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US midterms, US-China trade war, currencies in focus

Asian stocks were mainly higher on Tuesday morning after the Dow rose nearly 200 points ahead of the U.S. midterm elections.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 0.85 percent in early trade and the Topix index saw gains of 0.86 percent.

Shares of conglomerate Softbank were up around 0.88 percent in the morning after the company reported a profit surge for the second quarter of 2018 helped by higher valuations on high-tech bets. The conglomerate’s CEO, Masayoshi Son, said on Monday that “there may be some impact” on its Saudi-backed Vision Fund following the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

The Japanese tech investment giant has poured billions into start-ups in Silicon Valley and around the world through this investment fund.

The ASX 200 was 0.65 percent higher in morning trade, with most sectors seeing gains. The energy and materials sectors were up 1.27 and 1.05 percent, respectively, as the heavily-weighted financial subindex advanced 0.45 percent.

The Reserve Bank of Australia is due to announce its interest rate decision at 11:30 a.m. HK/SIN.

“The main event risk for the Asian session is the Reserve Bank of Australia’s latest Cash Rate Announcement. However, once again there is close to zero chance of a rate change and local investors looking to make money today will probably be (focusing) more on the Melbourne Cup which takes place 30 mins after the announcement,” said Rakuten Securities Australia in a morning note, in reference to an upcoming horse race.

“Despite this situation, market participants will be paying close attention to the accompanying rate statement for any subtle changes in the forecast from the bank and this could add some volatility to the currency at the very least,” the note said.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Kospi saw a gain of 0.26 percent in early trade.


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Costamare Gets Funds for Newbuilds, Opts for Scrubbers | Brazil Modal

Illustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license

In August 2018, the company concluded pre and post delivery financing deals for its five newbuild vessels, ordered earlier this year from China’s Jiangsu Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Group.

Currently under construction, the 12,690 TEU units are expected to be delivered between the second quarter of 2020 and the second quarter of 2021. The ships will enter into ten-year charters to Yang Ming upon their delivery.

Additionally, the company agreed to install scrubbers on five Post Panamax container vessels. Following the installation of the scrubbers, the existing charter rates will be increased and the original charter expiry, ranging from 2023 to 2024, will be extended for a period of 3 years.

The ships in question are the 2014-built 9,403 TEU containerships MSC Azov, MSC Ajaccio and MSC Amalfi, for which the current daily rate is USD 43,000, and the 2013-built 8,827 TEU MSC Athens and MSC Athos with MSC, currently earning USD 42,000 per day.

Furthermore, in September 2018, the company purchased two 1996-built, 8,044 TEU sister containerships Maersk Kleven and Maersk Kotka. Upon their delivery the vessels commenced a 2.5-year charter with Maersk Line at a daily rate of USD 17,500. The company is currently in discussions regarding the debt financing of those ships.

Also, during the quarter, Costamare secured charter deals for 23 vessels, excluding the two secondhand acquisitions. The company’s net income for the quarter was at USD 14 million, down from USD 24.1 million reported a year earlier, as voyage revenues deflated to USD 90.9 million compared to USD 101.2 million seen a year earlier.

“Seasonality, combined with concerns about demand growth and trade tensions have resulted in a softer market, both in terms of charter rates and asset prices,” Gregory Zikos, Chief Financial Officer of Costamare Inc., said.


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Finnish Foreign Trade Minister To Head Delegation At Chinese Import Exhibition – Adviser

HELSINKI (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 04th November, 2018) Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen will head a delegation of Finnish business persons at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) exhibition, Tuuli-Maaria Aalto, Virolainen’s diplomatic adviser, told Sputnik on Sunday.

“Foreign Trade and Development Minister Anne-Mari Virolainen will hold a visit to Shanghai and Beijing on November 4-9. The main aim of her visit is to attend the CIIE, where Finland will have its own pavilion,” Aalto said.

Over 20 Finnish companies will participate in the CIIE, Aalto specified, adding that this would one of China‘s major events in 2018, with 480,000 participants, including 220,000 foreign participants, set be involved.

According to a press release of the Finnish trade ministry, China is Finland‘s fourth biggest trade partner, with the two countries’ trade reaching $9.11 billion in 2017, and the CIIE would offer Finnish businesses an opportunity to enhance their cooperation with Chinese companies and government.

During her visit, Virolainen will also open a High-level Dialogue Conference of the China Europe Water Platform in Beijing, and hold a meeting with Chinese Water Resources Minister E Jingping.

The CIIE will start on November 5 and last through November 10. This will be the first edition of the event aimed at attracting foreign investment into the country.


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Jacksonville Port Welcomes Its First ZIM Boxship | Brazil Modal

Image Courtesy: Jacksonville Port Authority


The boxship made its maiden call to the port’s Blount Island Marine Terminal as part of ZIM’s new Asia to North America service, offered through an agreement with the 2M alliance.

The shipping line now offers direct service from Jacksonville to Kingston, Jamaica; Xingang, Qingdao, Shanghai and Ningbo in China; and Busan, South Korea.

“The arrival of ZIM is a result of the successful investment of local, federal and state dollars for the Jacksonville Harbor Deepening project and other port growth projects, plus our reputation for operational excellence,” Kristen DeMarco, JAXPORT’s Chief Commercial Officer, said.

“This is a monumental occasion for JAXPORT and a milestone in the overall evolution of the port. Ocean carriers are not waiting for the deepening project to be complete, they are investing in Jacksonville now and Northeast Florida’s economy will benefit.”

JAXPORT informed that the deepening of Jacksonville’s shipping channel to 47 feet to accommodate even more cargo aboard the largest ships calling the U.S. East Coast is well underway. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently awarded the contract for the second phase of the project as contractors continue to make progress on phase one.


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Chinese, Taiwan firms charged in trade secret theft


The Justice Department has charged companies in China and Taiwan and three individuals with stealing trade secrets from a U.S. semi-conductor company. (Nov. 1)

WASHINGTON – Economic espionage charges were unveiled Thursday against a Chinese government-owned company, a Taiwan firm and three Taiwanese nationals in connection with the multi-billion dollar theft of trade secrets from Idaho-based semi-conductor giant Micron.

The foreign entities and suspects were accused in an alleged conspiracy to steal  research and technology used to manufacture a leading memory storage product known as dynamic random-access memory or DRAM, valued at $8.7 billion.

One of the individuals charged, Stephen Chen, once served as president of a firm acquired by Micron in 2013 and later moved to the charged Taiwanese firm United Microelectronics Corp., “from where he is alleged to have orchestrated the theft of trade secrets from Micron,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.

The attorney general said Chen then allegedly partnered with the state-owned Chinese firm, Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co., so that China could obtain the information and use it for unlawful advantage in the marketplace.

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“This is a brazen scheme,” Sessions said, adding that the Justice Department also had filed a separate civil action in an attempt to block the Chinese and Taiwan companies from transferring the stolen technology or exporting related products to the United States.

“We are not just reacting to crimes,” Sessions said. “We are acting to block the defendants from doing any more harm to Micron.

The case represented the latest in a series of enforcement actions taken against Chinese interests, as the Trump administration stepped up its efforts against the increasing threat posed by intellectual property theft.

Earlier this week, Justice announced charges against 10 Chinese intelligence officers and hackers, accused of stealing airline engine technology from French and U.S. companies.

The alleged scheme ran from January 2010 to May 2015 and targeted a turbofan engine developed through a partnership between an unnamed French manufacturer and U.S. companies. The alleged crime coincided with a Chinese state-owned company working to develop a comparable engine, the department said.

That case followed an Oct. 10 announcement that a Chinese intelligence officer was extradited to Ohio to face charges of attempting to steal trade secrets related to aircraft engines. And on Sept. 25, an Illinois grand jury indicted a U.S. Army recruit Ji Chaoqun who was accused of working as an agent for Chinese intelligence.

“We are here today to say: enough is enough,” Sessions said. “We’re not going to take it anymore. It’s time for China to join the community of lawful nations. International trade has been good for China, but the cheating must stop.”

The attorney general said he was creating a new “China Initiative” that would seek to identify trade theft cases involving the country and ensure that sufficient resources were applied to prosecute them.

“China, like any advanced nation, must decide whether it wants to be a trusted partner on the world stage or whether it wants to be known around the world as a dishonest regime.”

Assistant Attorney General John Demers, chief of Justice’s National Security Division, said China was engaged in “systematically stealing our nation’s intellectual property for the benefit of their own companies.”

He said the separate civil action taken to block the export of products linked to the stolen Micron technology, the first time the U.S., has employed such a strategy.


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World’s 1st LNG-Powered Aframax Completes Maiden Voyage | Brazil Modal

Image Courtesy: Sovcomflot/Navigate PR


The ship delivered a cargo of 104,815 tonnes of crude oil on October 22, 2018, marking its first export delivery of Russian crude oil under a long-term time-charter contract between SCF and Shell.

The ship received its first LNG fuel from Shell’s specialized LNG bunker vessel, Cardissa, at the beginning of October, and after less than two weeks, the vessel loaded its first export cargo of Russian crude oil at the Port of Primorsk.

The operation marked a number of other firsts, as it was also the first ship-to-ship LNG bunkering to take place in the Port of Rotterdam.

Gagarin Prospect is the world’s first Aframax crude oil tanker designed to operate on LNG as the primary fuel.

The second tanker in this series, Lomonosov Prospect, was delivered to Sovcomflot in October 2018.

The Russian shipping major expects to have six such LNG-fueled Aframax tankers in operation by the beginning of Q2 2019.

Sovcomflot is gradually switching its conventional tanker fleet from traditional heavy fuel oil to LNG as a way of . complying with tightening sulphur and nitrogen oxide emissions regulations, including the IMO’s global 0.5% sulphur cap, which takes effect in 2020.


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Norden Signs Scrubber Installation Deal with Besiktas | Brazil Modal

Illustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license

The deal comes on the back of Norden’s thorough analysis of the effect of the sulphur directive, when it takes effect on January 1, 2020, on both the shipping and bunker markets.

“The price difference between low sulphur and high sulphur fuel is expected to be substantial for some time, which makes scrubbers an attractive method of complying with the sulphur regulations,” Jens Christensen, Head of Technical Department, Dampskibsselskabet NORDEN A/S, said.

“In practice, this means that vessels equipped with a scrubber are expected to have a significant competitive advantage as of 2020, and we therefore see scrubbers as an investment which is both economically attractive and technically viable,” he added.

In mid-August 2018, Norden revealed plans to install scrubbers on up to 31 vessels from its owned and chartered fleet. During 2018, the company secured installation of 26 scrubbers with options for 5 more.

Of these, 2 scrubbers would be installed on newbuildings, 16 retrofitted on selected, owned vessels, and the remaining 8 would be fitted on long-term chartered tonnage.


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Trade Deficit With China Shows America's Strength

U.S. companies have localized their operations around the world. … There's another reason, too, why the trade balance is the wrong figure to focus on.


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Konecranes Awarded Khalifa Port Automation Contract | Brazil Modal

Image Courtesy: Konecranes

The second phase of the Khalifa Port Container Terminal (KPCT) involves a large expansion of the terminal area, infrastructure, container handling capacity, and the delivery of 54 Konecranes automated rail mounted gantry (ARMG) cranes.

Konecranes earlier provided 52 ARMG cranes for the first phase of KPCT container terminal.

The latest crane order will be similar to the equipment delivered in the first phase. The new cranes will have a lifting capacity of 40 tons, stacking 1-over-6 containers high. Thirty of the cranes will be nine-wide, and twenty-four will be eleven-wide.

They will be equipped with automation controls and Konecranes’ Active Load Control (ALC) system, which combines advanced sway control and horizontal fine positioning.

Inaugurated in 2012, KPCT is the region’s first semi-automated port and one of the most technologically advanced terminals, according to Abu Dhabi Terminals.


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