Trump to restore tariffs on Brazil, Argentina

US President Donald Trump. (Reuters)
Updated 02 December 2019

Trump to restore tariffs on Brazil, Argentina

  • Emerging market stocks and the highly sensitive Mexican peso slid to session lows following President Donald Trump’s vow

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Monday said he would immediately restore tariffs on US steel and aluminum imports from Brazil and Argentina, prompting at least one counterpart to vow talks with the Republican president.

Emerging market stocks and the highly sensitive Mexican peso slid to session lows following Trump’s vow, which came in an early morning post on Twitter that gave no other details on the planned trade action.

“Brazil and Argentina have been presiding over a massive devaluation of their currencies, which is not good for our farmers. Therefore, effective immediately, I will restore the Tariffs on all Steel & Aluminum that is shipped into the US from those countries,” Trump wrote.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, an avowed Trump fan who has actively sought closer US ties, said he could speak directly with the American leader and that he would also discuss Trump’s declaration with Brazil’s economy minister.

Trump on Monday also urged the Federal Reserve to prevent countries from gaining an economic advantage by devaluing their currencies.

“The Federal Reserve should likewise act so that countries, of which there are many, no longer take advantage of our strong dollar,” Trump tweeted. “Lower Rates & Loosen — Fed!”

Trump has repeatedly urged the US central bank to lower rates to below zero, arguing that negative rates in Europe and elsewhere give those countries a competitive advantage.

However, Fed policymakers have been reluctant to take the unorthodox policy steps tried by other global central banks. The US central bank’s policymaking committee holds its next meeting on Dec 10-11.


Saudi Arabia raises more than SR15bn in bond sale

Updated 28 March 2020

Saudi Arabia raises more than SR15bn in bond sale

  • Gulf oil exporters are increasingly turning to debt sales to help fund spending in a low oil price environment

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has sold more than SR15 billion in Islamic bonds, as the Kingdom seeks to develop its local debt market.

The Kingdom’s Finance Ministry said on Friday that it had closed the book to investors on its March 2020 riyal-denominated sukuk program.

The total amount raised by the sukuk sale was SR15.568 billion, divided into three tranches that mature in five, 10 and 30 years.

Gulf oil exporters are increasingly turning to debt sales to help fund spending in a low oil price environment while at the same time developing their own capital markets as part of ongoing diversification reforms.

“The closure of the issuance of government bonds exceeding 15 billion riyals shows many positive elements,” said Abdullah Ahmad Al-Maghlouth, a member of the Saudi Economic Society. 

“Such as confirming the robustness of the Kingdom’s credit rating and the strength of the Saudi economy; that the Kingdom’s debt-to-GDP ratio is still far lower than many other G20 countries; the Finance Ministry’s ability to deal with the requirements of asset and liability management; as well as the Kingdom’s strong foreign-exchange reserves in dollars, among others.”

The Kingdom’s strong credit rating means it can borrow more cheaply than many other Mideast economies despite a weaker oil price.

Economic analyst Fahd Al-Thunayan said: “The Ministry of Finance, represented by the National Debt Management Center, continued its efforts in developing local debt markets and providing the required balance in financing public-budget expenditures, through the optimal mixture of the use of reserves and borrowing within the upper limits, like a percentage of the GDP, where the local issuances reached 65 percent of the total debt in the year 2019.”