Alibaba’s Jack Ma calls trade war ‘stupidest thing in the world’

Alibaba e-commerce tycoon Jack Ma also said that China’s plans to remake itself as an importing nation would provoke resistance from vested interests. (AFP)
Updated 05 November 2018

Alibaba’s Jack Ma calls trade war ‘stupidest thing in the world’

  • ‘(The) trade war is the stupidest thing in this world’
  • ‘Trade is to form ... peace. Trade is to communicate ... nobody can stop free trade’

SHANGHAI: The US-China trade war is the “stupidest thing in the world,” Alibaba e-commerce tycoon Jack Ma declared at an import fair that China opened Monday partly to counter foreign criticism of its trade policies.
Ma, who recently took back an earlier pledge to create a million jobs in the US — blaming the trade war launched by Donald Trump — made the comments in a panel discussion at the massive expo in Shanghai.
“(The) trade war is the stupidest thing in this world,” the Alibaba founder said, without mentioning Trump by name.
“Trade is to form ... peace. Trade is to communicate ... nobody can stop free trade.”
President Xi Jinping opened the China International Import Expo earlier Monday with a vague pledge to widen access to his country’s economy, as Beijing faces growing impatience from trading partners.
But he also delivered a veiled rebuke to Trumpism, decrying “protectionism,” “isolationism” and “the law of the jungle.”
Ma, the billionaire owner of China’s largest online shopping portal, made the headline-grabbing job-creation promise to Trump last year, when Beijing was still courting the then-newly elected president.
But Ma told official news agency Xinhua in September that the trade war had “destroyed the premise the promise was made on.”
Anger over the trade surpluses that China enjoys has triggered growing foreign criticism and the worsening commercial conflict with Washington, which has seen both sides impose punitive tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of goods.
Beijing has touted the first annual import expo as a sign of its willingness to take in more imports and thereby reduce the surpluses.
Ma, who announced in September that he would step aside in a year’s time to focus on philanthropy, said China’s plans to remake itself as an importing nation would provoke resistance from vested interests.
“For my understanding, it’s the greatest challenge for China. It’s a great opportunity for the world,” he said.
The shift will “fundamentally change ... the whole infrastructure of business and (the) ecosystem. It’s going to be a huge pain to a lot of businesses, but it’s also going to be a good opportunity for a lot of consumers.”


Oil recoups losses as OPEC, US Fed see robust economy

Updated 14 November 2019

Oil recoups losses as OPEC, US Fed see robust economy

  • US-China trade deal will help remove ‘dark cloud’ over oil, says Barkindo

LONDON: Oil prices reversed early losses on Wednesday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said it saw no signs of global recession and rival US shale oil production could grow by much less than expected in 2020.

Also supporting prices were comments by US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who said the US economy would see a “sustained expansion” with the full impact of recent interest rate cuts still to be felt.

Brent crude futures stood roughly flat at around $62 per barrel by 1450 GMT, having fallen by over 1 percent earlier in the day. US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $56 per barrel, up 20 cents or 0.4 percent.

“The baseline outlook remains favorable,” Powell said.

OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said global economic fundamentals remained strong and that he was still confident that the US and China would reach a trade deal.

“It will almost remove that dark cloud that had engulfed the global economy,” Barkindo said, adding it was too early to discuss the output policy of OPEC’s December meeting.

HIGHLIGHT

  • US oil production likely to grow by just 0.3-0.4 million barrels per day next year — or less than half of previous expectations.
  • The prospects for ‘US crude exports had turned bleak after shipping rates jumped last month.’

He also said some US companies were now saying US oil production would grow by just 0.3-0.4 million barrels per day next year — or less than half of previous expectations — reducing the risk of an oil glut next year.

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday Washington and Beijing were close to finalizing a trade deal, but he fell short of providing a date or venue for the signing ceremony.

“The expectations of an inventory build in the US and uncertainty over the OPEC+ strategy on output cuts and US/China trade deal are weighing on oil prices,” said analysts at ING, including the head of commodity strategy Warren Patterson.

In the US, crude oil inventories were forecast to have risen for a third straight week last week, while refined products inventories likely declined, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Tuesday.

ANZ analysts said the prospects for US crude exports had turned bleak after shipping rates jumped last month.