3 Must Read Stories: Mnunchin Threatens China Sanctions, China and US Can Avoid Trade War, Bitcoin Is a 'Fraud'

3 Must Read Stories: Mnunchin Threatens China Sanctions, China and US Can Avoid Trade War, Bitcoin Is a 'Fraud'

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin threatened to impose further sanctions on China if Beijing doesn’t do more to shut down banks and other Chinese firms aiding North Korea.

The move comes after the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted new sanctions against the rogue nation after U.S. officials compromised and dropped their bid to ban all oil imports to convince China and Russia to approve the measure. Bloomberg has the details :

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned the U.S. may impose additional sanctions on China — potentially cutting off access to the U.S. financial system — if it doesn’t follow through on a fresh round of United Nations restrictions against North Korea.

The UN Security Council added new sanctions against North Korea after leader Kim Jong Un’s regime conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test. Mnuchin echoed the U.S. envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, in calling the sanctions “historic” even though they didn’t include U.S. demands for a full oil embargo and a freeze on Kim’s assets.

The new measures include limiting North Korea’s imports of petroleum products and banning textile exports.

“If China doesn’t follow these sanctions, we will put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the U.S. and international dollar system — and that’s quite meaningful,” Mnuchin said during an event at CNBC’s Delivering Alpha conference in New York on Tuesday.

Steve Bannon, the controversial former White House chief strategist, has accused China of’using forced technology transfers to undermine US competitiveness.’ However, speaking at a forum for financial professionals in Hong Kong organized by  CLSA, the firebrand said President Donald Trump respects his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, more than any other foreign leader and believed a trade war can be avoided. Here’s more from the South China Morning Post :

In Hong Kong for an investors forum, Bannon said on Tuesday that China and the United States had “a lot of issues over trade that need to be worked out” but conflict between them could be avoided.

“I believe we can avoid a trade war, which is detrimental to both countries. We have to somehow reach an agreement,” he said.

Bannon said trade would be at the top of US President Donald Trump’s agenda when he met his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in November.

He said a stable trade relationship could help the two countries manage their differences over “other potential conflict points such as North Korea and the South China Sea”.

Bannon was full of praise for Xi, whom he met at the Mar-a-Lago summit in Florida in April. He said Trump and Xi had developed a strong rapport and that could help the trade talks.

“Xi is very impressive. He really understands what’s in the best interests of his people,” Bannon said. “He is very smart, very tough but fair. He is direct and to the point – just like President Trump. That is why they like each other so much.”

JPMorgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon has some harsh words about the poster child for cryptocurrencies today, calling bitcoin a “fraud” at a Barclay’s banking conference. Here’s more from Barron’s colleague Teresa Rivas:

Dimon had a number of choice words about bitcoin, warning that it “won’t end well,” and likening it to the Dutch tulip bulb frenzy. (Barron’s also sees similarities between the cryptocurrency and the bulb bubble.)

He also said that he would fire any trader he found trading bitcoin for stupidity.

The Lindsey Group’s Peter Boockvar, couching his language a bit more diplomatically, said that Dimon’s comments “should certainly add to the debate on cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin.”

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