Afternoon Coffee: ZTE Nears Lifting of U.S. Supplier Ban, Trade War Could Shutter Hyundai’s Alabama Plant

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ZTE Corp is preparing to complete the final required step to overturn a ban on working with U.S. suppliers, ending three months of uncertainty for the Chinese smartphone maker. As the South China Morning Post reports, ZTE has signed an agreement with the U.S. that will allow the company to deposit $400 million in an escrow account. The Commerce Department said once ZTE completes the deposit the agency will issue a notice lifting the denial order.

Hyundai Plant 

Some 20,000 American workers in Alabama could be at risk of losing their jobs if the escalating trade war forces automaker Hyundai to curtail its U.S. production, according to the Financial Post. In a letter, the labor union of Hyundai warned a downturn in U.S. auto imports due to threatened auto tariffs could force the company to curtail work at non-Korean factories.

Metal Prices 

Rising trade tensions are also spurring a selloff in industrial metals, The Wall Street Journal reports. Copper dropped 4% to its lowest level in nearly a year, while zinc, tin and lead all fell at least 2%. Commodities watchers are concerned a broader decline in materials consumption could foreshadow a broader economic slowdown.

Eurozone Forecast 

In Europe, however, growth appears on track to continue in the second half of 2018, although at a less robust pace than previously forecast, Business Insider reports. A forecast from the European Commission projected the currency bloc would grow 2.1% this year and 2% next year, down from the original forecast of 2.3%.

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