US brings new charges against Chinese tech giant Huawei
The Justice Department has added new criminal charges against Chinese tech giant Huawei and several subsidiaries, accusing the company of a brazen scheme to steal trade secrets from competitors in America, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.
The new indictment also alleges the company provided surveillance equipment to Iran that enabled the monitoring of protesters during 2009 anti-government demonstrations in Tehran, and that it sought to conceal business that it was doing in North Korea despite economic sanctions there.
The company issued a statement Thursday evening disputing the allegations and calling them without merit.” The new allegations come as the Trump administration raises national security concerns about Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer, and aggressively lobbies Western allies to bar the company from wireless, high-speed networks. PTI
Amazon wins order suspending $10 billion Microsoft US military contract
A federal judge has issued an order temporarily blocking the US military from awarding a multibillion-dollar cloud computing contract to Microsoft, after Amazon claimed the process was tainted by politics.
A temporary injunction requested by Amazon was issued US judge Patricia Campbell-Smith, barring the Department of Defense from starting work on the contract known as JEDI, according to a summary of the ruling available online.
Details of the ruling were sealed for unspecified reasons.
Amazon has alleged it was shut out of the deal because of President Donald Trump’s vendetta and is seeking testimony from the president and other top officials on the reasons for awarding the USD 10 billion US military cloud computing contract. AFP
India offers U.S. dairy, chicken access in bid for elusive trade deal with Trump
India has offered to partially open up its poultry and dairy markets in a bid for a limited trade deal during U.S. President Donald Trump’s first official visit to the country this month, people familiar with the protracted talks say.
India, the world’s largest milk-producing nation, has traditionally restricted dairy imports to protect the livelihoods of 80 million rural households involved in the industry.
But Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to pull all the stops for the U.S. president’s Feb. 24-25 visit, aimed at rebuilding bonds between the world’s largest democracies. In 2019, Trump suspended India’s special trade designation that dated back to 1970s, after Modi put price caps on medical devices, such as cardiac stents and knee implants, and introduced new data localization requirements and e-commerce restrictions.
Trump’s trip to India has raised hopes that he would restore some of the country’s U.S. trade preferences, in exchange for tariff reductions and other concessions.
The United States is India’s second-largest trade partner after China, and bilateral goods and services trade climbed to a record $142.6 billion in 2018. The United States had a $23.2 billion goods trade deficit in 2019 with India, its 9th largest trading partner in goods.
India has offered to allow imports of U.S. chicken legs, turkey and produce such as blueberries and cherries, Indian government sources said, and has offered to cut tariffs on chicken legs from 100% to 25%. U.S. negotiators want that tariff cut to 10%.
The Modi government is also offering to allow some access to India’s dairy market, but with a 5% tariff and quotas, the sources said.
New Delhi has also offered to lower its 50% tariffs on very large motorcycles made by Harley-Davidson, a tax that was a particular irritant for Trump, who has labeled India the ”tariff king.” The change would be largely symbolic because few such motorcycles are sold in India. Reuters
TECHNICALS: Spot gold may rise to $1,589
Spot gold may rise to $1,589 per ounce, as suggested by a retracement analysis.
The consolidation from the Jan. 8 high of $1,610.90 has been shaped into a triangle, which looks like a bullish continuation pattern, as it developed after an uptrend.
The pattern will be confirmed when gold breaks $1,589, the 14.6% retracement on the uptrend from $1,458.17 to $1,610.90. A bullish target at $1,630 will be established then.
A failure to break the resistance at $1,575 could trigger a drop to $1,553. A further drop will signal the reversal of the uptrend from the Aug. 16, 2018 low of $1,159.96.
This resistance is strengthened by another one at $1,580 on the hourly chart, which is the 14.6% projection level of a presumed wave C from $1,591.46. Reuters
China reports 5,090 new coronavirus cases in mainland
China saw 5,090 new coronavirus cases in the mainland on Feb. 13, with 121 new deaths, the National Health Commission said on Friday.
Hubei province, which is at the epicentre of the outbreak, earlier reported 4,823 new cases with 116 deaths. Reuters
Sebi issues guidelines for portfolio managers
Markets watchdog Sebi on Thursday issued guidelines for portfolio managers and said they cannot charge upfront fee from clients.
Sebi (Portfolio Managers) Regulations, 2020, were notified on January 16.
In addition, certain changes to the regulatory framework for portfolio managers have been mandated.
“As provided in Regulation 22 (11) of the PMS Regulations, no upfront fees shall be charged by the portfolio managers, either directly or indirectly, to the clients,” Sebi said in a circular.
According to the regulator, brokerage at actuals should be charged to clients as expense.
“Operating expenses excluding brokerage, over and above the fees charged for Portfolio Management Service, shall not exceed 0.50 per cent per annum of the client’s average daily Assets under Management (AUM),” it added.
For redemption of client portfolio in the first three years of investment, an exit load charge ranging from 1-3 per cent would be charged.
After the three-year period, there would be no exit load.
Charges for all transactions in a financial year through self or associates would be capped at 20 per cent by value per associate per service. PTI
Urgent need for more ambitious structural, financial sector reform measures in India: IMF
India urgently needs more ambitious structural and financial sector reform measures and a medium-term fiscal consolidation strategy due to the rising debt levels while ensuring a more accommodative fiscal stance in the budget, the IMF has said.
Responding to a question on the budget presented by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, International Monetary Fund (IMF) spokesperson Gerry Rice said the economic environment in India is weaker than what the organisation had forecast earlier.
“While the budget touches on ongoing sectoral efforts, there remains an urgent need for more ambitious structural and financial sector reform measures and a medium-term fiscal consolidation strategy, anchored in tangible revenue and expenditure measures, especially given rising debt levels,” Rice told reporters. Read more
Oil prices steady but set for weekly gain on supply cut optimism
Oil prices were steady on Friday but are set for their first weekly gain in six weeks on the assumption major producers will implement deeper output cuts to offset slowing demand in China, the world’s second-largest crude user.
Brent crude futures fell 9 cents to $56.25 a barrel by 0234 GMT, after gaining 1% the previous session. Brent is 3.3% higher for the week, the first increase since the week of Jan. 10.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were down by 1 cent to $51.41 a barrel. The contract rose 0.5% on Thursday and is now 2.2% higher for the week.
Crude prices have plunged about 20% from their 2020-peaks on Jan. 8 as oversupply concerns combined with worries about large fuel demand declines in China as the country’s quarantine to fight a coronavirus outbreak has halted economic activity.
However, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allied producers, known as OPEC+, are considering cutting output by up to 2.3 million barrels per day in response to the demand slump.
But other analysts caution the demand impact is only limited to China so far.
“The spread of the coronavirus remains extremely fluid and while market sentiment is held at the mercy of each passing coronavirus headline, our baseline thesis remains that oil demand destruction remains largely a China story and has yet to spill over to impact global demand,” said Helima Croft, head of commodity strategy at Citadel Magnus. Reuters