US blacklists tech giant Xiaomi & major oil producer CNOOC in Trump’s final push against Chinese firms

It forbids American businesses from dealing with blacklisted firms and transferring technology to them without special government permission. So, unlike Huawei, in theory it can acquire vital components like semiconductors, but it is unclear at this point how the military designation could further affect it.Beijing has repeatedly warned Washington that it will protect the interests of its businesses. Follow RT on

The outgoing Trump administration is using its final days to further escalate tensions with Beijing as it blacklists more Chinese firms, including one of the biggest global smartphone makers, Xiaomi, and oil giant CNOOC. Xiaomi, the Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC), as well as seven other entities, have been deemed “Communist Chinese military companies.” The move means that US investors will have to divest their stakes in the affected firms in accordance with an executive order signed by US President Donald Trump in November. Despite the ban, Xiaomi has not been put on the Entity List. Also on rt.com
China hits back at ‘unjustified’ foreign laws that hurt its businesses

Xiaomi recently beat its American rival Apple in global smartphones sales to become the world’s third-largest smartphone maker. The Commerce Department said that CNOOC was added to the economic blacklist for “helping China intimidate neighbors in the South China Sea.” The same order targeted state-owned Skyrizon, which the US agency says could make military items such as aircraft engines for its push “to acquire and indigenize foreign military technologies.”The blacklist includes Chinese tech giants Huawei and ZTE, as well as dozens of other companies. Earlier this month, it accused the US of abusing national security and state power “to suppress Chinese firms.” It also warned that these policies, which violate market rules, could backfire on foreign investors and could seriously undermine confidence in US capital markets.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section The Department of Defense expanded the list of Chinese companies with alleged military ties once again on Thursday. Read more

China’s Xiaomi overtakes Apple as world’s third-largest smartphone maker

While oil major China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) was already placed under the investment ban, it was also added to the infamous Entity List on Thursday. The company denies any links to the Chinese military, insisting it only manufactures products for civilian and commercial use. Xiaomi also pledged to protect the interests of its shareholders as its stock fell around 10 percent on the news of the investment ban.

US shale could be the biggest winner of the latest OPEC cuts

OPEC – and now OPEC+ – is trying to hang onto its own market share while maintaining adequate price levels for its members’ oil revenue-dependent budgets. Read more

The pandemic could lead to a major oil supply crunch

There is no question that US shale has increased its market share over the last few years. The United States lifted a 40-year ban on oil exports at the end of 2015. Read more

Russia’s oil output plunges to LOWEST in nearly a decade

Oil companies in the United States Tenth Federal Reserve District (Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and some parts of Missouri and New Mexico) reported in the fourth quarter of 2020 that they needed oil prices to be at $56 for a “substantial increase in drilling” to occur, according to the Kansas City Fed.In just the first two weeks of this year alone, the price of WTI has risen from sub $48 to more than $53 – well on its way to that sweet spot. India, too, takes a fair amount of US crude. But it looks like OPEC is taking even more strides to do it again. US oil is exported mostly to Mexico, Canada, and the largest destination – China. At that time, the global oil market was already saturated, and that’s really when the battle for the market share began.The market that was most affected was the US market, which used to get much of its oil from OPEC nations. Now, the United States is basically a net oil importer – importing some grades, and exporting others. Most – if not all – of this gain has to do with Saudi Arabia’s promise to OPEC and OPEC+ that it would cut another million barrels of oil production per day in February in March in an effort to bolster prices. Also on rt.com
Oil prices hit 10-month high as US dollar weakens & Saudi cuts loom on horizon

EIA’s dim viewOn January 12, the Energy Information Administration forecast a bleaker picture for the US oil industry. For 2021, it expects that figure to fall to 11.1 million bpd, before rising to 11.5 million bpd in 2022.That the EIA does not need US production picking up more than 400,000 bpd on average this year is noteworthy.OPEC is doing it again: The $56 MarkFor everything that OPEC has done for US shale up to this point, the industry surely thanks it. US shale, on the other hand, is operating in an every-man-for-himself mode, with less efficient producers folding under the crushingly low oil prices, and more efficient producers picking up assets for a song. Today, it’s more of a smoldering competition. And some of those improvements in the supply side of the equation for US shale are already upon us.“Market conditions have improved for US shale as oil prices have moved into a range where output is likely to recover at a higher-than-expected rate in 2H21,” the MOMR reads in part, adding that the US liquids supply forecast has been revised upward by 100,000 bpd, to average 18 million bpd in 2021. Follow RT on

OPEC’s major output cut may be a lifeline for US shale, which is struggling under the weight of the new pandemic world order. While Russia is keenly aware of this unfavorable position, the group is nearly powerless to maintain prices for themselves without also opening the door for US shale. That last one must hurt for OPEC. In the days of the oil embargo, the situation was sticky and heated. Frenemies at lastOPEC and the United States were once at bitter odds. OPEC itself now sees US shale’s supply outlook as slightly more “optimistic,” OPEC’s latest Monthly Oil Market Report showed on Thursday. The market had expected a small increase.Meanwhile, Russia was allowed a small increase in production – a sign that at least one powerhouse is done holding that door open for US shale, who only cuts production on a company by company basis when it is uneconomical to do so (and sometimes not even then).But this time around, US shale companies are expecting not to lift production, but to rake in the extra profits from the increase in price and pay down their debt and give more back to investors.That it might be different this time around may be what saves OPEC from losing even more market share.This article was originally published on Oilprice.com For 2020, the EIA now estimates that US crude oil production fell from 12.2 million bpd in 2019 to just 11.3 million bpd. It’s a lot to juggle. In October 2020, Asia’s second-largest crude importer took nearly a half a million barrels per day from the United States.And while this change was inspired in large part by the lifting of the export ban, it would not have been possible without OPEC’s help in the form of organized production cuts, which began just months after the US lifted its export ban.OPEC’s prognostication on US shaleThat OPEC’s policies are aiding US shale isn’t a secret, either.

Chinese exports soar despite Covid-19 pandemic & US trade war

December imports saw a 6.5-percent year-on-year increase, beating expectations for a five-percent growth, and rising from the November growth of 4.5 percent. Follow RT on

China’s trade surplus has hit $535 billion, its highest level since 2015, amid the global coronavirus pandemic and an ongoing trade war with Washington. Also on rt.com
Beijing vows to take necessary measures after Trump’s latest attack on Chinese payment apps

Trade surplus in December alone amounted to $78.17 billion, the highest reading on Refinitiv records going back to 2007, whereas economists had expected the trade surplus to fall to $72.35 billion from $75.40 billion in November.Over the full year, Chinese exports grew 3.6 percent, while imports fell 1.1 percent, making China the only major economy to see positive growth in 2020.Chinese exporters managed to benefit from the earlier reopening of the economy and demand for masks and other pandemic-related goods made in the country. The trade imports and exports were significantly better than expected, and the scale of foreign trade hit a record high,” a Chinese spokesman said.Despite a prolonged tariff war with Washington, China posted a $3 billion surplus in trade with the US, as December exports were $4.6 billion, while imports of American goods totaled $1.6 billion.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Also on rt.com
Freight traffic between China & Europe hit all-time high in 2020

“China has become the only major economy in the world to achieve positive economic growth [in 2020]. According to the latest customs data, China’s exports rose 18.1 percent in December from a year earlier, slowing from a 21.1-percent surge in November but exceeding the forecast growth of 15 percent.

Like it or not, US no longer holding world in its palm, China is – Professor Richard Wolff to RT’s Boom Bust

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With less than a week left before the inauguration of Joe Biden, Washington is getting ready for the event with 15,000 members of the national guard in the streets of the capital, with closures and roadblocks. After seeing what most Americans are used to seeing in other countries, the host of RT’s Boom Bust, Christy Ai, asked Professor Richard Wolff what is ahead for the dollar, markets, and the US political system.READ MORE: China soon to rival NY & London as world’s financial center – Ray Dalio“There’s no question in my mind that the whole world is looking at the US and it’s seeing too many signs of decline and decay,” the economist said, stressing that the process would be long.“Whether it’s the extraordinary failures around being prepared for containing Covid, we are four percent of the population of the world, and we have 20 percent of the deaths from coronavirus. There’s no dancing around this,” Wolff said.The expert added that the US is currently in a depression with 25 million unemployed Americans, riots in the capital, and a fracturing of the political system, which is expected to percolate into the currency’s value and investment patterns.“There’s sense that whatever the US was as the kind of premier capitalist country, holding the world in its palm, holding it together, center of the free world… All those phrases do not apply anymore, we are not the rising power economically in the world,” he said. “That’s China, you may not like it, but it’s the reality.”For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

Russian ruble ranked world’s most undervalued currency against US dollar

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The Russian ruble has been ranked the world’s most underrated currency against the US dollar by the 2021 Big Mac Index, which provides an assessment of the purchasing power of currencies compared to each other. In 2020, the ruble saw another 20-percent slump due to the Covid-19 pandemic, constantly expanding anti-Russian sanctions and a drop in oil prices.The ruble’s plunge also means Russia now boasts the cheapest Big Macs in the world. This shows that the Russian ruble is undervalued by 68 percent, and that one dollar should cost 28.85 rubles, compared to Wednesday’s exchange rate of around 74 rubles per dollar.Based on differences in gross domestic product (GDP) per person, a Big Mac should cost 39 percent less. Also on rt.com
Share of gold in Russian national reserves beats US dollar holdings for first time ever

The Russian currency had been rated as highly undervalued against the US dollar over the past nine years. The index, created by The Economist, represents a light-hearted guide to alignment of world currencies in regard to the greenback. It is based on comparative study of price for a McDonald’s Big Mac in different countries.The Big Mac Index, published by the magazine twice a year, helps to estimate purchasing-power parity of national currencies, as well as their ‘real’ exchange rate. It stems from the fact that the same product is to be sold at the same price in all the countries. According to the index, this means the ruble is 47.3 percent undervalued. Russia is the only one among the 55 nations tracked by the index, where a Big Mac costs under two dollars.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Also on rt.com
Russian stock market at all-time high as ruble shows stable growth

The latest data reveals that a Big Mac costs about $5.66 in the US, while the price of the benchmark burger in Russia totals 135 rubles ($1.81).

US threatens sanctions against European firms working on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline

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The outgoing administration of US President Donald Trump is reportedly preparing a final round of penalties against Nord Stream 2, a natural gas pipeline that will connect Russia and Germany. The pipeline goes to Germany through the maritime territories of Russia, Finland, Sweden and Denmark. The measures hit firms providing insurance and verifying works that are necessary for completing the pipeline. Earlier this month, Washington reportedly warned European firms suspected of taking part in the construction the gas pipeline that they face the risk of sanctions.”We are trying to inform companies of the risk and urge them to pull out [of the project] before it’s too late,” a US government source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.As early as this week, the US State Department is expected to reveal the list of businesses that could become subject to punitive measures for working on the pipeline. Also on rt.com
Norwegian company turns its back on Nord Stream 2 under threat of US sanctions

The project has been criticized by the White House, which has warned the European Union about over-reliance on Russian energy supplies, while accusing Moscow of monopolizing the European energy market.In an attempt to increase sales of US liquefied natural gas to Europe, Washington introduced special guidelines for its Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act (PEESA), which enable the State Department to impose sanctions on each and every enterprise cooperating with the energy project.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section The list will reportedly include enterprises providing insurance, helping to lay the undersea pipeline, and verifying the project’s construction equipment. The gas route, which runs under the Baltic Sea, is set to double the existing pipeline’s capacity of 55 billion cubic meters annually via two 1.2km lines. Also on rt.com
Germany may set up special fund to fend off Russia’s Nord Stream 2 from sweeping US sanctions

In December, the US Congress approved a fresh package of sanctions against the project. Companies that are engaged in the modernization and installation of welding equipment on vessels involved in the construction works are also subject to the penalties, which came into force on January 1.In November, Norwegian certifier Det Norske Veritas-Germanischer Lloyd pulled out the project under the threat of US sanctions.The pipeline is being constructed by Gazprom subsidiary Nord Stream 2 AG in close cooperation with several European energy majors.

Share of gold in Russian national reserves beats US dollar holdings for first time ever

At the same time, the share of US dollar shrank to 22.2 percent from 24.2 percent, while the share of the euro dropped to 29.5 percent from 30.6 percent. Follow RT on

The gold share of Russia’s foreign exchange holdings rose to 22.9 percent over the year to June 30, 2020, according to data revealed by the country’s central bank. Also on rt.com
Russia second in Bloomberg rating of economies expected to beat expectations in 2021

According to the statistics, which is commonly published with a six-month lag, the value of gold in the country’s forex reserves is higher than the value of the US dollar for the first time ever. The regulator also decreased its holdings of Chinese yuan to 12.2 percent from 13.2 percent. The forex reserves totaled $593.6 billion by the end of last year. However, global prices for gold have seen a massive growth of nearly 25 percent over the past 10 years, inevitably boosting the price of Russia’s vast holdings.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section In monetary terms, holdings of the precious metal totaled a reported $128.5 billion against $124.6 billion nominated in US currency.Russia’s international reserves are highly liquid foreign assets comprising stocks of monetary gold, foreign currencies, and special drawing right assets, which are at the disposal of the Central Bank of Russia and the government.The assets have been steadily growing over recent years and have exceeded the half-a-trillion-dollar target set by the regulator. The regulator also started gradually selling US Treasury securities, decreasing its share of the assets from $100 billion in 2018 to just $3.8 billion in March 2020.The country’s monetary regulator stopped purchasing gold in April 2020, with the holdings of the precious metal remaining at 73.9 million ounces. Also on rt.com
Russia’s weekly gold & foreign currency reserves jump by $6.5 billion

The Central Bank of Russia had been increasing the euro and yuan holdings since March 2018, when Washington introduced sanctions against Russian individuals, forcing the regulator to eliminate the reliance of the Russian economy upon the US dollar.

US facing PEASANT REVOLT as Americans demand free cash – Max Keiser

The government now wants to print actual money and “distribute it to the peasants of America, let’s be honest – that’s what we’re talking about,” Max says.“The peasants are upset because they’ve had their country stolen from them,” he adds. Follow RT on

The hosts of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert, look at demands for free money for the people, which are rising fast and furiously as lockdowns and quantitative easing continue. “And now we have a genuine peasant revolt, like we had in France – we had the Bolshevik revolution, we had many revolutions over the centuries. And now America is finally having its first major peasant revolution.”For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

Oil prices hit 10-month high as US dollar weakens & Saudi cuts loom on horizon

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Crude oil flow from Saudi Arabia to US falls to ZERO

The latest gains were also boosted by another planned output cut of an extra million barrels by Saudi Arabia. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for February grew 1.13 percent to $52.84 per barrel.The ICE US Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was flat after bouncing from a two-and-a-half-year low. According to the agreement, most producers will hold output steady in February. Deliveries of the global benchmark, Brent, had risen 1.2 percent for March to $56.33 per barrel at 2:16pm GMT. Last year, record cuts by OPEC and allied producers helped oil recover from historic lows.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Moreover, the latest reports on US supply is expected to show crude stocks falling for the fifth straight week.The upcoming production cap by Riyadh offset concerns over rising coronavirus cases globally, which dragged crude prices down earlier this week since the previous lockdowns dramatically undercut demand.The Saudi cut comes as part of a deal clinched by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, including Russia. Follow RT on

Global prices for crude were pushed to new multi-month highs as the recent bounce by the US dollar appeared to lose its steam, increasing the appeal of commodities priced in the currency. The measure, scheduled for February and March, is expected to stop inventories from building up.

US dollar demise will soon be attributed to bitcoin rise – Max Keiser

The millions of investors betting on bitcoin, including big guns such as Paul Tudor Jones and BlackRock, don’t have to fear their investment being extinguished by financialization, unlike the gold and bond “vigilantes,” Max said in the latest episode of the show. RT’s Keiser Report hosts, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert, explain why. That’s why their investment is increasing in value, he believes. “I predict that, very soon, you’ll start to see headlines in Bloomberg, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal that say, ‘US dollar is down today because of bitcoin going up,’” he said, as he explained why the power of central banks is waning. According to his forecast, it could “easily fall another 10 percent” in 2021. you’re gonna see a crack up in the bitcoin price and the total collapse in the dollar price.”Precious-metals analyst Craig Hemke joined the show and predicted that the greenback, which finished 2020 in decline against major currencies, would drop further this year. That might boost a rally in silver and other commodities in turn, he added.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Follow RT on

The leading global cryptocurrency’s parabolic surge is already off the US’ money printing chart, but unlike fiat money, it’s going to keep rising. “Once that connection is made…

US suspends tariffs on French luxury goods over tax on Silicon Valley tech giants

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Washington has backed down from plans to hit $1.3 billion of French products with new tariffs. The Trump administration announced the tariffs in July 2020 in response to France’s digital services tax, which it believes is “unfairly” targets the likes of Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple.While welcoming the decision, the EU, which itself is trying to find common ground on the taxation of tech giants, noted that all such actions should be resolved through the World Trade Organization (WTO). The 25 percent levy, targeting French goods such as handbags, cosmetics, and soap, was set to become effective on Wednesday. The levies were meant to be in retaliation to France’s attempt to hike taxes on American tech giants. The USTR believes that the move will promote a coordinated response in all of the ongoing investigations. However, the US Trade Representative’s office made a last-minute U-turn, announcing on Thursday the punitive measure wouldn’t be enforced.The top trade negotiator explained that the suspension comes “in the light of the ongoing investigation” of similar digital services taxes (DST) being considered or adopted in 10 other countries. In a tweet, EU Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovski also warned that Brussels is “ready to explore all options should the US unilaterally apply these trade measures,” but still hopes to find a “timely global solution to the fair taxation of the digital sector.”

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EU to force Big Tech to police internet or face large fines – report

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Also on rt.com
US tariffs ‘counterproductive in every way’ and Europe should respond — Airbus

The decision comes in the last weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Oil rallies to 11-month highs on surprise Saudi cuts & US crude supply drop

The world’s largest oil exporter pledged to reduce its oil output by one million barrels per day (bpd) in February and March on top of the caps under the OPEC+ deal. Also on rt.com
Russia’s oil output plunges to LOWEST in nearly a decade

The energy markets were driven by the additional Saudi cuts, announced by the kingdom earlier this week. Riyadh’s cuts, which are equivalent to about one percent of global supply, were supported by some other signatories.While some oil exporters, such as Russia, were allowed to slightly increase production in the coming months, the OPEC+ quotas remain in place. Futures for international benchmark Brent and American West Texas Intermediate (WTI) saw another consecutive gaining session on Friday, rising around 1.7 percent on the day. Follow RT on

Saudi Arabia’s pledges of voluntary output cuts and the earlier decline in US oil inventories have continued to boost energy markets, bringing crude prices to the highest levels since February 2020. Both saw the highest level in almost a year and were on track for six-percent weekly gains, with Brent climbing over $55 per barrel and WTI trading at around $51.5. The drop was above market expectations, with IHS Markit analysts having anticipated a decline of 1.2 million, while analysts polled by Reuters predicted an inventory draw of 2.1 million barrels.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section They stand at 7.2 million bpd for January, and will be reduced to 7.125 million bpd and 7.05 bpd in the next two months. Also on rt.com
Crude oil flow from Saudi Arabia to US falls to ZERO

In addition to supply cuts from OPEC and its allies, US Energy Information Administration (EIA) data shows that the country’s crude oil inventories decreased by eight million barrels in the week ending January 1.

Alibaba, Tencent stocks plunge amid ongoing US crusade on investment in Chinese firms

On New Year’s Eve, the bourse said it will drop China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom Hong Kong to comply with US President Donald Trump’s order, but then backtracked those plans just four days later. The NYSE is currently proceeding with its original delisting plan, and if completed, it will come into force on January 11.The NYSE’s flip-flopping also affected the shares of the three targeted companies. Another U-turn in less than a week came after US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin reportedly called the NYSE chief to express his concerns over the decision to reverse the delisting. On Wednesday, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) reversed course over removing three major Chinese telecom companies for the third time in just one week. Also on rt.com
Trump turns up the heat on Beijing banning Alipay & seven other Chinese apps

The drop in Alibaba and Tencent shares came shortly after the Wall Street Journal and Reuters reported that they could end up on the US investment blacklist. China Unicom tumbled as much as ten percent in Hong Kong, while China Mobile and China Telecom lost nearly seven percent and more than eight percent respectively.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Both firms dived over four percent on Thursday, while the whole Hong Kong market faced the first decline this year amid escalating tensions between the world’s biggest economies. The ban, that has already targeted more than 30 Chinese companies, prohibits American investors from funding the listed firms over their alleged military ties. Expansion of the list is being discussed by the State Department, Department of Defense and the Treasury Department, according to the WSJ report citing people familiar with the matter. The Treasury has reportedly voiced concerns that imposing a ban on the two Chinese heavyweights, with a combined market capitalization of over $1.3 trillion, could shake capital markets. Read more

Jack Ma loses nearly $11 billion as China tightens scrutiny on his business empire

The move could open a new chapter in the ongoing China delisting saga from the US stock market. Follow RT on

Shares of Alibaba and Tencent have dropped in Hong Kong on the news that two of China’s most valuable companies could be the next target of the outgoing Trump administration’s investment ban. The benchmark Hang Seng Index fell 0.8 percent after three days of consecutive gains.

Crude oil flow from Saudi Arabia to US falls to ZERO

©  EIA The data comes just as Saudi Arabia announced a voluntary million-barrel-per-day cut to its oil production as the OPEC+ group sat down to the negotiating table to hatch a plan to react to the oil market and the lack of demand.It also comes on the same day that Saudi Arabia announced a crude oil price increase for the United States for February by $0Mor.20 per barrel.This article was originally published on Oilprice.com ©  EIA On a weekly basis, that figure has now fallen to zero. 
©  EIA And the US imports of crude oil are not just falling from Saudi Arabia. Through October, the United States imported significantly less crude oil from the Persian Gulf region.In the early 2000s, the United States was importing more than 3 million barrels of crude oil per day from the Persian Gulf region. In October 2020, the United States imported less than a half a million barrels per day — and that figure isn’t an anomaly, it’s a clear trend. Follow RT on

For the first time in 35 years, no oil flowed from Saudi Arabia to the United States last week, according to EIA data, in a show that the US — at least for now — isn’t as reliant on oil from the Middle East like it used to be. The United States is relying less and less on foreign oil, and particularly less and less on oil from the Persian Gulf. In October, according to the EIA, the United States imported 8.544 million barrels. In June, that figure was more than 36 million, although that figure was a bit of an anomaly as Saudi Arabia threatened to flood the US market with crude oil. In much of the early 2000s, the United States imported more than 45 million barrels of Saudi crude oil on a monthly basis.

US backs EastMed pipeline to supply gas to Europe

The EastMed project is expected to meet some 10-15 percent of the EU’s projected natural gas needs.  

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Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline clearly beneficial for Europe & WILL BE completed – Putin

“Greece and its neighbors are redrawing the energy map of southeastern Europe through a variety of major projects like the recently completed TAP and making progress on renewables, e-mobility, and wind power,” Secretary Brouillette tweeted from Athens today.We are committed to supporting projects like TAP, Alexandroupoli FSRU, Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB), and Greece’s role in East Med Gas Forum, Secretary Brouillette added.TAP, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, another route of diversification from Russian gas, started commercial operations last month.For the EastMed pipeline project, Israel, Greece, and Cyprus signed early this year an agreement to build the infrastructure, aiming for a final investment decision in 2022 and for pipeline completion by 2025. The EU backs the project as a means to diversify its natural gas imports away from Russia. Also on rt.com
Beijing launches 1,100km section of Russia-China natural gas pipeline

Last year, after the US-Greece strategic dialogue, the United States and Greece said in a joint statement:“The Greek and US governments acknowledged the potential of the proposed EastMed gas pipeline to contribute to the energy security and diversification of energy sources and routes in the Eastern Mediterranean.”“Greece and the United States acknowledged that the discovery and future exploitation of significant hydrocarbon fields in the Eastern Mediterranean are of vital importance for the stability of the region and can actively contribute to the EU’s energy diversification strategy,” Greece and the US said in October 2019.This article was originally published on Oilprice.com Follow RT on

The US has given its support to the EastMed pipeline project that is expected to deliver natural gas from offshore Israel via Greece and Cyprus to the wider European market. “We are going to continue to work with Israel, Greece and other interested parties to ensure that the infrastructure will be developed,”  US Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette said during a visit to Greece on Thursday, as quoted by Reuters.The planned EastMed pipeline, for which a final investment decision is expected in 2022, is expected to deliver around 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas to the European Union (EU) through Greece and Italy.

US stock market MOST overvalued in history, strategist tells Boom Bust

RT’s Boom Bust explores if the deal could be done in time. That’s the truth.”For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section “Yes, of course a deal will get done. Follow RT on

As the US Congress is nearing a deal on a $900 billion stimulus bill, the S&P and the Nasdaq are heading to record highs despite growing claims of joblessness. Is there anybody in DC that really cares about debt any longer?” says Michael Pento, CEO of Pento Portfolio Strategies.About the stock market’s current valuation, he says: “This is the most overvalued market we have ever had in the history of our stock market… We are headed to more debt and more debt monetization, unfortunately.”Pento adds: “When you think about all the debt that we have, you know, 128 percent of GDP, of course it has to be monetized. Otherwise, reality will reveal that this market is completely untenable at these prices and the debt is untenable at these levels.

Chinese firms raised almost $12 billion through IPOs on US exchanges this year

Nasdaq delisted the company this summer, just about a year after it became the first company since 2000 to achieve a $3 billion valuation in less than 24 months. That’s the highest amount of capital raised since 2014, when 16 China-based companies raised $25.7 billion. The report has found that e-commerce giant Alibaba accounted for the bulk of that year’s listings as the biggest IPO to date at the time.Renaissance said that earlier this year some Chinese businesses had delayed their plans for listings in the US amid the Covid pandemic and an accounting scandal at Luckin Coffee in April. It would force foreign-based companies to submit to oversight by the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Follow RT on

A new report by Renaissance Capital found that investor appetite for Chinese companies in US stock markets rose to a six-year high in 2020 despite trade tensions between the two countries. Earlier this month, US Congress passed a bill that would exert greater regulatory supervision on Chinese firms. The data showed that China-based companies raised $11.7 billion through 30 initial public offerings in the United States this year. Also on rt.com
US considers blacklisting Jack Ma’s Ant Group in latest round of trade war with China – report

Still, US pressure on Chinese firms has failed to stop them from listing on Wall Street as businesses are eager to offer their shares to investors there. Listings accelerated despite rising trade and political tensions between Washington and Beijing, and pressure on Chinese companies by the US government. In addition to blacklisting Huawei and other tech firms, US has been threatening to kick Chinese companies out of US stock markets.

Gold rallies to 6-week high on US stimulus deal & Covid lockdowns

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The price of gold continued to rise on Monday, after the US Congress reached a long-sought coronavirus aid package agreement. Lockdowns in the UK have also boosted investor appetite towards the precious metal. US gold futures were also up to $1,904.80.“Now that we’ve got fiscal stimulus behind us, gold has enough momentum to close above $1,900 by year-end and it could even climb up to $1,925,” Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at financial services firm Axi, told Reuters.“If you coalesce the stimulus package with optimism for the Federal Reserve to cap longer-dated yields given it signaled a continuation to its bond buying program last week, we could see gold remain supported on dips until at least March 2021,” he added. Gold rose more than one percent to $1,900.57 per ounce, having earlier hit its highest level since November 9 at $1,901.38. According to Michael McCarthy, chief strategist at CMC Markets, gold has once again regained its safe-haven status as lockdowns have changed sentiment in the broader market, which looked past the pandemic and into a recovery next year instead.Statistics showed that speculators raised their bullish positions in COMEX gold and silver contracts in the week to December 15. Silver and platinum prices have been also on the rise lately, with silver having hit its highest peak since September 18.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section It will be the second-largest economic stimulus in US history. Analysts point out to renewed lockdowns in Europe, and particularly in the United Kingdom, as another reason for gold price growth. Also on rt.com
‘The world is going back to a GOLD STANDARD as the US dollar is about to collapse’ – Peter Schiff

The $900 billion stimulus package, that would send immediate aid to Americans and businesses to help them cope with the economic devastation of the pandemic and fund the distribution of vaccines, was finally agreed by US congressional leaders on Sunday.

Warren Buffett is a leech living on US government bailouts – Max Keiser

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RT’s Keiser Report looks at why the mainstream media is always calling on people to trust central banks. Meanwhile, billionaire investor Warren Buffett says the economy needs another injection. He lives on bailouts, he has never created a single thing in his life, he is a complete dullard.”For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Max Keiser points out that Buffett has been bailed out by the US government at least three times in a major way.“So, he is a parasite, essentially, he’s a leech who just lobbies the government to send him free money, and then he doles that out, he puts people on rationing money to his conglomerate and he claims that this is somehow adding value to the economy,” says Max.“It’s not,” Max adds, “it’s a leech, it’s just economically destroying the economy.

Game over US, the world does not want your dollar anymore – Peter Schiff

“And it’s not going to end in 2021. But now that the world doesn’t want those dollars, and is in fact starting to hemorrhage those dollars — this whole process is going to unravel.”For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section This is going to be another multi-year bear market in the dollar,” he said in his podcast. “The only reason the Fed has been able to get away with all the stimulus and the bailouts is because the world has made it possible by buying up all those dollars. In reality, we’re going to have more unemployment because of more inflation. Follow RT on

The dollar index broke below 90 last week for the first time since the spring of 2018. There’s a good chance the regulator’s balance sheet could smash $10 trillion by the end of 2021.According to the economist, the only reason the US economy works is because of the overvalued dollar. We’ve got about 20 points. And even the people who are employed are going to suffer as a result of the rising cost of living.”The weakness in the dollar should be a warning sign that the game is coming to an end for the Fed and all of the money printing and quantitative easing, Schiff said. “So, we’ve got a long way to fall to get down there. According to Schiff, we will take out the all-time record low in the dollar index from 2008 which was 71.58. But then it’s an even bigger drop in uncharted territory once we take out 70.”He pointed out that the weak labor market puts more pressure on Congress and the Federal Reserve “to do something.”

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America is surrendering its empire & handing it over to China – Max Keiser

“Of course, what they do is just create more inflation because they somehow think there’s a tradeoff, and if we have more inflation, we’ll have less unemployment. The growing weakness means a major decline is coming for the greenback in 2021, says veteran stockbroker Peter Schiff.

Norwegian company turns its back on Nord Stream 2 under threat of US sanctions

The NDAA includes a package of sanctions on corporations involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream pipelines.Nord Stream 2 will supply Europe with up to 55 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per year, on top of the 55 bcm already pumped through Nord Stream 1. We are implementing a plan to curtail our support for the project,” the Oslo-based firm said in a statement. Det Norske Veritas – Germanischer Lloyd (DNV GL), which is in charge of verification procedures, confirmed it has stopped working on Nord Stream 2 as a result of broadened sanctions introduced by Washington on the project.“DNV GL will stop all activities to verify the Nord Stream 2 pipeline system in accordance with the sanctions, and as long as these sanctions remain in force. TurkStream will deliver Russian gas to Turkey and on to southern European states.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Follow RT on

Spooked by the US’ latest punitive measures, a Norwegian Nord Stream 2 contractor has refused to support the Gazprom-led gas pipeline project after eight years of close cooperation with Russian energy giant. Also on rt.com
Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline clearly beneficial for Europe & WILL BE completed – Putin

The move puts an end to longstanding cooperation that began as early as 2012, when Gazprom started constructing the Nord Stream pipeline.On Friday, the US Senate voted to override President Donald Trump’s veto of the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

US sanctions may lead to dollar’s demise, Russian central bank warns

“Active use of the sanctions regime by the US administration in recent years is something that seriously undermines the reliability of the dollar as means of savings and payments,” CBR Deputy Chairman Aleksey Zabotkin said as cited by Russian media on Wednesday.The official noted that this will result in a reduction of the use of the US currency over the years. Also on rt.com
Russia second in Bloomberg rating of economies expected to beat expectations in 2021

Russia has been long calling on its partners to boost non-dollar payments. While the US is not expected to change its sanction rhetoric, we could see more and more countries opting to trade in national currencies, he added. Follow RT on

The greenback may fall victim to Washington’s sanctions, as these policies force global players to ditch the US dollar and switch to national currencies in trade, according to the Central Bank of Russia (CBR). During the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit last month, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said that the member-states should develop dollar-independent settlements and expand trade in national currencies.While the dollar has long been the top currency for international payment transactions, it was recently outpaced by the euro for the first time in seven years. According to data from SWIFT, 37.8 percent of cash transfers in the system were completed in euros in October, while the share of the dollar transactions dropped to 37.6 percent.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

China extends tariff exemptions for US chemical and oil products

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Under the deal, Beijing agreed to boost purchases of American goods and services to $200 billion in 2020 and 2021. However, recent studies show that Chinese imports from the US still lag behind the promised levels. The new administration also wants to review the existing deal and focus on what Biden called “China’s abusive practices – that’s stealing intellectual property, dumping products, [and] illegal subsidies to corporations.”

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US left out as Asia Pacific nations strike world’s biggest trade deal

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Six US chemical and oil products will not be targeted by additional duties for another year, according to China’s finance ministry. The tariff waivers cover refined oil products such as white oil and food-grade petroleum wax, as well as metallocene high-density polyethylene and a special grade of linear low-density polyethylene.China unveiled the tariff exemptions last December in a goodwill gesture, after Beijing and Washington agreed to a phase-one deal. According to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, China bought $82 billion of US products between January and November this year, meaning the purchases amounted to just 58 percent of their year-to-date targets.It is still unclear if the second part of the deal will be finalized, as the outgoing Trump administration is unlikely to sign any new agreement. The extension will come into force on Saturday and last until December 25, 2021, the ministry said in a statement on Friday. US President-elect Joe Biden is not going to immediately remove existing tariffs on Chinese exports either, the New York Times reported earlier this month, quoting Biden. The accord, officially signed by the two sides in January, prevented new bilateral tariffs and partly cut some of the punitive duties imposed by the world’s two largest economies in the course of their trade conflict. The exemptions were initially introduced after the two countries reached a phase-one trade deal.

China to dethrone US as world’s biggest economy sooner than we’d predicted, expert group says

China’s economy, when measured in dollars, is set to narrow the gap with its biggest rival. We expect it to become an upper-income economy during the current five-year plan period (2020-25). However, living standards in China will reportedly remain lower than in western countries. One lesson for western policymakers, who have performed relatively badly during the pandemic, is that they need to pay much more attention to what is happening in Asia, rather than simply looking at each other,” McWilliams said.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Also on rt.com
China to leapfrog US economy by 2032 as Asia’s strength grows

“Other Asian economies are also shooting up the league table. The country is expected to pass the $12,536 mark in per-capita income, which will help it to join the club of high-income nations by 2023. Follow RT on

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) expects that China’s economy will outshine that of the US by 2028, half a decade sooner than it had previously forecast. According to a report from the UK-based consultancy group, the country’s quick rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic will generate a two-percent growth in 2020, while the US is expected to contract by five percent. Also on rt.com
China to overtake US as world’s largest consumer market ‘very soon’

At the same time, the CEBR report suggests that global gross domestic product (GDP) would drop 4.4 percent, marking the biggest year-on-year decline since the second world war.“The big news in this forecast is the speed of growth of the Chinese economy. And we expect it to overtake the US a full five years earlier than we did a year ago,” the CEBR’s deputy chairman Douglas McWilliams said.China’s share of global GDP has reportedly expanded from 3.6 percent in 2000 to 17.8 percent in 2019 and will continue to grow. In the US, the average per-capita income stands at $63,000.

US dollar hegemony will end very quickly & people won’t have time to get out, banker tells RT’s Keiser Report

They look at two versions of the world. “If you go from 1913, you know the hundred years or so that the Federal Reserve has been around, the value of the dollar has depreciated by 97 percent, that’s a gigantic number,” he says. “So, obviously you can’t make the dollar worth less than zero but it’s going to depreciate even further, and US dollar hegemony will end. And this happens very quickly, people will not have time to get out.”According to Feierstein, “We’re in an extraordinary time warp where you have extreme bubbles in different markets that are not indicative of what’s going on on Main Street and across America.”For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section Follow RT on

In this special end-of-year episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert talk to Mitch Feierstein of PlanetPonzi.com about what 2021 has in store.

Troubled Boeing 737 MAX returns to US skies after two deadly crashes

According to Statista, the number of scheduled passengers boarded by the global airline industry dropped to only 1.8 billion people by the end of November. Follow RT on

Boeing’s 737 Max will fly passengers in the US for the first time in 21 months on Tuesday, with American Airlines set to operate the first commercial flight of the jet since two deadly crashes prompted its worldwide grounding. That represents a 60 percent loss in global air passenger traffic. ACI Europe airports association warned earlier that 193 airports are at risk of insolvency in the coming months if passenger traffic does not start to recover.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section In both crashes, the new flight control software caused the aircraft to unexpectedly nosedive shortly after takeoff.Boeing has since updated its flight manuals and revised several features of the model, including the flight control software and associated hardware in the cabin.In November, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cleared the 737 MAX to fly again after a nearly two-year ban, with FAA chief Stephen Dickson saying he was “100 percent comfortable with [his] family flying on it.”

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The 737’s return, however, comes at a time when air travel traffic has plummeted to historic lows globally due to the coronavirus pandemic. American Airlines Flight 718 will depart Miami International Airport at 10:30am ET (15:30 GMT) for New York’s LaGuardia Airport.By the end of February, 91 daily American flights will be flown by the MAX, with United, Southwest, and Alaska airlines also resuming service in the first quarter of the year. Brazilian carrier Gol, which operates an all-Boeing 737 fleet, became the first airline to relaunch the jets earlier this month. Meanwhile, American and other carriers that operate the MAX said that customers that booked on the aircraft but don’t feel comfortable flying on the plane, could switch flights without paying a fee if options are available. 

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FAA clears Boeing 737 Max to fly again after 20-month grounding due to deadly crashes

“The truth is anytime there’s a problem with the 737 even if it’s a coffee maker on the fritz, it’s going to be news,” Henry Harteveldt, a former airline executive and president of travel consulting firm Atmosphere Research told CNBC. He said that while some travelers may opt for other aircraft at first, if there aren’t any major issues “it will be seen as just another plane.”Regulators grounded the troubled Boeing aircraft worldwide in March 2019, after two almost-new 737 MAX planes crashed within five months of one another. The crashes, which occurred in Indonesia and Ethiopia, killed all 346 people on board. They prompted a lengthy safety review that was met by numerous delays, driving up losses and costs for Boeing.

US raises tariffs on French & German wines and aircraft parts over ‘unfair’ Airbus subsidies

The increased tariff will apply to imported cognacs, brandies and “certain non-sparkling wines,” as well as “aircraft-related parts,” Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing a statement from the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR). The USTR did not specify the rate of the new tariff or when it would take effect, saying only that additional details will be “forthcoming.”

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US considering imposing billions in new tariffs on wide range of European goods

Washington has been accusing the European Union of unfairly calculating tariffs against the US-made Boeing aircraft and equipment, under a September ruling by the World Trade Organization. “The EU needs to take some measure to compensate for this unfairness,” the USTR said on Wednesday.Boeing and Airbus have been embroiled in a dispute over subsidies that’s been going on for 16 years and shows no sign of resolution.A tariff hike on aircraft parts produced in France, Germany, the UK, and Spain was proposed back in July, along with various food imports. Follow RT on

Citing the ‘unfairness’ of European Union subsidies to Airbus and tariffs imposed on US-based Boeing products, the US Trade Representative’s office said it would raise dues on certain French and German wines and spirits. The plans were met by protests from trade associations.For more stories on the economy & finance, visit RT’s business section Additional duties of up to 100 percent were contemplated against a range of goods including chocolate, coffee, and olives, and alcoholic beverages such as beer, gin, and vodka.

US tariffs ‘counterproductive in every way’ and Europe should respond — Airbus

The bitter EU-US trade row over aerospace subsidies to plane makers Airbus and Boeing is set to further escalate in 2021, as the US Trade Representative’s office (USTR) unveiled plans to raise duties on French and German wines as well as “aircraft-related parts.” It is not clear when the new tariffs will be introduced, while the rate of the levies has not been revealed so far. 

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US raises tariffs on French & German wines and aircraft parts over ‘unfair’ Airbus subsidies

“USTR’s expansion of tariffs to include components for aircraft manufactured in the US – by American workers – is counterproductive in every way,” a spokesman told Reuters in an emailed statement. The company added that it is confident that Europe “will respond appropriately to defend its interests and the interests of all European companies and sectors, including Airbus, targeted by these unwarranted and counterproductive tariffs.” 
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Similar warnings were earlier voiced by the US Wine Trade Alliance, with its president calling new tariff hikes “a body blow for American companies” that can destroy more jobs in the service sector struggling to survive amid the coronavirus pandemic. Washington justified the latest move with what it sees as unfair calculation of duties against US goods, approved by the World Trade Organization (WTO) earlier this year. Last year, the WTO sided with the US over illegal subsidies to Airbus, paving way for US’ levies on $7.5 billion worth of European goods.The European Commission said on Thursday that the recent US move “unilaterally” disrupted ongoing attempts to settle the long-running dispute. Follow RT on

The newly introduced US tariffs targeting aircraft parts could backfire on American workers, European aerospace giant Airbus has warned, calling on Brussels to issue an “appropriate” response. However, it still hopes to find common ground with the new US administration, it said in a statement to Reuters.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section The global trade arbiter ruled that the US failed to comply with international rules when providing subsidies to Boeing, allowing the EU to target American imports worth $4 billion with tariffs in November.The transatlantic legal battle has been ongoing for 16 years, with tit-for-tat duties on various goods already affecting $11.5 billion in trade.

Move over, Hollywood! China overtook US as world’s biggest movie box office in 2020, set to keep title PERMANENTLY

Such an outcome was widely expected, as China left the US behind in October amid the fast reopening of its economy. In May 2019, analysts from PwC predicted that China would become the largest cinema market in the world by 2020 and continue to further expand, with ticket sales revenue expected to hit $15.5 billion by 2023.“China can become the largest movie market worldwide permanently due to its large population and strong economic growth,” said Joseph Tong Tang, chairman of Morton Securities in Hong Kong, as cited by the South China Morning Post. The usually busy weekend before Christmas saw ticket sales falling by 30 percent from a year ago, to around $71.5 million. Box office revenues in China were not spared from the Covid-19 crisis, as the country was the first to impose lockdowns to contain the spread of the deadly virus. The trend began even before the pandemic hit and might be here to stay. Also on rt.com
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However, China had already been challenging global American box office leadership even before the coronavirus outbreak forced movie-lovers to switch to online services due to stay-at-home orders. This brought the total box office for the year to 20 billion yuan ($3.06 billion), according to the South China Morning Post, citing data from online ticketing platform Maoyan Entertainment. He added that what we see in the movie market is just a reflection of the shift in the global economy, with China expected to outpace the US as the world’s largest economy in a few years.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section This year it released several domestically produced films, which accounted for the bulk of box office revenues, while Hollywood postponed its most-anticipated premieres due to the pandemic. China surpassed the US in box office revenue for the first time in the initial quarter of 2018, but total sales that year were still lagging behind. Also on rt.com
US box office may plunge over 80% this year as Covid-19 forces Hollywood to push back blockbuster releases

With the worst of the health crisis seemingly over for China, the slump in sales was much less severe than in the US, where figures dropped by around 80 percent year-on-year. Follow RT on

Chinese movie ticket sales surpassed those of the US last year, as the global cinema industry struggled to stay afloat amid coronavirus restrictions. According to estimates from data firm Comscore, North American ticket sales plunged to an almost 40-year low, finishing the year at less than $2.3 billion.The gap of over $700 million has allowed China to firm its position as the world’s biggest film box office in annual terms for the first time.

US airlines’ losses to pass $35 billion for turbulent 2020 – over 40% of the financial toll suffered by the global industry

Most of the losses were expected to be borne by carriers in North America.“Financially, 2020 will go down as the worst year in the history of aviation,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, in a statement. The agency still expects that mass vaccination will be a key to recovery, although executives warned that it could take years for the business to fully get back to normal. According to the IATA forecast, the losses can decrease more than fivefold in 2021 to $15.8 billion.After the expiration of the first massive US government bailout, which brought $25 billion in support for the carriers, the companies furloughed thousands of people. If they were excluded from the sector’s performance, the estimated earnings decline for it would improve to -0.7 percent from -34.4 percent, while the estimated revenue losses would be cut to -2.8 percent from -10.3 percent. The recently signed second stimulus bill earmarked additional $15 billion to support the industry, requiring the companies to recall employees furloughed last fall. While airlines have already started the complicated process and are set to recall some 32,000 workers, the improvement in the key sector’s employment could be “temporary,” United executives warned, as travel demand is still far from full recovery.For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section In the third quarter alone, the losses hit $11.8 billion, $800 million more than in the previous three months. 
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Air passenger traffic won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024 at earliest, IATA warns

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) previously projected that the global air transport industry is likely to suffer a whopping annual loss of $84.3 billion as the result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In a separate December report, FactSet said airlines were the largest contributor to the year-over-year drop in the fourth quarter for the industrials sector, posting a 343 percent and a 66 percent decline in earnings and revenues, respectively. Also on rt.com
Troubled Boeing 737 MAX returns to US skies after two deadly crashes

Despite some improvements in passenger traffic compared to the standstill seen in spring, the last three months of the year were still far from normal and are unlikely to bring profits to the troubled industry. According to the US Department of Transportation, American carriers had three consecutive quarterly losses this year, after more than six years of quarterly after-tax net profits. The size of the financial hole experienced by US airlines was calculated by analysts at data firm FactSet, as reported by CNBC on Friday. Follow RT on

American airlines’ net losses are likely to be more than $35 billion for 2020, accounting for more than 40 percent of global carriers’ losses, as the coronavirus pandemic resulted in the worst year in the history of aviation.