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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Oil Prices Jump More Than 11% Following Saturday’s Attack on Saudi Facilities 

© Reuters.  © Reuters.

Investing.com - Oil prices surged more than 10% on Monday in Asia after a drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities eliminated 5.7 million barrels of daily production over the weekend.

U.S. Crude Oil WTI Futures surged 11.0% to $60.84 by 9:09 AM ET (01:09 GMT). International Brent Oil Futures spiked 12.7% to $67.77.

Drone strikes attacked an oil processing facility at Abqaiq, the world’s largest, and the nearby Khurais oil field on Saturday.

The attack wiped out 50% of the Kingdom’s daily oil output and 5% of global oil supply. In August, Saudi Arabia produced 9.85 million barrels of oil per day.

Oil prices jumped almost 20% following the reports, but gave back some of their gains after U.S. President Donald Trump said overnight that he authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to keep the markets “well-supplied.”

“Based on the attack on Saudi Arabia, which may have an impact on oil prices, I have authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, if needed, in a to-be-determined amount sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied. I have also informed all appropriate agencies to expedite approvals of the oil pipelines currently in the permitting process in Texas and various other States,” the president tweeted.

Trump noted that there is reason to believe the U.S. “knows the culprit” and is “locked and loaded.” The U.S. is now waiting to hear from the Kingdom to verify and proceed, the president added.

On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a tweet that Iran has launched an “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.”

Meanwhile, state oil giant Saudi Aramco is aiming to restore about a third of its crude output by the end of Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported citing Saudi officials familiar with the matter. The company will issue a progress update sometime on Tuesday.

Original Article

Saudi attacks threaten U.S. gasoline price hikes, particularly in California

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A pump jack is seen at sunrise near Bakersfield© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A pump jack is seen at sunrise near Bakersfield

By Devika Krishna Kumar

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. motorists most likely to feel the hit from rising gas prices following the attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities are on the West Coast, which accounts for nearly half of all of U.S. crude imports from the kingdom.

The attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities on Saturday knocked out more than 5% of global oil supply and sent oil prices surging as much as 20%.

U.S. pump prices are likely to rise in coming days as gasoline futures spiked by more than 10% on Sunday trading, analysts said. The national average price of regular gasoline was currently $2.57 per gallon, according to AAA.

However, California motorists, some 8,000 miles (13,000 km) away from Saudi Arabia, could be hit the hardest. Refineries in that state rely heavily on imports for supplies due to its isolated location and lack of pipelines to connect it with oil-rich states such as Texas.

Saudi Arabia exports more than 7 million barrels of crude oil every day, much of that to Asia, but about 47% of what it sends to the United States goes to the West Coast.

For the 12 months ended in June, the U.S. West Coast imported an average of 11.40 million barrels every month of Saudi crude, much of it going to a number of refineries based in California, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

"I absolutely think it's likely that the West Coast will see more of a pricing impact than other regions since they're more tied to Saudi imports," said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at tracking firm GasBuddy.

Saudi Arabia accounted for about 37 percent of California's total foreign oil imports in 2018, according to the California Energy Commission.

"Saudi Arabia has always sought to portray itself as a reliable supplier of crude to the market and for this reason we think they will opt to supply the export market for crude first then products," said Robert Campbell, head of oil products research at Energy Aspects.

The state currently has the second-highest average gasoline prices in the United States at $3.63 per regular gallon of gas, trailing only Hawaii. Fuel prices in California are typically higher due to tight regulations and differing gasoline specifications.

Among the biggest buyers of Saudi Arabian crude are Chevron Corp's (N:CVX) 245,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) refinery in Richmond, California, and the 269,000-bpd El Segundo refinery in California. The West Coast, known as oil region PADD 5, includes Washington State, which has also taken in barrels from Saudi Arabia in the last year.

A Chevron spokesman told Reuters the company sources crude from "multiple global suppliers," and it will "take the necessary actions to continue to meet the needs of the marketplace."

The United States has more than 640 million barrels of oil in reserve that could offset tighter supply as a result of the Saudi attacks. U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday he authorized the release of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) if needed in a quantity to be determined.

"I don't yet think any area will see 'spikes' because of the attacks, but it certainly could become that if Saudi Arabia production doesn't return to 90% of normal very quickly," DeHaan said.

Original Article

Oil Jolt May Have Short-Term Impact for Markets Elsewhere

(Bloomberg) -- Oil’s ripple effect into equities and currencies may be more limited than the dramatic commodity surge suggests, according to strategists.

The strike, which removed about 5% of global energy supplies, sent oil prices soaring. Brent crude had its biggest advance in dollar terms since futures started trading in 1988 and topped $71 a barrel. President Donald Trump authorized the release of oil from the U.S. emergency oil reserves. Gold rose about 1%, while S&P 500 futures fell as much as 0.7%. The Norwegian krone and Canadian dollar, both from energy-producing nations, were the best performers among Group-of-10 currencies.

Read about oil jumping the most ever after an attack cuts Saudi supplies.

While the attack roiled energy markets, multi-asset investors should look at the bigger picture as there might be opportunities to take advantage, strategists said.

Any initial selling in equities “is likely a buy,” said Kay Van-Petersen, global macro strategist at Saxo Capital Markets Pte in Singapore. “Generally speaking there is a positive correlation over time between oil and U.S. equities. Energy is still likely to stay bid if there is some kind of response from Saudi Arabia and allies. It’s worth noting that the situation is also very dynamic and no doubt they are working 24-7 to repair the damage.”

The incident adds to an already busy week for markets, with policy decisions from the Federal Reserve, Bank of Japan and more as well as Brexit discussions and the open of the United Nations General Assembly regular session.

“This could create a little churn here ahead of the Fed,“ said Tony Dwyer, equity strategist at Canaccord Genuity LLC in New York. “Clearly oil is breaking out, but if there were a true fear there it seems like the equity futures would be down more than one-third of a percent.”

Stephen Innes, Asia-Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader, agreed.

“Investors will turn to bargain-hunting as trade-war winds blow fair and of course with the prospects of Fed easing and all the other central banks leaning dovish,” he said.

A Possible ‘One-Off’

Brian Barish, chief investment officer at Cambiar Investors LLC in Denver, recommended remaining calm.

“Based on what I know, this is a short-term one-off event; I certainly would not run out and make any major decisions based on this,” Barish said. “The energy market remains generally oversupplied so it’s short-term relief but I don’t see this changing the larger picture.”

There might be opportunities in the currency market, with energy-producing nations faring better and importers having a worse time.

“We should see buying in the Russian ruble as the day rolls on,” said Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone Group Ltd. in Melbourne. “This is obviously not a good day if you are an oil importer.”

The traditional havens such as gold may present opportunity as well.

“Gold may have just gotten a key catalyst that will allow it to resume its bullish march toward $1,600 an ounce,” said Ed Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda Corp.

Original Article

Trump Vows U.S. ‘Locked and Loaded’ If Iran Was Behind Attacks

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump said the U.S. is “locked and loaded depending on verification” that Iran staged the attack on major Saudi Arabian oil facilities, an assertion already made by his secretary of state and backed by administration officials.

“There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification,” Trump said on Twitter on Sunday without mentioning Iran or specifying what the response would entail. He said he’s awaiting word from Saudi Arabia about who it believed caused the attack and “under what terms we would proceed!”

Several administration officials said Sunday that they had substantial evidence that Iran was behind the attack, not the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen who claimed responsibility. On Saturday, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said unequivocally in a tweet that Iran was to blame.

Two administration officials who asked not to be identified discussing internal deliberations told reporters that cruise missiles may have been used in the attacks on a Saudi oil field and the world’s biggest crude-processing facility in Abqaiq. The range from Yemen was also far beyond the distance of anything the Houthis have ever done, the officials said.

A third administration official, who also asked not to be identified discussing non-public findings, said precision-guided munitions had been used. The U.S. officials didn’t rule out that armed drones were used as well, even as they rejected the Houthi claims that they mounted the attacks using such pilotless aircraft.

Now, the challenge that Trump and his advisers face is balancing a tough response to what it says is a clear act of of Iranian aggression, against concern that it’s rushing headlong into a conflict that could spiral out of control. Analysts also warn that doing nothing could send a message to Iran or its proxy militias across the Middle East that they can strike their enemies with impunity.

“There’s no great response here,” said Aaron David Miller, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The question becomes how does the U.S. navigate between not allowing this precedent to stand on one hand, and avoiding a punitive escalation or one designed to deter future attacks without an escalation. And the answer is there is no answer.”

Still, a major U.S. military response may be unlikely, according to experts who said they doubt Trump will be willing to use force against Tehran or risk escalating violence in the Middle East ahead of the 2020 presidential election. In June, Trump said he considered a military strike on Iran for shooting down a U.S. drone, only to call off the action at the last minute.

Analysts also said the attacks may do little to deter the president from seeking a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in an effort to broker a new nuclear agreement.

Trump hasn’t ruled out a possible meeting with Rouhani when both are in New York in a week for the annual United Nations General Assembly. He tweeted on Sunday that the “Fake News is saying that I am willing to meet with Iran, ‘No Conditions’ That is an incorrect statement (as usual!).” But officials including Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have told reporters publicly that Trump is willing to take a meeting with no conditions.

‘Maximum Pressure’

The administration’s “maximum pressure” stance against Iran is focused on imposing sanctions and isolating the country over its nuclear ambitions and malign activities in the region. That approach has come under renewed scrutiny at a time the president’s foreign policy team is in flux, after Trump’s firing of hawkish National Security Adviser John Bolton last week.

U.S. and Saudi officials say they’re gathering more evidence that Iran was behind the attacks -- some of it on the ground in Saudi Arabia -- that will be released in due time. Iran’s Foreign Ministry described Pompeo’s comments blaming the Islamic Republic as “blind and fruitless accusations.”

According to U.S. government information, there were 19 points of attack at state-owned Saudi Aramco’s crude-processing facility at Abqaiq and the Khurais oil field, all on the north or northwest-facing sides -- suggesting that the weaponry used came from that direction. Iraq lies to the north, and the U.S. in the past has accused Iran of stashing explosives with affiliated militias in the country. Yemen, by contrast, is hundreds of miles to the south.

Saudi Aramco lost roughly 5.7 million barrels per day of output after the attacks, although officials cited progress in restoring production.

Pompeo’s Tweet

Pompeo tweeted Saturday that there is “no evidence the attacks came from Yemen” and accused Iran of being behind “an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.”

“The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression,” he added.

Paul Pillar, a former U.S. Central Intelligence Agency officer, said the one “policy option left is de-escalation -- of the Saudi air war against Yemen, and of the Trump administration’s economic war against Iran.”

Pillar, who’s now a non-resident senior fellow at Georgetown University in Washington, said “further attempts to escalate on either of those war fronts offers no reason to believe that they would be any more successful than the wars have been up to this point.”

Trump would risk criticism from many of his Republican allies if he chose to meet with Iran’s leader barely a week after accusing the country of being responsible for a strike that caused a significant disruption to the world’s oil markets. Republican Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina has said the U.S. shouldn’t rule out a military strike on Iranian oil facilities in response.

Graham Tweet

“Iran will not stop their misbehavior until the consequences become more real, like attacking their refineries, which will break the regime’s back,” Graham tweeted Saturday.

One Western diplomat, who asked not to be identified, said Trump sees what he wants to see in world events, so if he wanted to meet with Iran’s president, the strikes wouldn’t necessarily deter him. Trump has repeatedly brushed aside short-range missile tests by North Korea as he seeks to broker a historic nuclear pact with leader Kim Jong Un.

White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway said on “Fox News Sunday” that the administration will continue its “maximum pressure campaign,” but she added that “the president will always consider his options,” including a meeting with Rouhani. That was hours before Trump seemed to rule out a meeting unless the Iranian president met unspecified conditions.

UN Meeting

Nor is it clear the Iranian leader would be willing to take such a meeting -- even an informal chat on the sidelines of the UN gathering -- without the U.S. making some gesture to ease its sanctions on his country. The strikes in Saudi Arabia may all but rule out such a move anytime soon despite pleas by Western leaders led by French President Emmanuel Macron.

The attacks on Saudi Arabia also pose a major test for Pompeo, who has an opportunity to consolidate power after Bolton’s departure.

Pompeo and Brian Hook, the State Department’s special representative for Iran, have argued the U.S. could afford to ramp up sanctions and diplomatic pressure on Iran because there’s plenty of global oil supply. But there’s now little cushion in the market with the major disruption caused by the drone attacks, which could force the president and his team to look for ways to relieve the pressure.

While analysts estimate Saudi Arabia may be able to restore half of the lost production as early as Monday, Trump said on Twitter Sunday that he’s authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve if needed based on the attacks “in a to-be-determined amount sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied.” The stock of about 645 million barrels of crude and petroleum products could help meet demand during the time it would take for the Saudis to repair the facilities. Trump also told U.S. agencies to expedite approvals of oil pipelines in the permitting process.

There’s also the question of the administration’s credibility. Some foreign policy analysts said it’s hard to take at face value the claim that Tehran is responsible, given the hard line against Iran advocated by Pompeo, Bolton and others.

“The Trump administration appears to have evidence of Iranian responsibility but will face skepticism from others, both because of policy disagreements between the US and its allies, and because declining to attribute an attack provides an excuse not to respond,” tweeted Michael Singh, managing director for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Original Article

Dollar falls as oil attacks send investors to safety

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The dollar fell while safe-havens and currencies of oil producing countries rallied on Monday, following an attack on Saudi Arabian refining facilities that disrupted global oil supply and heightened Middle East tensions.

Oil prices surged more than 15% following the strikes on two plants, including the world's biggest petroleum processing facility in Abqaiq, knocked out more than 5% of global oil supply.

Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group claimed responsibility for the damage, but the U.S. has pointed the finger directly at Iran.

The Canadian dollar rose 0.5% in morning trade in Asia to 1.3224 per dollar. The Norwegian krone rose almost 0.6% to 8.9363 per dollar.

Both currencies often move together with the oil price because the countries are major oil exporters.

The attacks wiped out last week's ebullient risk appetite and prompted U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted the United States was "locked and loaded" for a response.

The safe-haven Japanese yen and Swiss franc each lifted at least 0.3% on the dollar. The yen hit 107.60 per dollar and the franc touched $0.9871. Gold jumped by 1%.

Against a basket of currencies (DXY) the dollar was 0.2% lower at 98.053.

"If that part of the reason for last week's fall in oil and improvement in geopolitical risk sentiment was the news of John Bolton's sacking ... and thoughts this was a precursor to some form of rapprochement between Trump and Iran, then it is no longer valid," said Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at National Australia Bank in Sydney.

Beyond oil, currency markets are awaiting the outcome of central bank meetings in the U.S. and Japan this week and crucial economic data in Australia and New Zealand that could determine the rates outlook in the Antipodes.

Much of the risk appetite on display last week was driven by signs of a thaw in U.S.-China trade tensions, with both sides offering olive branches ahead of trade talks next month.

However with few solid signs of progress, sentiment remains fragile.

"Geopolitical risks and central bank rhetoric remain key drivers of risk this week," Australia and New Zealand Banking Group analysts said in a note.

In the United States, investors who had begun trimming expectations for a U.S. Federal Reserve rate cut on Wednesday are now certain rates will fall and divided only over how much.

Markets also expect the Bank of Japan to push interest rates further into negative territory, with a third of economists polled by Reuters last week expecting stimulus to be ramped up.

Japanese markets are closed on Monday for a public holiday.

China's premier on Monday said maintaining national economic growth above 6% is difficult, with protectionism weighing.

Retail sales and industrial production figures due on Monday are likely to give further insight into the health of the world's second-largest economy. The Chinese yuan was flat in morning trade offshore .

The pound held last week's gains, as fears of Britain crashing out of the European Union without a divorce deal ebbed, while a news report on Friday also raised hopes that a deal could be secured by Oct. 31.

It steadied just under its highest since July 25 at $1.2491. The euro (EUR=D3) was steady at $1.1077.

Original Article

China’s Industrial Production Growth Slows to 17-Year Low in August

© Reuters.  © Reuters.

Investing.com - China’s industrial production growth slowed to 17-year low in August, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Monday.

The industrial production rose 4.4% in August from a year earlier, less than the forecasted 5.2% and July’s 4.8%. Official data showed slumps in both manufacturing and mining activities. Manufacturing grew by 4.3% during the month, down from 4.4% in July. Mining output, meanwhile, grew by 3.7% last month, down from 6.6% in July.

NBS also reported today that retail sales rose 7.5% year-on-year during the month, compared with the expected 7.9%.

Growth of the Fixed asset investment, the level of spend on physical asset including real estate and infrastructure, came in at 5.5% in August which was slightly slower than the 5.6% forecasted by analysts.

The data seemed to have little impact on Chinese stocks today. The Shanghai Composite slipped 0.1% while the Shenzhen Component inched up 0.2% in morning trade.

Original Article

China’s Economy Slows as Industrial Output Weaker Than Expected

© Reuters.  China’s Economy Slows as Industrial Output Weaker Than Expected© Reuters. China’s Economy Slows as Industrial Output Weaker Than Expected

(Bloomberg) -- China’s economy slowed further in August, indicating current stimulus policies may not be enough to shield the economy from the worsening effects of the trade war with the U.S.

  • Industrial output rose 4.4% from a year earlier, versus a median estimate of 5.2%. Retail sales expanded 7.5%, compared to a projected 7.9% increase. Fixed-asset investment slowed to 5.5% in the first eight months, versus a forecast 5.7%
Key Insights
  • The industrial output reading was the lowest single-month figure since 2002, with only a combined Jan-Feb result in 2009 lower. China merges some statistics due to the Lunar New Year holiday
  • The data form further evidence that policy makers’ efforts to brake the slowdown in the economy are falling behind, as the nation faces structural downward forces at home and the likelihood of yet-higher tariffs on exports to the U.S.
  • The People’s Bank of China cut the amount of cash banks must hold as reserves this month to the lowest level since 2007, though is still holding off on cutting borrowing costs more broadly
  • Negotiators from China and the U.S. plan to have two rounds of face-to-face negotiations in coming weeks. Both sides have taken steps to show goodwill, and U.S. officials are considering an interim deal to delay tariffs with China, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg
  • “The low retail sales is particularly worrying,” said Raymond Yeung, chief Greater China economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. “To stabilize growth, the next few months will see more aggressive policy efforts.”
(Updates with economist quote in Key Insights section.)

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Miao Han in Beijing at mhan22@bloomberg.net;Tomoko Sato in Tokyo at tsato3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeffrey Black at jblack25@bloomberg.net, James Mayger

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Original Article

Next Trump Tariffs May Soon Hit Europe’s Luxury-Goods Exporters

(Bloomberg) -- Some of Europe’s top luxury brands are targeted in President Donald Trump’s latest tariff salvo, which could affect billions of dollars in exports of American-bound whiskeys, wine, Champagne, handbags and men’s suits.

A panel of three World Trade Organization arbiters, as expected, said Friday the U.S. can legally impose tariffs on an array of European exports in retaliation for Europe’s illegal government aid to Airbus SE. EU sources say they expect the WTO arbiters to publicly circulate a report by month’s end that will allow new U.S. duties on a range of goods worth $5 billion to $7 billion per year, while Trump has threatened tariffs on $11 billion.

Washington’s response is expected within days after the WTO’s green light for retaliation. The U.S. has identified possible targets -- with tariffs potentially as high as 100% -- on a list of goods with a total export value of $25 billion a year. Though the most valuable goods on the U.S. list are exports of European aircraft and parts, the tariffs could also hit products made by Europe’s most recognized high-end brands.

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE is particularly vulnerable to the proposed U.S. levies, which target two of its primary product lines -- wine and spirits like Dom Perignon, Moet & Chandon and Hennessy -- and leather goods under labels such as Donna Karan, Givenchy, Kenzo, and Louis Vuitton.

Expensive Tastes

The U.S. market for luxury goods is among the top destinations for European companies like LVMH where the U.S. made up almost a quarter of its total global sales last year. American shoppers bought 11.2 billion euros ($12.4 billion) worth of goods from LVMH in 2018, according to Bloomberg data.

LVMH Chief Financial Officer Jean-Jacques Guiony said that the company is “sensitive to tariffs and trade barriers,” during a conference call in July.

New tariffs will increase costs that will undoubtedly be passed on to U.S. consumers, said Luca Marotta, the CFO of Paris-Based Remy Cointreau SA, which produces Remy Martin cognac, Cointreau, Passoa and Mount Gay rum.

“If the tariff increase will happen, I repeat myself, we will increase prices at the same moment,” Marotta said during a July 17 conference call.

Trump’s planned EU tariffs are unique for his administration because, unlike the trade war he started against China, the U.S. will be applying duties explicitly authorized by the WTO, an organization he’s threatened to withdraw from if it doesn’t reform.

The dispute between Toulouse, France-based Airbus and Chicago-based Boeing (NYSE:BA) Co. encapsulates a criticism from Trump and others -- that the WTO is a slow-moving bureaucracy -- because it’s a case that’s taken about 15 years to resolve.

European beverage producers are already reeling from the uncertainty stemming from Trump’s repeated threats to slap new tariffs on wine, liquor and other alcohol.

The Trump administration is currently evaluating whether to penalize French wine and other goods in response to France’s tax on digital companies like Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN)., Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)., and Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Inc.’s Google.

“The degree of uncertainty has somewhat notched up a little bit,” said Pernod Ricard (PA:PERP) SA Chief Executive Alexandre Ricard on an Aug. 26 conference call.

Paris-based Pernod Ricard produces top-shelf wines, bitters, whiskeys, spirits, cognac, brandies and rum.

The impact of Trump’s tariffs will also have an unwelcome effect on Scotch whisky producers, which are already girding for the fallout of a potentially messy no-deal Brexit.

The EU exported $2.1 billion worth of Irish and Scotch whiskeys to the U.S. in 2018, according to data provided by the Geneva-based International Trade Center.

Many U.S. exporters oppose the Trump administration’s proposed tariffs, which they say could boomerang and jeopardize thousands of American jobs.

Whiskey Shot

U.S. whiskey producers have already become collateral damage from Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs -- which spurred the EU to retaliate with a 25% tariff on U.S. bourbon and whiskey. What’s more, the EU has threatened further penalties on $12 billion worth of whiskey and other U.S. exports stemming from a related WTO dispute over U.S. subsidies to Boeing Co .

“Depending on the level of tariffs imposed on EU spirits and wine, we estimate it could negatively impact U.S. businesses, leading up to a loss of jobs from 11,200 to even 78,600 jobs across the United States,” said Chris Swonger, the president and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council.

There are two ways the EU can avoid new tariffs from the long-running aircraft dispute with the U.S.: by ending its illegal subsidies for Airbus, or reaching a settlement agreement.

Though U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and the current European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom have both welcomed the idea of negotiating a settlement, talks to resolve the issue haven’t begun.

Those negotiations could become more difficult after Malmstrom cedes her post on Nov. 1 to Phil Hogan, a hard-nosed Irish trade negotiator who’s pledged to take a more pugnacious approach to EU-U.S. trade relations.

In a Sept. 10 interview with RTE radio, Hogan said “we are going to do everything we possibly can to get Mr. Trump to see the error of his ways.”

Original Article