Some US manufacturers feeling China trade war pinch

About a quarter of US manufacturer said in the survey that they were delaying planned investments, and 16 percent reported having to raise prices. (AFP)
Updated 16 July 2018
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Some US manufacturers feeling China trade war pinch

WASHINGTON: Some US manufacturers are delaying investments and raising prices as President Donald Trump escalates trade wars with key US economic partners but most companies report no change, according to a survey released Monday.
The National Association for Business Economics also found in its monthly report that members unanimously expected economic growth to continue in the next year, with most forecasting inflation adjusted growth of more than two percent.
“Labor market conditions are tight with skilled labor shortages driving firms to raise pay, increase training and consider additional automation,” Sara Rutledge, chair of the quarterly survey, said in a statement.
Companies reported rising profits and higher sales expectations. But despite the scarcity of workers, a survey index of wage growth slowed after hitting a record in April.
The survey, which polled 98 economists at private companies and trade associations, also found signs of rising prices, a possible sign that inflation and Trump’s new import duties were filtering into the economy.
An index of prices charged hit a 12-year record, jumping 14 points, while a measure of materials costs hit a seven-year record, soaring 15 points.
Trump this week began the process to impose tariffs on up to $200 billion in additional imports from China, adding to the levies imposed on $34 billion in goods which took effect earlier this month.
Economists say this could boost inflation, which already is beginning to rise after a decade of economic recovery, albeit gradually.
Still, a majority in the NABE survey, 65 percent, said trade concerns were not causing their companies to change plans for investment, hiring or pricing.
Things were chillier in the goods producing sector, however, with only 37 percent reporting no change.
Among manufacturers, 26 percent said they were delaying planned investments and 16 percent reported having to raise prices.
And, as the same survey had found April, most respondents, or 65 percent, said they were not changing plans to hire or invest because of December’s sweeping corporate tax cuts.


Moody’s upgrades Egypt’s rating to B2, expects more economic growth

Updated 18 April 2019
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Moody’s upgrades Egypt’s rating to B2, expects more economic growth

  • Moody’s believes Egypt’s large domestic funding base would support its resilience to refinancing shocks
  • The ratings agency expects energy price hikes as part of Egypt’s fuel subsidy reform

CAIRO: Rating agency Moody’s has upgraded Egypt’s sovereign rating, saying ongoing economic reforms will help improve its fiscal position and boost economic growth.
Moody’s upgraded the long-term foreign and local currency issuer ratings of Egypt to B2 from B3. The outlook was changed to stable from positive.
The decision was based on “Moody’s expectation that ongoing fiscal and economic reforms will support a gradual but steady improvement in Egypt’s fiscal metrics and raise real GDP growth,” the agency said in a statement late on Wednesday.
Moody’s also said it believed Egypt’s large domestic funding base would support its resilience to refinancing shocks despite the government’s very high borrowing needs and interest costs.
Moody’s said it expected a steady improvement of Egypt’s fiscal position, “albeit from very weak levels.”
Maintained primary budget surpluses combined with strong nominal GDP growth would help reduce the general government debt/GDP ratio to below 80 percent by the 2021 fiscal year from 92.6 percent in the 2018 fiscal year, it said.
Egypt’s fiscal year runs from July to June.
Moody’s also said it expected energy price hikes as part of Egypt’s fuel subsidy reform, which it believed would be completed in the 2019 fiscal year. This, along with the fiscal reforms implemented in the last few years, would allow the government to maintain the primary budget balance in surplus in the next few years, Moody’s said.
The upgraded rating was expected, but still good news for Egypt, said Allen Sandeep, head of research at Naeem Brokerage.
“It should help its case for new international bond issuances as we move forward,” he said.
Egypt is pushing ahead with tough economic reforms as part of a three-year $12 billion IMF loan deal signed in 2016.
The reforms, aimed at attracting investors who fled during the 2011 uprising, have included new taxes, deep cuts to energy subsidies and a currency devaluation. The reforms have helped the economy recover, but have also put the budgets of tens of millions of Egyptians under strain.