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North Korea to prevent spread of African swine fever: State media

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a Samjiyon County farm in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency. 

KCNA | Reuters 

North Korea has stepped up measures to prevent the spread of the highly contagious and deadly African swine fever, its main state newspaper said on Wednesday, breaking its silence on the outbreak which was first reported in late May.

In late May, North Korea reported an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), South Korea’s agriculture ministry said but the North has not made any official comment on its outbreak.

North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper said on Wednesday nationwide preventive measures are being carried out to contain the virus, quoting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as saying “prevention is the key to production in livestock industry”.

“Increasing livestock production goes hand in hand with raising farm animals safe from various diseases,” said Kim according to the newspaper.

“Once highly contagious diseases like African swine fever are spread … herds of farm animals could die.”

Preventative measures include disinfecting farms and restricting sales of pork and processed meat, the newspaper said.

North Korea raises mainly chicken, ducks and rabbits. Its pig population was 2.6 million as of 2017, according to data from Statistics Korea.

In the wake of the North’s outbreak, South Korea has stepped up disinfection measures near the shared border to keep the viral disease spreading to the South.

So far, no further cases have been reported in North Korea.

African swine fever (ASF) is fatal and highly contagious to pigs and wild boards, but it does not affect humans. Since the first outbreak of ASF in East Asia was reported in China in early August last year, the virus has spread across China including Vietnam.

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Ray Dalio on possible US recession, global economy, investing in gold

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The U.S. economy is taking a turn for the worse and there’s a 40% chance America could experience a recession before the 2020 presidential election, according to Ray Dalio, founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates.

“Recessions are always inevitable, the only question is: ‘When?’,” Dalio told CNBC’s “Managing Asia” in Singapore.

“I think that in the next two years, let’s say prior to the next election, there’s probably a 40% chance of a recession,” he added.

Fears of a looming recession in the U.S. were heightened after a closely watched indicator flashed a warning signal: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note briefly broke below the 2-year rate early Wednesday. That bond market phenomenon has been a reliable early indicator for economic recessions in the past.

That’s coming at a time when an ongoing fight between the U.S. and China threatens global trading activity and pushes back investment decisions among businesses.

‘Currency wars’

An economic slowdown globally will prompt central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, to ease monetary policies even further, said Dalio. But cutting interest rates this late into the economic cycle may not be effective in stimulating the economy, he added.

If that happens, economies around the world will likely resort to weakening their currencies to boost growth, he said. A weaker currency makes exports relatively cheaper and, in some cases, benefits financial markets.

“So, I think we are entering an environment that, over the next three years, you will see more currency wars. And whether there are overt interventions or whether their monetary policies that produce that,” said Dalio.

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Samsung Display considers suspending output at South Korean LCD plant

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Visitors are seen at South Korean multinational electronics conglomerate Samsung’s booth in Hong Kong, on July 28, 2019.

Budrul Chukrut | SOPA Images | Getty Images

South Korean panel maker Samsung Display said on Friday it is considering suspending one of its liquid crystal display (LCD) production lines at home due to a supply glut.

Samsung Display, a unit of Samsung Electronics, currently operates two LCD production lines in South Korea and one in China.

“Samsung Display has been adjusting the production output and facility operation due to oversupply and worsening profitability, and we are still considering the suspension of the line, but nothing has been decided,” the company said in a statement.

Rising competition from Chinese rivals, a shift to more advanced OLED (organic light emitting diode) panels and slowing demand for smartphones have led to falling off take and weak prices of LCD panels for South Korean display makers.

Samsung Display’s cross-town rival LG Display converted one of its LCD production lines to an OLED (organic light emitting diode) production line, a path that Samsung Display may also take, Park added.

LG Display is also considering various scenarios for its remaining LCD production line in South Korea, said LG Display Chief Financial Officer Suh Dong-hee at an earnings briefing last month.

Prices for LG Display’s main product, 50-inch TV LCDs, slid as much as 7.5% in April-June versus the same period last year, data from WitsView, which is part of research provider TrendForce, showed.

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Trump clarifies ‘personal meeting’ tweet, suggests Xi should meet Hong Kong protesters

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Meanwhile, the U.S. and China have both upped the ante in the ongoing trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.

In early August, Trump announced he would slap 10% tariffs by September on the remaining $300 billion or so worth of Chinese imports not subject to levies.

But just two weeks later, Trump said he would delay some of those duties until Dec. 15 in order to avoid hurting American consumers during the Christmas shopping season.

The admission Tuesday from Trump, who has long claimed that his tariffs only helped the U.S. at China’s expense, sent the market soaring. The next day, however, the president claimed “the American consumer is fine with or without the September date, but much good will come from the short deferral to December.”

The U.S. has already imposed 25% tariffs on about $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, while China has fired back by slapping duties on about $110 billion in U.S. imports.

After Trump threatened to put tariffs on the remaining balance of Chinese imports, Beijing announced it would no longer buy U.S. agricultural products — a major blow to farmers who were already hurting from the trade war. The U.S. followed by labeling China a currency manipulator.

China on Thursday threatened further retaliation if new U.S. tariffs go into effect Sept. 1, as they’re largely still planned to do.

A few hours after the initial statement, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry took a softer tone, saying Beijing hopes to “meet the U.S. halfway” on trade issues.

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