September 26, 2019
U.S. Goods-Trade Deficit Widened in August by Less Than Forecast
“America’s merchandise-trade deficit widened in August by less than forecast as a gain in imports exceeded a slight increase in exports. The gap stood at $72.8 billion in August after $72.5 billion the month prior, according to Commerce Department data released Thursday. Economists projected a deficit of $73.4 billion. The government’s advance report also showed wholesale inventories increased by the most in three months. Washington’s trade war with Beijing has created supply-chain headaches for U.S. firms that rely on Chinese imports, at the same time capital spending slows in response to weaker global growth. The figures showed a 2.6% increase in consumer goods imports in August, the biggest monthly gain this year. After President Donald Trump’s Aug. 1 announcement, U.S. companies last month may have raced to beat a 10% levy on additional $300 billion in Chinese goods that began Sept. 1. That pattern occurred immediately after previously announced tariffs on Chinese and Mexican goods.”
Boris Johnson Comes Out Fighting and Demands a Brexit Election
“Boris Johnson sparked uproar during angry exchanges in the House of Commons after he was dragged back to Parliament to explain why he broke the law and tried to suspend the legislature in the run-up to Brexit. The defiant premier refused to resign or even apologize. Instead, Johnson came out fighting. He challenged his political opponents to trigger an election through a no-confidence vote, and accused them of cowardice for twice rejecting one. He also declared that the Supreme Court judges who overturned his decision to suspend Parliament were simply “wrong.” “This Parliament must either stand aside and let this government get Brexit done or bring a vote of confidence and finally face a day of reckoning with the voters,” Johnson told a noisy House of Commons on Wednesday. Asked if he had any remorse for his actions, Johnson replied: “The straight answer to that is ‘No.’” He also repeatedly called legislation passed by his opponents seeking to stave off a no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31 as a surrender bill.” His language drew criticism from MPs in the chamber. Labour’s Paula Sherriff demanded the premier stop using “pejorative” and “dangerous” terms that she said incited violence and death threats against lawmakers. She pointed to the plaque behind her for Jo Cox, the pro-Remain Labour MP murdered during the 2016 Brexit referendum. Johnson replied: “I have never heard so much humbug in all my life,” triggering cries of “shame” and “disgusting” in the chamber and anger from Cox’s widower. Sherriff’s colleague Anna McMorrin said Johnson’s behavior and choice of words were affecting people around the country, leading to an increase in abuse on social media. ”
China Expected to Boost U.S. Soy Purchases During Trade Talks
“China is likely to increase American soybean purchases during high-level trade talks in the U.S. in October, according to an influential Chinese agricultural consultant. The world’s biggest soybean importer is likely to buy another 1 million to 2 million tons when Vice Premier Liu He visits Washington, said Li Qiang, chairman of Shanghai JC Intelligence Co. If the talks are successful, China could boost shipments to between 30 million and 35 million tons next year, Li said at an industry conference in Nanning, China. Li’s view follows Bloomberg reports this week that China has issued new waivers for companies to buy American soy without paying retaliatory tariffs, while also preparing to buy more pork. U.S. and Chinese officials held working-level talks this month and are aiming for a high-level meeting around Oct. 10. China has already bought about 19 million tons of U.S. soy this year, so the extra purchases would mean the country exceeds its commitment to import about 20 million tons from the U.S., Li said. With the extra purchases, China will be able to meet its supply gap for the rest of the year and some of the 7 million tons in earlier purchases could be stored for state reserves, he said. Li was less hopeful about Argentina’s prospects in China. Beijing recently agreed to allow soymeal shipments from the Latin American country, the biggest exporter of the animal feed. However, this agreement is strategic for China, and it may only purchase a small volume on a trial basis, Li said.”
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