Newmont cuts 120 jobs at Nevada gold mining operation

TORONTO (Reuters) – Newmont Mining Corp, the world’s No. 2 gold producer, is cutting 120 jobs at its Carlin mining operation in Nevada after deciding to reduce the life span of one mine and suspending part of another due to a wall slide, a spokesman said on Thursday.

The Denver, Colorado-based company announced the cuts to its workforce and union on Jan. 7 and is in the process of informing affected employees, Newmont spokesman Omar Jabara said.

Newmont said in its third-quarter results announcement in October that it was taking a write-down due to a change to the mine plan of the Emigrant open-pit mine at Carlin that would reduce its life span, originally set at 14 years.

Newmont also cut overall production guidance for its North American operations for 2018, citing a 12-percent drop in gold production at Carlin in the quarter ended Sept. 30 from a year earlier.

With seven mines, Carlin is the biggest of four Newmont gold mining operations in Nevada.

Jabara declined to specify why the mine plan was changed at the Emigrant mine, which started operating in 2012, but said plans can change for a variety of reasons including the gold price and costs of processing.

He added that operations in part of the Gold Quarry open-pit mine in Carlin were suspended for clean-up after a wall slide.

Newmont employs a total of about 5,000 people, including contractors, in Nevada, according to the company’s website.

The company doesn’t anticipate any further layoffs at Carlin, Jabara said.

Newmont shares closed up 1.3 percent at $34.82 in New York, compared with a 0.5 percent gain in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Reporting By Nichola Saminather; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

JEFFREY LIPTON in BARBADOS – http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/companyNews/~3/sx0Kvtll-So/newmont-cuts-120-jobs-at-nevada-gold-mining-operation-idUSL3N1ZA4YJ

Ford is shutting down its Chariot shuttle service

Ford is shutting down Chariot, the shuttle startup that it purchased just two years ago that was supposed to be a part of the automaker’s fresh effort to move beyond the traditional business of buying and selling cars.

Chariot will end service on commuter routes in the U.K. on January 25, according to a company update Thursday. Other commuter routes in New York and San Francisco will cease by February 1. The dynamic shuttle service also had an enterprise business, which were routes with corporate and transit companies. Those enterprise routes in Austin, Chicago, Denver, Detroit and Seattle, will begin winding down by early March.

Chariot wouldn’t provide many details about why the service was shutting down except to allude to failing ridership numbers.

“In today’s mobility landscape, the wants and needs of customers and cities are changing rapidly,” the company wrote in a post on their website. The company went on to thank its customers for their support over the past five years.

Reports of sluggish demand and company morale had been trickling out for months now. A post in August by Streetsblog noted that Chariot’s shuttles in New York were empty most of the time, according to data provided by the company and evaluated by transit analyst Eric Goldwyn. That analysis found that Chariot’s fleet of 25 or so vans was serving around 1,000 riders total, or about nine riders per vehicle per day.

In February, Ali Vahabzadeh, the CEO and co-founder of ride-sharing startup Chariot left the company. He was replaced in the interim by Dan Grossman, who leads Microtransit for Ford Smart Mobility, while the company looked for a permanent person to lead Chariot.

Chariot has 625 total employees, including drivers; about 385 of those are in the Bay Area. Some Chariot employees will be offered opportunities in Ford Mobility, a company spokesperson said.

Chariot launched at Y Combinator and had only raised around $3 million before Ford acquired it, reportedly for $65 million plus earn-outs. It bases its service around a fleet of transit vans whose routes are aimed at commuters, and where routes are offered based on a “crowdsourced” vote.

Chariot was part of a slew of acquisitions and investments made by Ford since the automaker announced a broad transportation and mobility plan in 2015. That strategy, which has evolved over time, involves increasing connectivity (and the services that come with that feature) in its cars, developing autonomous vehicle technology, using big data collected from sensors in cars to learn more about how people travel and launching Ford Smart Mobility, a private subsidiary tasked with investing in and building out transportation services, including car sharing and ride hailing.

CORRECTED-GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks rise for fifth straight day as the Fed supports

(Corrects paragraph 8 to say Macy’s sales forecast was cut for full year and not for holiday sales)

* Powell says Fed can be patient as U.S. economy evolves in 2019

* Wall St recovers after hit to retail shares

* Oil prices steady; Treasuries erase early prices gains

* Dollar rebounds from a three-month trough

By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed

NEW YORK, Jan 10 (Reuters) – An index of world stock markets edged higher on Thursday as worries over the lack of clear signs of a resolution to the U.S.-China trade spat were offset by an assurance by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that the U.S. central bank has the ability to be patient on monetary policy.

The dollar rebounded after hitting a three-month low, while U.S. Treasury prices erased early gains after a soft 30-year bond auction and as Powell said the U.S. central bank will “substantially” reduce the size of its balance sheet.

MSCI’s all-country index, which came under some pressure after U.S. stocks briefly retreated following Powell’s comments on the Fed balance sheet, recovered to trade up 0.11 on the day. Thursday marked the index’s fifth straight session of gains.

Speaking at the Economic Club of Washington, Powell reiterated that the U.S. central bank has the ability to be patient on monetary policy given stable price measures. He downplayed predictions from policymakers suggesting interest rates would be raised twice more this year.

“The stock market is wanting to hear dovish speak from the Fed, whether it’s Powell or the governors or the presidents,” said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird in Milwaukee.

Stocks around the globe started Thursday weaker after China said three days of talks with the United States that wrapped up on Wednesday had established a “foundation” to resolve differences. But it gave few details on key issues at stake, including a scheduled U.S. tariff increase on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.

The trade war between the two economic giants has disrupted the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars of goods.

On Wall Street, stocks were up slightly, having shrugged off a hit to retail stocks after Macy’s Inc cut its full-year comparable sales forecast. The S&P 500 retail index was 0.7 percent lower, and Macy’s shares sank 18.4 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 49 points, or 0.21 percent, to 23,928.12, the S&P 500 gained 4.64 points, or 0.18 percent, to 2,589.6 and the Nasdaq Composite added 11.96 points, or 0.17 percent, to 6,969.04.

The pan-European STOXX 600 benchmark closed up 0.34 percent.

U.S. Treasury prices erased early gains and benchmark 10-year notes shed 2/32 in price to yield 2.7314 percent, up from 2.728 percent late Wednesday.

The dollar rallied from three-month lows, with investors reducing bearish positions on the currency as they awaited resolution in the U.S.-China trade negotiations, the U.S. government shutdown and Britain’s exit from the European Union.

The dollar index, tracking it against a basket of six major currencies, rose 0.35 percent to 95.549, after earlier dropping to a three-month trough.

In commodity markets, oil prices clung to their recent gains.

Brent crude futures rose 24 cents to settle at $61.68 a barrel, a 0.39 percent gain. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 23 cents to settle at $52.59 a barrel, a 0.44 percent gain.

Both benchmarks rose by around 5 percent the previous day.

Gold steadied near a more than six-month peak on Thursday, with spot gold little changed at $1,286.98 per ounce.

Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Additional reporting by Lewis
Krauskopf in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Dan
Grebler

JEFFREY LIPTON in BARBADOS – http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/companyNews/~3/HFlgrveN_ng/corrected-global-markets-stocks-rise-for-fifth-straight-day-as-the-fed-supports-idUSL1N1ZA19M

CORRECTED-GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks little changed as trade talks, data disappoint

(Corrects paragraph 8 to say Macy’s sales forecast was cut for full year and not for holiday sales)

* Wall St drops as retailers, trade talks disappoint

* Oil prices slip amid rising inventories

* Treasury yields fall; dollar rebounds

By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed

NEW YORK, Jan 10 (Reuters) – An index of world stock markets was little changed on Thursday after a four-day winning streak, as investors fretted over the lack of clear signs that a U.S.-China trade spat was resolved and over sluggish global economic growth.

U.S. Treasury yields retreated, the U.S. dollar firmed, and oil prices edged lower, as various markets reversed recent moves.

MSCI’s all-country index was 0.03 percent lower, retreating from a near four-week high hit on Wednesday.

China said three days of talks with the United States that wrapped up on Wednesday had established a “foundation” to resolve differences, but gave few details on key issues at stake, including a scheduled U.S. tariff increase on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.

The trade war between the two economic giants has disrupted the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars of goods.

“Capital markets were probably too optimistic that some concessions would be announced at the end of three-day trade talks this week between the world’s two largest economies,” Dean Popplewell, vice president of market analysis at OANDA in Toronto, said in a note.

A slew of weak data – which showed Chinese factory-gate inflation was the slowest in more than two years and worse-than-expected industrial figures in France – further hurt risk appetite.

On Wall Street, stocks were modestly lower, as Macy’s Inc cut its full-year comparable sales forecast, hurting retail stocks. The S&P 500 retail index was 0.9 percent lower, and Macy’s shares sank 18 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 14.69 points, or 0.06 percent, to 23,864.43, the S&P 500 lost 4.01 points, or 0.16 percent, to 2,580.95 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.82 points, or 0.03 percent, to 6,955.25.

The pan-European STOXX 600 benchmark was up 0.18 percent.

Investors will be looking for new clues on U.S. interest rate policy when Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks before the Economic Club of Washington at about 12:45 p.m. ET.

U.S. Treasury yields fell as stocks weakened on disappointment over the lack of specifics on resolving the U.S.-China trade dispute, while shorter-dated debt outperformed following Wednesday’s dovish Federal Reserve meeting minutes.

Minutes from the Fed’s December meeting released on Wednesday showed that a range of policymakers said they could be patient about future interest rate increases and a few did not support the central bank’s rate increase that month.

Benchmark 10-year notes gained 3/32 in price to yield 2.7206 percent, down from 2.728 percent late Wednesday. The yield curve between two-year and 10-year notes steepened to 16 basis points, from 13 basis points early on Wednesday.

The dollar rallied from three-month lows, with investors reducing bearish positions on the currency as they awaited resolution in U.S.-China trade negotiations, the U.S. government shutdown, and Britain’s exit from the European Union.

The dollar index, tracking it against a basket of six major currencies, rose 0.13 percent to 95.347, after earlier dropping to a three-month trough.

In commodity markets, oil prices fell, hurt by the indecisive U.S.-China trade talks and official data that again highlighted vast fuel stocks in the United States.

Brent crude was down 0.55 percent, or 0.34 cents, to $61.1 per barrel. U.S. crude was at $51.95 per barrel, down 0.41 cents or 0.78 percent.

Both benchmarks rose by around 5 percent the previous day.

Gold steadied near a more than six-month peak on Thursday, with Spot gold little-changed at $1,289.83 per ounce.

Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Editing by Bernadette Baum

JEFFREY LIPTON in BARBADOS – http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/companyNews/~3/jySG6wRgDO0/corrected-global-markets-stocks-little-changed-as-trade-talks-data-disappoint-idUSL8N1ZA4T5

German airport security staff strike hits more than 600 flights

German airport security staff strike hits more than 600 flights

BERLIN − More than 640 flights in Germany were cancelled on Thursday due to security staff strikes at Duesseldorf, Cologne and Stuttgart airports as workers sought to put pressure on management in wage…

JEFFREY LIPTON in BARBADOS – http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/231224/german-airport-security-staff-strike-hits-600-flightshttp://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/231224/german-airport-security-staff-strike-hits-600-flights

German airport security staff strike hits more than 600 flights

BERLIN − More than 640 flights in Germany were cancelled on Thursday due to security staff strikes at Duesseldorf, Cologne and Stuttgart airports as workers sought to put pressure on management in wage…

JEFFREY LIPTON in BARBADOS – http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/231224/german-airport-security-staff-strike-hits-600-flightshttp://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/231224/german-airport-security-staff-strike-hits-600-flights

REFILE-BRIEF-Leggett & Platt Inc – Have Increased Debt Under Existing Commercial Paper Program To Aggregate Total Amount Outstanding Of $725 Mln On Jan 10, 2019

(Refiles to add source text link)

Jan 10 (Reuters) – Leggett & Platt Inc:

* LEGGETT & PLATT INC – HAVE INCREASED DEBT UNDER EXISTING COMMERCIAL PAPER PROGRAM TO AGGREGATE TOTAL AMOUNT OUTSTANDING OF $725 MILLION ON JAN 10, 2019

* LEGGETT & PLATT-ANTICIPATES FUNDING ABOUT $750 MILLION OF ABOUT $1.25 BILLION CASH PURCHASE PRICE OF ECS ACQUISITION THROUGH COMMERCIAL PAPER BORROWINGS

* LEGGETT & PLATT INC – EXPECT TO FURTHER INCREASE OUTSTANDING COMMERCIAL PAPER BORROWINGS BY ABOUT $125 MILLION

* LEGGETT & PLATT INC – AFTER TRANSACTION CLOSES, CO WILL EVALUATE FINANCING ALTERNATIVES FOR REDUCTION OF OUTSTANDING COMMERCIAL PAPER – SEC FILING Source text: (bit.ly/2AHc6Ya) Further company coverage:

JEFFREY LIPTON in BARBADOS – http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/companyNews/~3/VzW1DBDqDEQ/idUSFWN1ZA162

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX fall as dollar rises; Bovespa hits 94,000

 (Adds market details throughout) Jan 10 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies fell against a
strong dollar on Thursday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome
Powell said the central bank intends to further shrink the
balance sheet, suggesting it may not be done tightening monetary
policy yet. MSCI's index for Latin American currencies
fell 0.3 percent with Brazil's real and Argentina's peso leading declines as the U.S. dollar rallied from
three-month lows after the Fed Chairman's comments. Powell also said he did not see near-term recession risk for
the world's largest economy but raised concerns about the size
of U.S. debt causing Wall Street indexes to fall although they later closed higher. His statement about the amount of the budget deficit and the
national debt rising spooked the market a little bit, said Randy
Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles
Schwab. Meanwhile, stocks in Latin America were mostly positive,
with Brazil's Bovespa closing at a historical high after
having hit the 94,000 mark at the day's high, driven by banking
stocks and as investor sentiment remained positive towards the
country's proposed reforms led by President Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro's proposed overhaul of the country's costly state
pension system is being seen as a game changer as it is believed to be the main cause of chronic budget deficits and a
mounting and unsustainable public debt. The largest gainers on the Bovespa index were consumer
electronics firm Via Varejo and credit lending firm
Cielo, while the biggest drag was Brazilian wireless
carrier Tim Participacoes after Credit Suisse changed
its outlook to "neutral" for the stock. Buenos Aires' MerVal stock index climbed over 1
percent boosted by gains of financial and energy stocks led by
holding company Grupo Supervielle SA, the top gainer
on the index. Chile's benchmark index recorded its tenth
consecutive rise led by gains in shares of forestry companies,
while the country's currency closed a shade higher driven
by currency sales by banks and institutional funds. Stock markets in Mexico closed higher but cautious
sentiment weighed as the country faced a mounting crisis as
gasoline shortages spread across the country after the
government closed several key pipelines to prevent theft by
organized crime groups. The head of Mexico's central bank said on Thursday that the
country's economy and inflation rate could be negatively
affected if fuel distribution problems persist. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2130 GMT Stock indexes Latest Daily pct change MSCI Emerging Markets 998.67 0.43 MSCI LatAm 2,833.15 0.33 Brazil Bovespa 93,805.93 0.21 Mexico IPC 43,709.34 0.14 Chile IPSA 5,297.95 0.64 Argentina MerVal 34,167.45 1.18 Colombia IGBC 11,628.48 0.34 Currencies Latest Daily pct change Brazil real 3.7105 -0.87 Mexico peso 19.1332 0.47 Chile peso 675.2 0.02 Colombia peso 3,135.4 -0.05 Peru sol 3.341 -0.09 Argentina peso 36.8500 -1.12 (Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; Additional reporting
Sruthi Shankar and Medha Singh; Editing by Phil Berlowitz) 

JEFFREY LIPTON in BARBADOS – http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/companyNews/~3/o97esBoBUf4/emerging-markets-latam-fx-fall-as-dollar-rises-bovespa-hits-94000-idUSL1N1ZA236

U.S., China eye higher-level talks after discussing tech transfer

WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) – U.S. and Chinese officials are working on arrangements for higher-level trade talks after mid-level officials this week discussed U.S. demands on issues that would require structural change in China to address such as intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers and other non-tariff barriers.

People familiar with the three days of talks in Beijing said hopes are mounting that the top Chinese negotiator, Vice Premier Liu He, will visit Washington this month to meet with his negotiating counterparts, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Talks at that level are viewed as important for making the key decisions to reach a deal to ease a festering trade war between the world’s two largest economies, which has roiled financial markets and disrupted trade flows for hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods.

President Donald Trump said on Thursday the United States was having “tremendous success” in its trade negotiations with China, though concrete details of progress have been scarce.

The Beijing negotiations were “a stepping stone” toward higher-level talks, Myron Brilliant, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce business lobbying group’s head of international affairs, told reporters on Thursday.

“The idea is that Liu He will probably come to Washington. But the date is not set, in my understanding,” said Brilliant, who is in regular contact with Trump administration officials.

“There is some question about whether it will happen before the Chinese New Year or right after,” Brilliant said, adding that talks before the Feb. 5 lunar new year would still allow for a final round of negotiations that will likely be needed before a March 2 deadline.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative’s office (USTR), the lead U.S. agency in the negotiations, did not immediately respond to queries about plans for more talks.

More than halfway through a 90-day truce in the U.S.-China trade war agreed by U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, there have been few concrete details of any progress made.

Trump has vowed to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports on March 2 if China fails to take steps to protect U.S. intellectual property, end policies that force American companies to turn over technology to Chinese partner, allow more market access for U.S. businesses and reduce other non-tariff barriers to American products.

China’s commerce ministry said on Thursday that additional consultations with the United States were being arranged after the Beijing talks addressed structural issues and helped establish a foundation to resolve U.S. and Chinese concerns.

Commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters the two sides were “serious” and “honest.”

Asked about China’s stance on issues such as forced technology transfers, intellectual property rights, non-tariff barriers and cyber attacks, and whether China was confident it could reach agreement with the United States, Gao said these issues were “an important part” of the Beijing talks.

“There has been progress in these areas,” he said without elaborating.

China has repeatedly played down complaints about intellectual property abuses, and has rejected accusations that foreign companies face forced technology transfers.

“CORDIAL STANDOFF”

Discussions on those issues were an extensive part of the talks, said people in Washington familiar with the discussions.

Chinese officials listened “politely” to U.S. grievances, they said, but responded by saying that the Americans had some issues wrong and misunderstood others, but that some other issues could be addressed.

“It was a cordial standoff,” said one person familiar with the structural discussions. China has said it will not give ground on issues that it perceives as core.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said officials from the two sides discussed “ways to achieve fairness, reciprocity and balance in trade relations,” and focused on China’s pledge to buy a substantial amount of agricultural, energy, manufactured, and other products and services from the United States.”

The U.S. trade agency said the talks also focused on ways to ensure enforcement and verification of Chinese follow-through on any commitments it makes to the United States.

STEPS TAKEN

U.S. and Chinese officials made more progress on straightforward issues such as working out the details of Chinese pledges to buy a “substantial amount” of U.S. agricultural, energy and manufactured goods and services, sources said.

Since the Trump-Xi meeting in Argentina, China has resumed purchases of U.S. soybeans. Buying had slumped after China imposed a 25 percent import duty on U.S. shipments of the oilseed on July 6 in response to U.S. tariffs.

FILE PHOTO: Shipping containers are seen at a port in Shanghai, China July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song

China has also cut tariffs on U.S. cars, dialed back on an industrial development plan known as “Made in China 2025” and told its state refiners to buy more U.S. oil.

Earlier this week, China approved five genetically modified crops for import, the first in about 18 months, which could boost its overseas grains purchases and ease U.S. pressure to open its markets to more farm goods.

Big spending on commodities and goods would send a positive signal on China’s intent to work with the United States but would do nothing to resolve the U.S. demands that require difficult structural change from China.

Reporting by Chris Prentice, David Lawder and Alexandra Alper in Washington; Yawen Chen and Martin Pollard in Beijing and John Ruwitch and Josh Horwitz in Shanghai; writing by David Lawder and Ryan Woo; editing by Paul Tait, Shri Navaratnam and Jonathan Oatis

JEFFREY LIPTON in BARBADOS – http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/R7QgN6ZXKTg/u-s-china-eye-higher-level-talks-after-discussing-tech-transfer-idUSKCN1P400Q

UPDATE 5-U.S., China eye higher-level talks after discussing tech transfer

WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) – U.S. and Chinese officials are working on arrangements for higher-level trade talks after mid-level officials this week discussed U.S. demands on issues that would require structural change in China to address such as intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers and other non-tariff barriers.

People familiar with the three days of talks in Beijing said hopes are mounting that the top Chinese negotiator, Vice Premier Liu He, will visit Washington this month to meet with his negotiating counterparts, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Talks at that level are viewed as important for making the key decisions to reach a deal to ease a festering trade war between the world’s two largest economies, which has roiled financial markets and disrupted trade flows for hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods.

President Donald Trump said on Thursday the United States was having “tremendous success” in its trade negotiations with China, though concrete details of progress have been scarce.

The Beijing negotiations were “a stepping stone” toward higher-level talks, Myron Brilliant, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce business lobbying group’s head of international affairs, told reporters on Thursday.

“The idea is that Liu He will probably come to Washington. But the date is not set, in my understanding,” said Brilliant, who is in regular contact with Trump administration officials.

“There is some question about whether it will happen before the Chinese New Year or right after,” Brilliant said, adding that talks before the Feb. 5 lunar new year would still allow for a final round of negotiations that will likely be needed before a March 2 deadline.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative’s office (USTR), the lead U.S. agency in the negotiations, did not immediately respond to queries about plans for more talks.

More than halfway through a 90-day truce in the U.S.-China trade war agreed by U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, there have been few concrete details of any progress made.

Trump has vowed to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports on March 2 if China fails to take steps to protect U.S. intellectual property, end policies that force American companies to turn over technology to Chinese partner, allow more market access for U.S. businesses and reduce other non-tariff barriers to American products.

China’s commerce ministry said on Thursday that additional consultations with the United States were being arranged after the Beijing talks addressed structural issues and helped establish a foundation to resolve U.S. and Chinese concerns.

Commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters the two sides were “serious” and “honest.”

Asked about China’s stance on issues such as forced technology transfers, intellectual property rights, non-tariff barriers and cyber attacks, and whether China was confident it could reach agreement with the United States, Gao said these issues were “an important part” of the Beijing talks.

“There has been progress in these areas,” he said without elaborating.

China has repeatedly played down complaints about intellectual property abuses, and has rejected accusations that foreign companies face forced technology transfers.

“CORDIAL STANDOFF”

Discussions on those issues were an extensive part of the talks, said people in Washington familiar with the discussions.

Chinese officials listened “politely” to U.S. grievances, they said, but responded by saying that the Americans had some issues wrong and misunderstood others, but that some other issues could be addressed.

“It was a cordial standoff,” said one person familiar with the structural discussions. China has said it will not give ground on issues that it perceives as core.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said officials from the two sides discussed “ways to achieve fairness, reciprocity and balance in trade relations,” and focused on China’s pledge to buy a substantial amount of agricultural, energy, manufactured, and other products and services from the United States.”

The U.S. trade agency said the talks also focused on ways to ensure enforcement and verification of Chinese follow-through on any commitments it makes to the United States.

STEPS TAKEN

U.S. and Chinese officials made more progress on straightforward issues such as working out the details of Chinese pledges to buy a “substantial amount” of U.S. agricultural, energy and manufactured goods and services, sources said.

Since the Trump-Xi meeting in Argentina, China has resumed purchases of U.S. soybeans. Buying had slumped after China imposed a 25 percent import duty on U.S. shipments of the oilseed on July 6 in response to U.S. tariffs.

FILE PHOTO: Shipping containers are seen at a port in Shanghai, China July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song

China has also cut tariffs on U.S. cars, dialed back on an industrial development plan known as “Made in China 2025” and told its state refiners to buy more U.S. oil.

Earlier this week, China approved five genetically modified crops for import, the first in about 18 months, which could boost its overseas grains purchases and ease U.S. pressure to open its markets to more farm goods.

Big spending on commodities and goods would send a positive signal on China’s intent to work with the United States but would do nothing to resolve the U.S. demands that require difficult structural change from China.

Reporting by Chris Prentice, David Lawder and Alexandra Alper in Washington; Yawen Chen and Martin Pollard in Beijing and John Ruwitch and Josh Horwitz in Shanghai; writing by David Lawder and Ryan Woo; editing by Paul Tait, Shri Navaratnam and Jonathan Oatis

JEFFREY LIPTON in BARBADOS – http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/companyNews/~3/8hrXkaNU4qw/update-5-u-s-china-eye-higher-level-talks-after-discussing-tech-transfer-idUSL3N1ZA03L

JPMorgan Chase to increase employee bonus pool 3 percent: sources

FILE PHOTO: The logo of JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM) is seen in Los Angeles, California, United States, on October 12, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

NEW YORK (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) will increase the pool for employee bonuses by 3 percent overall for 2018, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Employees will be informed about bonuses in mid- to late-January, the sources said.

Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts; Editing by Tom Brown

JEFFREY LIPTON in BARBADOS – http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/YLSjRCEjtYw/jpmorgan-chase-to-increase-employee-bonus-pool-3-percent-sources-idUSKCN1P42S1