LONDON: Moves by the United States and China towards dialogue rather than slapping new trade tariffs on each other helped stocks advance Thursday along with a tepid US inflation reading.
“In the end, it wasn’t the fairly uninteresting updates from the Bank of England or the ECB, nor a much-needed, and huge, rise in interest rates from the Central Bank of Turkey, that got the markets moving this Thursday, but rather a disappointing inflation reading from the US,” said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.
US consumer price inflation slid to 2.7 percent on an annual basis in August, from 2.9 percent in July, removing one source of pressure that could push the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates faster than the gradual pace it has indicated.
As low-interest rates are good for businesses, US stocks pushed higher, while the dollar fell. The Dow was up 0.3 percent in late morning trading.
Markets in Asia started off a rally after the US reached out to China for fresh talks in a bid to avert a trade war, providing some much-needed respite to weary investors.
News that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had invited top Chinese officials for talks came just under a week after Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on all $500 billion worth of imports from China.
China’s commerce ministry on Thursday welcomed the offer and said the two sides were discussing details.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 2.5 percent, having fallen for six straight days and into a bear market, which is a 20 percent drop from its January record high.
Most other markets in the region followed it higher.
In Europe, London ended the day down 0.4 percent, penalized by a stronger pound which hurts companies which do most of their business globally and convert profits back into sterling.
The European Central Bank indicated it planned to continue reducing its asset purchases, which helped the euro rise against the dollar.
Frankfurt’s DAX 30 managed to remain in the green, but the CAC 40 in Paris slid into the red just before the closing bell.
The biggest surprise on Thursday came from Turkey’s central bank, which announced a massive rate hike to battle soaring inflation and boosts the lira, prompting the embattled currency to surge in value.
The central bank hiked the one-week repo auction rate 625 basis points from 17.75 percent to 24 percent, significantly higher than the Bloomberg consensus of 21 percent.
The lira reacted strongly to the decision, rising by five percent in value to 6.0 lira to the US dollar. It later shed some of those gains but was still up over 3.3 percent in value at 6.14 to the dollar.
Turkey has in recent weeks been battling through one of the most troubled periods for its economy under the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with the lira battered on currency markets in August.
It made the announcement only hours after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the bank to lower interest rates.
Crude oil prices tumbled as Hurricane Florence weakened on its approach towards the US east coast, reducing the risk of damage and disruption to oil installations.
Traders also focused on the International Energy Agency announcing that global oil output hit a record of 100 million barrels per day in August, providing some relief from concerns about supplies as exports from Iran and Venezuela decline.
New York – Dow Jones: UP 0.3 percent at 26,074.81 points
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.4 percent at 7,281.57 (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.2 percent at 12,055.55 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.08 percent at 5,328.12 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.2 percent at 3,334.94
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.0 percent at 22,821.32 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 2.5 percent at 27,014.49 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: UP 1.2 percent at 2,686.58 (close)
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1675 from $1.1626 at 2100 GMT
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3101 from $1.3045
Dollar/yen: UP at 111.89 yen from 111.26 yen
Oil – Brent Crude: DOWN $1.30 at $78.44 per barrel
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN $1.60 at $68.77 per barrel
Tokyo stocks close down, Nissan plunges over 5%
TOKYO: Stocks here dropped today with shares in Nissan diving more than five percent and Mitsubishi also plunging after chairman Carlos Ghosn was arrested over allegations of financial misconduct.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 1.09 percent, or 238.04 points, to close at 21,583.12, while the broader Topix index was down 0.73 percent, or 11.94 points, at 1,625.67.
Nissan shares lost 5.45 percent to 950.7 yen after dipping to a low of 940 yen, down 6.51 percent, at one point. Mitsubishi Motors was down 6.84 percent to 680 yen.
The dollar fetched 112.52 yen in Asian afternoon trade, against 112.54 yen in New York and 112.77 yen in Tokyo on Monday.
Declines in Japanese shares came after worries about the US-China trade war and slowing technology sector growth battered Wall Street on Monday.
French auto giant Renault also plunged in Paris on a burgeoning scandal surrounding Ghosn, who heads the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.
“The Nissan case gave some uncertainties to the market,” said Daiwa Securities senior technical analyst Hikaru Sato.
“The case affected the auto sector partially, but the impact is still limited,” Sato told the Media. Honda lost 0.40 percent to 3,166 yen but Toyota gained 1.58 percent to 6,717 yen. Elsewhere in Tokyo, game giant Nintendo was down 5.67 percent at 31,220 yen and Sony was down 3.08 percent at 5,709 yen.
Fishing nations fail in bid to cut quotas
Dubrovnik (Croatia): Dozens of nations on Monday failed to agree on measures to preserve one of the planet’s most valuable fish: the bigeye tuna, backbone of a billion-dollar business that is severely overfished.
Some 50 countries as well as European Union member states wrapped up a meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) in the Croatian seaside city of Dubrovnik without reaching a consensus on quotas.
“It’s a setback and it’s bad news,” said Javier Garat Perez, secretary general of the Spanish fishing confederation Cepesca.
Scientists shocked many in the industry last month when they warned that unless catch levels are sharply reduced, stocks of the fatty, fast-swimming predator could crash within a decade or two.
They warned that populations had fallen to less than 20 percent of historic levels.
Less iconic than Atlantic bluefin but more valuable as an industry, bigeye (Thunnus obesus) — one of several so-called tropical tunas — is prized for sashimi in Japan and canned for supermarket sales worldwide.
Three years ago, ICCAT introduced a 65,000-tonne catch limit for the seven largest fishers of bigeye, and a moratorium in certain areas of ocean.
But other countries are not bound by the quotas, and bigeye hauls last year topped 80,000 tonnes — far too high to begin replenishing stocks.
The Dubrovnik meeting saw calls to bring countries fishing more than 1,575 tonnes such as Brazil, Senegal, Guatemala and Cape Verde under quotas but these were blocked due to commercial interests, many delegates said.
“The industry wants to make money and in the quickest way it can,” said Siphokazi Ndudane, who headed the South African delegation at the talks.
The current quota of 65,000 tonnes was extended for a year as well as a partial moratorium on Fish Aggregating Devices or FADs: buoys or floats tethered to the ocean floor with concrete blocks which attract certain types of fish.
The last proposal at the conference was made by South Africa which suggested a quota of 62,500 tonnes from 2019 to 2021.
Some disappointed delegates sounded the alarm.
“If we don’t reach consensus next year, it’s catastrophe,” said Yvan Riva, president of the French fishing organization Orthongel.
The various players also traded blame.
Garat Perez pointed to Asian countries saying they “tried to avoid any measure that could affect their fleet of longliners,” adding that “Europeans were prepared to make sacrifices.”
But one member of a coastal African nation said it was a “lack of will” on the part of the big fishing nations.
Some experts have calculated that cutting the total catch to 50,000 tonnes per year would give bigeye a 70 percent probability of recovery by 2028.
Some delegates said the ICCAT had not taken in the lessons from the bluefin tuna.
In 2007 when one species of bluefin (Thunnus thynnus) was put on the UN list of threatened species, the ICCAT was forced to adopt drastic protective measures in the Atlantic and Mediterranean and stocks began to recover.
In Dubrovnik, after lengthy negotiations, the ICCAT put in place its 2019 management plan including relaxed fishing periods and for developing countries, the opportunity to set up bluefin tuna fattening farms.
“Bottom line, there are simply too many boats in the water chasing too few fish,” said Paulus Tak, a senior officer for the Pew Charitable Trusts, and an official observer at the ICCAT meeting, about the bigeye tuna situation.
KP to install water meters at cars washing stations
PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Environment and Forests, Syed Muhammad Ishtiaq Sunday said that water meters would be installed at cars washing stations to curb massive misuse of potable water in the province.
In an exclusive interview with APP, he said Pakistan was confronted with a major challenge of water shortage and wastage of clean drinking water could not be allowed at car washing stations in the province.
He said Environment Protection Agency has started action against those car washing stations, which were operating illegally or involved in wastage of water. Moreover, the agency was issuing notices to concerned owners with direction to install water meters at earliest.
The minister said the provincial government was committed to regulating this business by installing water meters at these stations at all cost and heavy fine would be imposed against violators.
Millions of gallon of clean drinking water had been wasted at thousands of car wash stations due to lack of proper mechanism owing to the lackluster approach of the past regimes in the country.
The PTI government had taken a lead role by directing the owners of these stations to install water meters and upon failure heavy fines would be imposed besides sealing of the stations, he said.
The massive misuse of water at most of these stations was not only causing dropping of groundwater table but also leading to water pollution by draining chemically contaminated water in the sewerage lines.
The draining of chemically contaminated water after washing of vehicles was also making negative effects on life of water species.
Car wash business was being considered most lucrative as it involves comparatively smaller capital for setting up a station. In Peshawar, Rs 200 was being charged for washing car’s body only while detailed service takes 400 rupees.
During car wash, massive potable water was being wasted on most of these stations where water was being drilled via electric pumps, causing substantial economic loss to the national kitty in the water-starved country.
In populated areas, water connections for these stations were mostly offered from the main water supply line and domestic consumers were adversely suffer due to colossal use of potable water for the cleaning of vehicles.
As per international standards, about 40 percent of the river flows were required to be stored whereas Pakistan had only 13.29 million acre-feet (MAF) storage against the required standard of 58 MAF, which should be a matter of great concern for policy makers and planners.
The high population growth, misuse of water, climate change, poor water management, lack of political will and urbanization were the main reasons behind the water and energy crisis in the country.
The government could collect a lot of money by bringing this profitable business under tax-net.
The minister said a ban on the use of non-degradable plastic bags, which are a major cause of environmental and water pollution, has been imposed and strict action would be taken against violators.
To curb environmental pollution, desertification and climate change, he said KP government would plant additional one billion saplings under Plant for Pakistan project of the federal government under which 10 billion saplings would be planted in next five years.
He said the campaign under the plant for Pakistan would be launched in February next year and Billions Trees Afforestation Project under which one billion and 180 million plants were planted in last four years would be extended to tribal districts.
Hospitals were directed to ensure disposal of the waste imperative for the clean environment,” the minister said, adding heavy fine would be imposed on all those stone crushing machines operating in populated areas besides owners of cement and marble factors that failed to install filtration plants to control smoke emission.
The minister urged people to use cloths made bags instead of plastic bags and help the government in making the environment clean and green.
He said Environmental Tribunal was set up in Peshawar by the KP Government to dispose of cases on environmental issues.