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US-China tensions rise as Trump administration moves to cut Huawei off from global chip suppliers – CNBC

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A woman wearing a wearing a facemask as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus speaks on her smartphone outside a shopping mall past a Huawei shop (back) in Beijing on April 1, 2020. (Photo by NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP) (Photo by NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty Images)

Nicolas Asfouri | AFP | Getty Images

The Trump administration on Friday moved to block shipments of semiconductors to Huawei Technologies from global chipmakers, in an action that could ramp up tensions with China.

The U.S. Commerce Department said it was amending an export rule to “strategically target Huawei’s acquisition of semiconductors that are the direct product of certain U.S. software and technology.”

The department added the “announcement cuts off Huawei’s efforts to undermine U.S. export controls.”

The rule change is a blow to Huawei, the world’s no. 2 smartphone maker, as well as to Taiwan’s TSMC, a major producer of chips for Huawei’s HiSilicon unit as well as mobile phone rivals Apple and Qualcomm.

Huawei, which needs semiconductors for its widely used smartphones and telecoms equipment, is at the heart of a battle for global technological dominance between the United States and China.

The United States is trying to convince allies to exclude Huawei gear from next-generation 5G networks on grounds its equipment could be used by China for spying. Huawei has repeatedly denied the claim.

Huawei has continued to use U.S. software and technology to design semiconductors, the Commerce Department said, despite being placed on a U.S. economic blacklist in May 2019.

Under the rule change, foreign companies that use U.S. chipmaking equipment will be required to obtain a U.S. license before supplying certain chips to Huawei, or an affiliate like HiSilicon.

In order for Huawei to continue to receive some chipsets or use some semiconductor designs tied to certain U.S. software and technology, it would need to receive licenses from the Commerce Department.

National security concerns

The rule change is to “prevent U.S. technologies from enabling malign activities contrary to U.S. national security and foreign policy interests,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement, adding Huawei and its affiliates “have stepped-up efforts to undermine these national security-based restrictions.”

The Commerce Department said the rule will allow wafers already in production to be shipped to Huawei as long as the shipments are complete within 120 days from Friday. Chipsets would need to be in production by Friday or they are ineligible under the rule.

The United States placed Huawei and 114 affiliates on its economic blacklist citing national security concerns. That forced some U.S. and foreign companies to seek special licenses from the Commerce Department to sell to it, but China hawks in the U.S. government have been frustrated by the vast number of supply chains beyond their reach.

Separately, the Commerce Department extended a temporary license that was set to expire Friday to allow U.S. companies, many of which operate wireless networks in rural America, to continue doing business with Huawei through Aug. 13. It warned it expected this would be the final extension.

Reuters first reported the administration was considering changes to the Foreign Direct Product Rule, which subjects some foreign-made goods based on U.S. technology or software to U.S. regulations, in November.

Most chip manufacturers rely on equipment produced by U.S. companies like KLA, Lam Research and Applied Materials, according to a report last year from China’s Everbright Securities.

The Trump administration has taken a series of steps aimed at Chinese telecom firms in recent weeks.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last month began the process of shutting down the U.S. operations of three state-controlled Chinese telecommunications companies, citing national security risks. The FCC also in April approved Alphabet unit Google’s request to use part of an 8,000-mile undersea telecommunications cable between the United States and Taiwan, but not Hong Kong after U.S. agencies raised national security concerns.

This week, President Donald Trump extended for another year a May 2019 executive order barring U.S. companies from using telecommunications equipment made by companies deemed to pose a national security risk, a move seen aimed at Huawei and peer ZTE Corp.

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Home sales tumble again as mortgage rates surge – Business News – Castanet.net

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Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes slowed for the third consecutive month in April as mortgage rates surged, driving up borrowing costs for would-be buyers as home prices soared to new highs.

Existing home sales fell 2.4% last month from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.61 million, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday.

That was slightly higher than what economists were expecting, according to FactSet. Sales fell 5.9% from April last year. After climbing to a 6.49 million annual rate in January, sales have fallen to the slowest pace since June 2020, when they were running at an annualized rate of 4.77 million homes.

The median home price in April jumped 14.8% from a year ago at this time to $391,200. That’s an all-time high according to data going back to 1999, NAR said.

“Without a doubt, rising mortgage rates, rising prices are hurting affordability, but we should not discount that we’re still lacking inventory,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

Fierce competition for limited properties on the market and ultra-low mortgage rates superheated the housing market the last couple of years, but now its cooling as homebuyers face sharply higher home financing costs than a year ago following a rapid rise in mortgage rates.

In April, the weekly average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate home loan climbed above 5% for the first time in more than a decade, crimping would-be homeowners’ purchasing power at the outset of the spring homebuying season, traditionally the busiest period for home sales.

Mortgage rates are climbing following a sharp move up in 10-year Treasury yields, reflecting expectations of higher interest rates overall as the Federal Reserve hikes short-term rates in order to combat the worst inflation in 40 years.

With inflation at a four-decade high, rising mortgage rates, elevated home prices and tight supply of homes for sale, homeownership has become less attainable, especially for first-time buyers.

Higher rates can limit the pool of buyers and cool the rate of home price growth — good news for buyers. But higher rates can also limit affordability.

For now, the housing market continues to favor sellers as buyers vie for a still tight inventory of homes for sale, which has kept pushing up home prices. Even as sales slowed last month, it was common for homes on the market to receive multiple offers.

Inventory levels have to go higher before multiple offers dissipate from the market, Yun said. Until then, prices are likely to move higher.

“We anticipate, again, a continuing decline in home sales, but not necessarily home prices,” he said.

On average, homes sold in just 17 days of hitting the market last month, unchanged from March or April last year. In a market that’s more evenly balanced between buyers and sellers, homes typically remain on the market 45 days.

As is typical in the spring, the number of homes on the market increased in April from the previous month. Some 1.03 million properties were available for sale by the end of April, up 10.8% from March, but down 10.4% from April last year.

At the current sales pace, the level of for-sale properties amounts to a 2.2-month supply, the NAR said. That’s up from 1.9 months in March, and down from 2.3 months a year ago.

Real estate investors and other buyers able to buy a home with just cash, sidestepping the need to rely on financing, accounted for 26% of all sales last month, down from 28% in March, NAR said.

Homes purchased by investors made up 17% of sales in April, down from 18% the previous month, while first-time buyers accounted for 28% of transactions, down from 30% in March and 31% a year ago.

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Canadian Real Estate Prices 38% Overvalued, Largest Trend Deviation In 40 Years: BMO – Better Dwelling – Better Dwelling

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  1. Canadian Real Estate Prices 38% Overvalued, Largest Trend Deviation In 40 Years: BMO – Better Dwelling  Better Dwelling
  2. Consumer sentiment in Canada posts biggest drop since pandemic onset amid inflation  The Globe and Mail
  3. One of the Hottest Housing Markets in Canada Turns into Buyers’ Market  Bloomberg
  4. View Full coverage on Google News



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Gas prices in Ontario rising: Best time to fill up | CTV News – CTV News Toronto

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Gas prices in Ontario dropped 10 cents per litre on Friday ahead of the long weekend, but the relief at the pumps is expected to be short-lived. 

The average price of gas in Ontario dropped to $196.6 per litre Friday, which is a 13-cent drop from Wednesday.

However, President for Canadians for Affordable Energy Dan McTeague says Ontario gas prices are projected to rise over the next two days.

“We’re going to see a four-cent increase on Saturday and although the markets haven’t settled yet, it’s pretty clear that we are likely looking at about a two-cent increase (on Sunday). In other words, you got the 10 cents off today, it’s going to go up between now and Sunday by about six cents a litre,” he told CP24 Friday morning.

On Wednesday, gas prices hit a whopping $209.9 per litre, and McTeague says gas prices are set to top that in the coming week.

“Next week, the Americans begin their unofficial kickoff to the summer driving season. That’s going to put a lot of pressure on gas prices for us here in Canada. They are really the ones to determine prices for us, they’re a large market. I would expect that we’re going to be back to $2.10 a litre probably within the next week or so.”

Gas prices have been elevated since late February mostly due to fuel supply shortages amid the war in Ukraine and international sanctions that have been imposed as a result.

For the coming summer months, McTeague says the outlook on gas prices is grim partly because of impending weather issues.

“We may see days where we hit $2.30, $2.25 if we’re lucky. American weather problems in the Gulf Coast tend to be a big deal,” he said.

“The summer looks like average prices will get to $2.15 a litre here in the GTA, and right across most of southern Ontario,” he added.

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