October 18, 2018

Cutting out the US dollar: Russia & UK may switch to settlements in national currencies

He told RIA Novosti that Russian firms doing business with Britain could switch to settlements in pound sterling at any moment, if necessary.

“The British pound is a freely convertible currency like the US dollar and the euro,” said Abramov.

Russia wants to ditch US dollar in trade with European partners

He explained that for a Russian company it is very easy to open an account in pounds in a Russian or foreign bank. It could also get the sterling at the Moscow stock exchange.

At the same time, switching to ruble settlements is not so easy for the British companies, since there are no ruble accounts in England and “banks do not understand how stable the Russian currency is…”

READ MORE: Putin backs plan to de-dollarize Russian economy

Abramov, however, added that in case of “political obstacles” or any restrictions on the use of the greenback, there will be an immediate shift towards other currencies, such as the pound or the euro.

According to him, for the first time since 2014 Moscow and London have resumed talks on the development of trade relations.

Though Russia is not a key market for the UK, it is a very important one, Abramov said, adding bilateral trade totaled more than $12 billion in 2017. “Britain is interested not only in maintaining this level, but also in increasing it,” he said.

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/441296-russia-uk-national-currencies/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Rising tensions between US & Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi case rock oil prices

Brent oil was trading 80 cents higher on Monday at $81.25 per barrel, while US benchmark WTI jumped 53 cents to $71.87. Investors are alarmed over possible US sanctions against Saudi Arabia after the disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Turkish authorities have claimed they have proof the journalist was tortured, killed and dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Oil priced $400 in yuan, Russian military base – Saudi insider says kingdom mulls 30 anti-US moves

“Growing tensions over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has proved supportive for oil prices,” said ING commodities strategist Warren Patterson, as quoted by Reuters.

Saudi Arabia has said it would retaliate if any sanctions are imposed. “This has raised concerns that the Saudis may use oil as a tool for retaliation if any sanctions or other action is taken against it,” Patterson said.

Oil is still off the $86 peak seen last week before the sell-off on the US markets. However, if US President Donald Trump goes through with the promise of “severe punishment” against Riyadh if it’s proven the Saudis ordered the murder of Khashoggi, oil prices could skyrocket.

“If US sanctions are imposed on Saudi Arabia, we will be facing an economic disaster that would rock the entire world,” Turki Aldakhil, the general manager of Saudi Arabia-based Al Arabiya television wrote in an op-ed. The media is owned by the royal family.

“It would lead to Saudi Arabia’s failure to commit to producing 7.5 million barrels. If the price of oil reaching $80 angered President Trump, no one should rule out the price jumping to $100, or $200, or even double that figure.”

Trump has repeatedly blamed OPEC leader Saudi Arabia for propping up oil prices, which have translated to higher gasoline prices for US consumers. It is a problem for the president and the Republican leadership with US midterm elections coming up in less than a month.

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/441283-saudi-arabia-oil-sanctions/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Ramaphosa pledges to accelerate return of lands to black South Africans

“We are making history and celebrating the return of your land today. We are righting the historic injustice and returning the land to its rightful owners,” the president said at the handover of 4‚586 hectares of land to the community of KwaMkhwanazi at Empangeni in northeastern KwaZulu-Natal.

Ramaphosa admitted that his government has been too slow in the process of restitution and redistribution of farmlands, stressing that land is a key pillar for economic emancipation and freedom.

Ramaphosa to UNGA: Seized South African farmlands ‘to be shared by all’

“We are commencing a rolling mass land distribution program in our country. We will be returning land in a massive way. This Mkhwanazi land is the first‚” the president said. “Today we are making history‚ celebrating the return of the land to our people in this area.”

The KwaMkhwanazi community had been evicted from the lands the previously possessed in several steps: the first, shortly after World War I, and then in the 1940s when commercial cane and timber operations were expanded.

The land reform has become a hot issue both domestically and internationally since the South African government announced plans to change the constitution, allowing the expropriation of land without compensation. The new law would allow for land to be taken from white farmers and redistributed to the landless black majority.

The policy is reportedly aimed at eliminating a significant inequality in land ownership in South Africa. The reform evoked intense international debate along with numerous media reports of alleged violence against white farmers, including murders. The step also raised deep concerns about the decline in food production and international investments in the economy. However, the government says the land reform is absolutely lawful and will not threaten stability of South Africa.

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/441269-ramaphosa-accelerate-massive-land-reform/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Russia backs switching to national currencies in settlements between SCO countries

Talking at the SCO council meeting in Tajikistan, the PM said there’s need in such a step and the Russian government supports the idea. He, however, noted that “it is necessary to act carefully.”

According to Medvedev, “The external conditions we are working are still difficult and can hardly be called comfortable. The system of strategic stability faces serious challenges.”

As Russia pivots to the east, trade with China is booming

He stressed that “some states use unfair competition, introducing protectionist measures, illegal unilateral sanctions” in order “to maintain their dominant positions.”

Medvedev explained that such attacks are mainly directed against Russia and China as key members of the SCO, as well as their partner Iran.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has also called on the SCO member countries to firmly support free trade and economic cooperation. He proposed advancing SCO cooperation in six areas: security, multilateral economic cooperation and trade, production capacity cooperation, connectivity, innovation, and people-to-people ties.

The agreement establishing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was inked in 2001 by six founding states – Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In 2017 India and Pakistan became full-fledged members of the SCO. Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia currently enjoy observer status while Sri Lanka, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia and Nepal are dialogue partners.

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/441264-national-currencies-settlements-soc/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

China Turns Its Back On US Oil

According to US Census Bureau data released last week, for the first time since 2016, China has halted purchases of US crude, importing zero barrels in August. A major blow coming from the second biggest economy in the world–a blow that is sure to have reverberating repercussions and retaliations.

After Washington lifted restrictions on exports at the end of 2015, China began buying vast quantities of US crude, and has even been giving Canada a run for its money as the number one importer in some instances. Chinese imports represented 23 percent of total US crude exports in 2017 and averaged 22 percent this year–until August. That is definitively no longer the case, as tensions have ramped up significantly in the past months after the Trump Administration began a “trade war” at the beginning of this year.

China halts all oil imports from US amid escalating trade war

In just one part of a long series of retaliations, China threatened in June to impose a 25 percent tariff on crude imports. This was in direct response to US President Trump’s hefty $50 billion levy on Chinese imports. China took a shot at US crude despite Trump’s threats that his $50 billion would be followed with more levies in the case of China’s retaliation.

Now, according to some experts, we can expect the trade war with China to continue escalating, perhaps at an even more accelerated rate, when US sanctions officially hit Iran next month. Trump Administration officials have stated that their intention is to slash Iranian oil exports from their current 1.7 million barrels per day all the way down to zero. This objective, however, is likely to be undercut by China, which currently buys around one quarter of Iranian crude and will not be joining a unilateral cut-off of Iranian oil imports. “I don’t expect China to acquiesce to Washington’s demands, given the worsening relations between the two nations,” said Stephen Brennock, oil analyst for PVM Oil Associates.

China is not the only country that is opposed to reinstating sanctions on Iran. Practically all major buyers of Iranian oil have opposed the cut-off. But few, if any, countries have the ability that China does to risk their relationship with the United States. China’s relationship with the Trump administration is already stressed, to put it lightly. They have far less to lose by siding with Iran and endangering the success of US sanctions, adding fuel to the trade war fire.

READ MORE: Iran considers SWIFT payment system alternative to bypass US sanctions

At the same time, both the US and China have an incentive to deescalate–China in order to stay (or return to) in Washington’s good graces and the US to circumnavigate a potential oil price shock. However, with the impending oil sanctions on Iran just around the corner and very little time for diplomacy, it’s difficult to predict which way they will go.

Regardless of what is coming down the pike, the trade war with China is already having dire consequences. It remains to be seen just how it will impact the US oil industry to lose a massive consumer like China at the drop of a dime, but we know that the impact will be considerable. There have been plenty of think pieces about how the trade war will end up hurting the US but now we will see in real time what the real-life repercussions are, even more so when Iran gets pulled into the mix next month.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/441217-china-us-oil-supplies/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

China turns its back on US oil

According to US Census Bureau data released last week, for the first time since 2016, China has halted purchases of US crude, importing zero barrels in August. A major blow coming from the second biggest economy in the world–a blow that is sure to have reverberating repercussions and retaliations.

After Washington lifted restrictions on exports at the end of 2015, China began buying vast quantities of US crude, and has even been giving Canada a run for its money as the number one importer in some instances. Chinese imports represented 23 percent of total US crude exports in 2017 and averaged 22 percent this year–until August. That is definitively no longer the case, as tensions have ramped up significantly in the past months after the Trump Administration began a “trade war” at the beginning of this year.

China halts all oil imports from US amid escalating trade war

In just one part of a long series of retaliations, China threatened in June to impose a 25 percent tariff on crude imports. This was in direct response to US President Trump’s hefty $50 billion levy on Chinese imports. China took a shot at US crude despite Trump’s threats that his $50 billion would be followed with more levies in the case of China’s retaliation.

Now, according to some experts, we can expect the trade war with China to continue escalating, perhaps at an even more accelerated rate, when US sanctions officially hit Iran next month. Trump Administration officials have stated that their intention is to slash Iranian oil exports from their current 1.7 million barrels per day all the way down to zero. This objective, however, is likely to be undercut by China, which currently buys around one quarter of Iranian crude and will not be joining a unilateral cut-off of Iranian oil imports. “I don’t expect China to acquiesce to Washington’s demands, given the worsening relations between the two nations,” said Stephen Brennock, oil analyst for PVM Oil Associates.

China is not the only country that is opposed to reinstating sanctions on Iran. Practically all major buyers of Iranian oil have opposed the cut-off. But few, if any, countries have the ability that China does to risk their relationship with the United States. China’s relationship with the Trump administration is already stressed, to put it lightly. They have far less to lose by siding with Iran and endangering the success of US sanctions, adding fuel to the trade war fire.

READ MORE: Iran considers SWIFT payment system alternative to bypass US sanctions

At the same time, both the US and China have an incentive to deescalate–China in order to stay (or return to) in Washington’s good graces and the US to circumnavigate a potential oil price shock. However, with the impending oil sanctions on Iran just around the corner and very little time for diplomacy, it’s difficult to predict which way they will go.

Regardless of what is coming down the pike, the trade war with China is already having dire consequences. It remains to be seen just how it will impact the US oil industry to lose a massive consumer like China at the drop of a dime, but we know that the impact will be considerable. There have been plenty of think pieces about how the trade war will end up hurting the US but now we will see in real time what the real-life repercussions are, even more so when Iran gets pulled into the mix next month.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/441217-china-us-oil-supplies/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Saudi stocks nosedive after Trump’s threats to Riyadh over missing WaPo journalist Khashoggi

Two hours into trading, the index was down seven percent, which is its biggest drop since December 2014, Reuters reports. The stock market’s trading hours take place between 10:00am and 3:00pm, Sunday to Thursday. AP also reported a drop, but said it was six percent.

READ MORE: Trump vows ‘severe punishment’ if Saudi Arabia is behind killing of WaPo journalist Khashoggi

‘Pressure will be on Turkey’ if Saudis found guilty of journalist’s murder in Istanbul – analysts

The nosedive comes after Trump promised a harsh response to Saudi Arabia if the ultraconservative kingdom is linked to the suspected murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The president said that there is something “really terrible and disgusting” about the case. “We’re going to get to the bottom of it and there will be severe punishment.”

Khashoggi, who was a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi royal family, was last seen on October 2 when he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage.

Turkey alleges that the journalist was tortured, killed, and dismembered inside the consulate – a claim, that Riyadh denies.

Reacting to Khashoggi’s disappearance and alleged murder, a number of media outlets, including CNN, CNBC, and the Financial Times, announced they will not be participating in a high-profile investment conference in Saudi Arabia. The Washington Post took out a full-page ad in protest, saying that it “is not going to let this go.”

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/441216-saudi-stock-exchange-khashoggi/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Stock bubble bigger than 2008 & coming crash far larger, warns Peter Schiff

“This is a bubble not just in the stock market, but the entire economy,” he told Fox News. Schiff predicts a recession, accompanied by rising consumer prices, that will be “far more painful” than the 2007-2009 Great Recession.

US stocks suffer worst loss in 8 months amid rising interest rates, tech hit hardest

“I think as Americans lose their jobs, they are going to see the cost of living going up rather dramatically, and so this is going to make it particularly painful,” he said.

Stock markets sank on Wednesday and Thursday, led by a steep decline in tech shares and worries of rapidly rising rates which made investors flee the risky stocks.

Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and SP 500 posted their biggest one-day drops since February. The Nasdaq notched its largest single day sell-off since June 2016.

US President Donald Trump has blamed the central bank for the selloff, saying the Federal Reserve “has gone crazy.”

According to Schiff, the Fed has been acting irrationally for a long time: “What is crazy is for the Fed to believe that they can raise interest rates without pricking their own bubble.”

READ MORE: Decade after financial crisis JPMorgan predicts next one’s coming soon

Schiff added: “All bear markets start off as corrections. I think this one is probably a bear market. It’s long overdue. This is a bigger bubble than the one that blew up in 2008, and the crisis that is going to ensue is going to be far larger.”

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/441197-stock-bubble-2008-crash/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Oil could spike to $100 as Iranian exports shrink & Venezuelan economy collapses, analysts tell RT

“The reduction of oil exports by Iran amid the expected increase in demand for crude brings in bullish mood to the market,” says financial institute FinIst analyst Denis Lisitsyn.

“There is another important fact that makes oil prices grow. The economic collapse in Venezuela has resulted in 1.3 million bpd drop in production, which continues to shrink. It can cause a shortage of heavy oil in the US, supplied from Venezuela, which will need to be replenished somewhere,” the analyst added.  

EU energy system will collapse if sanctions target Russian oil gas – BP boss

These factors could result in a surge in oil prices to $100 per barrel by year-end. The spike in prices comes to the chagrin of the White House, which has triggered the price spike, Lisitsyn says.

Iran is not going to give up its exports so easily, according to Eldiyar Muratov, president at Singapore Castle Family Office.

“The US forces as many countries as possible to abandon oil purchases from the Islamic Republic. Iran made it clear that this time it is determined to defend itself. The latest supply negotiations with India are direct evidence of this. Tehran will continue to search for new markets, build new alliances and increase supplies to Asian markets,” he said.

Another analyst contacted by RT doesn’t believe oil prices will grow to $100 per barrel, and are likely to find their balance around $85. “The lack of Iranian exports will soon be compensated. Russia has already reached the peak of production of 11.35 million barrels, the same amount the country produced before the OPEC + deal. The Saudis added 300,000 barrels and will be able to add more, as soon as the output ceiling is raised,” said Petr Pushkarev, chief analyst at TeleTrade.

He doesn’t expect a dramatic fall in Iranian exports. “Only the US is withdrawing from the deal. Asia and Europe are determined to resist the pressure from Washington. Supplies from Iran will be reduced by a maximum of 1.5 million barrels,” said Pushkarev.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/441165-oil-prices-iran-venezuela-sanctions/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Hamptons’ ‘paranoid’ super rich installing luxury panic rooms to hide from MS-13 gang

The extreme security measures include sleeping with guns, installing bulletproof windows and sometimes even luxury panic rooms.

Supermarket mogul, John Catsimatidis, told the New York Post that he sleeps with a gun underneath his pillow. “A Walther PPK/S, the same one James Bond carried,” he said.

via GIPHY

“[My wife] Margo prefers a shotgun. Although, once, she thought she heard something, got the shotgun out and shot through the door,” he added.

Fears that the gang is spreading to the eastern tip of Long Island were bolstered by Southampton Town’s police chief Steven Skrynecki, after he stationed police with anti-terrorism gear at charity galas throughout the summer of 2017.

In April, the gang murdered four men at a soccer field in Central Islip. Three months later a Hampton Bays brothel, which was raided by police, was found to be tagged with an MS-13 sign.

The gang is “in Suffolk County. What’s an hour car ride? They are near,” an unnamed Southampton homeowner said.

Long Island contractor Chris Cosban, whose company Covert Interiors installs pricey panic rooms, told the daily: “The big thing [with homeowners] in the Hamptons is that if somebody has it, they [all] want it.”

via GIPHY

The price for a panic room ranges from $25,000 to over $200,000 which Cosban explains with ‘a wow factor.’

“They like to brag about it,” he said. People used to open up their garages and show off their Lamborghinis, but “now they take guests to the wine bar in their safe room,” said Herman Weisberg from personal security firm Sage Intelligence.

He explained that clients look at the panic rooms as a secondary space that can double as a wine cellar or a secure room to display guns.

Some East Enders say that their wealthy neighbors are going overboard and “get more paranoid the richer they become.”

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/441147-hamptons-panic-rooms-ms13/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS