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Tuesday Morning Briefing: China says U.S. currency manipulator labeling could cause chaos in financial markets


A rout in global markets moderated as China kept the yuan on a tight leash after its landmark drop past 7-per-dollar. China’s central bank said that Washington’s decision to label Beijing as a currency manipulator would “severely damage international financial order and cause chaos in financial markets”. Formally declaring China a currency manipulator may scratch a long-term itch for U.S. President Donald Trump, but the move provides few new tools that have not already been employed in two years of trade negotiations with Beijing. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who last week cut interest rates as an insurance policy against the effects of “simmering” trade tensions, may need to buy more coverage after the U.S. designated China a currency manipulator.

Chinese companies have stopped buying U.S. agricultural products, China’s Commerce Ministry said, a blow to U.S. farmers who have already seen their exports slashed by the more than year-old trade war. China may also impose additional tariffs on U.S. farm products, the Ministry said, raising the barrier to future trade that further targets rural states that supported Trump in the 2016 election. Goldman Sachs said it no longer expects the United States and China to agree on a deal to end their prolonged trade dispute before the November 2020 presidential election as policymakers from the world’s largest economies are “taking a harder line”.


Apple rolled out its virtual credit card, working with bank Goldman Sachs on the new iPhone add-on that may help Apple diversify from device sales and build out the Wall Street bank’s new consumer business. Apple announced the card in March, aiming to draw in iPhone owners by offering a card with 2% cash back on purchases with the Apple Pay service, no fees, an app to manage related finances, and a focus on data privacy.

Jeff Bezos sells Amazon stock worth $2.8 billion last week. Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos offloaded $990 million worth of shares in the company last Thursday and Friday, taking the total value of shares sold last week to $2.8 billion.

Vivendi is in talks to sell a 10% stake in its prized and lucrative Universal Music Group to Chinese tech company Tencent as it seeks to expand its presence in Asia. UMG is the world’s biggest music label ahead of Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music, and is home to artists such as Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Drake and Kendrick Lamar. Vivendi shares surged 7% as analysts welcomed the progress made on the sale of a stake in UMG and the valuation.

Exclusive: Huawei said it was seeking compensation from its contract manufacturer Flex for illegally withholding some $57 million worth of its goods in the wake of a U.S. trade ban on the Chinese firm. Huawei spokesman Guo Fulin did not comment on the amount, but a person with direct knowledge of the matter said the company had sent a lawyer’s letter to Flex on Monday demanding “hundreds of millions of yuan” in damages for lost income, wasted materials, equipment replacements and other costs.

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A communications blackout in disputed Kashmir entered a second day, after India snapped television, telephone and internet links to deter protests over its scrapping of special constitutional status for the Himalayan region. Moving to tighten its grip on India’s only Muslim-majority region, the government dropped a constitutional provision for the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which has long been a flashpoint in ties with neighboring Pakistan, to make its own laws. Pakistan’s army chief said the country’s military will “go to any extent” to support people in the contested Kashmir region.

Indonesia’s push to cut its reliance on foreign funds to fill the yawning current account gap has prompted it to chase a new and growing source of funding — digitally savvy millennials. At a recent marketing event in Jakarta’s hip Kebayoran Baru district, Indonesia’s finance ministry used celebrities, dance music and social media influencers to pump up interest in national savings bonds. The latest two-year bond, dubbed by media “James bonds” due to the 007 series number, was one of the 10 Indonesia plans to launch this year as authorities look to tap young Indonesians’ growing appetite for fixed income.

Protesters in Hong Kong must not “play with fire” and mistake Beijing’s restraint for weakness, China said in its sharpest rebuke yet of the “criminals” behind demonstrations in the city whom it vowed to bring to justice. “I would like to warn all of the criminals: don’t ever misjudge the situation and mistake our restraint for weakness,” the Chinese government’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said in a document issued during a briefing in Beijing.


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