China says tariff threat ‘justified’

This photo taken on August 2, 2018 shows workers at a swimwear factory in Yinglin town in Jinjiang, in China's eastern Fujian Province. China's garments industry is expected to be affected with the escalating US-China trade war. (AFP photo)
Updated 05 August 2018
0

China says tariff threat ‘justified’

  • China and the US have been embroiled for months in a trade conflict that has threatened to hurt consumers in both countries
  • Washington claims that China’s export economy benefits from unfair policies and subsidies, as well as theft of US technological know-how

SINGAPORE: China’s foreign minister said on Saturday that his country’s threat to impose retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion of US goods in an escalating trade dispute was “fully justified.”

Beijing threatened on Friday to bring in the levies on products ranging from beef to condoms, after US President Donald Trump’s administration upped the ante in its plans for additional tariffs on Chinese goods worth $200 billion.

Washington suggested the rate on the proposed extra tariffs could be increased from 10 to 25 percent.

China and the US have been embroiled for months in a trade conflict that has threatened to hurt consumers in both countries.

Washington claims that China’s export economy benefits from unfair policies and subsidies, as well as theft of US technological know-how.

Speaking on the sidelines of a security forum in Singapore, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China’s threat of retaliatory tariffs was “fully justified and necessary.”

“These are measures taken out of the consideration for upholding the interests of the Chinese people,” he said, speaking through a translator.

He said the move was also aimed at upholding the “global free trade regime.” 

Wang also hit back at comments by top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who ridiculed China’s tariff threat as “weak” and said the world’s second-largest economy was in significant “trouble.”

“As to whether China’s economy is doing well or not, I think it is all too clear to the whole international community,” Wang said.

In early July, the US imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods, with another $16 billion to be targeted in coming weeks, sparking retaliatory measures from China. Days later, Washington unveiled a list of another $200 billion in Chinese goods.

But Trump raised the stakes this week with a threat to lift the tariff rate.

China has said that new duties will be applied only if Washington pulls the trigger on its new tariffs.

Decoder

China-US Trade War

In early July, the US imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods, with another $16 billion to be targeted in coming weeks, sparking retaliatory measures from China. Days later, Washington unveiled a list of another $200 billion in Chinese goods that would be hit with 10 percent import duties.


Profit at world’s biggest miner BHP jump, but warns on costs, savings

Updated 1 min 43 sec ago
0

Profit at world’s biggest miner BHP jump, but warns on costs, savings

  • The world’s biggest miner said it expected its strong momentum to continue into the medium term
  • BHP paid out a record final dividend of $0.63 a share, up from $0.43 a year ago, on the back of free cashflow of $12.5 billion
MELBOURNE: Global miner BHP posted a 33 percent jump in annual underlying profit and a record final dividend on Tuesday, but flagged a delay in future savings as well as cost pressures at some of its operations.
The world’s biggest miner, which has been focusing on simplifying its business and driving returns to shareholders, said it expected its strong momentum to continue into the medium term.
However, BHP Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie said the miner was “a little more apprehensive” on the short-term outlook, given trade ructions between China and the United States, and analysts flagged concerns over rising costs.
For the year ended June 30, underlying profit, which excludes one-time gains and losses, rose to $8.93 billion from $6.73 billion, just below an estimate of $9.27 billion according to 15 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
BHP paid out a record final dividend of $0.63 a share, up from $0.43 a year ago, on the back of free cashflow of $12.5 billion from a strong operating performance and higher commodity prices. “A pretty solid result really. I think largely in line with what the market expected,” said portfolio manager Andy Forster of Argo Investments in Melbourne. “Definitely the cash flow was strong, the dividend probably a bit stronger than what we expected.”
However, a cut in productivity gains expected in fiscal 2019 — to $1 billion from a previously promised $2 billion — “slightly took the gloss off the results,” he added, although the miner pledged to make the additional savings in 2020.
BHP also noted some cost creep due to geotechnical issues at its Queensland coal operations, rising fuel costs, and pockets of inflation in labor.
“The dividend was better than expected, but the slight fiscal 2018 (earnings) miss and fiscal 2019 cost guidance is likely to cause us to take down estimates modestly,” broker Clarkson Platou said in a report
Shares in BHP fell 1.8 percent in afternoon trading, compared with a 1 percent fall in the broader Australian market and a 0.8 percent dip in rival Rio Tinto.
Including one-time charges, BHP’s profit fell 37 percent to $3.71 billion.
These included a $2.8 billion post-tax charge from the sale of BHP’s US shale oil and gas assets in July which ended a disastrous seven-year foray into shale.
BHP said that it would not make a decision on how to return profits from the sale to investors until it was finalized.
The company also took a $650 million charge for the 2015 Samarco dam failure in Brazil that killed 19 people.
Total revenue rose 20 percent to $45.81 billion. Revenue from iron ore mining, BHP’s biggest division, edged up 1.3 percent, while copper surged by nearly 60 percent backed by higher production from its Escondida mine in Chile.
Revenue from its petroleum division grew 14.5 percent on surging oil prices.
BHP said it cut net debt to $10.9 billion, at the lower end of its $10-15 billion target.