Article: Currency control is not black and white

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Currency control is not black and white

SCMP Editorial, 18 April 2021

There are myriad ways for a government to affect the direction and value of its national currency. Some are labelled currency manipulation; others not. It depends on one’s definitions. Those of the United States Treasury mean the country cannot engage in such manipulation, an alleged sin only other economies can commit. Therefore it sits in judgment of others and threatens sanctions against those who allegedly game the global “rules-based” trade system.

However, spending trillions of US dollars on bond buying – also known as quantitative easing – for more than a decade and on economic relief packages to support growth and encourage inflation have achieved the same or similar results as manipulation. They have already caused significant depreciation of the US dollar against most major currencies and the slide is expected to continue. It is doubly ironic that in the middle of a trade and ideological war between the world’s two superpowers, Washington has, in its wisdom, declined to label mainland China as a currency manipulator but added friendly Taiwan to the watch list. The political nature of the exercise was exposed when the US Treasury, under former president Donald Trump, designated China as a manipulator in mid-2019, despite not meeting its full criteria, and then abruptly lifted the label five months later as a concession in a trade deal. Continue reading “Article: Currency control is not black and white”

Article: US Treasury says no major trading partner manipulates currency

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US Treasury says no major trading partner manipulates currency

Xinhua, 17 April 2021

WASHINGTON — The US Treasury Department on Friday said that no major trading partner of the United States meets the criteria as a currency manipulator, but Vietnam, Switzerland and China’s Taiwan will be under enhanced monitoring for their currency practices.

In its semiannual Report on Macroeconomic and Foreign Exchange Policies of Major Trading Partners of the United States, the Treasury Department concluded that Vietnam, Switzerland and Taiwan met all three criteria for enhanced currency analysis under the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 during the four quarters through December 2020. Continue reading “Article: US Treasury says no major trading partner manipulates currency”

Article: Switzerland’s SNB Still Ready for Forex Intervention as U.S. Drops Manipulator Tag

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Switzerland’s SNB Still Ready for Forex Intervention as U.S. Drops Manipulator Tag

John Revill, 16 April 2021

ZURICH (Reuters) – The Swiss National Bank (SNB) said on Friday it remained ready to intervene in foreign exchange markets, after the U.S. Treasury Department dropped its currency manipulator label for the country even though it met criteria for the designation.

The Swiss central bank noted the U.S. Treasury Department did not use the term currency manipulator in a new report, adding its foreign exchange purchases were not intended to alter Swiss balance of payments or unfairly help the Swiss economy.

“The SNB’s position is therefore clear: Switzerland does not engage in any currency manipulation,” the SNB said. Continue reading “Article: Switzerland’s SNB Still Ready for Forex Intervention as U.S. Drops Manipulator Tag”

Article: Being ‘tough on China’ can’t mean harming our own interests

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Being ‘tough on China’ can’t mean harming our own interests

DANIEL L DAVIS, 11 April 2021

Being “tough on China” is politically popular in Washington these days, and Biden has come out of the gate swinging against Beijing. But “being tough” isn’t a policy and reflexively applying it to China doesn’t serve U.S. interests. A logical and realistic approach to Beijing, however, can.

Obama’s “pivot to Asia” in 2011 opened a new chapter in Sino-American relations and turned an always challenging relationship even more tense. From the beginning of his administration, Trump characterized China in starkly adversarial terms, calculating domestic political advantage in starting a trade war. In the early months of the Biden term, it appears the new president has chosen to accelerate this deterioration in relations. Continue reading “Article: Being ‘tough on China’ can’t mean harming our own interests”

Article: Matt Gaetz Says He Won’t Resign as Pressure Mounts

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Matt Gaetz Says He Won’t Resign as Pressure Mounts

Siobhan Hughes and Sadie Gurman, 02 April 2021

WASHINGTON—Rep. Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.) on Friday said he wouldn’t resign in the face of rising pressure over reports that the FBI has been investigating him since last summer, in part over whether he broke federal sex-trafficking laws.

“Of course not,” Mr. Gaetz said in a text message Friday, addressing whether he would leave office. He declined to say more, citing Good Friday. His lawyer also said Mr. Gaetz wouldn’t step down.

With the House in recess, members have been largely silent about Mr. Gaetz since Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) earlier in the week referred to “serious implications” in connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry. But in the state capital of Tallahassee, Republicans were already discussing who would replace Mr. Gaetz, people familiar with the conversations said. Continue reading “Article: Matt Gaetz Says He Won’t Resign as Pressure Mounts”

Article: U.S. trade chief voices concern to Vietnam over currency practices

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U.S. trade chief voices concern to Vietnam over currency practices

Eric Beech, 01 April 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, in a call on Thursday with Vietnam’s minister of industry and trade, highlighted U.S. concerns about Vietnam’s currency practices, a USTR statement said.

Tai and the Vietnamese minister Tran Tuan Anh also “discussed U.S. concerns on illegal timber practices, digital trade and agriculture,” the statement said.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade in a statement on Friday said Vietnam and the United States “will continue to actively cooperate to comprehensively address the concerns to maintain a stable trade relation.” Continue reading “Article: U.S. trade chief voices concern to Vietnam over currency practices”

Article: WA rancher Easterday pleads guilty to stealing $244M in ‘ghost cattle’ scam

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WA rancher Easterday pleads guilty to stealing $244M in ‘ghost cattle’ scam

KRISTIN M. KRAEMER, 31 March 2021

The president of one of the largest agricultural operations in Washington state has admitted concocting a scheme to defraud Tyson Foods and another company out of more than $244 million.

Cody A. Easterday, 49, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in a case that federal prosecutors are calling a “ghost-cattle scam.”

Easterday, who’s also chief executive officer of Easterday Ranches Inc., charged the two companies under various agreements for the costs of buying and feeding 200,000 cattle, when those cattle did not actually exist, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release. Continue reading “Article: WA rancher Easterday pleads guilty to stealing $244M in ‘ghost cattle’ scam”

Article: CFTC hits former fuel-oil trader with $100,000 penalty for market manipulation

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CFTC hits former fuel-oil trader with $100,000 penalty for market manipulation

Reuters, 25 March 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has settled charges against a former fuel oil trader for market manipulation, the regulator said in a statement on Thursday.

Emilio José Heredia Collado admitted to manipulating, and attempting to manipulate, a U.S. fuel oil benchmark. The CFTC hit Heredia with a $100,000 civil penalty and permanently banned him from trading commodity interests, the statement said.

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Article: North Korean appears in U.S. court on sanctions-evasion money-laundering charges

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North Korean appears in U.S. court on sanctions-evasion money-laundering charges

David Brunnstrom and Mark Hosenball, 22 March 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A North Korean businessman accused by the United States of laundering money to circumvent U.S. and U.N. sanctions intended to curb his country’s nuclear weapons program appeared in a U.S. court on Monday after extradition from Malaysia.

The U.S. Justice Department said Mun Chol Myong, who it said was affiliated with North Korea’s primary intelligence organization, the Reconnaissance General Bureau, was the first North Korean ever extradited to the United States.

It said Mun appeared in federal court in Washington, where he was indicted in May 2019 on six counts of money laundering, including conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Mun was arrested in Malaysia in 2019 after the United States accused him of laundering funds through front companies and issuing fraudulent documents to support illicit shipments to North Korea. He denied the allegations, saying they were politically motivated.

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Article: U.S. commodities regulator monitoring silver markets activity -acting chairman

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U.S. commodities regulator monitoring silver markets activity -acting chairman

Lisa Lambert, 02 February 2021

WASHINGTON, Feb 1 (Reuters) – The U.S. commodities regulator is closely monitoring recent activity in the silver markets and working with fellow regulators to address any potential from the moves, said its acting chairman, Rostin Behnam, in a statement released on Monday.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission “is communicating with fellow regulators, the exchanges, and stakeholders to address any potential threats to the integrity of the derivatives markets for silver, and remains vigilant in surveilling these markets for fraud and manipulation,” Behnam said.

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Article: In GameStop saga, U.S. regulator examining all aspects and parties: sources

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In GameStop saga, U.S. regulator examining all aspects and parties: sources

Chris Prentice, Pete Schroeder, 05 January 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is looking at every aspect of and parties involved in the “Reddit rally” of GameStop Corp and other stocks, said two people familiar with the matter, suggesting a swath of industry participants may be swept up in the regulator’s review of the trading frenzy.

The people added that the furious surge in shares of GameStop, AMC Entertainment Holdings and other stocks contained familiar patterns, in that it involves users of online platforms hyping up stocks – something seen in the past on bulletin boards and social media platforms.

However, manipulation cases can be complex and may rely on more than simply language posted on a message board, they said.

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Article: U.S. Treasury labels Switzerland, Vietnam as currency manipulators

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U.S. Treasury labels Switzerland, Vietnam as currency manipulators

Reuters Staff, 16 December 2020

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury labeled Switzerland and Vietnam as currency manipulators on Wednesday and added three new names to a watch list of countries it suspects of taking measures to devalue their currencies against the dollar.

In what may be one of the final broadsides to international trading partners delivered by the departing administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, the Treasury said that through June 2020 both Switzerland and Vietnam had intervened in currency markets to prevent effective balance of payments adjustments.

Furthermore, in its semi-annual currency manipulation report, the Treasury said Vietnam had acted to gain “unfair competitive advantage in international trade as well.” Continue reading “Article: U.S. Treasury labels Switzerland, Vietnam as currency manipulators”

Article: Vitol to pay $95.7 million to settle fraud, market manipulation charges

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Vitol to pay $95.7 million to settle fraud, market manipulation charges

Reuters Staff, 04 December 2020

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Energy and commodities trading firm Vitol Inc has agreed to pay $95.7 million to settle charges of corruption-based fraud and attempted market manipulation, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Thursday.

Houston-based Vitol did not admit or deny the charges, but agreed to pay the civil penalties related to making bribes and offering kickbacks to employees of certain state-owned entities in Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico in exchange for “preferential treatment and access to trades,” the regulator said.

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Article: China accuses US of ‘deliberately destroying’ world order

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China accuses US of ‘deliberately destroying’ world order

Dominic Rushe , Lily Kuo, 06 August 2019

China stepped up the trade war rhetoric on Tuesday, accusing the US of “deliberately destroying international order” with “unilateralism and protectionism”.

A day after Washington branded China a currency manipulator in a rapidly escalating trade dispute, China’s central bank said it “deeply regretted” the move by the US and said such behaviour “seriously undermined international rules” and damaged the global economy. Continue reading “Article: China accuses US of ‘deliberately destroying’ world order”

Article: Florida state professors settle naked short-selling case

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Florida state professors settle naked short-selling case

Sarah N. Lynch, 01 February 2014

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two Florida State University professors who specialize in financial markets and physics will pay more than $670,000 to settle civil charges that they carried out an illegal short-selling scheme using an elaborate options strategy, U.S. regulators said on Friday.

Gonul Colak and Milen Kostov settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission without admitting or denying the charges. Continue reading “Article: Florida state professors settle naked short-selling case”