China Exports, Imports Weaken Ahead of US Talks

China’s export growth slowed in November as global demand weakened, adding to pressure on Beijing ahead of trade talks with Washington.

Exports rose 5.4 percent from a year ago to $227.4 billion, a marked decline from the previous month’s 12.6 percent increase, customs data showed Saturday. Imports rose 3 percent to $182.7 billion, a sharp reversal from October’s 20.3 percent surge.

That adds to signs a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy is deepening as Chinese leaders prepare for negotiations with President Donald Trump over Beijing’s technology policy and other irritants.

Exports to US rise

Chinese exports to the United States rose by a relatively robust 12.9 percent from a year ago to $46.2 billion. Shipments to the U.S. market have held up as exporters rush to fill orders before additional duty increases, but forecasters say that effect will fade in early 2019.

Imports of American goods rose 5 percent to $10.7 billion, down from the previous month’s 8.5 percent growth. China’s politically volatile trade surplus with the United States widened to a record $35.5 billion.

Trump agreed during a Dec. 1 meeting with this Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to postpone tariff hikes by 90 days while the two sides negotiate. But penalties of up to 25 percent imposed earlier by both sides on billions of dollars of each other’s goods still are in effect.

Companies and investors worry the battle between the two biggest economies will chill global economic growth.

Chinese economy cools

The Chinese economy grew by a relatively strong 6.5 percent from a year earlier in the quarter ending in September. But that was boosted by government spending on public works construction that helped to mask a slowdown in other parts of the economy.

An official measure of manufacturing activity fell to its lowest level in two years in November. Auto sales have shrunk for the past three months, and real estate sales are weak.

Chinese leaders have responded by easing lending controls, boosting spending on construction and promising more help to entrepreneurs who generate the state-dominated economy’s new jobs and wealth. But they have moved gradually to avoid reigniting a rise in corporate and local government debt that already is considered to be dangerously high.

Tariffs

The Trump administration imposed 25 percent duties on $50 billion of Chinese goods in July in response to complaints that Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. Washington also imposed a 10 percent charge on $200 billion of Chinese goods. That was set to rise to 25 percent in January but Trump postponed it.

Beijing responded with tariff hikes on $110 billion of American goods. Trump has threatened to expand U.S. penalties to all goods from China.

Washington, Europe and other trading partners complain plans such as “Made in China 2025,” which calls for creating Chinese global champions in artificial intelligence, robotics and other fields, violate Beijing’s market-opening obligations.

Trump said Beijing committed to buy American farm goods and cut auto import tariffs as part of the tariff cease-fire. Chinese officials have yet to confirm details of the agreement.

China’s Commerce Ministry expressed confidence the two sides can reach a deal during the 90-day delay. That indicates Beijing sees resolving the conflict as too important to allow it to be disrupted by last week’s dramatic arrest in Canada of an executive of Huawei Technologies Ltd., one of China’s most prominent companies, on accusations of violating trade sanctions on Iran.

Big trade disputes

Private sector analysts say that there is little time to resolve sprawling conflicts that have bedeviled U.S.-Chinese trade for years. That suggests Beijing will need to find ways to persuade Trump to extend his deadline.

Also in November, China’s exports to the 28-nation European Union rose 11.4 percent over a year earlier to $35.9 billion, down from October’s 12 percent growth. Imports rose 13.2 percent to $24.4 billion.

China’s trade surplus with the EU widened by 6.4 percent over a year earlier to $11.5 billion.


Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

US Agency Seeks to Curb E-Cigarette ‘Epidemic’ Among Teens

U.S. health officials are concerned about the increasing number of American teenagers smoking electronic cigarettes, a practice commonly known as vaping. So many teenagers are taking up the habit that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is worried that it’s become an epidemic. Nina Vishneva reports from New York in this report narrated by Anna Rice.


Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

China Launches Pioneering Mission to Far Side of Moon

China launched a groundbreaking mission Saturday to land a spacecraft on the largely unexplored far side of the moon, demonstrating its growing ambitions as a space power to rival Russia, the European Union and the U.S. 

 

A Long March 3B rocket carrying a lunar probe blasted off at 2:23 a.m. from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province in southwestern China, the official Xinhua News Agency said. 

 

With its Chang’e 4 mission, China hopes to be the first country to make a soft landing, which is a landing of a spacecraft during which no serious damage is incurred. The moon’s far side is also known as the dark side because it faces away from Earth and remains comparatively unknown. It has a different composition than sites on the near side, where previous missions have landed. 

 

If successful, the mission would propel the Chinese space program to a leading position in one of the most important areas of lunar exploration. 

 

China landed its Yutu, or “Jade Rabbit,” rover on the moon five years ago and plans to send its Chang’e 5 probe there next year and have it return to Earth with samples — the first time that will have been done since 1976. A crewed lunar mission is also under consideration.  

Chang’e 4 is also a lander-rover combination and will explore both above and below the lunar surface after arriving at the South Pole-Aitken basin’s Von Karman crater following a 27-day journey. 

 

It will also perform radio-astronomical studies that, because the far side always faces away from Earth, will be “free from interference from our planet’s ionosphere, human-made radio frequencies and auroral radiation noise,” space industry expert Leonard David wrote on the website Space.com. 

 

It may also carry plant seeds and silkworm eggs, according to Xinhua. 

 

Chang’e is the goddess of the moon in Chinese mythology. 

 

China conducted its first crewed space mission in 2003, making it only the third country after Russia and the U.S. to do so. It has put a pair of space stations into orbit, one of which is still operating as a precursor to a more than 60-ton station that is due to come online in 2022. The launch of a Mars rover is planned for the mid-2020s. 

 

To facilitate communication between controllers on Earth and the Chang’e 4 mission, China in May launched a relay satellite named Queqiao, or “Magpie Bridge,” after an ancient Chinese folk tale. 

 

China’s space program has benefited from cooperation with Russia and European nations, although it was excluded from the 420-ton International Space Station, mainly because of U.S. legislation barring such cooperation amid concerns over its strong military connections. Its program also suffered a rare setback last year with the failed launch of its Long March 5 rocket. 


Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

Stocks Drop 4 Percent in Rocky Week on Trade, Growth Worries

Wall Street capped a turbulent week of trading Friday with the biggest weekly loss since March as traders fret over rising trade tensions between Washington and Beijing and signals of slower economic growth. 

The latest wave of selling erased more than 550 points from the Dow Jones Industrial Average, bringing its three-day loss to more than 1,400. For the week, major indexes are down more than 4 percent. 

Worries that the testy U.S.-China trade dispute and higher interest rates will slow the economy has made investors uneasy, leading to volatile swings in the market from one day to the next.

Dispute between U.S. and China 

On Monday, news that the U.S. and China had agreed to a 90-day truce in their escalating trade conflict drove stocks sharply higher, adding to strong gains the week before. The next day, as doubts mounted over the likelihood of a swift resolution to the trade dispute, stocks sank. On Friday, another early rally faded into another sharp drop.

“We’re in a market where investors just want to sell any upside that they see,” said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA. “The volatility we’ve seen the last couple of weeks has been pretty extreme in both directions.”

The S&P 500 index fell 62.87 points, or 2.3 percent, to 2,633.08. The index has ended lower three out of the last four weeks. The Dow dropped 558.72 points, or 2.2 percent, to 24,388.95. 

The Nasdaq composite slid 219.01 points, or 3 percent, to 6,969.25. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks gave up 29.32 points, or 2 percent, to 1,448.09.

The S&P 500 and Dow are now in the red for the year again. The Nasdaq was holding on to a modest gain. 

Markets upset since October 

Volatility has gripped the market since early October, reflecting investors’ worries that the Federal Reserve might overshoot with its campaign of rate increases and hurt U.S. economic growth.

Traders also fear that a prolonged trade dispute between the U.S. and China could crimp corporate profits and that tariffs will raises costs for businesses and consumers. Uncertainty over those issues helped drive the market’s sell-off this week. 

“The Fed has taken the punch bowl away in getting back to rates where they are today,” said Doug Cote, chief market strategist for Voya Investment Management. “We’re also going to get back to more normal volatility.”

At the same time, traders are also worried about a sharp drop in long-term bond yields as investors plow money into Treasurys, which tends to happen when investors expect slower economic growth. 

Technology stocks accounted for much of the market’s broad slide Friday. Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices slid 8.6 percent to $19.46.

Health care stocks take big hit

Health care sector stocks, the biggest gainer in the S&P 500 this year, took some of the heaviest losses. Medical device company Cooper lost 12.3 percent to $243.01.

Utilities, which investors favor when they’re fearful, eked out a slight gain. PPL Corp. gained 2.8 percent to $31.09.

Oil prices rose after OPEC countries agreed to reduce global oil production by 1.2 million barrels a day for six months, beginning in January. The move would include a reduction of 800,000 barrels per day from OPEC countries and 400,000 barrels per day from Russia and other non-OPEC nations. 

The news, which had been widely anticipated, pushed crude oil prices higher. U.S. benchmark crude rose 2.2 percent to $52.61 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 2.7 percent to $61.67 a barrel in London.

The Labor Department said U.S. employers added 155,000 jobs in November, a slowdown from recent months but enough to suggest that the economy is expanding at a solid pace despite sharp gyrations in the stock market. The unemployment rate remained at 3.7 percent, nearly a five-decade low, for the third straight month. 

Bond prices rose, sending yields slightly lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.86 percent from 2.87 percent late Thursday. 

The decline in bond yields, which affect interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, weighed on banks, which make more money when rates are rising. Morgan Stanley slid 3 percent to $41.32.

The dollar rose to 112.66 yen from 112.65 yen late Thursday. The euro strengthened to $1.1418 from $1.1373.

Small gains for gold, silver

Gold gained 0.7 percent to $1,252.60 an ounce. Silver climbed 1.3 percent to $14.70 an ounce. Copper added 0.6 percent to $2.76 a pound.

In other commodities trading, wholesale gasoline climbed 3.7 percent to $1.49 a gallon. Heating oil rose 1.5 percent to $1.89 a gallon. Natural gas gained 3.7 percent to $4.49 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In Europe, Germany’s DAX dipped 0.2 percent while the CAC 40 in France rose 0.7 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 jumped 1.1 percent. Major indexes in Asia finished mostly higher. 

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.8 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.4 percent. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.3 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gave up 0.3 percent. 

 

            


Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

New NASA Lander Captures 1st Sounds of Martian Wind

NASA’s new Mars lander has captured the first sounds of the “really unworldly” Martian wind.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory released audio clips of the alien wind Friday. The low-frequency rumblings were collected by the InSight lander during its first week of operations at Mars.

The wind is estimated to be blowing 10 mph to 15 mph (16 kph to 24 kph). These are the first sounds from Mars that are detectible by human ears, according to the researchers.

“Reminds me of sitting outside on a windy summer afternoon … In some sense, this is what it would sound like if you were sitting on the InSight lander on Mars,” Cornell University’s Don Banfield told reporters.

Scientists involved in the project agree the sound has an otherworldly quality to it.

Thomas Pike of Imperial College London said the rumbling is “rather different to anything that we’ve experienced on Earth, and I think it just gives us another way of thinking about how far away we are getting these signals.”

The noise is of the wind blowing against InSight’s solar panels and the resulting vibration of the entire spacecraft. The sounds were recorded by an air pressure sensor inside the lander that’s part of a weather station, as well as the seismometer on the deck of the spacecraft.

The low frequencies are a result of Mars’ thin air density and even more so the seismometer itself — it’s meant to detect underground seismic waves, well below the threshold of human hearing. The seismometer will be moved to the Martian surface in the coming weeks; until then, the team plans to record more wind noise.

The 1976 Viking landers on Mars picked up spacecraft shaking caused by wind, but it would be a stretch to consider it sound, said InSight’s lead scientist, Bruce Banerdt, of JPL in Pasadena, California.

The “really unworldly” sounds from InSight, meanwhile, have Banerdt imaging he’s “on a planet that’s in some ways like the Earth, but in some ways really alien.”

InSight landed on Mars on Nov. 26.

“We’re all still on a high from the landing last week … and here we are less than two weeks after landing, and we’ve already got some amazing new science,” said NASA’s Lori Glaze, acting director of planetary science. “It’s cool, it’s fun.”


Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

У Нью-Йорку відбулася церемонія зважування перед боєм Ломаченка з Педрасою

У Нью-Йорку 7 грудня відбулася церемонія зважування перед боєм чемпіона світу з боксу у легкій вазі, українця Василя Ломаченка та чемпіоном світу за версією WBO, пуерторіканцем Хосе Педрасою.

Ломаченко виявився трохи важчим за суперника. Він показав на вагах 60,96 кілограма, Педраса – 60,87 кілограма. Ліміт легкої ваги становить 61,235 кілограма.

У разі перемоги Ломаченко долучить до своїх трофеїв титул чемпіона за версією WBO.

Перед новим поєдинком українець заявив, що «на 100 відсотків» відновився після проведеної наприкінці травня операції.

«Для мене було добре відпочити», – сказав 30-річний Ломаченко, який має 11 перемог і одну поразку на професійному рингу.

Суперник Ломаченка, Хосе Педраса, має на професійному рингу 25 перемог і одну поразку, 12 разів він відправляв своїх суперників у нокаут.


Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

У Києві відбулася прем’єра вистави «Номери» за п’єсою Сенцова

У Києві у приміщенні «Довженко-центру» 7 грудня відбулася прем’єра спектаклю «Номери» за п’єсою ув’язненого в Росії українського режисера Олега Сенцова. Про це повідомляє кореспондент проекту Радіо Свобода Крим.Реалії.

Вистава, події якого розвиваються на цирковому манежі, тривала близько півтори години. Її режисером виступила Тамара Трунова.

В центрі сюжету циркова трупа, яка символічно відображає тюремну дійсність в Росії. У виставі задіяні 12 акторів. Кожному персонажу присвоєно номер.

На прем’єрі був присутній російський режисер Аскольд Куров, який зняв фільм про суд над Сенцовим.

Як зазначає кореспондент, по завершенню вистави глядачі кілька хвилин стоячи аплодували акторам.

Олег Сенцов протестував проти анексії Криму, в березні 2014 року його затримали російські силовики, звинуватили в тому, що він нібито хотів підірвати пам’ятник Леніну в Сімферополі, підпалити офіс колишньої Партії регіонів. На суді він заявив про тортури і політичне переслідування. Йому дали 20 років в’язниці.


Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

Major Oil-producing Countries Agree to Cut Output

Oil prices climbed sharply Friday after OPEC and other producers led by Russia agreed to cut output to reduce global inventories of crude oil.

OPEC countries and the Russian-led coalition agreed to collectively slash oil production by 1.2 million barrels a day, said OPEC president Suhail Mohamed al-Mazrouei, more than the 1 million barrel cut the market anticipated.

After two days of negotiations, Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries said they would cut 800,000 barrels a day, while non-OPEC allies agreed to an additional 400,000 barrels per day.

The cuts, from which OPEC members Iran, Venezuela and Libya are exempt, will begin in January and remain in effect for six months.

The deal highlights Russia’s new-found influence on the global oil market and the significance of Russia’s alliance with Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of OPEC.

Oil-producing nations have been under pressure to cut production to stabilize oil prices, which have dropped sharply over the past few months. Global oil prices have plummeted by more than 30 percent since early October.

The cuts were agreed to despite pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to maintain current levels of oil production, which have surged since the end of 2017.

The surge is primarily due to the U.S., which has increased production by 2.5 million barrels a day since early 2016, making the U.S. the world’s largest producer. 

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “The World does not want to see, or need, higher oil prices!” 


Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

US Locks in Duties on Chinese Aluminum Sheet Imports

 The U.S. International Trade Commission said on Friday it made a final determination that American producers were being harmed by imports of common alloy aluminum sheet products from China, a finding that locks in duties on the products.

The ITC determination means that duties ranging from 96.3 percent to 176.2 percent previously announced by the U.S. Commerce Department would be put in place for five years. The department said last month the products were being subsidized and dumped in the U.S. market.

The decision marked the first time that final duties were issued in a trade remedy case initiated by the U.S. government since 1985. Usually, trade cases are launched based on a complaint from a U.S. producer or group of producers.

The Trump administration has promised a more aggressive approach to trade enforcement by having the department launch more anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases on behalf of private industry.

In 2017, imports of common alloy aluminum sheet from China were valued at an estimated $900 million. The flat-rolled product is used in transportation, building and construction, infrastructure, electrical and marine applications.

U.S. aluminum industry firms, including Aleris Corp , Arconic Inc and Constellium NV, testified in the case last year about what they termed a surge in “low-priced, unfairly traded imports.”


Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

Technology Companies Lead Slide in US Markets; Oil Rising

U.S. stocks fell sharply Friday, erasing an early gain, as the market closed in on its third weekly decline in four weeks.

Losses in technology and health care stocks outweighed gains elsewhere in the market. Energy companies led the gainers as crude oil prices rose on news that OPEC members agreed to cut production next year.

The government said job growth in November fell short of economists’ expectations.

Keeping score: The S&P 500 index fell 41 points, or 1.5 percent, to 2,654 as of 11:25 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 411 points, or 1.7 percent, to 24,536. The Nasdaq composite slid 135 points, or 1.9 percent, to 7,053. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks slipped 4 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,473.

Energy: Oil prices rose after OPEC countries agreed to reduce global oil production by 1.2 million barrels a day for six months, beginning in January. The move would include a reduction of 800,000 barrels per day from OPEC countries and 400,000 barrels per day from Russia and other non-OPEC nations. The news, which had been widely anticipated, pushed crude oil prices higher.

U.S. benchmark crude jumped 4.8 percent to $53.94 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 5.4 percent to $63.33 a barrel in London.

The pickup in oil prices sent energy stocks higher. Anadarko Petroleum gained 3.3 percent to $53.30.

Tech slide: A sell-off in technology stocks weighed on the market. Hewlett Packard Enterprise slumped 7.3 percent to $14.85.

Call a doctor: Health care sector stocks, the biggest gainer in the S&P 500 this year, took some of the heaviest losses. Cooper lost 7.8 percent to $255.12

Not so pretty: Ulta Beauty slid 9.6 percent to $264.74 after the cosmetics retailer’s latest quarterly report card exceeded analysts’ expectations, but its earnings outlook disappointed traders.

Smoke this: Tobacco company Altria, which makes Marlboro cigarettes, rose 2.4 percent to $55.68 after announcing a $2.4 billion investment in Cronos Group, a Canadian medical and recreational marijuana company.

Solid quarter: Broadcom added 1 percent to $229.46 after the technology company reported fiscal fourth-quarter results that topped Wall Street’s forecasts.

Jobs report: The Labor Department said U.S. employers added 155,000 jobs in November, a slowdown from recent months but enough to suggest that the economy is expanding at a solid pace despite sharp gyrations in the stock market. The unemployment rate remained at 3.7 percent, nearly a five-decade low, for the third straight month. Average hourly pay rose 3.1 percent from a year ago, matching the previous month’s figure, which was the best since 2009. The jobs figure was less than many economists forecast, but few saw the report as a sign of a broader slowdown.

Bond yields: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.89 percent from 2.87 percent on Thursday.

Currencies: The dollar rose to 112.66 yen from 112.65 yen late Thursday. The euro strengthened to $1.1390 from $1.1373.

Markets overseas: In Europe, Germany’s DAX added 0.1 percent while the CAC 40 in France rose 1.1 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 jumped 1.5 percent. Major indexes in Asia finished mostly higher. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.8 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.4 percent. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.3 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gave up 0.3 percent.


Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!