August Trade: Major Events Recap

Global trade market is ever-changing with new challenges and opportunities. To facilitate your business planning, we have summarised key happenings last month for easy reading:

The UK Government announced on August 1, 2023 to indefinitely extend the use of CE (“Conformité Européene”, European Union’s product safety conformity mark) marking for businesses, in order to cut business costs and time, ease burdens and boost growth for the UK economy by “cutting barriers and red tape.”

These updates apply to the 18 regulations that fall under the Department for Business and Trade (DBT), including products such as toys, pyrotechnics, recreational craft and personal watercraft, simple pressure vessels, and electromagnetic compatibility etc.

UK firms will continue to use the CE marking.

Rising Thermal Coal Prices for Major International Ports

Since August 5, 2023, the Australia strikes have triggered market worries on natural gas supplies, leading to significant rise in natural gas prices including those in the Port of Newcastle. As of August 11, 2023, the thermal coal price index at the Port of Newcastle rose to USD145.77/ton, rising 4.83% compared with the price on August 4. 

Besides, thermal coal prices in other major international ports like South Africa’s Richards Bay and Europe’s ports also rose due to various reasons.

Biden Signed Executive Order Restricting US Investments in China

On August 9, 2023, US President Joe Biden signed the executive order that regulates US entities’ outbound investments in Chinese sectors such as semiconductors and microelectronics, quantum computing and certain artificial intelligence capabilities. The US Treasury Department will implement such restrictions next year. 

Switzerland and Liechtenstein Lifted Fukushima Disaster Import Curbs on Japanese Food

Switzerland and Liechtenstein lifted on August 15, 2023 import restrictions on Japanese food following the nuclear incident in Fukushima in 2011. Certain food items from 10 Japanese prefectures including Fukushima are no longer required to be tested for radioactivity. Following a similar move by the EU, Norway and Iceland on August 3, such removal of testing requirement will significantly alleviate the burden on producers and exporters.

Countries are growing in confidence towards imported Japanese food.

India Made First Crude Oil Payment to UAE in Rupees

According to Hindustan Times’ coverage, on August 14, 2023, India settled trade with United Arab Emirates (UAE) in rupees instead of US dollars for the first time. This was the first crude oil transaction since the two countries established bilateral trade in their local currencies in July this year, involving Indian Oil Corp making rupee payment to Abu Dhabi National Oil Company for purchase of a million barrels of oil.

India first traded crude oil in its local currency with UAE last month.

Central Bank of Russia Raised Key Interest Rate to 12%

On August 15, 2023, Russia’s Central Bank announced the increase of key interest rate by 350 b.p. to 12% p.a. to limit price stability risks. According to the Bank’s official news, as of August 7, the annual inflation rate already climbed up to 4.4%. The Bank believed steady growth in domestic demand surpassing the capacity to expand output amplifies the underlying inflationary pressure and has impact on the Ruble’s exchange rate dynamics through elevated demand for imports. 

Keep yourself abreast of the latest international trade news by staying tuned to our regular NewsBites blogposts, which will provide you with sourcing updates and expert insights!

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