Singapore, Jan 16 (AP/UNB) — Asian markets were mixed on Wednesday as poor Japanese data and worries about global growth put a damper on trading.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.6 percent to 20,430.73 while South Korea's Kospi added 0.3 percent to 2,102.45. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.3 percent to 26,756.09. Australia's S&P ASX 200 rose 0.1 percent to 5,822.60.The Shanghai Composite index was flat at 2,568.88. Shares fell in Taiwan but rose in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
WALL STREET: U.S. indexes climbed Tuesday to their highest level in a month after Chinese officials said measures were in place to help the world's second largest economy through a slowdown. Technology companies rallied after Netflix announced its biggest price increase in history. The broad S&P 500 index jumped 1.1 percent to 2,610.30. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.7 percent to 24,065.59. The Nasdaq composite, which has many technology stocks, jumped 1.7 percent at 7,023.83.
JAPAN ECONOMY: On Wednesday, Japan said its core machinery orders were flat in November at 863.1 billion yen, compared with October's 7.6 percent rise. This was also lower than analysts' expectations of a 3 percent increase. There was a sharp drop in orders from the manufacturing sector, although overseas orders climbed. The data suggests Japanese companies may be less confident in making big-ticket purchases in the face of global risks.
CHINESE GROWTH: Senior Chinese economic leaders, in outlining their policy plans for 2019, have promised to cut taxes and keep monetary policy flexible to help the country weather a slowdown. The news lifted Chinese shares and global financial markets on Tuesday. Buying eased on Wednesday as traders took stock of the country's falling exports to the U.S. amid a costly trade dispute. Both sides have pledged to work on their issues, but there seems to be a long road ahead with higher-level negotiations to come.
ANALYST'S TAKE: "Markets had a good start to the year on optimism. It is not a surprise that traders are taking a pause to consider the whole global picture, before corporate earnings start to take center stage," said Song Seng Wun, an economist at CIMB Private Banking.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil dropped 13 cents to $51.98 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added $1.60 to settle at $52.11 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 7 cents to $60.57. It gained $1.65 to $60.64 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar eased to 108.53 yen from 108.69 late Tuesday. The euro weakened to $1.1399 from $1.1413. After a Brexit deal vote fell through, the British pound fell to $1.2842 from $1.2859.
Detroit, Jan 15 (AP/UNB) — The U.S.-China trade war has delayed but not derailed Chinese automaker GAC Motor's plans to enter the American market, company officials said Monday.
Company President Yu Jun, speaking at Detroit's North American International Auto Show, said the dispute is a factor in moving its U.S. product launch from the end of this year — as it announced at last year's show — to June 2020. Still, analysts think they might have a longer road to the market.
President Donald Trump imposed tariff increases of up to 25 percent on $250 billion of Chinese imports over complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. President Xi Jinping responded by imposing penalties on $110 billion of American goods.
Washington wants Beijing to change its plans to use government support to make Chinese companies world leaders in robotics and advanced technologies. Chinese officials have suggested Beijing might alter its industrial plans but reject pressure to abandon what they consider a path to prosperity and global influence.
A Dec. 1 agreement postponed further tariff increases. Economists say the 90-day postponement of additional tariff increases that had been meant to take effect Jan. 1 may be too short to settle the disputes bedeviling U.S.-Chinese relations.
Yu said the 25 percent auto tariffs would cause prices to rise to the point that GAC's cars aren't competitive. He's optimistic that the trade dispute will be resolved in time for his company to meet its latest goal.
"China and the United States are the world's two largest economies, so their trade tensions will not only affect these two countries but also the entire world," he said through an interpreter. "So we believe the leaders of both countries will show their wisdom and the vision for the common interest of the entire world."
Yu acknowledged GAC's "uphill battle" to entering the U.S. market but he noted the company is making "steady progress." In addition to opening the design centers in Los Angeles, Silicon Valley and Detroit, he said it expects to have its North American sales company running by March. After that, GAC will start to establish a distribution network and build brand awareness in the U.S.
GAC officials visited the National Automobile Dealers Association convention last March, holding an event that attracted 130 dealership companies from 30 states representing 1,100 dealers, he said. He added many expressed a "keen interest" in working with the company, which has continued discussions with them. GAC plans to attend the convention again this year.
"By entering the U.S. we can examine our own capabilities and challenge ourselves to build even better products," he said.
IHS Markit analyst Stephanie Brinley said GAC's announcement underscores its commitment to launch in the U.S., but stressed the company must jump many hurdles, starting with regulatory and trade, and then consumer awareness and consideration.
It could all "take several years to overcome," she said.
"However, if the company can maintain its patience and commitment, it is ultimately a question of when rather than if they reach the U.S. market," she added.
At its fifth Detroit show, GAC unveiled a concept called the Entranze. The "hyper family car" comes from GAC's Los Angeles design center and Yu said the sleek, seven-person crossover, is the first to be designed in the U.S. However, GAC's first vehicle in the U.S. is expected to be the GS8, a full-size SUV that will cost about $30,000.
GAC sought to tamp down the trade tensions and put on a show for the assembled journalists, featuring dancers who aggressively pulled the tarp off the Entranze and executives who spoke glowingly of the U.S. and a history of commerce between the nations that has benefited consumers.
"We believe American consumers will enjoy our products," Yu said.
Beijing, Jan 14 (AP/UNB) — China's trade growth slowed in 2018 as a tariff battle with Washington heated up and global consumer demand weakened.
Exports rose 7.1 percent, customs data showed Monday, down from the 7.9 percent reported earlier for 2017. Import growth declined to 12.9 percent from the previous year's 15.9 percent.
The deceleration of exports adds to pressure on Beijing to resolve its costly tariff battle with Washington over Chinese technology ambitions.
Exports to the United States held up through late 2018 despite President Donald Trump's tariff hikes on Chinese goods. But forecasters say American orders are set to decline sharply.
Tokyo, Jan 12 (AP/UNB) — Nissan Chief Performance Officer Jose Munoz, who took a leave of absence a week ago, has resigned, the first high-profile departure at the Japanese automaker publicly acknowledged as related to the arrest of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn.
Munoz said in a statement on LinkedIn Saturday he made the decision after serious thinking because the company was "involved in matters that have and will continue to divert its focus," referring to Ghosn's case.
Munoz is among several executives media speculated might succeed Ghosn, who led Nissan for two decades.
Nissan confirmed the resignation, effective immediately.
There have been other recent departures from Nissan, but Nissan has denied they were related to Ghosn's case.
Munoz, a Spaniard who oversaw Nissan's global strategies, worked for Nissan for 14 years.
"I love the company, my talented co-workers and Nissan's industry-leading dealers," he said.
Ghosn, arrested Nov. 19, has been charged with breach of trust and falsifying financial reports and remains detained in Tokyo. He rebutted each allegation and asserted his innocence in a Tokyo court earlier this week, his first public appearance since his arrest.
The court rejected a request by prosecutors late Friday that Ghosn not be allowed to receive visitors, paving the way for his family to see him for the first time since his arrest. Until now, Ghosn could only see prosecutors, embassy officials and his lawyers.
In Japan, suspects are routinely held for months until their trials start. No trial date has been set for Ghosn.
Baghdad, Jan 11 (Xinhua/UNB) - Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi on Thursday met with visiting Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zanganeh over further cooperation in the sectors of oil and energy.
According to a statement by Iraqi Prime Minister's office, Mahdi hailed the relations between the two neighboring countries to serve the interests of both peoples.
For his part, Zanganeh also voiced the need to further develop the bilateral relations, saying he hoped more cooperation could be achieved.
Zanganeh and his delegation arrived in Iraq's capital Baghdad on Thursday morning, a day after a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Iraq.
Washington withdrew from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal last May and imposed a new round of sanctions against Iran on Aug. 7, 2018.
On Nov. 5, the United States announced the second package of anti-Iran sanctions covering the sectors of oil, energy and banking.