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China-US ties sinking amid acrimony over trade, politics

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Beijing:The official China Daily newspaper described comments by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as “ignorant and malicious”.

“Both ignorant and malicious” was how the official China Daily newspaper recently described comments by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, offering a stinging insight into the current bitter tone of discourse between the countries.

The White House’s move to expand Washington’s dispute with Beijing beyond trade and technology and into accusations of political meddling has sunk relations between the world’s two largest economies to the lowest level since the Cold War.

 

A major speech by US Vice President Mike Pence on October 4 was the clearest, highest-level sign that US strategy was turning from engagement to confrontation.

Pence accused China of interfering in the midterm elections to undermine President Donald Trump’s tough trade policies against Beijing, warned other countries to be wary of Beijing’s “debt diplomacy” and denounced China’s actions in the South China Sea.

“What the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what China is doing across this country,” Pence told an audience at the Hudson Institute think tank in Washington.Both sides are trading increasingly sharp accusations over human rights and global hegemony, exposing an ideological divide that pits the two on a path of confrontation with no clear resolution in sight.

While a military clash has not been ruled out, American-based analysts envision a continuing push-and-pull for dominance between Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, China’s most dominant — and repressive — leader since Mao Zedong. Xi’s aggressive foreign policy and authoritarian ways have altered views of China across the board.

“What has happened is a sea change in US perceptions of China,” said June Teufel Dreyer, an expert on Chinese politics who teaches political science at the University of Miami.

While Chinese officials privately say they’re concerned about the sharp deterioration in ties, especially given the massive links between the two in trade, immigration and education, it appears Beijing is more than willing to go toe-to-toe under the new circumstances.

Increasingly, the perception that as China grew more prosperous it would fall in line with global values and international law has been exploded. Into that breach has come hardening US rhetoric toward Beijing and actions to counter, deter or defy China’s moves in the international sector, particularly its “Belt and Road” trade and infrastructure initiative that seeks to expand Beijing’s economic and political footprint from Cambodia to Cairo.

Trump’s first national security strategy, released last year, also labelled China a “revisionist power” alongside Russia.

Beijing’s outrage at Pompeo, meanwhile, was prompted by his recent warnings to Latin American countries about the dangers of accepting Chinese infrastructure loans that are a key aspect of Xi’s signature foreign policy project

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“US-China relations have deteriorated to their worst point” since the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in Beijing that were crushed by the Chinese military, said Michael Kovrig, senior adviser for Northeast Asia at the International Crisis Group.

“It may not be a clash of civilizations, but it is a long-festering conflict of national, political and economic interest and systems that has reached a point of rupture,” Kovrig said.

Xi has abandoned the strategy laid out by reformist leader Deng Xiaoping that China should bide its time and refrain from advertising its ambitions to become a world power.

Instead, he has been accused of overreach by promoting China’s drive to become a global technology leader by 2025, including by compelling foreign companies to hand over their know-how, and pushing Chinese-financed energy and transportation projects that leave target countries with unsustainable debt.

On the military front, a Chinese destroyer last month maneuvered perilously close to the USS Decatur in the South China Sea. The Chinese also denied a request for a US Navy ship to visit Hong Kong and rejects US concerns over its policies toward other countries.

“The US simply aims to drive a wedge between China and relevant countries with those remarks,”


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Business

Sensex sheds 298.82 to close at 38,811; Nifty shrinks to 11,650

Press Trust of India

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Mumbai: The benchmark BSE Sensex erased early gains to end 299 points lower Thursday as investors booked profits after stocks soared to record highs after BJP’s strong showing in the Lok Sabha polls.

Sensex and NSE Nifty went on to record highs even as Lok Sabha election results showed that PM Modi-led NDA leading on over 300 seats. However after the euphoria during the morning session, Sensex shed 298.82 to close at 38,811 and Nifty shrank to 11,650 on the closing bell.

During the day, the Sensex hit the 40,000 mark while the Nifty crossed the 12,000-level for the first time ever. However, the indices succumbed to profit booking towards the fag-end of the session.

 

The 30-share Sensex tumbled 298.82 points, or 0.76 per cent, to close at 38,811.39. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty settled 80.85 points, or 0.69 per cent, lower at 11,657.05.

IndusInd Bank was the biggest gainer in the Sensex pack, rallying 5.23 per cent, followed by Hero MotoCorp, Coal India, Yes Bank, PowerGrid, ICICI Bank, HCL Tech, L&T, Kotak Bank and Bharti Airtel, rising up to 1.56 per cent. On the other hand, Vedanta, ITC, Tata Motors, HDFC twins, Bajaj Finance, Sun Pharma, Tata Steel, TCS, ONGC and Infosys fell up to 5.53 per cent.

Riding on a massive Modi wave sweeping through most parts of India, the BJP was set to return to power Thursday as it led in 298 seats while the Congress trailed far behind with 52, according to trends released by the Election Commission for all 542 seats that went to polls.

“Markets were initially enthused to see the election results falling in line with the exit polls. However, the run up to the D-day was so sharp that it turned out to be a sell on news phenomenon,” said Devang Mehta, Head – Equity Advisory, Centrum Wealth Management.

Participants would now be keen to know the future course of action for bringing the economy back on track, solution to the liquidity situation, the union budget, onset and progress of monsoon in June and most importantly the earnings trajectory, he added.

According to traders, weak cues from other global markets and a depreciating rupee also weighed on investor sentiment. The rupee depreciated 37 paise to 70.04 against the US dollar in afternoon trade. Globally, bourses in Asia ended in the red.

Indices in Europe were also trading on a negative note in early deals. Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, was trading 1.79 per cent lower at USD 69.72 per barrel.

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Silver up on increased offtake; gold steady

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi: Silver prices rallied by Rs 200 to Rs 37,400 per kg in the national capital on Thursday, while gold held steady, according to the All India Sarafa Association.

Traders said silver prices rose on pick-up in offtake by industrial units and coin makers at the local spot market. Globally, spot gold was trading marginally higher at USD 1,276 an ounce, while silver was slightly up at USD 14.53 an ounce in New York.

In the national capital, gold of 99.9 per cent and 99.5 per cent purity dropped by Rs 10 each to Rs 32,670 per ten 10 gram and Rs 32,500 per 10 gram. Sovereign gold, however, held steady at Rs 26,500 per eight gram.

 

Silver ready surged Rs 200 to Rs 37,400 per kg, while weekly-based delivery fell by Rs 66 to Rs 36,234 per kg. Silver coins held flat at Rs 79,000 for buying and Rs 80,000 for selling of 100 pieces.

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India PC mkt declines 8.3 per cent to 2.15 mn units in Jan-Mar qarter

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi: Personal Computer (PC) shipment in India fell by 8.3 per cent in the January-March quarter of 2019 to 2.15 million units, registering a year-on-year decline for the third consecutive quarter, according to research firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

Besides, big commercial deals, market remained weak due to weak consumer demand, high inventory from previous quarters, and supply issues for Intel chips.

Shipments in the consumer segment saw a 26.5 per cent dip in the said quarter compared to the year-ago period. The commercial PC market saw a total shipment of 1.35 million units in the said quarter, a growth of 7.3 per cent over last year.

 

“The announcement of central elections on March 10, 2019 resulted in the model code of conduct coming into immediate effect further resulting in a delay in execution of government projects and impacting the commercial segment,” IDC said in a statement.

However, IDC expects the overall PC market in India to witness a growth in the second quarter. The commercial market is expected to pick up post new government formation in May, while the consumer market is expected to pick up largely driven by back to school campaign by vendors and online sales.

HP maintained its leadership position with an overall market share of 28.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2019, followed by Dell (25.9 per cent), Lenovo (25.2 per cent) and Acer (11.7 per cent).

The notebook PC (laptop) category accounted for 61.4 per cent of the shipment and witnessed a 9.8 per cent year-on-year decline.

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