Tag Archives: China

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Monday suggested the phase one agreement with China doesn’t have to be ready to sign next month. Speaking on Fox Business Network, Ross says, “It has to be the right deal, and it doesn’t have to be in November.”

President Donald Trump has indicated the deal would be ready to sign at the November APEC summit. The agreement includes the intent by China to purchase up to $50 billion worth of U.S. agricultural goods over the next two years. However, China has said it won’t move forward with significant purchases unless Trump agrees to cancel a planned round of tariff increases set for December.

The comments from Ross seem to suggest the phase one agreement may not be as solid as previously portrayed. Agriculture is described best as cautiously optimistic that the phase one agreement can be completed, and that China massively increases its purchases of U.S. farm products. However, China recently purchased soybeans from Brazil, an uncharacteristic move for this time of year.

World share prices retreated after China reported today that its economy grew 6.0%, its slowest pace in 26 years, in the latest quarter. In early trading, Britain’s FTSE 100 edged 0.1% lower, the CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.2% while Germany’s DAX reversed early losses, edging 0.1% higher. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite index gave up early gains, closing 1.3% lower. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.5%. South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.8%. Wall Street looks poised for a tepid start, with the future Dow and S&P futures 0.1% lower.

BEIJING (AP) _ China’s economic growth slowed to 6% over a year ago in the latest quarter, its lowest level in at least 26 years, amid a tariff war with Washington and weakening domestic consumer demand. The latest level is down from the previous quarter’s 6.2%. Chinese trade has suffered from U.S. tariff hikes in a fight over Beijing’s trade surplus and technology plans. Factory output, investment and consumer spending also declined.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The leaders of the 189-nation International Monetary Fund and sister organization, the World Bank, are laying out their visions for the future, hoping to achieve a world with less extreme poverty and more economic growth. However, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and World Bank President David Malpass will likely find their discussions over the next two days consumed with more immediate problems, such as rising trade tensions. Both officials will deliver speeches at the opening session today of the annual meetings of the two organizations.

BRUSSELS (AP) — After agreeing on terms for a new Brexit deal, European Union leaders are meeting again today to discuss other thorny issues, including the bloc’s budget and climate change. No decision is expected on the next long-term budget for 2021-2027, though, a topic more divisive than Brexit.

MILAN (AP) — Italy’s main farm lobby is forecasting a 20% drop in sales of Italian agricultural products targeted by new U.S. tariffs. The group, Coldiretti, says the 25% tariffs that take effect today will hurt sales in the United States of Italian Parmesan and Gorgonzola cheeses, as well as cured meats, citrus fruit and liquors. The Italian products on the tariff list represent half a billion euros ($550 million) in export value.

China wants further talks as soon as the end of October to hammer out the details of the “phase one” trade deal touted by Donald Trump before Xi Jinping agrees to sign it, according to people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg News reports.

Beijing may send a delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He, China’s top negotiator, to finalize a written deal that could be signed by the presidents at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit next month in Chile, one of the people said. Another person said China wants Trump to also scrap a planned tariff hike in December in addition to the hike scheduled for this week, something the administration hasn’t yet endorsed. The people asked not to be named discussing the private negotiations.

China has recently been buying a lot of meat. The Wall Street Journal says their recent purchases are pushing up the prices of beef, pork, and poultry around the globe.

Meat buyers are increasing their activity after African Swine Fever hit the country hard and reduced the size of the world’s largest pig herd by more than a third. Domestic pork prices have jumped in China and meat imports are rising in response and placing a strain on global meat supplies. For example, Brazil poultry shipments to China have jumped 31 percent compared to last year.

Retail prices for chicken breasts, thighs, and legs have increased roughly 16 percent. European meat buyers are paying five percent more for pork because more of their domestically produced supplies are heading to China. American shoppers haven’t felt the impact yet, but that may change.

Futures prices recently rose after Chinese officials say the country could exempt some U.S. pork and other agricultural goods from punitive tariff increases. Many American meat companies have watched as European and South American competitors have raced each other to supply China’s pork needs.

Trade talks continue this week between the U.S. and China as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement inches closer to reality. President Donald Trump says talks last week between the U.S. and China “were very positive.”

Negotiations will continue this week ahead of high-level talks planned sometime next month. A Chinese delegation canceled U.S. farm visits last week, but apparently not because of the ongoing trade negotiations. Officials say the trips were canceled to avoid excessive media attention. Meanwhile, Democrats in the House of Representatives plan to submit a counter proposal to the White House this week on changes to USMCA, according to Politico.

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal says the USCMA working group would meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this week to “intensify the discussion.” Neal is hopeful the group and Lighthizer can “strike a deal soon,” that allows the House to vote on the agreement. Neal says the concerns raised by Democrats are not resolved but added the Trump administration has “made substantial progress.”

China’s government is releasing pork from stockpiles to help cool surging prices ahead of Oct. 1 celebrations of the Communist Party’s 70th anniversary in power.

The price of pork, China’s staple meat, has soared almost 50% from a year ago due to a devastating outbreak of African swine fever that killed or prompted authorities to destroy pigs. That has pushed up global pork prices as importers buy foreign supplies.

A government agency that manages the stockpile of frozen pork said Wednesday it will auction off 10,000 tons.

That is equivalent to less than 0.2% of China’s 2018 monthly consumption of 4.7 million tons, which suggests the announcement was a signal to consumers and farmers of Beijing’s determination to cool prices instead of an attempt to change supply levels.

China produces and consumes two-thirds of the world’s pork.

The government keeps reserves of live pigs and frozen pork to guarantee adequate supplies. Details of the frozen pork reserve are secret but industry analysts estimate its size at up to 3 to 5 million metric tons.

Industry analysts say the reserve probably is too small to have an impact on supplies in the market. The last release announced by the government was 9,600 tons in January.

This month, authorities also announced an initiative to revive pork production with support to farmers including subsidies to rebuild pig herds and improve facilities.

The Cabinet planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, promised Wednesday to take “control measures in a timely manner” to keep food prices steady ahead of the Oct. 1 celebrations.

“We will take the lead in formulating plans and measures to ensure a stable supply of pigs,” said an NDRC spokeswoman, Meng Wei.

The price surge is a sour political note for the ruling party, which bases its claim to power in part on improved living standards over three decades of market-style economic reform.

Pork output plunged as authorities destroyed herds and blocked shipments to stop African swine fever, which first was reported in August 2018 in China’s northeast.

African swine fever doesn’t harm humans but is fatal and spreads quickly among pigs.

August’s rise in pork prices pushed food cost inflation to 3.2%, above the ruling party’s official target of 3%.

Smaller outbreaks also have been reported in South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Taiwan and Mongolia.

Forecasts of the decline in this year’s Chinese pork production range as high as 35%. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Chinese imports might rise 41%.

The shortages have given a boost to American pork exports despite tariff hikes imposed by Beijing in a fight with Washington over trade and technology.

U.S. pork sales to China rose 150% in June over a year earlier to 72 million pounds (33 million kilograms), according to the USDA.

Chinese imports rose 26% in the first half of 2019 to 819,000 metric tons, according to USDA. The European Union supplied 62%, Canada 16% and American farmers 8%.