COMEX GOLD SIGNAL
INTERNATIONAL COMEX NEWS
- China’s soybean imports from the United States plunged 99 percent in December to just 69,298 tons, customs data showed on Friday, taking its full-year 2018 imports to the lowest level since 2008 amid an ongoing trade war. It was the second month in a row when Chinese imports from the United States ground to a virtual halt amid the tit-for-tat dispute, although some buying has since resumed as talks between the world’s two largest economies continue.
- A Republican U.S. representative on Thursday introduced White House-drafted legislation that would give President Donald Trump more power to levy tariffs on imported goods in an effort to pressure other countries to lower their duties and other trade barriers. The measure offered by Representative Sean Duffy, which has been touted by Trump administration officials, has already been declared unacceptable by some Republican senators, including Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley.
- The thought of losing Venezuelan crude seems to be a greater worry to U.S. oil traders than seeing anemic demand for gasoline. New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude settled up on Thursday while London’s Brent oil barely dipped despite a surprising weekly jump in U.S. crude inventories and another gasoline build that reportedly took the motor fuel’s stockpiles to record highs.
- A synchronized global economic slowdown is under way and any escalation in the U.S.-China trade war would trigger a sharper downturn, according to Reuters polls of hundreds of economists from around the world. That is a major shift in sentiment from just a year ago, when economists were optimistic about a significant global upturn. But an escalation in trade tensions and tightening financial conditions have hurt activity in most economies and dragged China’s growth last year to the weakest in 28 years.
- Trade officials from 12 countries and the European Union seeking to reform World Trade Organization rules on Thursday said the challenges were becoming more urgent as members resorted to trade restrictions. The group first met in Canada last October amid U.S. actions that threatened to paralyze the body.
- The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is due to start sifting through an avalanche of annual tax returns on Monday, with a workforce hard-pressed by the partial government shutdown and Congress uncertain how to avoid chaos for taxpayers. In what could be a politically explosive chapter in the shutdown saga that already is 34 days long, analysts said at least one in 10 taxpayers could face problems with their returns due to the IRS funding shortfall. The analysts said the situation may worsen if the impasse drags on even longer.
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