KTFA (Samson)

  In KTFA

Coco: On August 15th, 1971 Nixon took us off the gold standard.

Saturday, August 15th, 2020 is approaching and it’s just a few days prior to the Prime Minister of Iraq coming to Washington, D.C.

Hopefully the Prime Minister of the sovereign nation of Iraq will be coming to the U.S. after having made an announcement to his people that their currency now has purchasing power.

We shall see…

Samson:  Oil falls due to the vague demand for fuel and US stimulus

7th August, 2020

Oil prices fell, adding to the losses of the previous session, due to fears of a slowing recovery in demand for fuel amid the return of Coronavirus infections, and talks stumbled on a new stimulus agreement in the United States

With the Tokyo Stock Exchange closed, US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were 17 cents lower, or 0.41 percent, to $ 41.78 a barrel, while Brent crude also fell 17 cents, or 0.38 percent, to $ 44.92. 

Both decades were up earlier in the day but they are still poised for weekly gains of about 4%, which will be the largest for the two benchmarks since the week ending July 3

Analysts say that the resurgence of Coronavirus infections remains the central issue for oil markets, as this will determine how quickly fuel demand will recover. Statistics show that injuries have increased in a number of US states, such as Colorado, Ohio and Virginia. Prices are also suffering under the weight of the weak current market for crude and refining margins in most regions

“It really comes down to the demand situation,” said Stephen Ince, market strategist at AxiCorp. And he continued, “We are trying to gather the diaspora of our thoughts about the shape of the (Corona virus) curve. Will the stability curve of infections in the United States overwhelm the mutations around the world?

Analysts are also watching the stalled talks between the White House and Democrats about a new stimulus package to counter the fallout from the Corona virus, as Democrats say President Donald Trump may have to issue executive orders if he is not willing to continue negotiating

“The virus mitigation package remains the last hope for boosting (fuel) demand, as the US travel season approaches its end,” ANZ Market Research said in a note   LINK

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Samson:  50% of border crossing imports outside the Iraqi government pocket

7th August, 2020

A Member of the Parliamentary Finance Committee, Ahmad Mazhar al-Jubouri, confirmed today, Friday, that the imports of the border crossings are below the required level, indicating that the government has not imposed its full control over them.

Al-Jubouri told Shafaq News agency that the Iraqi government imposed its control over the border crossings by 50%, and there are still some parties that have control over the ports, pointing out that the imports did not refresh the country’s treasury. Al-Jubouri added that the closure of the outlets due to the Covid-19 crisis caused a decrease or lack of financial imports during the past four months

Regarding the conditions of the border crossings in Diyala, where the Iraqi government launched a campaign recently to impose control, he said that government control 40-50% of them.

The Corona crisis and the deterioration of global oil prices prompted Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi to announce a plan to control border crossings by federal Special Forces and liberate them from the control of groups and parties that have dominated them for years.

According to financial statistics, 70-80% of the border crossing imports is under the control of the parties and groups.

It’s noteworthy that Iraq has 9 land-border crossings with neighboring countries (with the exception of the outlets in the Kurdistan region), which are:

  • Zurbatiya, Shalamja, AL-Muntheriya and Al-Sheib with Iran,
  • Safwan with Kuwait
  • Trebil with Jordan
  • Al-Waleed with Syria
  • Arar and Jadidat Arar with Saudi Arabia.

LINK

Vietnam:

Samson:  Secretary Pompeo’s Call with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Minh

6th August, 2020

The below is attributable to Principal Deputy Spokesperson Cale Brown:‎

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke today with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.  Secretary Pompeo and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Minh reaffirmed the strength of our Comprehensive Partnership as we celebrate a quarter century of U.S-Vietnam diplomatic relations in 2020. 

The Secretary underscored U.S. support for Southeast Asian coastal states upholding their sovereign rights and interests under international law and the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

The Secretary thanked Vietnam for its leadership as ASEAN Chair and for Vietnam’s coordination in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.   LINK

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Samson:  Việt Nam a rising star in gloomy global economy: World Bank

31st July, 2020
Landmark 81 in HCM City – the tallest building in Southeast Asia. Việt Nam has been described as a rising star amid the pandemic by the World Bank who rank the country fifth fastest growing economy in the world. Experts from the World Bank said Việt Nam was a rising star amid the COVID-19 pandemic, ranking the country 5th fastest growing economy.

World Bank Lead Economist and Program Leader for Việt Nam Jacques Morisset said: “Việt Nam has a chance to spend more and spend better to boost local production at this time,” during an online meeting held by the World Bank on Thursday to discuss the ‘new normal’ for Việt Nam. He said while the fiscal accounts have deteriorated due to lower revenue, the government was able to absorb the shock, thanks to the accumulation of reserves and the use of contingent funds, limiting the use of new borrowing.

Though the local economy has nonetheless been hit by the COVID-19 crisis, with the GDP growth rate of 1.8 per cent, the breakdown by sectors indicates that the agro-forestry-fisheries sector recorded a growth rate of 1.2 per cent and contributed 11.9 per cent to the overall economic growth, the industrial sector expanded by 3 per cent (73.1 per cent of GDP), while the services sector grew by only 0.6 per cent (15 per cent of GDP).

The latest report by the World Bank (WB) said while COVID-19 has spread around the planet, killing hundreds of thousands of people and sending billions into lock-down, as health services struggle to cope, Việt Nam still belongs to a small club of countries that have reported zero deaths caused by the pandemic. This result is even more impressive considering the country is located next to China as the epicentre of the pandemic.

The bank’s director Stefanie Stallmeister said that saving human lives was more important than saving jobs. Several economic and financial indicators have not yet bounced back to their pre-crisis levels, including the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate that, at 1.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, was approximately 5 percentage points lower than its historical trajectory in recent years.

Morisset said: “Việt Nam has a unique opportunity to increase its footprint in the world economy and to push ahead with its agenda of reforms so it can accelerate its quest to become a high-income economy in the foreseeable future.”

The bank saw the local GDP continue to expand during the first six months of 2020, albeit at a slower pace than in the recent past while inflation has been contained despite the easing of monetary conditions by the State Bank of Việt Nam, which has led to the expansion of credit by commercial banks to businesses. The bank representative also said Việt Nam has coped with the impact of COVID-19 on its external accounts by maintaining a trade surplus and attracting a relatively large amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows even though exports have contracted in recent months.

Morisset said as many of the local businesses were home based with family-member employees, household businesses could recover quite quickly after social distancing. However, he said Việt Nam should do more to cope with the new situation, saying: “No one knows what will happen in the few weeks.”

Over the weekend, as more COVID-19 cases were reported and another wave of social distancing could be applied, the bank said tourism and remittances could be further impacted. As governmental data indicates that as many as 30 million workers, or more than half of the labour force, could have been affected by the crisis, the bank said the country should prepare to retrain its workers. The report said the impact of the crisis has also not been uniform, raising inequalities across sectors and among people.

As about 90 per cent of the population has a smartphone and a good foundation of digital infrastructure, the World Bank’s representative said: “Việt Nam can take the chance to boost contact-free services and e-commerce.” According to the report, the ongoing transformation of the global economy provides the opportunity for Việt Nam to take important policy actions.

WB estimated that the local GDP should rebound in the second quarter of 2020 so that the economy will grow at around 2.8 per cent for the entire year. It should further expand by 6.8 per cent in 2021 (baseline scenario). With less favourable external conditions, the economy will expand by only 1.5 per cent in 2020 and 4.5 per cent in 2021 (downside scenario).

The report also said: “Regardless of the scenario, Việt Nam is expected to remain one of the fastest-growing economies in the world in 2020.”   LINK

Samson:  Việt Nam needs full market economy: experts

31st July, 2020
Economists have said Việt Nam would gain many benefits from a full and modern market economy.

“The local economy is now owned and controlled by the State, so it is not yet a market economy,” said Nguyễn Đình Cung, former director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) at the seminar “Dialogue on Việt Nam’s market economy institutions” held by the National Economics University and CIEM Wednesday in Hà Nội.

Cung pointed out that the country has been on the path to become a market economy for the last 30 years, adding: “I hope the path will end soon.” He said the State’s ownership is transferred very slowly, while economic management must be run by the market not the State. He suggested the State should run the market in necessary areas and give space for a market economy.

Cung considered the level of market development of the economy and the effectiveness of the Government as two indicators of a good market economy but he said: “These indicators in Việt Nam are not good.” Cung said there should be a balance between the managing role of the State and the market, emphasising that “the market economy might not solve all the problems of the economy, but without it, our economy will fail.”

Economist Phạm Chi Lan said there were resolutions and documents to build a market economy in Việt Nam but, for years, they have been struggling to remove barriers. Lan said though the local economy has state-owned enterprises (SOEs), FDI enterprises and private enterprises, SOEs and FDI enterprises still had the upper hand in policies and incentives. Lan said: “In the current GDP structure, the private sector contributes less than 10 per cent,” meaning the low ratio of private sector participation could not help build a market economy.

Economist Lê Đăng Doanh said though 90 countries have recognised Việt Nam as a market economy, according to the evaluation of the US and the European Union, Việt Nam does not have one. To be recognised, Doanh suggested the country step up the removal of barriers in institutions and the Government should not intervene deeply into the economy but only hold ownership in some crucial industries. Doanh said if so, the economy will gain many benefits, while many procedures will be reduced to help local businesses cut costs.

Fred McMahon, from Canada’s Fraser Institute, said that Việt Nam has a remarkable economic growth record, adding that economic freedom would help create momentum for growth to overcome the middle-income trap.

At the seminar, experts said Việt Nam should build the economy based on an international set of indicators, similar to how it developed the business environment according to the index of the World Bank and the World Economic Forum.

Trần Thọ Đạt, president of the National Economics University, said: “It is time to pay attention to the indicators of economic freedom as a measure of the full development of Việt Nam’s market economy, especially for Việt Nam to overcome the low average development threshold.”   LINK