportunity to start detailed discussions with the Chinese and the
possible structure of a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), he said.
The Australian negotiating team has consulted
widely with business and other groups over the past four months and a
range of interests and concerns had also been raised in more than 260
written public submissions.
The Geneva marketing arm of Brazil's Coimex Group
this week sold 38,000 tons of very high polarization (VHP) Brazilian
raw sugar for prompt shipment to southern India, trade sources were
quoted as saying.
They said the price of the deal was $255-260 per
ton Cost and Freight and Free Out (CFFO). Coimex completed other sales
to Indian buyers earlier this year, the sources said.
GOOGLE $4BN SHARE SALE HITS STOCK
Shares in Google have dropped after the internet
search engine announced plans to sell another 14 million shares to
raise $4bn (£2.2bn; 3.3bn euros).
Shares in Google lost $5.09, or 1.79%, to close at
$279.75 on Thursday last.
RBS LEADS $3.1BN CHINA INVESTMENT
Bank of China is known as a lender with an
international outlook Royal Bank of Scotland is to lead a $3.1bn
(£1.7bn) investment in Bank of China, giving it control of a 10%
stake in China's second-biggest lender.
RBS said it would pump $1.6bn into the deal, which
it will head on behalf of co-investors Merrill Lynch and Hong Kong
billionaire Li Ka-shing.
Foreign investors are increasingly keen to gain a
foothold in China's vast banking sector. The market alone is estimated
to hold $1.5 trillion in personal savings.
UK RATE CUT VOTE WAS 'CLOSE CALL'
The Bank of England's decision to cut interest
rates to 4.5% was finely balanced, minutes of the meeting show.
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted by just
five to four to cut rates by a quarter percentage point.
Bank of England Governor Mervyn King was one of the
four against the cut, and those backing a drop felt the move could be
reversed if needed in future.
The August cut had been widely expected, but the
minutes suggest a further drop could be some way off.
According to notes of the MPC's discussions Mr King
and fellow members Rachel Lomax, Andrew Large and Paul Tucker believed
it was too early to conclude that inflationary pressures had eased.
Their beliefs seem somewhat borne out by inflation
data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). In
practical terms this means rates are on hold for quite some time.
QANTAS WARNING AS PROFITS CLIMB
Australia's biggest airline Qantas has reported an
18% jump in profits, but warned that the soaring cost of fuel will hit
its future earnings.
Qantas said its full-year net profits rose to
763.6m Australian dollars (£322m; $581m), from A$648m last year.
WAL-MART AFFILIATE SEIYU SUFFERS
Wal-Mart's Japanese affiliate, Seiyu, has reported
growing losses and revealed that it may use Wal-Mart branding for new
Japan's fourth-largest supermarket chain said
first-half losses were 10.59bn yen ($96m; £53m), compared with a
2.88bn yen loss a year ago.
The US firm has the option of raising its stake in
Seiyu - key to its Japan strategy - to 50.1% by the end of 2005.
MORRISONS SELLING OFF NINE STORES
Morrisons has announced the sale of nine former
Safeway stores to rival supermarket group Sainsbury's.
They are the latest of 196 such outlets that
Bradford-based Morrisons has now either sold or closed since it took
over Safeway for £3bn in March 2004.
The stores going to Sainsbury's are mainly in town
centre locations. Morrisons said they did not fit in with its business
portfolio. The deal remains subject to approval by the Office of Fair
CHEAPER PHONE CALLS 'ON THE WAY'
The cost of landline telephone calls could fall by
up to £400m over the next four years, thanks to price changes being
put in place by regulator Ofcom.
From 1 October, Ofcom is introducing new limits to
the price BT charges to carry calls and dial-up internet between the
UK's telephone exchanges.
Ofcom says that together with effective competition
in the sector, the price savings could take place by 2008. It hopes
that telephone providers will pass the savings onto consumers.
IMF WARNING OVER IRAQ'S RECOVERY
Iraq faces "daunting challenges" as it
struggles to rebuild its battered economy, the International Monetary
Fund has warned.
The violent insurgency and political uncertainties
pose "major risks" to Iraq's economic recovery, the IMF
In its first review of the country in 25 years, the
IMF called for reforms in Iraq's oil and finance industries.
The IMF report came as Iraqi lawmakers failed to
meet a deadline to agree a new constitution for the country.
Iraq's parliament agreed last week to extend the
deadline until 22 August to enable the country's disparate sides to
Directors at the Washington-based IMF commended
Iraq's authorities for "maintaining a degree of macroeconomic
stability under extremely difficult circumstances".
PETROL PRICES FUEL INFLATION RISE
Transport prices drove UK consumer price inflation
(CPI) to 2.3% in July from 2% in June, Office for National Statistics
(ONS) figures show.
Surging crude prices drove fuel higher, taking CPI
to its highest level since records began in 1997, the ONS added.
The stronger-than-expected increase is likely to
reduce the chances of another cut in rates, experts said.
Headline retail price inflation (RPI) which
includes housing costs, remained at 2.9% for a second month.
BORROWERS TURN TO FIXED MORTGAGES
Fixed rate mortgages are at their most popular for
nearly six years.
Figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML)
show that in July fixed rate deals accounted for 50% of all new home
loans, up from 47% in June.
Other figures from the CML showed that gross
mortgage lending fell by 2% in July to £25bn, leaving it 13% lower
than a year ago.
"The housing market has started to stabilise
at a new lower level," said CML director general Michael Coogan.
CHINA AVIATION OIL OWNER FINED $4.8M
Singapore's central bank has fined the owner of
China Aviation Oil (CAO) for selling shares in the crisis-hit firm a
month before its collapse.
Beijing's China Aviation Oil Holding Company was
ordered to pay 8m Singaporean dollars ($4.8m; £2.7m).
Singapore-based CAO collapsed last year after
running up losses of $550m betting on the future price of oil.
The trading scandal was the biggest to hit
Singapore since the $1.2bn collapse of Barings Bank in 1995.
CAO is China's main supplier of jet fuel and is
owned by state-run China Aviation Oil Holding Company.
China Aviation Oil Holding Company sold a 15% stake
in CAO on 20 October, 2004.
US PRODUCER PRICES RISING SHARPLY
US wholesale prices are rising at the fastest rate
in nine months, fuelling concerns that inflation is returning.
The cause is rapidly increasing energy prices, with
the price of gasoline at the pump now averaging $2.55 a gallon.
Prices paid by wholesalers gained 1% in July, and
are now at an annual rate of 4.8%, the Labor Department said.
The price of energy rose by 4.4% in the month, with
gasoline costs up by 10.4%. Analysts are warning consumers could face
even higher prices at the pumps.
The news comes a day after consumer prices jumped
COSTLY FUEL RAISES US INFLATION
A sharp surge in energy prices has pushed up US
inflation after gasoline prices jumped by 3.8% in July.
As a result, the US consumer price index rose by
0.5% in July, and the year-on-year inflation rate was 3.5%.
However, so-called core inflation, which excludes
food and energy, rose by only 0.1% monthly and 2.2% annually.
Prices of new cars fell by 1%, the biggest drop
since 1975. The price discounts boosted car sales by 6.7%, the
sharpest rise since October 2001.