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  1. #1881
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    Global Automakers Urge Trump Administration Not to Terminate NAFTA





    Major automakers urged the Trump administration not to terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement and hopes that the United States, Canada and Mexico will be able to conclude a modernized and improved trade pact.


    Trump has threatened to withdraw from NAFTA, which is heavily utilized by automakers that have production and supply chains spread across the three countries.


    Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said he hoped the Trump administration would “retune” some of its trade talk demands.


    Marchionne said FCA's truck production shift in part “goes a long way I think in addressing some of President Trump's concerns about the dislocation of production capacity out of the United States.”


    That decision reduces the risk those trucks would be hit with a 25 percent tariff if NAFTA unravels.


    Ford Motor Co CEO Jim Hackett said NAFTA needs “to be modernized,” adding that of Detroit's Big Three automakers, Ford has the highest percentage of U.S.-built vehicles.


    General Motors CEO Mary Barra expressed optimism NAFTA will survive with improvements. Other senior GM executives stood by the company's plans to continue building trucks in Mexico.


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    Singapore NODX Rises Less Than Expected In December





    Singapore's non-oil domestic exports increased at a slower-than-expected pace in December, data from the International Enterprise Singapore showed Wednesday.


    NODX climbed 3.1 percent year-over-year in December, well below the 9.1 percent spike in November. Economists had expected a 8.6 percent rise for the month.


    Exports of electronic products declined 5.3 percent annually in December, reversing a 5.1 percent growth in November.


    At the same time, non-electronic NODX rose 6.8 percent after expanding 10.6 percent in the prior month.


    On a monthly basis, NODX decreased a seasonally adjusted 5.0 percent in December, following a 8.6 percent gain in


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  3. #1883
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    UK Inflation Rate Drops to 3%, the First Decline for 6 Months





    UK inflation rate has dropped for the first time since June, mainly due to the impact of air fares. The rate fell to three percent in December, pulling back from November's rate of 3.1 percent, a six-year peak.


    According to the Office for National Statistics, although airfares increased the previous month, it had a smaller impact than at the same point in 2016.


    Inflation fell because the annual December rise in air fares was not as high as the previous year, the rate of price growth for recreational goods, including games and toys, also dropped. These categories are particularly sensitive to a fall in the exchange rate.


    The ONS said it was too early to say whether this was the start of a longer-term reduction in the rate of inflation. It also notes that the slowing rate of growth was offset partially by higher tobacco prices, reflecting the duty increases that came into effect following the budget, as well as a rise in petrol and diesel prices.


    The Bank of England has said it thinks inflation peaked at the end of 2017 and will fall back to its target of two percent in 2018.


    Although the Bank may still look to raise interest rates from 0.5 percent, pushing the cost of borrowing to levels unseen since before the financial crisis, economists said there were still difficult patches ahead for the economy, which may be unsettled by the Brexit negotiations.


    In November, the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) raised its key interest rate for the first time in more than a decade from 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent.


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    Australia Jobless Rate Climbs To 5.5% In December





    The unemployment rate in Australia came in at a seasonally adjusted 5.5 percent in December, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.


    That was above forecasts for 5.4 percent, which would have been unchanged from November.


    The Australian economy added 34,700 jobs last month to 12,440,800, beating forecasts for an increase of 15,100 following the upwardly revised 63,600 gain in the previous month (originally 61,600).


    Full-time employment increased 15,100 to 8,518,900 and part-time employment increased 19,500 to 3,921,800.


    Unemployment increased 20,500 to 730,600. The number of unemployed persons looking for full-time work increased 9,900 to 501,800 and the number of unemployed persons only looking for part-time work increased 10,600 to 228,800.


    The participation rate climbed to 65.7 percent, exceeding forecasts for 65.5 percent - which would have been unchanged.


    Monthly hours worked in all jobs decreased 4.2 million hours (0.2 percent) to 1,736.4 million hours.


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  5. #1885
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    Oil Prices Rally on Disruption Threats in Nigeria, declining U.S. Inventories





    Oil prices edged up on a reported decline in U.S. crude stockpiles and as militant groups in Nigeria threatened to launch an assault on the nation's petroleum infrastructure.


    But prices continued to be below the three-year highs as fuel stockpiles continue to be ample and as refineries reduce operations.


    Brent crude futures stood at $69.56 per barrel, 18 cents or 0.3 percent higher from their last settlement. On Monday, the international benchmark hit their highest level since December-2015 high of $70.37 per barrel.


    U.S. WTI crude futures traded at $64.25 per barrel, 28 cents or 0.4 percent higher from their last close. WTI hit their highest level since December, 2014 at $64.89 per barrel.


    According to traders, prices have been lifted by reports that Nigeria's rebel group Niger Delta Avengers threaten to attack the nation's oil sector in the next few days.


    Markets also received support from a decline in crude inventories. U.s. crude inventories declined by 5.1 million barrels in the latest week to 411.5 million, according to API.


    Despite the overall upbeat sentiment in the markets, analysts warned that the recent rally, which has raised crude by around 14 percent since early December, may be on the verge of a correction.


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    U.S. Inflation Expectations Jumps to Highest Level Since 2014





    A significant market measure of inflation expectations has increased to its strongest level since 2014, as investors' deliver solid demand to purchase protection against the threat of rising interest rates and dropping bond prices.


    The 10-year break-even rate, a market measure of inflation expectations derived from Treasury Inflation Protected Securities, has increased to 2.09 percent, it's highest level since September 2014 when oil prices were collapsing. The impact of oil prices on break-evens is strong, with analysts attributing at least part of the recent rise in inflation expectations to rising oil prices.


    At a $13 billion auction of TIPS on Thursday, primary dealers — responsible for bidding on a pro rata share of the auction to ensure the sale of the debt — walked away with a smaller than average share of the securities, as other investors came in aggressively to buy.


    The 10-year Treasury yield has increased 20 basis points so far this year to 2.6 percent on Thursday, closing in on its 2017 high of 2.63 percent.


    The strong demand for TIPS showed a growing belief that price pressure is building from improving global demand and pushing domestic inflation to the Federal Reserve's 2 percent target.


    Improving business activity around the world has supported oil and other commodity prices, reinforcing the view of rising inflation, analysts said.


    The ratio of bids to the amount of 10-year TIPS offered was 2.69, which was the highest reading since May 2014.


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