Afternoon Coffee: Oil Tanker Collision Threatens Chinese Coast, Duty Dispute Stalls Solar Supply Chain

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An Iranian oil tanker collided with a Hong Kong-registered cargo ship in the East China Sea over the weekend, leaking poisonous gases and risking a deadly explosion, the Wall Street Journal reports. Maritime officials feared a large spill, as the tanker was carrying nearly as much oil as the Exxon Valdez.

Solar Dispute

A dispute over the classification of solar modules and their import tax has stalled the shipment of $150 million worth of the products at various Indian ports, Reuters reports. Customs officials have demanded the modules be classified as “electric motors and generators,” which carry a 7.5% duty, instead of “diodes, transistors and similar semi-conductor devices,” which have no duty.

US Imports

On the US side of global trade, record-high imports drove the trade deficit to a 3.2% increase, now at $50.5 billion, according to CNBC. Strong domestic demand led to record highs for imports of both capital and consumer goods.

Eurozone Confidence

And finally, a Europe update: Economic confidence in the eurozone hit its strongest level in 17 years, according to the Financial Times, reflecting earlier readings that showed high confidence from both industrial businesses and consumers going into the new year.

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