Gold dips, heads for second weekly loss

Gold slipped on Friday, under pressure from tumbling equity markets, a firmer dollar and worries about rising global interest rates.
Updated 09 February 2018
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Gold dips, heads for second weekly loss

LONDON: Gold slipped on Friday, under pressure from tumbling equity markets, a firmer dollar and worries about rising global interest rates, but still found some support as a safe haven asset in times of market turmoil.
The dollar rose against a currency basket, heading for its best week since late October, while a 4 percent drop in Chinese shares dealt a fresh blow to world markets that have been reeling on worries about rising borrowing costs and soaring volatility.
“Just like any other commodity gold is getting caught up in risk reduction, but overall the stock market gyrations have most certainly provided underlying support,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank. Although the dollar had strengthened, he said investors were watching to see if the US administration’s planned tax cuts boosted the economy.
“If it doesn’t, it could have a negative growth impact, that’s not going to be dollar-positive,” he said.
A strong dollar makes dollar-priced gold costlier for non-US investors. Spot gold fell 0.2 percent to $1,316.61 an ounce at 1300 GMT. Prices touched their lowest since Jan. 4 at $1,306.81 on Thursday, and the precious metal is down 1 percent for the week so far, heading for a second straight weekly drop.
US gold futures were flat at $1,318.90 per ounce. The yield on benchmark 10-year US Treasuries , which tends to be the driver of global borrowing costs, was hovering at 2.86 percent, just short of both its Thursday peak and Monday’s four-year high of 2.885 percent.
“The threat of rising interest rates will have some downside pressure on gold,” said Argonaut Securities analyst Helen Lau. “However, in the near-term gold will gain due to volatile markets.”
Rising yields increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion. Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust , the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, have fallen over the last three sessions, and declined 1.7 percent so far this week, the worst since the week ended July 30, 2017.
Silver fell 0.4 percent to $16.36 an ounce, after touching its lowest since Dec. 22, 2017 at $16.22 on Thursday. Platinum rose 0.1 percent to $970.20 an ounce. It hit its lowest since Jan. 10 at $965 in the previous session. Palladium rose 0.9 percent to $971.47.
It marked its lowest since Oct. 25, 2017 at $958.95 on Thursday. “Following the recent declines, platinum and palladium are back to parity. Given our outlook for a slowdown in global car sales, we do not see the recent sell-off in palladium as a buying opportunity and maintain a bearish view,” said Julius Baer in a note.


US tech giants plan to fight India’s data localization plans

Updated 18 August 2018
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US tech giants plan to fight India’s data localization plans

  • Global efforts to protect data on the rise
  • Technology giants plan lobbying offensive

NEW DELHI: US technology giants plan to intensify lobbying efforts against stringent Indian data localization requirements, which they say will undermine their growth ambitions in India, sources told Reuters.

UStrade groups, representing companies such as Amazon, American Express and Microsoft, have opposed India’s push to store data locally. That push comes amid rising global efforts to protect user data but is one that could hit planned investments by the firms in the Indian market, where the companies currently have limited data storage.
The issue could further undermine already strained economic relations between India and the US.

Technology executives and trade groups have discussed approaching Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office to appraise him of their worries. Separately, the industry is considering pitching the issue as a trade concern, including at the India-US talks in September in New Delhi, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Though a final decision hasn’t been made, the deliberations come while the US and India are locked in a dispute over US tariff increases and on the Indian policy of capping prices of medical devices, which hurts American pharmaceutical companies.

“This issue is important enough to be discussed at the India-US trade level,” said Amba Kak, a global public policy adviser at the Internet company Mozilla Corp.
“Data localization is not just a business concern, it potentially makes government surveillance easier, which is a worry.”

Stricter localization norms would help India get easier access to data when conducting investigations, but critics say it could lead to increased government demands for data access.

Technology firms worry the mandate would hurt their planned investments by raising costs related to setting up new local data centers.

Greater use of digital platforms in India for shopping or social networking have made it a lucrative market for technology companies, but a rising number of data breaches have pushed New Delhi to develop strong data protection rules.

Shamika Ravi, a member of Modi’s economic advisory council, said data localization was a global phenomena and India wasn’t an outlier.
“It’s in the long term strategic and economic interest,” said Ravi, who is also a research director at Brookings India.

The main government committee on data privacy last month proposed a draft law, recommending restrictions on data flows and proposing that all “critical personal data” should be processed only within the country. It would be left to the government to define what qualifies as such data.

Global companies are coming together to push back.

In a meeting last week organized by lobby group US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, executives from Facebook, Mastercard, Visa, American Express, PayPal , Amazon, Microsoft and others discussed plans to approach Indian lawmakers, including Indian parliamentary panels on information technology (IT) and finance, five sources said.
The industry also discussed approaching media and Internet groups to explain why data localization would be bad for India’s booming IT, e-commerce and payments landscape, the sources said.

“People are fairly stressed and scared,” said an executive working for a multinational technology firm.

The US-India lobby group said it was “nearly impossible” to implement “industry-specific regulations in our global data environment without the ripples being felt.” It didn’t comment on its recent meeting, but said it will continue facilitating policy discussions.

Mastercard, American Express and Amazon didn’t respond to a request for comment, while Facebook, Microsoft, Visa and PayPal declined to comment.

The Indian bill, which was opened for public comments this week, will later go to parliament for approval.
The US-India Business Council, a lobby group that is part of the US Chamber of Commerce, has brought in the Washington-headquartered law firm Covington & Burling to suggest submissions on India’s data protection law.

The firm’s 43-page draft recommendations, seen by Reuters, listed removing data localization requirements as a top priority and called New Delhi’s proposed move a “protectionist approach.”

The US-India Business Council didn’t comment on how it would act on the recommendations of Covington & Burling, which declined comment.
The lobby group’s president, Nisha Biswal, however said India’s draft privacy law was of “great importance,” and that the group would share its concerns with the government directly.