Asian stocks rise after Wall Street gains on jobs numbers
BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks rose Monday despite U.S.-Chinese trade tension following solid Wall Street gains on strong U.S. employment data.
U.S. stocks gained Friday after Labor Department data showed job creation in February stronger than forecast, while wage increases were below expectations. That helped to dampen inflation concerns that triggered the market’s swoon. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 1.7 percent to 2,786.57. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 1.8 percent to 25,335.74. The Nasdaq composite jumped 1.8 percent to 7,560.81.
U.S. officials said there will be no more conditions imposed on North Korea before a possible meeting of the two nations’ leaders beyond the North’s promise not to resume nuclear testing and missile flights or publicly criticize U.S.-South Korean military exercises. The comments followed the surprise announcement last week that President Donald Trump has agreed to meet the North’s Kim Jong Un by May.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose slightly to remain above $62 per barrel.
The dollar weakened against the yen and the euro.
China says no to US trade war, but vows to defend interests
BEIJING (AP) — China said Sunday that it would not initiate a trade war with the United States, but vowed to defend its national interests in the face of growing American protectionism.
China’s commerce minister said no on wins a trade war.
It was Beijing’s latest statement on “problems in Sino-U.S. economic trade and cooperation,” alluding to President Donald Trump’s plan to impose heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Trump said Thursday that he was slapping tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum, temporarily exempting big steel producers Canada and Mexico.
Chinese leaders have threatened in the past to retaliate against raised trade barriers, but have yet to take direct action following Trump’s announcement.
Citing Chinese researchers, Zhong said the U.S. has been overstating its trade deficit with China by about 20 percent every year. He gave no details on how this figure was reached, but the U.S. and Chinese governments generally report widely differing trade figures because Beijing counts only the first port to which goods go instead of their final destination.
The U.S. reported a $375 billion deficit with China last year, so a 20 percent reduction would still be among the largest trade gaps that it has with any country.
China shrinking steel industry, but too slowly for West
BEIJING (AP) — China’s steel mills, a target of U.S. President Donald Trump’s ire, are their industry’s 800-pound gorilla: They supply half of world output, so every move they make has a global impact.
The steel industry swelled over the past decade to support a history-making Chinese construction boom. Once that tailed off, the country was left with a glut of half-idle, money-losing mills.
Beijing has closed mills and eliminated 1 million jobs but is moving too slowly to defuse American and European anger at a flood of low-cost exports that is double the volume of second-place Japan.
Trump responded last week with a blanket tariff hike on steel and aluminum, another metal China’s trading partners complain it oversupplies.
Chinese authorities say they shut down 30 million tons of steel production capacity last year. That cut alone is equal in size to the annual output of the No. 9 producer, Brazil, but only a sliver of China’s 800 million tons.
Beijing’s goal is to make its industry more efficient and profitable, not just smaller. So while some mills close, bigger rivals step up production and could become even more formidable global competitors.
Total steel production rose 5.7 percent last year over 2016 to a record 831 million tons, according to the Chinese Cabinet’s planning agency, the National Reform and Development Commission. That was on top of a 1.2 percent increase in 2016 and more than seven times Japan’s output.
The industry is forecasting another 1 percent rise this year.
TRUMP TARIFFS-GLOBAL ECONOMY
Trump tariffs may imperil a delicate global economic rebound
WASHINGTON (AP) — Things had been going along so nicely.
Over the past year, the major regions of the world finally shed the scars of a global financial crisis and grew in unison for the first time in a decade. Worldwide growth is expected to hit 3.9 percent this year — the best pace since 2011 — and the International Monetary Fund says most countries are sharing in the prosperity.
But President Donald Trump’s announcement Thursday that the United States would impose heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminum — with some countries potentially exempted — suddenly raised a fear that few had anticipated: That U.S. tariffs could trigger a chain of tit-for-tat retaliation by America’s trading partners that could erupt into a full-blown trade war and possibly threaten the global economy.
Given how far many countries have come since the painful years of debt crises and a crushing recession, the threat posed by the tariffs struck many as an ill-considered risk.
It remains far from clear how, exactly, the Trump administration’s tariffs will be applied, which countries will be subject to them or how economically damaging the retaliation from the affected nations might prove. The president announced 25 percent tariffs on foreign steel and 10 percent tariffs on foreign aluminum. But he gave Canada and Mexico a reprieve: He exempted them from the tax temporarily — provided that they agree to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement to Trump’s liking.
The president has also invited other countries to try to negotiate their way out of the tariffs, though his administration has yet to explain how the appeals process will work.
Lots of talk, little action on curbing health care costs
WASHINGTON (AP) — It started as a bipartisan attempt to curb soaring health care premiums.
But Congress’ effort to stabilize the nation’s insurance markets is faltering amid escalating demands by each party and erratic positions by President Donald Trump. Democrats want bigger federal subsidies for consumers under President Barack Obama’s health care law while Republicans, still fighting that statute, aim to relax its coverage requirements and win abortion restrictions.
The bickering could collapse the whole effort, with each side blaming the other when next year’s expected higher insurance rates are announced — just weeks before Election Day, on Nov. 6.
Last week, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, a lead Democratic negotiator, called GOP demands on abortion limitations “a complete nonstarter.” A spokeswoman for Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa., sponsor of the House GOP package, said if Democrats want to oppose the effort “by playing abortion politics, then shame on them.”
Some Democrats think they’d reap political gains if the talks collapse since polls show the health care statute is widely popular and the public would largely fault Republicans if consumer costs spiral skyward.
Average price of US gas remains steady at $2.59 a gallon
CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average price of a gallon of regular-grade gasoline remained steady over the past two weeks, at $2.59.
Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday that the prior price drop was halted by a rise in crude oil costs.
Gas in San Francisco was the highest in the contiguous United States at an average of $3.44 a gallon. The lowest was in El Paso, Texas, at $2.19 a gallon.
The average price for diesel was up two cents, to $3.00 per gallon.
‘Black Panther,’ 4 weeks in, tops ‘A Wrinkle in Time’
LOS ANGELES (AP) — T’Challa still rules the box office four weeks in, even with the fresh rivalry of another Walt Disney Studios release in “A Wrinkle in Time.”
“Black Panther” took the No. 1 spot at the North American box office with $41.1 million according to studio estimates Sunday, leaving another newcomer in its wake. The Marvel and Disney phenomenon crossed the $1 billion mark worldwide this weekend and became the 7th highest grossing domestic release with $562 million. Not accounting for inflation, it’s now passed “The Dark Knight.”
With a marketplace still dominated by “Black Panther,” Disney faced some stiff competition from its own studio in launching Ava DuVernay’s adaption of “A Wrinkle in Time,” which opened in second place with $33.3 million from 3,980 locations. The PG-rated film, which cost around $103 million to produce and stars Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon, received mixed reviews from critics (it’s currently at a “rotten” 44 percent on RottenTomatoes) and audiences who gave it a B CinemaScore.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1.”Black Panther,” $41.1 million ($100 million international).
2.”A Wrinkle in Time,” $33.3 million ($6.3 million international).
3.”The Strangers: Prey At Night,” $10.5 million ($140,000 international).
4.”Red Sparrow,” $8.2 million ($15.7 million international).
5.”Game Night,” $7.9 million ($5.4 million international).
6.”Peter Rabbit,” $6.8 million ($4.8 million international).
7.”Death Wish,” $6.6 million ($3 million international).
8.”The Hurricane Heist,” $3.2 million ($1.9 million international).
9.”Annihilation,” $3.2 million.
10.”Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” $2.8 million.