Business News at a Glance
Posted December 3, 2018 9:42 p.m. EST
Qatar Says It Will Leave OPEC and Focus on Natural Gas
The tiny, wealthy Persian Gulf state of Qatar will withdraw from OPEC in January, the country’s energy minister said Monday, hinting that it wanted freedom from an oil cartel dominated by Saudi Arabia, one of its regional rivals. The minister said Qatar would focus on its gas industry and dismissed the idea that the withdrawal was connected to politics. Qatar is one of the smallest producers in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, and its modest contributions to the oil market will most likely dampen the effect of its move on prices, which have been battered in recent weeks by fears of a glut.
China Will Slash Car Tariffs, Trump Says in a (Vague) Tweet
In a late-night Twitter post Sunday, President Donald Trump said that China had agreed to drop tariffs on imports of U.S.-made cars. The disclosure took trade watchers and auto industry figures in both countries by surprise. The issue of auto tariffs had not appeared in either government’s public statement after the temporary trade-war truce. It was unclear what China had agreed to do, if it had agreed to do anything at all. A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry referred questions to the Commerce Ministry. That ministry was silent, and its weekly news conference is not until Thursday. U.S. officials were unavailable for comment.
Trump’s China Truce Calms Markets, but He Chooses a Hard-Liner to Lead Talks
President Donald Trump cast his trade accord with President Xi Jinping of China as a huge win for American farmers, automakers and other key political constituencies, a move that sent financial markets higher on Monday and seemed intended to calm worries about the economic toll of a protracted trade war. Yet 48 hours after the deal was struck, several big areas of contention remained unresolved. Trump appointed Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, who has deep skepticism toward China, to lead the talks for the United States. Lighthizer has advised Trump to use punishing tariffs to force Beijing to change, while more moderate advisers, have encouraged the president to avoid a trade war.
Stocks Rise After U.S. and China Agree to Put Trade War on Hold
Stocks rose on Wall Street on Monday after President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping reached an agreement to ease trade tensions between the United States and China. The S&P 500 stock index climbed 1.1 percent, notching its fifth gain in the last six trading sessions. Major Asian and European equity markets also posted solid increases. Exporting giants like Boeing, Caterpillar and Deere pulled the export-reliant S&P 500 industrial sector higher. Still, early gains were tempered by doubts that the fragile cease-fire — essentially a 90-day postponement of additional U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports — would put the dispute between the world’s two largest economies to rest permanently.
Trump-Xi Thaw Helps Lift Casino Giant’s Fortunes
Some of the hardest-hit stocks of the past two months were rebounding Monday, as investors reacted to news that the United States and China had agreed not to escalate their trade war for now, and one of the biggest beneficiaries was Wynn Resorts, which was the second best-performing stock in the S&P 500 for the day. First, Macau’s Gaming Inspection & Coordination Bureau said that gaming revenue for the Chinese gambling center had increased more than expected in November. Then, President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping of China said they had agreed to pause the trade war between their countries, the world’s two largest economies, for 90 days and work to resolve several areas of tension.
Big Tuna Finds a Scapegoat: Millennials
The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that overall consumption of canned tuna has declined by more than 40 percent in the United States during the past three decades, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Among the reasons cited: Many people “can’t be bothered to open and drain the cans, or fetch utensils and dishes to eat the tuna,” The Journal reported. This explanation did not smell right to many on Twitter. So who or what is really to blame for the decline in this canned classic, which has been a staple inside American lunchboxes and cupboards since the early 1900s? The answer is complex.