Friday, December 29, 2017

BBC News - Goldman Sachs will lose billions short term on Trump tax reform

Goldman Sachs is warning President Trump's tax legislation changes will knock billions from its earnings.
In a filing to US regulators, the investment giant says its fourth quarter results, due in January, will be $5bn (£3.7bn) lower than expected.
It says two thirds of this is down to revisions to US corporate income tax.
Its warning follows similar ones from Shell and Barclays. Both these companies said the reforms would eventually increase earnings.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, brought in by President Trump on December 22, will see corporate tax rates falling from 35% to 21%.
Alongside new restrictions on shifting profits abroad, the cut is likely to lead to a major repatriation of US business profits that are at present being sheltered offshore.
For example, the changes, the most significant in 30 years, would allow Apple to bring back the $250bn it holds abroad without a significant hit to its tax bill.
Individual taxes will also be cut, but more modestly

Monday, December 25, 2017

Reuters News - North Korea says new U.N. sanctions an act of war

by Ben BlanchardHyonhee Shin
BEIJING/SEOUL (Reuters) - The latest U.N. sanctions against North Korea are an act of war and tantamount to a complete economic blockade against it, North Korea’s foreign ministry said on Sunday, threatening to punish those who supported the measure.

The U.N. Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Friday for its recent intercontinental ballistic missile test, seeking to limit its access to refined petroleum products and crude oil and its earnings from workers abroad.
The U.N. resolution seeks to ban nearly 90 percent of refined petroleum exports to North Korea by capping them at 500,000 barrels a year and, in a last-minute change, demands the repatriation of North Koreans working abroad within 24 months, instead of 12 months as first proposed.
The U.S.-drafted resolution also caps crude oil supplies to North Korea at 4 million barrels a year and commits the Council to further reductions if it were to conduct another nuclear test or launch another ICBM.
In a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency, North Korea’s foreign ministry said the United States was terrified by its nuclear force and was getting “more and more frenzied in the moves to impose the harshest-ever sanctions and pressure on our country”.
The new resolution was tantamount to a complete economic blockade of North Korea, the ministry said.
“We define this ‘sanctions resolution’ rigged up by the U.S. and its followers as a grave infringement upon the sovereignty of our Republic, as an act of war violating peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and the region and categorically reject the ‘resolution’,” it said.
“There is no more fatal blunder than the miscalculation that the U.S. and its followers could check by already worn-out ‘sanctions’ the victorious advance of our people who have brilliantly accomplished the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force”, the ministry said.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Nov. 29 declared the nuclear force complete after the test of North Korea’s largest-ever ICBM test, which the country said puts all of the United States within range.
Kim told a meeting of members of the ruling Workers’ Party on Friday that the country “successfully realized the historic cause of completing the state nuclear force” despite “short supply in everything and manifold difficulties and ordeals owing to the despicable anti-DPRK moves of the enemies”.
North Korea’s official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
South Korea’s foreign ministry told Reuters it is aware of the North Korean statement on the new sanctions, again highlighting its position that they are a “grave warning by the international community that the region has no option but to immediately cease reckless provocations, and take the path of dialogue for denuclearization and peace”.
The North Korean foreign ministry said its nuclear weapons were a self-defensive deterrence not in contradiction of international law.
“We will further consolidate our self-defensive nuclear deterrence aimed at fundamentally eradicating the U.S. nuclear threats, blackmail and hostile moves by establishing the practical balance of force with the U.S,” it said.
“The U.S. should not forget even a second the entity of the DPRK which rapidly emerged as a strategic state capable of posing a substantial nuclear threat to the U.S. mainland,” it added.
North Korea said those who voted for the sanctions would face its wrath.
“Those countries that raised their hands in favor of this ‘sanctions resolution’ shall be held completely responsible for all the consequences to be caused by the ‘resolution’ and we will make sure for ever and ever that they pay heavy price for what they have done.”
The North’s old allies China and Russia both supported the latest U.N. sanctions.
Tension has been rising over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, which it pursues in defiance of years of U.N. Security Council resolutions, with bellicose rhetoric coming from both Pyongyang and the White House.
In November, North Korea demanded a halt to what it called “brutal sanctions”, saying a round imposed after its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3 constituted genocide.
U.S. diplomats have made clear they are seeking a diplomatic solution but proposed the new, tougher sanctions resolution to ratchet up pressure on North Korea’s leader.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

BBC News - EU says Brexit transition to end by 31 December 2020

Brexit negotiations
A "transition period" after the UK leaves the EU should not continue beyond 31 December 2020, Brussels says.
This would put a 21-month limit on the temporary arrangement - the UK says it should last for about two years.
And some business groups have called for a much longer transition period once the UK leaves in March 2019.
The terms of the transition period, which the UK calls an implementation phase, have yet to be negotiated between the two sides.
The EU says the UK will have to continue to follow its rules and cannot adopt an "a la carte" approach.
It has just published its guidelines for the next phase of Brexit negotiations.
These talks will initially focus on agreeing the precise terms of the transition phase, before moving on to the UK and EU's long-term future relationship.

What is a transition phase?

It will be a temporary period after the UK leaves the EU and before the final arrangements kick in. Both sides have talked about having such an arrangement, although they use different names for it.
The UK says the "implementation phase" will avoid a "cliff edge" for businesses on Brexit day.
The European Commission's guidelines state that the UK should continue to follow EU law and stay in the European customs union and single market during the transition phase. Rulings of the European Court of Justice will continue to apply, it says.
"The transition period needs to be clearly defined and precisely limited in time," the EU says.
"The commission recommends that it should not last beyond 31 December 2020."
This date marks the end of the EU's seven-year budget cycle.
Giving evidence to a committee of MPs, Prime Minister Theresa May said a 31 December 2020 cut-off offered a "neatness" for the EU, but suggested the length of the transition phase would be a matter for the negotiations.
Long-term, the UK has already said it plans to leave the customs union and single market and end the supremacy of EU court rulings as part of Brexit.
Some Brexit-supporting Tory MPs have warned the UK could become a "colony" of the EU during the transition period if it continues to closely follow the same rules.

Done and dusted by 2019?

Looking beyond the transition phase, the UK is hoping to strike a "comprehensive" and "bespoke" trade deal with the European Union to replace its membership of the single market and customs union.
Talks on this have not started and the European Union says it will not have been fully agreed by the time the UK leaves in March 2019.
But Mrs May disagrees - asked earlier whether she still believes the entire agreement can be negotiated by Brexit day, she said: "That is what we are working to and that is what I believe we can do."
The prime minister said the UK would "start off at a different point" from other countries because of its current trade relationship with the EU.

Gibraltar row

The overseas territory of Gibraltar - whose sovereignty is disputed by Spain - has been raised as a potential sticking point in Brexit negotiations.
The EU has said that Spain must agree to any arrangement between the UK and the EU applying to Gibraltar, a stance reiterated in the latest negotiating guidelines.
Asked whether he expected Spain to agree to the transitional arrangement covering Gibraltar, Mr Barnier said decisions on the issue would be "made for the 27, unanimously, by consensus".
Later in Prime Minister's Questions, Theresa May was asked to promise not to enter into any agreement that excluded Gibraltar.
She said the UK would not exclude Gibraltar from either the temporary implementation period or the long-term future agreement with the EU.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Bloomberg News - From Bitcoin to Trump: Mining Giants Identify 2018's Challenges