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North Korea is considering suspend nuclear talks with the US: Report



A photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on February 13, 2017, purportedly shows a test-fire of Pukguksong-2.

KCNA | Reuters

A photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on February 13, 2017, purportedly shows a test-fire of Pukguksong-2.

North Korea is considering suspending nuclear talks with the United States, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said on Friday, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.

North Korea has no intention to yield to U.S. demands or engage in negotiations of this kind, Choe told a press conference in the North Korean capital Pyongyang, TASS reported.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is set to make an official announcement soon on his position regarding talks with United States, TASS reported, citing Choe.

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Sterling slumps as Theresa May’s time as UK leader edges to a close



Prime Minister Theresa May leaving 10 Downing Street, London, ahead of Prime Minister’s Questions. 

Victoria Jones – PA Images | PA Images | Getty Images

The pound continued to hover around 4-month lows Thursday after Prime Minister Theresa May suffered another cabinet resignation and faced intensifying calls by some members of her party to step down.

Sterling versus the U.S. dollar has moved toward the $1.25 handle, falling to a low of $1.2603 just as European trading began on Thursday.

Around the same time the euro bought 88.385 pence. The pound is currently on track to suffer 14 consecutive days of losses against the euro zone’s common currency.

A fourth attempt by May to secure domestic support for her Brexit withdrawal plan looks doomed to fail and calls for her to step down have amplified.

Adding to May’s troubles was the resignation of House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom on Wednesday evening. Leadsom is the 36th minister to resign in the almost three years of the May premiership.

“Investors should not be complacent about the threat of a no-deal exit, which we believe would take the pound as low as $1.15 and 0.97 versus the euro,” UBS analysts said in a note Thursday.

May is expected to depart in the next few days and her Conservative Party will narrow down candidates to two people before conducting a run-off vote.

A number of Conservative lawmakers are thought to be in the race to be the next U.K. leader, but bookmakers put the former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson as favorite. Johnson confirmed his candidacy last week.

Johnson, a supporter of Brexit, has been hugely critical of May’s attempts to agree a deal and has said that Britain has “nothing to fear” from leaving the trading bloc.

The investment bank J.P. Morgan said in a note Tuesday that a leadership victory for Johnson would likely trigger a number of defections from within the Conservative Party, strengthening the case for a general election.

Now watch: Where did Brexit come from?

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US tariffs on China have been paid almost entirely by US importers: IMF



Vehicles wait for shipment at Lianyungang Port in Lianyungang, China.

VCG | Visual China Group | Getty Images

U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods are hurting an unintended target as the trade war rages, an International Monetary Fund study found.

The study, released Thursday, said that tariff revenue collected from levies on Chinese goods “has been borne almost entirely” by U.S. importers.

China and the U.S. have been engaged in a trade war for more than a year. In that time, they have targeted billions of dollars worth of goods with high import tariffs. However, “there was almost no change in the (ex-tariff) border prices of imports from China, and a sharp jump in the post-tariff import prices matching the magnitude of the tariff,” the study said.

President Donald Trump claimed on May 8 that the higher levies on Chinese goods are “filling U.S. coffers ” to the tune of $100 billion per year. But the IMF said the bilateral trade deficit between China and the U.S. remains “broadly unchanged” even with the tariffs.

Trump has also raised the possibility of raising tariffs on an additional $300 billion in Chinese goods. This, according to the IMF, could hurt consumers as companies are likely to pass on the additional cost.

“Consumers in the US and China are unequivocally the losers from trade tensions,” the IMF report said, adding higher tariffs could also hurt economic growth. “While the impact on global growth is relatively modest at this time, the latest escalation could significantly dent business and financial market sentiment, disrupt global supply chains, and jeopardize the projected recovery in global growth in 2019.”

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Trade war hurts lowest paid workers most of all, WTO director says



An intensifying trade war between the U.S. and China is negatively impacting every country in the world, according to the director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), with workers earning lower salaries most likely to be hit the hardest.

The world’s two largest economies have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of one another’s goods since the start of 2018, battering financial markets and souring business and consumer sentiment.

Earlier this month, tensions between Washington and Beijing ratcheted up even further when both sides hiked charges on their goods once again. The U.S. also added Chinese telecom giant Huawei to it’s so-called “Entity List” — effectively banning the company from acquiring technology from U.S. firms without government approval.

This trade war is “holding back” investors and consumers and that’s hurting the expansion of the global economy, Roberto Azevedo, the director-general of the WTO, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Thursday.

“We cannot close our eyes to that… Every single country will lose unless we find a solution for this.”

“The regular citizen is not immune to this, in fact, the lower the bracket of income of the citizen, the more he will be affected,” Azevedo said.

The ‘new cold war’

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is poised to meet with officials from the European Union and Japan in France on Thursday. The meeting is set to address the non-market orientated policies and practices of other countries, with China widely expected to feature prominently in the discussions.

China and the U.S. have been locked in a protracted trade dispute since the early days of Trump’s presidency.

The U.S. president has previously claimed that China’s entry into the WTO had paved the way for the “greatest jobs theft in history.”

He also wants to cut America’s trade deficit with China, claiming it is hurting U.S. manufacturing.

But, despite several rounds of trade talks in recent months, Washington and Beijing have failed to reach a comprehensive agreement to end the dispute.

Willem Buiter, special economic adviser at Citi, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Thursday that he was pessimistic about the chances of a trade resolution over the coming months.

“This trade conflict is part of a much wider economic conflict… and that wider economic conflict is in turn embedded in a geopolitical conflict,” Buiter said.

“This conflict, even if this particular trade issue is settled, will come to revisit us because this is the new cold war,” he added.

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