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Janet Yellen in South Korea: “supporting friends” and reducing dependence on China and Russia

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U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Monday in Seoul that the United States is going to prevent countries with “dictatorial policies,” such as China, from gaining dominance over certain resources and products and advocated stronger economic cooperation with South Korea.

During a visit to South Korea, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the United States wants to end its unwarranted dependence on rare-earth metals, solar panels and other goods from China.

She explained that such a dependence would be dangerous if Beijing decided to stop supplying. She also noted that she is pushing for more trade ties with South Korea.

According to the minister, this would increase the sustainability of supply chains, and prevent possible manipulation by geopolitical rivals and security threats.

Janet Yellen said the U.S. is diversifying its supply chains so that it only relies on reliable partners. This will help combat inflation and China’s trade practices, which she called “unfair.

Yellen noted that South Korea has enormous advantages regarding resources, technology and capabilities, and that its companies are investing in the U.S. She also attributed an important role to semiconductor manufacturing.

The Minister recalled that earlier Beijing had stopped supplies to Japan and had tried to put pressure on Australia and Lithuania. The USA didn’t approve of such behavior.

At the same time, Janet Yellen admitted that China listened to the USA’s concerns in other areas. 

She said that the United States had real concerns about China, but urged it not to create a picture of escalating hostilities with China.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Yellen threatened violators of the “world economic order

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said during a speech in Seoul that Russia is using economic integration “as a weapon” and threatened harsh consequences for those countries that violate the global economic order.

Yellen indicated that Washington was going to expand trade ties with South Korea and other reliable allies to improve supply security and avoid “possible manipulation by geopolitical rivals.” However, she did not specify which rivals she was referring to.

Before that, the U.S. threatened China with consequences because of possible circumvention of sanctions against Russia or provision of arms to it.

– We have publicly voiced the message that providing arms or any assistance from China to circumvent Russia’s unprecedented sanctions, export controls, or other financial measures imposed against Moscow would be very costly. Not just on the U.S. side, we are working with dozens of countries around the world,” said Ned Price, the head of the State Department press office.

South Korea is Ready to Participate in Measures to Restrict Russian Oil Prices

Chu Gen-ho, South Korea’s deputy prime minister for economics and part-time minister of strategy and finance, said in a meeting with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Monday that the country is ready to join measures to curb the price of Russian oil, Renhap news agency reported.

Yellen is visiting Seoul on July 19-20. She also met with President Yoon Seok-El and is scheduled to meet with Bank of Korea Governor Lee Chang-Yong.

During her meeting with Chu Gen-ho, she reiterated the need for a price cap on Russian oil and asked South Korea to get involved.

“We are sympathetic to the goal of imposing (a restriction on the price of Russian oil – ed) and are ready to join it. The oil price restriction should be effectively designed to contribute to the stability of international oil prices and consumer prices,” Chu Gen Ho responded.

The head of the U.S. Treasury Department thanked the South Korean side for its understanding and looked forward to Seoul’s participation in developing a concrete cap system.

Also, the two sides agreed on the importance of strategic economic cooperation between South Korea and the United States in a difficult environment, including amid supply chain disruptions, soaring inflation and commodity prices due to the Ukraine crisis, and financial market volatility. Cooperation in clean energy, climate change, and health care was also discussed.


Dollar higher on US business activity boost

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By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed

NEW YORK (Reuters) -The dollar rose against the euro on Thursday after data showed U.S. business activity accelerated to the highest level in just over two years in May, suggesting that economic growth picked up half-way through the second quarter.

S&P Global said that its flash U.S. Composite PMI Output Index, which tracks the manufacturing and services sectors, jumped to 54.4 this month. That was the highest level since April 2022 and followed a final reading of 51.3 in April.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the private sector.

“The currency action shows the market still responds to strong U.S. economic data in the expected way,” said Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex LLC.

“I think the dollar has some more room on the upside,” Chandler said.

Data on Thursday also showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, pointing to underlying strength in the labour market that should continue to support the economy.

Federal Reserve officials at their last policy meeting said they still had faith that price pressures would ease at least slowly in coming months, but doubts emerged about whether the current level of interest rates was high enough to guarantee that outcome and “various” officials said they’d be willing to hike borrowing costs again if inflation surged.

“Given the FOMC comments the market is still exaggerating the chances of two rate cuts this year,” Chandler said, noting that the unwinding of rate cut bets would keep the dollar supported in the near term.

The euro was down 0.2% at $1.080525. The common currency rose as high as $1.0861 earlier in the session after the preliminary composite Purchasing Managers’ Index for the currency bloc came in above the 50 level separating growth from contraction for the third month in a row, with even struggling manufacturing showing a recovery.

Better-than-feared economic data for the past few months helped the euro rally in April and early May, and Thursday’s data pushed the currency back towards mid-May’s two-month high of $1.0895.

“The EU PMI figures took a little pressure off of the stagflation theme, but it still feels a little stagflation ‘lite’ if you will, and we need to see more on the growth side there,” Brad Bechtel, global head of FX at Jefferies, said in a note.

The pound slipped 0.2% to $1.2689 against the dollar. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday called a national election, which his Conservatives are widely expected to lose to the opposition Labour Party after 14 years in power. However, sterling options volatility for the period covering the July 4 election did rise. [GBP/]

“The market is fairly confident there’s going to be a Labour government and it’s pretty confident also that the Labour government won’t be that different in terms of fiscal policy, than the current Sunak and (finance minister Jeremy) Hunt mix anyway,” said Jane Foley, head of FX strategy at Rabobank.

The dollar was 0.1% higher against the Japanese currency at 156.91 yen after data showed Japan’s factory activity crept into expansion for the first time in a year in May.

The corporate sector in Japan has been grappling with the weak yen, and nearly half of Japanese firms find the yen’s slide beyond 155 to the dollar harmful to their business, roughly double the percentage of those who see the currency’s weakness as a positive, a Reuters survey showed on Thursday.

The New Zealand dollar slipped 0.1% to $0.60925after data released Thursday showed that retail sales volumes in New Zealand unexpectedly rose, its second day of gains after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand surprised markets on Wednesday by lifting its forecasts for peak interest rates and pushing back when it expects to cut. {AUD/]

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Dollar banknote is seen in this illustration taken July 17, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File photo

Among cryptocurrencies, ether was up 1% at $3,776, after rising as high as $3945.50 its highest since mid-March.

It has been surging amid speculation over the potential approval of U.S. spot exchange-traded funds that would track the world’s second-biggest cryptocurrency.

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UBS suggests shorting USD/CHF amid DXY pullback and data woes

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UBS recommended investors to short the pair, indicating attractive entry levels for the trade. The firm highlighted that the DXY index, which measures the US dollar’s strength against a basket of currencies, has declined by 1.5% from its peak in late April due to disappointing US economic data.

Despite the Federal Reserve’s hawkish stance, with officials hinting that it would take several months of moderating data before considering rate cuts, the US dollar is experiencing conflicting pressures.

On one side, the Fed maintains a tough stance on monetary policy, while on the other, economic indicators in the US are showing signs of deterioration.

UBS emphasized a cautious approach, advising to be selective in making directional trades with the dollar. This strategy aligns with the current economic climate where mixed signals are emanating from policy makers and economic data.

In addition to advising a short position on USD/CHF, UBS also reported closing their long position on , albeit with a marginal gain. This move reflects their response to the evolving market conditions and their ongoing assessment of currency valuations.

This article was generated with the support of AI and reviewed by an editor. For more information see our T&C.

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Analysts sees upside for EUR/GBP amid weak UK retail sales

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Analysts at ING stated that the currency pair seems undervalued, following the United Kingdom’s retail sales data which came in below expectations.

The report released today showed a 2.7% year-over-year decline in headline retail sales for April, with the core figure, excluding auto fuel, dropping by 2.0%. Moreover, the March sales data was revised downwards.

This follows a subdued UK Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) report from Sunday, which indicated a slight uptick in manufacturing but was overshadowed by a decline in the services sector, dragging the composite index down to 52.8.

The financial institution pointed out that the British pound currently appears overpriced compared to the euro. This assessment comes in the wake of a significant hawkish adjustment in the Sonia curve, which ING deems excessive, especially since the unexpectedly high services Consumer Price Index (CPI) for May can be partly ascribed to one-off elements.

Moreover, there are indications of a more dovish stance emerging within the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). Market projections are leaning towards a mere 33 basis points of easing by the end of the year and less than 10 basis points for the upcoming meeting in August.

Despite this, ING still anticipates a rate cut in August, dismissing the idea that the UK vote might delay monetary easing. ING highlighted the potential for the short-term swap rate gap between EUR and GBP to shift in favor of the euro, especially with the European Central Bank (ECB) possibly taking a hawkish stance and the Bank of England expected to implement a rate cut in August.

Additionally, the upcoming July vote in the UK could lead to a minor political risk premium being factored into the pound. Given these considerations, ING maintains its outlook that the EUR/GBP pair is likely to rise over the longer term.

This article was generated with the support of AI and reviewed by an editor. For more information see our T&C.

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