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The New Economy

Money Daily Brief: US-China in biggest trade spat yet

By Drew Hinshaw / September 10, 2009

A construction worker used steel pipe in building the swim center for last year's Beijing Olympics. The US on Wednesday slapped tariffs on imports of Chinese steel pipes, saying they were unfairly subsidized by state-owned companies.

Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Newscom/File

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– Updated 10:15 a.m. EDT (14:19 UTC)

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•Pipe fight: China said it was "resolutely opposed" to a US move to impose 11 to 31 percent tariffs on a Chinese pipe manufacturer. Its the latest and largest ever trade scuffle between the two countries. Separately, President Obama must decide on whether to approve a nearly total ban on imported Chinese tires.

•All that glitters: All eyes are on gold Thursday and whether it can close above $1,000 per ounce, as investors weighed the impact of the sliding dollar. Japan's top foreign exchange official said the US currency will remain the world's primary reserve currency, despite suggestions from the United Nations that emerging markets should introduce a new world currency.

A taste for acquisition: Japanese drinkmaker Suntory, trapped in a shrinking and saturated domestic market, is angling to buy European beverage brewer Orangina Schweppes, which is held by a US equity fund. Food industry competitors are responding to falling sales by acquiring competitors. Nestlé, the world's largest food company, may try to buy UK confectioner Cadbury after the latter rejected a bid from No. 2 Kraft.

•Worst may be over: Asian stocks rose, anticipating an end to the US recession after a Federal Reserve report said that most regions of the US are starting to stabilize. The Labor Department said first-time benefits claims by unemployed Americans fell to a better-than-expected 550,000 last week. But they still point to a snail-like recovery. The US trade deficit in July widened at its fastest pace in 10 years.

•From my backyard: Five East African nations stand to benefit if their governments can perfect a $282 million power deal that would significantly reduce power outages in the Nile lakes region. One of those nations, Rwanda, is relishing its new World Bank ranking as the globe's top-reforming economy.

Drew Hinshaw is a Monitor contributor in Accra, Ghana.

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