Brent oil gains $1 to claw back some losses

Libya’s announcement that four export terminals including Ras Lanuf, above, were being reopened was one of the catalysts for a correction, analysts say. (Reuters)
Updated 12 July 2018
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Brent oil gains $1 to claw back some losses

TOKYO: Brent crude rose more than $1 on Thursday, recouping some ground after its biggest one-day drop in two years in the previous session on news that Libya would resume oil exports and US-China trade tensions.
Brent crude rose $1.31, or 1.8 percent, to $74.71 by 0242 GMT after slumping 6.9 percent on Wednesday.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) added 42 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $70.80, after falling 5 percent the previous session.
“Markets in Asia are a lot more settled today,” said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader in Sydney.
“Moves, the like of which we saw in Brent and to a lesser extent WTI, last night are often followed by some sort of bounce the following day or session,” he said.
The announcement by Libya’s National Oil Corp. that four export terminals were being reopened, ending a standoff that had shut down most of Libya’s oil output, was one of the catalysts for a correction, analysts said.
The reopening allows the return of as much as 850,000 barrels per day of crude into international markets, while an escalating US-China trade row has raised concerns about demand.
Oil had some supportive news late on Wednesday that US crude oil stocks fell by nearly 13 million barrels last week, the most in nearly two years, dropping overall crude stocks to their lowest point since February 2015.
The decline in overall inventories was partially due to a fall-off in stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for US crude futures, which were down by 2.1 million barrels.
“For WTI there is tightness at Cushing, which will be supportive over July and August,” said Virendra Chauhan, oil analyst at Energy Aspects in Singapore.
Supply to the US market has also been squeezed by the loss of some Canadian oil production.


Apple Watch, FitBit could feel cost of US tariffs

Updated 37 min 28 sec ago
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Apple Watch, FitBit could feel cost of US tariffs

SAN FRANCISCO: The latest round of US tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods could hit the Apple Watch, health trackers, streaming music speakers and other accessories assembled in China, government rulings on tariffs show.
The rulings name Apple Inc’s watch, several Fitbit Inc. activity trackers and connected speakers from Sonos Inc. While consumer technology’s biggest sellers such as mobile phones and laptops so far have faced little danger of import duties, the rulings show that gadget makers are unlikely to be spared altogether and may have to consider price hikes on products that millions of consumers use every day.
The devices have all been determined by US Customs and Border Patrol officials to fall under an obscure subheading of data transmission machines in the sprawling list of US tariff codes. And that particular subheading is included in the more than 6,000 such codes in President Donald Trump’s most recent round of proposed tariffs released earlier this month.
That $200 billion list of tariffs is in a public comment period. But if the list goes into effect this fall, the products from Apple, Fitbit and Sonos could face a 10 percent tariff.
The specific products listed in customs rulings are the original Apple Watch; Fitbit’s Charge, Charge HR and Surge models; and Sonos’s Play:3, Play:5 and SUB speakers.
All three companies declined to comment on the proposed tariff list. But in its filing earlier this month to become a publicly traded company, Sonos said that “the imposition of tariffs and other trade barriers, as well as retaliatory trade measures, could require us to raise the prices of our products and harm our sales.”
The New York Times has reported that Trump told Apple CEO Tim Cook during a meeting in May that the US government would not levy tariffs on iPhones assembled in China, citing a person familiar with the meeting.
“The way the president has been using his trade authority, you have direct examples of him using his authority to target specific products and companies,” said Sage Chandler, vice president for international trade policy at the Consumer Technology Association.
The toll from tariffs on the gadget world’s smaller product lines could be significant. Sonos and Fitbit do not break out individual product sales, but collectively they had $2.6 billion in revenue last year. Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi estimates that the Apple Watch alone will bring in $9.9 billion in sales this year, though that estimate includes sales outside the United States that the tariff would not touch.
It is possible that the products from Apple, Fitbit and Sonos no longer fall under tariff codes in the $200 billion list, trade experts said. The codes applied to specific products are only public knowledge because their makers asked regulators to rule on their proper classification. And some of the products have been replaced by newer models that could be classified differently.
But if companies have products whose tariff codes are on the list, they have three options, experts said: Advocate to get the code dropped from the list during the public comment period, apply for an exclusion once tariffs go into effect, or try to have their products classified under a different code not on the list.
The last option could prove difficult due to the thousands of codes covered, said one former US trade official.