На українському міжбанківському валютному ринку триває знецінення гривні, хоча його темпи уповільнилися порівняно з показниками, що фіксувалися наприкінці минулого та в перший день поточного тижнів.
Національний банк України, відбиваючи події на міжбанку, станом на 12:00 21 березня встановив довідкове значення курсу на рівні 27 гривень 27 копійок за долар США, це приблизно на 10 копійок більше, ніж офіційний курс, встановлений на сьогодні.
Водночас упродовж сесії міжбанку пропозиція незначно перевищувала попит, і станом на 14:00 гривня дещо посилилася – торги зараз відбуваються на рівні 27 гривень 21–24 копійки за долар.
Фахівці з сайту «Мінфін» вказували на «завершення подій, що підтримували нацвалюту в останні дні – період податкових платежів у клієнтів та кінець сплати за куплені нерезидентами 19 березня ОВДП». Натомість на користь гривні працює фактор зниження ліквідності в банківській системі. «Коррахунки на ранок 21 березня знизилися майже на 5 мільярдів гривень — до 53,966 мільярда, що й не дивно після дня оплати за великі партії куплених ОВДП», – вказують аналітики.
China says a high-ranking U.S. delegation will travel to Beijing next week to resume negotiations aimed at resolving the ongoing trade war between the world’s two leading economies.
Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng announced Thursday that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will visit the Chinese capital next Thursday and Friday, March 28 & 29, followed by a trip to Washington in early April by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.
The trade war between the United States and China began last year when President Donald Trump imposed punitive tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports to compel Beijing to change its trading practices.
China has retaliated with its own tariff increases on $110 billion of U.S. exports. The Trump administration is also pushing China to end its practice of forcing U.S. companies to transfer their technology advances to Chinese firms.
Trump had initially imposed a deadline of March 2 for both sides to reach a deal before imposing a hike in tariffs from 10 to 25 percent, but delayed the increase late last month citing “substantial progress” in the negotiations. But Chinese President Xi Jinping has reportedly cancelled tentative plans to visit Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida next month to sign a final deal, a sign that the talks have stalled.
Trump issued a warning Wednesday that U.S. tariffs could remain in place for a “substantial period” to ensure that Beijing lives up to any agreement.
The Federal Reserve left its key interest rate unchanged Wednesday and projected no rate hikes in 2019, dramatically underscoring its plan to be “patient” about any further increases.
The Fed said it was keeping its benchmark rate — which can influence everything from mortgages to credit cards to home equity lines of credit — in a range of 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent. It also announced that it will stop shrinking its bond portfolio in September, a step that should help hold down long-term rates. It will begin slowing the runoff from its bond portfolio in May.
Combined, the moves signal no major increases in borrowing rates for consumers and businesses. And together with the Fed’s dimmer forecast for economic growth this year — 2.1 percent, down from a previous projection of 2.3 percent — the statement it issued Wednesday after its latest policy meeting suggests that it’s grown more concerned about the economy.
With the prospect of no rate hikes ahead anytime soon, the stock market reversed losses it had suffered before the Fed issued its statement and was up modestly soon after.
The Fed’s decision was approved on an 11-0 vote.
Economic activity slows
Some Fed watchers say they think the next rate move could be a cut later this year if the economy slows as much as some fear it might.
In signaling no rate increases at all this year, the Fed’s policymakers reduced their forecast from two that were previously predicted in December. They now project one rate hike in 2020 and none in 2021. The Fed had raised rates four times last year and a total of nine times since December 2015.
The Fed’s pause in credit tightening is a response, in part, to slowdowns in the U.S. and global economies. It says that while the job market remains strong, “growth of economic activity has slowed from its solid rate in the fourth quarter.”
The Fed laid out a plan for stemming the reduction of its balance sheet: In May, it will slow its monthly reductions in Treasurys from $30 billion to $15 billion and end the runoff altogether in September. Starting in October, the Fed will shift its runoff of mortgage bonds into Treasurys so its overall balance sheet won’t drop further.
Change in direction
The central bank’s new embrace of patience and flexibility reflects its calming response since the start of the year to slow growth at home and abroad, a nervous stock market and persistently mild inflation. The Fed executed an abrupt pivot when it met in January by signaling that it no longer expected to raise rates anytime soon.
The shift toward a more hands-off Fed and away from a policy of steadily tightening credit has encouraged the view that the central bank is done raising rates for now and might even act this year to support rather than restrain the economy. Though the U.S. economy is on firm footing, it faces risks from slowing growth and trade conflicts.
All of which suggests that the Fed may recognize that it went too far after it met in December. At that meeting, the Fed approved a fourth rate hike for 2018 and projected two additional rate increases in 2019. Chairman Jerome Powell also said he thought the balance sheet reduction would be on “automatic pilot.”
That message spooked investors, who worried about the prospect of steadily higher borrowing rates for consumers and businesses and perhaps a further economic slowdown. The stock market had begun falling in early October and then accelerated after the Fed’s December meeting.
Trump weighs in
President Donald Trump, injecting himself not for the first time into the Fed’s ostensibly independent deliberations, made clear he wasn’t happy, calling the December rate hike wrong-headed. Reports emerged that Trump was even contemplating trying to fire Powell, who had been his hand-picked choice to lead the Fed.
But after the December turmoil, the Fed in January began sending a more comforting message. At an economic conference soon after New Year’s, Powell stressed that the Fed would be “flexible” and “patient” in raising rates — a word he and other policymakers have invoked repeatedly since — and “wouldn’t hesitate” to change course if necessary.
Powell, appearing last week on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” denied that pressure from Trump had influenced the Fed’s policy shift. Private economists generally agree that a slowing economy and a sinking stock market, which eased Fed worries about any possible stock bubble, were more decisive factors.
Stocks have rallied
After sharply falling in December, stocks have rallied and recouped most of their late-year losses in trading since the start of 2019, a rebound credited larger to the Fed’s easier monetary stance.
Some analysts say they think the Fed won’t raise rates at all this year if the outlook becomes as dim as they are forecasting.
That view is supported by the CME Group, which tracks trading in futures contracts on the Fed’s benchmark rate. It says traders now put the probability of any Fed rate hike this year at just 1 percent and project a roughly one-in-four chance that the Fed will actually cut rates by year’s end to help prevent a slowing economy from toppling into a recession.
U.S. tariffs on China are likely to remain in place for a while even if a trade deal is reached, President Donald Trump told reporters on Wednesday.
“The deal is coming along nicely,” the president said about the ongoing trade talks with Beijing, noting U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will be heading to China within days to continue discussions.
“We’re taking in billions and billions of dollars right now in tariff money and for a period of time that will stay,” said Trump.
The president’s remark indicate that even if a trade deal is reached with Beijing, tariffs imposed by Washington could stay in place unless U.S. officials are convinced the Chinese are adhering to the terms of any agreement.
“They’ve had a lot of problems living by certain deals, the president noted on the White House South Lawn just before boarding the Marine One helicopter.
Tit-for-tat tariffs imposed last year ignited fears of a trans-Pacific trade war.
The United States and China, the world’s two largest economies annually trade more than a half-trillion dollars’ worth of goods. Chinese products sold in the United States far outweigh the value of those sent to China and that deficit alone represents about 80 percent of America’s overall in goods.
A pillar of the Trump presidency has been reducing that huge gap by negotiating bilateral trade deals and rebuilding the U.S. manufacturing base.
Trump is traveling Wednesday to an area in Ohio where General Motors is planning to shutter a car assembly plant, affecting about 1,500 jobs and undercutting the president’s manufacturing revival message.
Trump on Twitter has called for GM to keep the plant open.
Some trade analysts say Trump’s metals tariffs on Canada and Mexico, however, have hurt U.S. manufacturing, including making auto plants in this company (which also are owned by foreign manufacturers) less competitive.
Ohio, which Trump won in the 2016 election by eight percentage points, will again be a key battleground state in next year’s presidential election.
Polls in the Buckeye State, where the president relies on a strong base of working-class voters, show Trump’s approval rating slipping since he took office
At one of Wednesday’s stops in Ohio, Trump is visiting a plant that makes tanks for the U.S. Army.
The General Dynamics facility nearly closed six years after Army officials told Congress they did not need additional M-1 Abrams tanks.
Among those accompanying Trump on trip to Ohio are Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Secretary of the Army Mark Esper.
German automaker BMW said Wednesday that profits in 2019 would be “well below” last year’s and that it planned to cut 12 billion euros ($13.6 billion) in costs by the end of 2022 to offset spending on new technology.
The company said profits would be eroded by higher raw materials prices, the costs of compliance with tougher emissions requirements and unfavorable shifts in currency exchange rates.
The Munich-based automaker also faces increased uncertainty due to international trade conflicts that could lead to higher tariffs.
The company forecast a profit margin of 6 to 8 percent for its automotive business, short of the long-term strategic target of 8 to 10 percent, which it said still “remains the ambition” for the company given “a stable business environment.”
BMW said it had no plans for layoffs even as it outlined cost saving measures that include dropping half of its engine variants as it seeks to reduce product complexity. The BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brands are to get a single sales division.
Chief Financial Officer Nicolas Peter said that given the headwinds to earnings, “we began to introduce countermeasures at an early stage and have taken a number of far-reaching decisions.”
The company said the measures were needed “to offset the ongoing high level of upfront expenditure required to embrace the mobility of the future.”
BMW shares were down 4.9 percent to 72.02 euros in Frankfurt.
Automakers around the world have faced heavy up-front costs for new technologies expected to change how people get from one place to another in the next decade. Those include electric cars and renting cars through smartphone apps. Yet the returns from such investments remain uncertain and auto companies face competition from tech firms such as Uber and Waymo.
BMW made 7.2 billion euros ($8.2 billion) in net profit last year, down 17 percent from 2017, when it booked a gain of $1 billion from U.S. tax changes. The company faced headwinds from increased tariffs on vehicles exported to China from the United States. It also suffered from turmoil on the German auto market when companies faced bottlenecks getting cars certified for new emissions rules.
BMW faces uncertainty from U.S.-China trade tensions that could result in new tariffs if talks do not result in an agreement. U.S. President Donald Trump has also threatened to impose auto import tariffs that would hit EU automakers, but has held off for now. BMW could also suffer disruption if Britain leaves the European Union without a negotiated departure agreement to address trade issues.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says talks with White House senior adviser Jared Kushner have led to advances toward an agreement that would have the U.S. government guarantee some $10 billion in development investments for Mexico and Central America.
Lopez Obrador said Wednesday that the investments would aim to reduce immigration from Mexico and Central America by providing more opportunities in those countries. Roughly half of the sum would go to Mexico while the remainder would be divided among Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Lopez Obrador and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law dined Tuesday in the Mexico City home of Bernardo Gomez, co-executive president of Grupo Televisa.
The Mexican leader says they also discussed the pending ratification of the new trade agreement dubbed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
European Union regulators have hit Google with a 1.49 billion euro ($1.68 billion) fine for abusing its dominant role in online advertising.
It’s the third time the commission has slapped Google with an antitrust penalty, following multibillion-dollar fines resulting from separate probes into two other parts of the Silicon Valley giant’s business.
The EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, announced the results of the long-running probe of Google’s AdSense advertising business at a news conference in Brussels on Wednesday.
“Today’s decision is about how Google abused its dominance to stop websites using brokers other than the AdSense platform,” Vestager said.
The commission found that Google and its parent company, Alphabet, breached EU antitrust rules by imposing restrictive clauses in contracts with websites that used AdSense, preventing Google rivals from placing their ads on these sites.
Google “prevented its rivals from having a chance to innovate and to compete in the market on their merits,” Vestager said. “Advertisers and website owners, they had less choice and likely faced higher prices that would be passed on to consumers.”
AdSense is an older Google product that lets web publishers such as bloggers place text ads on their websites, with the content of the ads based on results from search functions on their sites. Microsoft filed an EU antitrust complaint about the service in 2009 and the EU Commission formally launched its probe in 2016, although it said at the time that Google had already made some changes to allow affected customers more freedom to show competing ads.
Last year, Vestager hit the company with a record 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) fine following an investigation into its Android operating system. In 2017, she slapped Google with a 2.42 billion euro fine in a case involving its online shopping search results.
Компанія Walt Disney Company завершила процес купівлі кінокомпанії 21st Century Fox, за угодою заплативши за неї 71 мільярд доларів.
За домовленістю, Disney отримає кіностудію 20th Century Fox, телевізійні мережі National Geographic, Sky і FX, 30% частку стрімінгового сервісу Hulu, а також авторські права на мультсеріал «Сімпсони», фільми «Люди-X», «Аватар» та інших кінофраншизи.
В результаті угоди створять нову компанію New Fox, до якої ввійде мовленнєва компанія Fox Broadcasting, регіональні телестанції Fox TV, а також кабельні канали Fox Sports і Fox Newі.
Про намір Walt Disney Company викупити 21st Century Fox стало відомо наприкінці 2017 року.
A robotics company hopes to bring a robot into every home and business, using a proprietary robotic platform—that can be programmed and tweaked for a wide variety of users and uses. Deana Mitchell takes a look at one of the world’s most customizable robots. It’s called Misty.
U.S. President Donald Trump has accused social media outlets, including Facebook, Google and Twitter, of being biased, and suggested that the situation needs scrutiny. In answer to a reporter at the White House Tuesday, Trump said digital platforms tend to suppress Republican and conservative views. VOA’s Zlatica Hoke reports.
Google on Tuesday unveiled a video-game streaming platform called Stadia, positioning itself to take on the traditional video-game business.
The platform will store a game-playing session in the cloud and lets players jump across devices operating on Google’s Chrome browser and Chrome OS, such as Pixel phones and Chromebooks.
Google didn’t say how much its new service will cost, whether it will offer subscriptions or other options, or what games will be available at launch — all key elements to the success of a new video-game platform. It said only that Stadia will be available in late 2019.
Google made the announcement at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Some industry watchers were expecting a streaming console, but Google’s platform centers squarely on the company’s cloud infrastructure.
“The new generation of gaming is not a box,” said Google Vice President Phil Harrison. “The data center is your platform.”
Much like movies and music, the traditional video-game industry has been shifting from physical hardware and games to digital downloads and streaming.
Video-game streaming typically requires a strong connection and more computing power than simply streaming video, since there is real-time interaction between player and game. Google says it is leveraging its data centers to power the system.
Alphabet Inc.’s Google said playing video games will be as simple as pressing a “Play Now” button, with nothing to download or install. An optional dedicated Stadia controller will be available. The WiFi-enabled controller has a button that lets players launch a microphone and use Google Assistant to ask questions about the games being played. Another button lets users share gameplay directly to Google’s video streaming service, YouTube.
Harrison said he expects all gaming will eventually take place outside consoles, in cloud-powered streaming platforms similar to what Google announced. But not right away.
“It won’t replace traditional games devices overnight,” he said in an interview after the announcement. “And we wouldn’t be here if not for the existing traditional platforms.”
CFRA Research analyst Scott Kessler said Google’s approach that ties YouTube sharing and video-game playing is unique.
“It is not necessarily at this point the easiest thing for people to livestream their games and now you can do it with the push of a button,” he said. “What they’ve done with Stadia is to connect and unify both the gaming platform and the streaming platform which obviously is new.”
The company said Stadia will be available in late 2019 in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and parts of Europe. Google showed demos of “Assassin’s Creed Odyssey” and “Doom Eternal.” More information about games and pricing is due this summer.
The U.S. video game industry raked in revenue of $43.4 billion in 2018, up 18 percent from 2017, according to research firm NPD Group.
BTIG Managing Director Brandon Ross said Stadia will be a positive for game publishers “assuming that it works and works at scale, which is a big assumption.”
That’s because the platform could bring in players not willing to spend the money upfront for a gaming PC or a console.
“What they’re presenting is a feasible way to play video games in the cloud, and utilizing the cloud so you can play anytime, anyplace and anywhere,” he said. “There’s no friction, including the friction of upfront hardware costs.”
Ross added that Google’s platform could set up a distribution battle between Microsoft, which owns the Xbox, Sony, which owns the PlayStation, Google and perhaps Amazon, which reportedly is working on its own video-game service, as they race to lock down distribution of the most in-demand games.
To that end, Google launched Stadia Games and Entertainment which will develop Stadia-exclusive games.
“The differentiator for any of the distributors on a console or in the cloud is going to be available content,” he said.
Harrison said Google will rely on outside publishers and game developers to provide many of the games available on the platform. But having its own inside studio will also allow the company to fully test and make use of new features.
“We can be the advance party, so to speak, and we can be testing out the latest technology,” he said. “Once we’ve proven it we can help bring that up to speed on the platform even more quickly with our third-party partners.”
Harrison acknowledged Google faces stiff competition from longtime rivals Microsoft, Sony and others. Google has been working on Stadia for more than four years, he said, and has been working with game developers through Android and Play Store for longer.
The others have more than a decade of experience. But Google believes it brings something new.
“We are not a historical console or PC platform,” he said. “We are built specifically for this new generation.”
General Motors said on Tuesday it would invest $2.7 billion in two Brazilian factories over the next five years, sparing them from a shakeup of the automaker’s operations, a decision hailed by the governor of Brazil’s largest state.
Sao Paolo state Governor Joao Doria told a joint news conference with GM executives that the plants in Sao Caetano do Sul and Sao Jose dos Campos had been slated for closure last December, and said he convinced GM to reverse the decision, saving jobs.
Last November, GM said it would slash thousands of jobs around the world and would close two unspecified plants outside of North America by the end of 2019.
The company declined to say whether its restructuring plans had referred to the two Brazilian factories, and declined to comment on whether the two plants had been slated for closure as Doria claimed.
Sitting next to Doria at the news conference, GM’s CEO for South America, Carlos Zarlenga, also did not directly address Doria’s recounting of the negotiations with GM.
Doria, a former businessman and reality TV show host, took office in January and became a vocal advocate for the state’s auto industry. Earlier this year, he said he would find a buyer for a Ford Motor Co. plant that is slated to close, after the U.S. automaker said it had tried and failed to find one.
At Tuesday’s news conference, Doria said GM told him in a call days before his inauguration that it planned to close the plants.
“I thought it was going to be good news,” Doria said. “But to my surprise I was told that the next day GM CEO Mary Barra would announce the closing of two factories in Sao Paulo. I fell off my chair.”
He said he dispatched his future state finance minister to fix the situation and landed a meeting in Miami with GM executives. He said 65,000 workers employed directly and indirectly by GM would have lost their jobs without his intervention.
Earlier this month, Doria announced an incentive plan granting automakers a 25 percent reduction in value added taxes if they created at least 400 jobs and invested at least 1 billion reais. At the news conference, GM announced it was creating 400 new jobs.
Zarlenga said the future of its Sao Paulo factories had presented GM “a really serious problem,” but did not confirm that the automaker had considered closing them down.
GM, the sales leader in Brazil, South America’s largest market, had warned local employees it was dealing with heavy losses and “sacrifices” would be necessary.
As announced, the plan pales in comparison to GM’s most recent investment plan in Brazil in 2014, which totaled $4 billion. However, the announcement does not include potential future investments in the automaker’s plants elsewhere in the country.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused social media platforms Facebook, YouTube and Twitter of favoring his Democratic opponents over him and his fellow Republicans.
“But fear not, we will win anyway, just like we did before! #MAGA,” he said in a tweet. MAGA refers to Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
Facebook and Twitter declined to comment. Alphabet’s Google, which owns YouTube, did not immediately comment.
The president and other conservatives have repeatedly complained that these big tech platforms treat them unfairly.
Trump has previously accused Twitter of restricting the visibility of prominent U.S. Republicans, without any providing evidence, and the avid social media user has promised to investigate the company’s practices.
Trump and other conservatives say Twitter targets fellow Republicans with a practice dubbed “shadow banning,” limiting the visibility of a Twitter user, including in the platform’s auto-populated dropdown search box.
Representative Devin Nunes of California has sued Twitter over the alleged practice, according to court documents.
Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey has said that algorithms have been changed to fix that issue.
The Justice Department held a meeting last fall between federal officials and state attorneys general to discuss allegations that conservative ideas are suppressed online, but so far no concrete action has been taken as a result.
Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday it would spend 86 billion riyals ($23 billion) to boost the quality of life in the capital Riyadh, increasing green space and recreational areas and installing 1,000 works of art across the city.
The four projects unveiled are part of efforts to open up Saudis’ cloistered lifestyles, encourage physical activity and make life more fun in the conservative kingdom, alongside reforms to diversify the economy away from oil.
They are the latest in a series of planned development investments that King Salman has launched at the side of his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, after a global outcry over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October tarnished the crown prince’s image.
Park, cycling track planned
State media showed the pair touring a diorama of the plans, which include a park four times the size of Central Park and 135 kilometers (84 miles) of cycling track. The king also ordered that one of the capital’s main roads be renamed after his son.
The murder of Washington Post columnist Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul sparked international criticism of the crown prince, who had won Western plaudits for easing social strictures. The CIA and some Western countries suspect him of ordering the killing, which Saudi authorities vehemently deny.
The kingdom, and the crown prince, have also been criticized for a crackdown on dissent, including putting 10 prominent women’s rights activists on trial last week.
King stands by son
While some critics abroad have called for the crown prince’s removal, the king has stood by his favorite son and heir apparent as Riyadh tries to move on from the murder and refocus attention on reform plans that require huge foreign investment.
Work on the four new projects will start in the second half of the year and come on line gradually between 2023 and 2030. They will create 70,000 jobs and offer investment opportunities worth 50 billion riyals to local and foreign investors, state news agency SPA said.
One initiative aims to increase six-fold the percentage of green areas in Riyadh, notorious for its multi-lane highways and concrete block buildings, by planting 7.5 million trees. Seven museums, an open art fair, pedestrian bridges and community gardens are also called for.
Life in capital more relaxed
Such features were unimaginable in Riyadh just a few years ago when religious police patrolled the streets enforcing strict social codes like gender segregation and bans on public music.
But life in the capital has become more relaxed in recent years after the crown prince clipped the wings of the religious police, ended a ban on cinemas and began organizing public concerts. He has won the support of many young Saudis.
Saudi citizens have no vote and falling oil income could affect their living standards in coming years. As a result, improving quality of life is seen as important for ensuring political stability.
Гривня продовжує знецінюватися стосовно долара і євро, свідчать дані на сайті Національного банку України.
На 20 березня вартість одного долара встановлена на рівні 27 гривень 16 копійок (на три копійки більше порівняно з попереднім днем). Офіційна вартість євро дорівнюватиме 30 гривням і 84 копійкам (плюс п’ять копійок).
Таким чином, офіційний курс гривні продовжує падати впродовж сімох днів.
На українському міжбанківському валютному ринку триває знецінення гривні, хоча його темпи уповільнилися порівняно з показниками, що фіксувалися наприкінці минулого та в перший день поточного тижнів. Національний банк України, відбиваючи події на міжбанку, станом на 12:00 21 березня встановив довідкове значення курсу на рівні 27 гривень 27 копійок за долар США,…
China says a high-ranking U.S. delegation will travel to Beijing next week to resume negotiations aimed at resolving the ongoing trade war between the world’s two leading economies. Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng announced Thursday that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will visit the Chinese…
The Federal Reserve left its key interest rate unchanged Wednesday and projected no rate hikes in 2019, dramatically underscoring its plan to be “patient” about any further increases. The Fed said it was keeping its benchmark rate — which can influence everything from mortgages to credit cards to home equity…