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Hong Kong stocks open higher

Hong Kong, July 18: Hong Kong shares rose in early trade Wednesday, on the back of a Wall Street rally following the US Federal Reserve chief's positive economic outlook.

The Hang Seng Index climbed 0.68 percent, or 192.80 points, to 28,374.48.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index added 0.13 percent, or 3.65 points, to 2,801.78, and the Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, edged up 0.05 percent, or 0.86 points, to 1,600.94.

(AFP/APP)

Information provided under declaration to remain confidential: Finance Ministry

ISLAMABAD, Jul 17: The Ministry of Finance Tuesday assured all the applicants making declarations under the Tax Amnesty Scheme that the information provided by them would remain strictly confidential and the guarantees provided under the scheme would be abided in letter and spirit.

In a press statement issued here, the ministry reiterated that leakage of information by anyone about declarants/declarations under the scheme was punishable, on conviction, by a fine not less than five hundred thousand rupees but not exceeding one million rupees or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or with both.

(APP)

 

FBR rebuts news report regarding payment of tax under...

ISLAMABAD, Jul 17: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Tuesday strongly rebutted a news report published in a section of the national press regarding payment of tax under foreign tax amnesty scheme by a Karachi-based taxpayer.

In a statement issued here, FBR rejected the contents of the report and strongly denied that the baseless information has been provided by FBR sources.

The board clarified that it was bound by strict confidentiality provisions contained in Foreign Assets (Declaration and Repatriation) Act, 2018 and Voluntary Declaration of Domestic Assets Act, 2018.

Under these provisions disclosure was punishable by fine from five hundred thousand to one million rupees or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or with both.

To ensure confidentiality of the declarants, FBR had developed an online system for filing amnesty declarations, which had proper safeguards in place and restricts access to information contained in the

declarations.

(APP)

Fed chief’s confidence bolsters stocks, dollar

London, July 17: Stocks and the dollar rose on Tuesday as the head of the Federal Reserve said the economic outlook remains strong despite uncertainty over trade policy.

Upbeat about the US economy, Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell began two days of congressional testimony on Tuesday by indicating the central bank will continue to raise rates gradually.

US stocks reversed modest losses from the start of trading, while the dollar strengthened. The drop in the value of the euro and pound helped push European stocks into positive territory as well.

"European markets have moved higher in unison today, as the decline in European currencies help drive gains for stocks," said IG market analyst Joshua Mahony.

Stock markets mostly slid across Asia, led by share price falls for the energy sector one day after oil prices plunged on excess supply concerns.

Brent crude hit another three-month low Tuesday, at $71.35 per barrel, before recovering.

While painting a positive picture about the US economy, Powell acknowledged that it was "difficult to predict the ultimate outcome of current discussions over trade policy," a clear reference to the aggressive tariff policies adopted by President Donald Trump against China and many US trading partners.

The International Monetary Fund warned Monday escalating trade tensions and tariff threats, if carried out, could disrupt global growth and derail investments.

Fears about a China-US trade war continue to nag investors, with both sides filing counter-complaints at the World Trade Organisation after recently imposing and threatening further tariffs on billions of dollars worth of goods.

On Tuesday, the EU and Japan signed a sweeping free trade deal that officials called a "clear message" against protectionism, as Washington imposes controversial tariffs and threatens a trade war.

The huge deal was signed as US President Donald Trump unsettles allies and provokes rivals with his aggressive "America First" trade policy.

Both the EU and Japan have been hit with new US tariffs despite their long-standing alliances with Washington.

Markets' attention is also on the start of the corporate earnings season, with Netflix disappointing analysts on growth in the number of its subscribers in data released late Monday still affecting markets.

Its shares plunged nearly 13 percent in early trading on Tuesday before recovering some of the losses.

The streaming service said membership grew 5.2 million to 130 million, a million shy of what the company had forecast.

Shares in investment bank Goldman Sachs dropped 1.3 percent after reporting a 44 percent jump in second-quarter earnings to $2.3 billion and announcing that David Solomon would succeed Lloyd Blankfein as chief executive.

In Germany, shares in Thyssenkrupp jumped 9.1 percent as the departure of another key executive boosted chances that activist investors will succeed in their effort to split apart the industrial conglomorate.


- Key figures at 1530 GMT -

  • New York - Dow: UP 0.04 percent at 25,075.62 points
  • London - FTSE 100: UP 0.3 percent at 7,626.33 (close)
  • Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.8 percent at 12,661.54 (close)
  • Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.2 percent at 5,422.54 (close)
  • EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.3 percent at 3,459.36
  • Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.4 percent at 22,697.36 (close)
  • Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 1.3 percent at 28,181.68 (close)
  • Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.6 percent at 2,798.31 (close)
  • Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1692 from $1.1712  at 2100 GMT
  • Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3179 from $1.3237
  • Dollar/yen: UP at 112.79 yen from 112.27 yen at 2100 GMT
  • Oil - Brent Crude: UP 28 cents at $72.12 per barrel
  • Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 44 cents at $67.62 per

(AFP/APP)

European Union looks for Asian partners after US tariff...

WASHINGTON, Jul 17: A tariff war launched by the United States has apparently encouraged its biggest trading partner, the European Union, to look elsewhere, a New York Times report said on Tuesday, citing a latest trade deal between the EU and Japan that will cover quarter of the global economy.

President Trump's move to impose tariff on steel and aluminum annoyed many of its old allies, including the EU, Canada and Mexico, which are now responding with their own duties on imports from the United States.

In addition, President Trump has also imposed, or plans to impose, duties on Chinese import worth more than $200 billion. China has responded with its own tariffs on American goods, raising prospects of a trade war that will undermine the global economy.

"President Trump is inciting a trade war, undermining NATO and painting Europe as a foe. It's no wonder, then, that the European Union is looking elsewhere for friends," the report said, referring to his recent tirade against the NATO members over defense spending.

While, the EU engages in a high-level trade diplomacy with the US, it is cementing its ties with Asian giants such as Japan, with whom it signed its largest trade deal on Tuesday.

The deal will cut duties on products like European wine and cheese, while gradually reducing tariffs on cars. In addition to signing deal with Japan, the report said that the EU has either concluded or in working with countries like Australia, Vietnam and even China to boost its trade.

The move by the EU will reduce its reliance on its trade with its biggest partner, the United States.

The NYT report said the deal with Japan and other countries showed a more assertive Europe, which is looking past the "frosty ties" with the United States over trade.

Several European leaders have in recent months spoke more of free trade in a rebuke the US tariffs which is seen by many as a semblance of protectionist policies.

But, while the European leaders are putting a brave face and trying to counter trade barriers by negotiating deals with other countries, the fact would remain that the United States is still its largest trading partner and it would be difficult to offset the impact of the US tariffs on imports like cars.

According to the report, Europe has also concluded a deal in principle with Mexico to update an existing free-trade agreement, expected to be finalized by the end of the year. Similarly, accords with Vietnam and Singapore were also in final stages of approval.

The EU is also negotiating with other countries including Australia, Chile, Indonesia, New Zealand, Tunisia and the so-called Mercosur countries Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

(APP)