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President Donald Trump said Friday he has not agreed to scrap tariffs on Chinese goods, dampening hopes about a coming resolution to a jarring trade conflict.

“They’d like to have a rollback. I haven’t agreed to anything,” he told reporters before departing the White House on his way to Georgia. “China would like to get somewhat of a rollback, not a complete rollback because they know I won’t do it.”

Stocks fell to their session lows following Trump’s comments, as optimism had risen about the prospects of the U.S. scrapping duties.

Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesperson Gao Feng said Thursday that negotiators from Washington and Beijing “agreed to remove the additional duties imposed on each other’s products in different phases after they make progress” in striking a trade deal, according to a CNBC translation. Gao did not specify how much of the tariffs the world’s two largest economies would revoke.

The U.S. and China have worked to sign what the White House has described as a “phase one” trade deal. Trump hopes to resolve outstanding gripes with Beijing’s trade practices, including forced technology transfers and intellectual property theft, while securing more Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural goods.

The Trump administration has slapped tariffs on more than $500 billion in Chinese goods, while Beijing has put duties on about $110 billion in American products. China has pushed for the U.S. to remove tariffs, which have the potential to wreak havoc on the global economy, as part of an agreement.

The White House declined to comment on Trump’s remarks.

Skepticism quickly grew Thursday about China’s statement that the U.S. agreed to roll back tariffs. Some administration officials and outside advisors opposed the prospect of scrapping duties, worrying it would reduce American leverage in ongoing talks, Reuters reported.

On Thursday night, Trump trade advisor Peter Navarro also denied the reports. He told Fox Business Network that “the only person who can make [the decision to roll back tariffs] is Donald J. Trump.”

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping have looked for a venue to sign the first piece of the trade deal. They had planned to sign the agreement at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Chile later this month, before that country’s president canceled the event due to protests.

On Friday, Trump said he and his Chinese counterpart would sign the first part of the deal in the United States. He has previously suggested the sides could meet in Iowa for the signing.

— CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report

WATCH: Tariff deal faces pushback within the White House

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Longtime trader Louis Bacon to exit Moore Capital after 30-year run

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Louis Bacon, founder and CEO of Moore Capital Management

Amanda Gordon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Longtime trader and hedge fund manager Louis Bacon is planning to return capital to investors after 30 years of investment.

The step to privatize Moore Capital will mark the end of a storied era at the firm and follows years of weaker performance at the fund.

“The time is propitious to take a step I have eyed for some time and ‘privatize’ our three multi manager flag ship funds — that is to say returning client assets,” Bacon wrote in a letter to clients viewed by CNBC.

“Disappointing results of these funds of the last few years obviously inform this decision but our long term record is one we remain proud of,” he continued. “Intense competition for trading talent coupled with client pressure on fees has led to a challenging business model for multi manager funds such as ours.”

Moore has delivered a net annualized return of 17.6% and a cumulative return of over 21,000% since inception for its flagship Remington funds but has returned low-single-digit gains this year, the manager noted.

Bacon, who founded Moore in 1989 with a $25,000 inheritance from his mother, is considered one of the most successful traders of his era. Bacon popularized trading on a “macro” basis, making bets on everything from U.S. equity to European bonds and Asian currencies based on what he expected from the global macroeconomy.

In Moore’s first full year, his wager that Saddam Hussein would invade Kuwait generated an 86% return, according to a letter Bacon wrote to document his firm’s first 20 years. The letter also said that 13 years later, Bacon’s accurate predictions on the market events surrounding the Iraq war would buoy fund returns 35%.

His fund also successfully bet against Japanese markets in the early 1990s and at one point managed more than $10 billion.

The most recent decade, however, proved tougher for Bacon, who scrambled to match his historical returns thanks to persistently low interest rates. A Moore fund managed by Bacon reportedly declined almost 6% in 2018 amid two spikes in market volatility; another company fund overseen by other managers fell 3.3%, according to the Financial Times, which first reported Moore’s impending closure.

“Challenging trading conditions and muted returns for our macro multimanager funds of late masks a vibrant success at Moore in our Long/Short Equity platform, our Private Equity and Venture group, our Real Estate and our Speciality Lending businesses,” Bacon wrote in the letter to investors.

But he isn’t the only fund manager who has struggled in recent years.

Billionaire Leon Cooperman announced the closure of his Omega Advisors in summer 2018, telling clients that he doesn’t “want to spend the rest of my life chasing the S&P 500.”

Fellow billionaire Jeffrey Vinik, who made a name for himself running Fidelity’s Magellan fund, told CNBC last month that he was closing his hedge fund less than one year since its relaunch.

“It has been much harder to raise money over the last several months than I anticipated,” Vinik said in a letter dated Wednesday to investors.

“The climate for raising long-short equity hedge fund assets has been far more difficult than I expected, and performance of the VAM funds, while good … has not provided the necessary momentum to bring in our desired level of investments.”

— CNBC’s Leslie Picker contributed reporting.

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Vietnam exporting more to US, but still isn’t a full China substitute

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A mechanic works at factory in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Chau Doan | LightRocket | Getty Images

Vietnam may have appeared to replaced China in selling certain goods to the U.S., but the Southeast Asian country still has a long way to go before it can fully substitute China as a manufacturing hub for the world.

In the first nine months of this year, U.S. imports from Vietnam jumped 34.8% year on year, accelerating from a 5.8% gain in all of 2018, according to a Thursday note by consultancy IHS Markit. In comparison, U.S. imports from mainland China shrank 13.4% year on year in the January-to-September period, the note said.

Tariffs were a major reason behind the decline in U.S. imports from China, said Michael Ryan, IHS Markit’s associate director of comparative industry service, who wrote the note.

He added that Vietnam’s fastest growing export categories to the U.S. are computers, telephone equipment and other machinery.

Those products were among the U.S.’s top imports from mainland China, Mongolia and Taiwan in 2018, according to the United States Trade Representative. That suggests that Vietnamese exports of those goods to the U.S. may have replaced the reduction in flows between China and America.

Challenges for Vietnam

Vietnam is often named as one of the largest beneficiary of the trade war because of an increase in its exports to the U.S. In addition, Southeast Asian country has seen a jump in foreign direct investments from manufacturers looking to circumvent elevated tariffs between the U.S. and China.

But the U.S. has not invested in Vietnam in a big way, noted Ryan. He pointed out that American investments into Vietnam only accounts for 2.7% of total FDI the Southeast Asian country received.

One reason is the U.S. doesn’t have a free trade agreement with Vietnam and the broader Association of Southeast Asian Nations, according to the IHS Markit report. But that’s just “one of many factors tempering the pace and magnitude of supply-chain diversification” into Vietnam, Ryan said.

Vietnam is also faced with a shortage in skilled labor, he said. The country’s talent pool has not been able to support the influx of inquiries, as many multinational companies are looking to relocate parts of their manufacturing supply chain outside of China, he explained.

“Simply, demand is outpacing the current ability to supply,” he said, adding that infrastructure in Vietnam is not yet up to standards for many international firms to establish shops.

Specifically, that means finding local business partners and fulfilling government requirements to obtain permits could be major obstacles for foreign companies, according to Ryan. In addition, Vietnamese roads were poorly built and ports are already congested, which add to the time needed to travel and move goods around, he said.

“Taken in combination, these factors are lengthening the delivery cycle to consumers and point to a drawn-out process of extricating operations from mainland China’s orbit,” said Ryan.

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WeWork lays off 2,400 employees

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A pedestrian walks by a WeWork office on October 07, 2019 in San Francisco, California. Days after withdrawing its registration for an initial public offering, WeWork also warned employees that the company could be set to lay off nearly 2,000 people, about 16 percent of its workforce.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

WeWork is laying off 2,400 employees as it works to cut costs and right-size the business, the company confirmed to CNBC.

In a statement, a WeWork spokesperson said the cuts were being made as part of the company’s efforts to “create a more efficient organization” and refocus on the core office-sharing business. The job reductions represent 19% of WeWork’s total workforce, which amounted to 12,500 employees as of June 30, according to an SEC filing.

“The process began weeks ago in regions around the world and continued this week in the U.S.,” the spokesperson said. “This workforce reduction affects approximately 2,400 employees globally, who will receive severance, continued benefits, and other forms of assistance to aid in their career transition. These are incredibly talented professionals and we are grateful for the important roles they have played in building WeWork over the last decade.”

Leading up to the announcement, reports of forthcoming job cuts had been circulating for weeks. The New York Times reported on Sunday that WeWork could cut at least 4,000 jobs across its core office-sharing business and some side ventures. In October, Marcelo Claure, WeWork’s new executive chairman, warned that layoffs would be on the way but didn’t say how many would be announced.

Claure said in a memo to employees earlier this week that the company will hold an all-hands meeting at 10 a.m. ET on Friday to address the changes slated for the company.

The layoffs come after several tumultuous months for WeWork. In September, the beleaguered start-up pulled its IPO filing after investors balked at its mounting losses and unusual corporate governance structure. The scrutiny forced WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann to step down from his role as CEO, with Sebastian Gunningham and Artie Minson stepping in as co-CEOs.

WeWork was poised to run out of money in a matter of weeks, but secured an 11th-hour bailout deal from SoftBank, its biggest investor. With a new owner in place, WeWork is expected to make sweeping changes to its business, including divesting noncore businesses and focusing on enterprise customers, instead of small and mid-sized clients. However, the company continues to bleed cash, reporting $1.25 billion in losses for the third quarter, widening sharply from the same period last year.

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