Markets News 

BMW, Mercedes-Benz lower prices in China after VAT drop

“BMW said it would reduce prices for both domestically produced and imported models, including the locally-made BMW 3 series and BMW 5 series, along with the BMW X5 and BMW 7 import models” writes Midwest Communications Inc for 95kqds.com. Daimler AG-owned Mercedes-Benz announced similar price cuts on a range of its cars, also effective immediately, in advance of the upcoming VAT drop.SHANGHAI (Reuters) – BMW AG and Mercedes-Benz said on Saturday they will lower their prices in China, after the government announced it will reduce the country’s value-added tax (VAT)…

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News 

China’s Premier Acknowledges Economic Slowdown, Promising Tax Cuts

“Li delivered his acknowledgment of the slowdown at an annual meeting with foreign and domestic reporters that the Chinese leadership often uses to outline its priorities to its people and the world” reports nytimes.com. However, recently released economic data has suggested that the government is indeed turning to monetary expansion and heavy infrastructure investments in an effort to stabilize growth.He appeared to be addressing concerns that the United States and some of its allies have been raising about Huawei, the Chinese technology giant. Source: nytimes.com

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News Oil 

Oil prices stable amid sanctions and OPEC cuts, but economic concerns drag

“Oil prices were steady on Friday amid support from ongoing supply cuts led by OPEC and U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, but weighed down by concerns that an economic slowdown will soon start denting growth in fuel demand” writes Lucy Nicholson for cnbc.com. Crude oil use by China’s refineries in the first two months of 2019 rose 6.1 percent from a year earlier to a record 12.68 million bpd, official data showed this week.Meanwhile, a political and economic crisis in Venezuela combined with U.S. sanctions against Venezuela as well…

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News Oil 

Here’s what may shake OPEC’s commitment to production cuts

“The Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, which monitors compliance with output cuts, will hold its next gathering on Monday, March 18” writes Markets Commodities Reporter for marketwatch.com. However, the cuts eventually may run head-on into the effects of increased U.S. shale production and more output from other sources.Year to date, U.S. CLJ9, +0.46%  and global oil futures LCOK9, -0.55%  have rallied by more than 20% as of Thursday after dropping by 20% or more in 2018.The 11 OPEC members under the quotas achieved 79% of their committed cuts in February, with…

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Trump’s sanctions on Venezuela have managed to reduce the country’s oil production by 100,000 barrels a day from January to February, enough to drive up oil prices for 2019, the federal government forecast Wednesday.

“The Energy Information Administration, which issued the forecast, is closely tracking the effects of the administration’s sanctions on oil prices, along with OPEC’s production cuts” reports washingtonexaminer.com. Nevertheless, EIA is tracking dramatic oil production cuts in Saudi Arabia of levels not seen for nearly two years.The Brent oil price rose $5 to $64 per barrel from January to February.EIA increased its 2019 crude oil forecast by nearly $2 per barrel to $63 per barrel. Source: washingtonexaminer.com

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Crypto News 

Decentralization First: Privacy Coin Monero Cuts Out ASIC Miners to Stay Independent

“Monero is a privacy coin, meaning that it is anonymous and untraceable by design” writes Stephen O’neal for cointelegraph.com. Additionally, new dynamic block size algorithm and improved privacy — which is considered to be Monero’s key feature — were introduced.Monero has been pushing out ASIC-powered mining from the XMR network since its birth, but the code has to be updated regularly to ensure that.Eventually, BitMonero was forked and became an open-source project dubbed “Monero” (which means “coin” in Esperanto). Source: cointelegraph.com

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News Oil 

Oil firms as Saudis trim exports and US output forecast is reduced

“U.S. crude oil production is expected to average about 12.30 million bpd in 2019, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Tuesday” writes unknown author for cnbc.com. Markets have been further tightened by the implementation of U.S. sanctions against oil exports from OPEC-members Iran and Venezuela.International Brent crude oil futures were at $66.85 a barrel at 0341 GMT, up 18 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their last close.”Failures in the electrical system … (are) likely to accelerate the loss of 700,000 barrels per day” in oil supply, Barclays bank…

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News 

Citigroup looks to speed up 2019 expense cuts

“NEW YORK (Reuters) – Citigroup Inc has accelerated some of its 2019 plans to cut expenses through “simplification” of its organization and improvements in its internal processes, Chief Financial Officer Mark Mason said on Tuesday at an investor conference” writes Midwest Communications Inc for 95kqds.com. Mason made the comment in response to a question about whether the bank has ways to reduce expenses if revenues fall short of expectations. Mason also said that first quarter revenue from fixed-income and equity trading looks like it will be down by percentages in…

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News 

The Health 202: HIV prevention is the part of Trump’s budget Congress might pass

“Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) holds the key to the HIV funding Trump wants” writes March At Am for washingtonpost.com. “It’s pretty simple — we can’t end the AIDS crisis by cutting programs proven to fight this disease.” Carl Schmid, deputy executive director of the AIDS Institute, told me he’s frustrated by those proposed cuts.As Politico’s Dan Diamond notes, the HHS budget would provide $20 million for a mobile children’s hospital project at Miami’s Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.Despite the president’s vows to protect Medicare funding, Trump’s budget also calls for a marked cut for the…

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Analysis: Trump vowed to eliminate the U.S. debt. He’s on track to leave it at least 50 percent higher.

“In March of 2016, then candidate Donald Trump told The Washington Post he could eliminate the entire U.S. debt in eight years” writes March At Am for washingtonpost.com. Trump’s budget relies on “gimmicks” to keep the debt rising by “only” that much, experts across the political spectrum say.That extra percent of growth saves Trump more than $3 trillion, according to Riedl’s calculations.Trump’s budget — his own budget — projects debt held by the public will hit $22.8 trillion by 2025, more than 50 percent higher than the year he took…

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