Gold hits record high as US-China ties worsen, Asia stocks helped by technology

News Network
July 27, 2020

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Tokyo, Jul 27: Gold hit an all-time high on Monday as tit-for-tat consulate closures in China and the United States rattled investors, boosting the allure of safe-haven assets, although sentiment was mixed with tech gains supporting some Asian stocks.

MSCI's ex-Japan Asia-Pacific index rose 1.3 percent as Taiwan's TSMC, Asia's third-largest company by market capitalisation, rose almost 10 percent.

The chipmaker's gains boosted other tech stocks in the region and came after rival Intel signalled it may give up manufacturing its own components due to delays in new 7-nanometer chip technology.

Also soothing sentiment, Chinese shares eked out gains after big falls late last week, with CSI300 index rising 0.5 percent.

S&P500 futures were last up 0.4 percent in choppy trade while Japan's Nikkei fell 0.5 percent, resuming trade after a long weekend and catching up with falls in global shares late last week.

Global shares had lost steam last week after Washington ordered China's consulate in Houston to close, prompting Beijing to react in kind by closing the US consulate in Chengdu.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took fresh aim at China last week, saying Washington and its allies must use "more creative and assertive ways" to press the Chinese Communist Party to change its ways.

"US President (Donald) Trump used to say China's President Xi Jinping is a great leader. But now Pompeo's wording is becoming so aggressive that markets are starting to worry about further escalation," said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi Securities.

Gold rose 1.0 percent to a record high of $1,920.9 per ounce, surpassing a peak touched in September 2011, as Sino-US tensions boosted the allure of safe-haven assets, especially those not tied to any specific country.

The yellow metal is also helped by aggressive monetary easing adopted by many central banks around the world since the pandemic plunged the global economy into a recession.

Some investors fret such an unprecedented level of money-printing could eventually lead to inflation.

MORE STIMULUS

Hopes of a quick US economic recovery are fading as coronavirus infections showed few signs of slowing.

That means the economy could capitulate without fresh support from the government, with some of earlier steps such as enhanced jobless benefits due to expire this month.

Investors hope US Congress will agree on a deal before its summer recess but there are some sticking points including the size of the stimulus and enhanced unemployment benefits.

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the package will contain extended unemployment benefits with 70 percent "wage replacement".

Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, want enhanced benefits of $600 per week to be extended and look to much bigger stimulus compared with the Republicans' $1 trillion plan.

Investors are looking to corporate earnings from around the world for hints on the pace of recovery in the global economy.

"It looks like rising coronavirus cases are starting to slow down recovery in many countries," said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.

Concerns about the US economic outlook started to weigh on the dollar, reversing its inverse correlation with the economic well-being over the past few months.

The dollar index dropped 0.3 percent to its lowest level in nearly two years.

The euro gained 0.3 percent to $1.1693, hitting a 22-month high of $1.16590 as sentiment on the common currency improved after European leaders reached a deal on a recovery fund in a major step towards more fiscal co-operation.

Against the yen, the dollar slipped 0.5 percent to 105.605 yen, a four-month low while the British pound hit a 4 1/2-month high of $1.2832.

Oil prices dipped on worries about the worsening Sino-US relations.

Brent futures fell 0.46 percent to $43.14 per barrel while US crude futures lost 0.44 percent to $41.11.

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News Network
September 17,2020

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New Delhi, Sept 17: Prime Minister Narendra Modi turns 70 today, Twitterati is observing National unemployment day on the occasion as a mark of protest against rising unemployment.

Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi turns 70 on September 17, 2020. His party, the ruling BJP has added that it will celebrate the PM’s birthday in a week-long ‘Seva Spatha’ from September 14-20.On the other hand on Twitter, the netizens have decided to mark the day as “National Unemployment Day” .This is being done to highlight the Prime Minister’s failure to create jobs and provide employment for the people of the country. Employment was the agenda, Modi had contested the Lok Sabha elections in 2014.

Twitter users, have been, tweeting thousands of posts with hashtag #17Sept17Hrs17Minutes and called on people to take part in the Twitter campaign on September 17.Several users asserted that the youths of the country were frustrated over the unemployment and lack of opportunities in the market. Along with #17Sept17Hrs17Minutes another hashtag in Hindi is trending #राष्ट्रीयबेरोजगारदिवस. The trending hashtag marks as a protest against the high unemployment rates in the country. India’s April-June quarter GDP is contracted by a 23.9 percent.

Prime Minister Modi instead of making efforts for the employment suggested pakoda frying and selling as the alternatives to the youth. The unemployment in India crossed the four-decade low but the government has been shrugging off the responsibility by calling it an 'act of god'. Congress has been raising the issue of unemployment.

General secretary Priyanka Gandhi has questioned the government on the issue. The hashtag protest against Unemployment on PMs birthday brings out the disappointment and anger of the people against the government and the PM who did not keep his promise

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News Network
September 20,2020

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Islamabad, Sept 20:  Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner, has said that as many as 20 million more girls may not return to schools even after the Covid-19 crisis is over.

Speaking on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Friday, the Pakistani Nobel laureate acknowledged that Covid-19 had been “a striking setback to our collective goals”, such as educating women, Dawn newspaper reported.

“On education alone, 20 million more girls may never go back to the classroom when this crisis ends (and) the global education funding gap has already increased to 200 billion dollars per year,” Malala, 23, who once took a bullet from a Pakistani Taliban militant for campaigning for girls' education in Pakistan, said.

Malala reminded the international community that sustainable global goals, set by the UN five years ago, represented the future for millions of girls who wanted education and were fighting for equality.

Noting that little had been done in the last five years to achieve those goals, she asked the world body, “when are you planning to do the work”?

“When will you commit the necessary funding to give every child 12 years of quality education? When will you prioritise peace and protect refugees? When will you pass policies to cut carbon emissions?” she asked.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who also addressed the virtual event, underlined the need to “strike out for a world of dignity and opportunity for all on a healthy planet”.

“We must look beyond the current crisis and set our sights high… to show that transformation is possible and is happening right now,” he said.

The UN chief urged rich nations to address the immediate, medium and longer-term needs of developing countries and to support a UN debt service suspension initiative to at least the end of 2021.

He also stressed the need for transition to a more equitable and sustainable economy, ending fossil fuel subsidies and placing women at the centre of building back.

Deputy Secretary General Amina J Mohammed noted that this “transformation” was already “happening everywhere and must not leave anyone behind”.

The head of the UN Develop¬ment Fund (UNDP), Achim Steiner, warned that for the first time in 30 years, the march of progress in human development was expected to go sharply into reverse.

“Building people’s resilience against vulnerability, risk and deprivation, and helping them to get on their feet if they falter, defines social protection in the 21st century,” he said.

Munir Akram, president of the Econo¬mic and Social Council, said that the “global magnitude of the challenge we are facing” as a result of Covid-19, was “the greatest since the creation of the United Nations”.

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News Network
September 24,2020

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Bengaluru, Sept 24: Congress MLA B Narayan Rao, who was undergoing treatment for coronavirus, died on Thursday, the hospital in Bengaluru where he was admitted said. The 65-year-old Basavakalyan MLA from Bidar district in North Karnataka was admitted on September 1 after being diagnosed with severe COVID-19 infection, Manipal Hospital Director Dr Manish Rai said in a statement.

He passed away at 3.55 pm,it said.

Dr Rai said he was critically ill with multi-organ failure and on multiple supports including ventilator in the Intensive care unit under constant observation by an expert panel of doctors.

"We deeply regret the loss and express our condolences to his family and friends," he added.

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