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Taliban capture northern Afghan district amid surge in violence By Reuters

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Taliban capture northern Afghan district amid surge in violence By Reuters




KABUL (Reuters) – Taliban insurgents captured a district in northern Afghanistan, forcing government troops to retreat to the provincial capital amid a recent surge in violence, officials said on Wednesday.

Fighting has escalated sharply in recent weeks, with Afghan officials saying the Taliban have stepped up their attacks since Washington announced plans last month to pull out all U.S. troops by Sept. 11.

The militants seized the district of Barka in the northern province of Baghlan after hours of fighting with Afghan forces, who retreated to the main city, said Jawed Basharat, a spokesman for the provincial police.

The Taliban suffered heavy losses in the fighting, he added, but a senior security official who sought anonymity said at least 10 security forces were killed and 16 others captured by the Taliban.

The district fell a day after Afghan security forces fought back a major Taliban offensive in the southern province of Helmand.

The Afghan government says it has recorded more than 100 Taliban attacks on security forces and other government installations in 26 of the 34 provinces over the last 24 hours.

The Taliban overran a small outpost on a highway in Baghlan, killing nine Afghan soldiers and wounding several, regional officials said on Tuesday.

Kabul police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz said one person was killed and three wounded when a roadside bomb hit a vehicle belonging to a health official outside the city.

Another roadside bomb killed a district police commander in the southeastern province of Paktika on Tuesday, officials said.

Although the United States missed a May 1 withdrawal deadline agreed in talks with the Taliban last year, its pull-out has begun.

Critics of President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw say the Islamist militants will try to sweep back into power.

The hardline Islamist group now holds sway over more territory than at any point since its ouster by U.S.-led troops after the attacks of Sept. 11 on the United States in 2001.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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Closer EU military cooperation with U.S., Canada, Norway is quantum leap, Germany says By Reuters

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Closer EU military cooperation with U.S., Canada, Norway is quantum leap, Germany says By Reuters



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany May 5, 2021. John MacDougall/Pool via REUTERS

BERLIN (Reuters) – Military cooperation in the European Union will get a boost as the 27 nation bloc is admitting for the first time outside partners such as the U.S., Canada and Norway to join in one of its projects, Germany said on Thursday.

“It will be a quantum leap in terms of concrete cooperation,” German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said ahead of the first in-person meeting with her EU counterparts in over a year in Brussels.

The EU project on military mobility that will see the U.S., Canada and Norway join is designed to facilitate the movement of troops across Europe, something NATO deems as crucial in the event of a conflict with Russia.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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Blinken says on Chinese investment in West: we have to be ‘very careful’ By Reuters

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Blinken says on Chinese investment in West: we have to be ‘very careful’ By Reuters



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives at the G7 foreign ministers meeting in London, Britain May 5, 2021. Ben Stansall/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the West had to be very careful about the exact nature of Chinese investment in Western economies.

“I think we have to be very careful about exactly what the nature is of that investment,” Blinken told the BBC in an interview when asked about Chinese investment in the West.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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Analysis-Global rates volatility forces investor rethink on Asian bonds By Reuters

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Analysis-Global rates volatility forces investor rethink on Asian bonds By Reuters



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People walk with umbrellas in Lujiazui financial district in Pudong, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Shanghai, China September 17, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song

By Stanley White and Andrew Galbraith

TOKYO/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – A pause in a broad selloff in U.S. treasuries and other global bonds last month has given foreign investors time to rethink their Asian holdings and shift money to safer markets such as China, away from riskier countries like Indonesia and India.

China, India and Indonesia were among the largest recipients of yield-seeking foreign investment last year.

But a divergence in economic recoveries from the coronavirus pandemic, a dollar rally and questions about the Federal Reserve’s resolve to keep U.S. rates low have forced fund managers to see some markets as safer than others.

Moreover, a surge in U.S. yields in the first quarter of 2021, the sharpest since late 2016, has blunted the appeal of some lower-yielding Asian bond markets.

“Within Asia, you have countries like Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia that are now less attractive vis-a-vis the United States,” said Leonard Kwan, an emerging markets fixed income portfolio manager at T. Rowe Price in Hong Kong. “It would likely be those markets that we look to rotate out of, and into Treasuries.”

In March, foreign investors turned net sellers of Chinese sovereign bonds for the first time in more than two years. But asset managers remain bullish because of China’s high real yields and its close links to a rebound in global trade.

China’s bond market saw a rare 8.95 billion yuan ($1.38 billion) drop in holdings by overseas investors in March as they trimmed positions in Chinese government bonds, official data showed.

Kwan says he has continued to plough money into Chinese bonds, citing China’s domestically driven market with low correlations to global investment and rates cycles.

Davis Hall, head of capital markets in Asia at Indosuez Wealth Management in Hong Kong, reckons buying Chinese debt is a “no brainer” for Japanese, Swiss, or European investors with attractive yields compensating for currency risks.

real yields, which adjust for changes in consumer prices, are above 3%. In comparison, Japan’s and Switzerland’s real yields are less than 1% while German bunds and U.S. Treasuries carry negative real yields.

China’s efforts to rein in credit growth are a concern, but asset managers expect the central bank will avoid raising rates and resort to other tools that pose fewer risks to bond prices.

Last year’s investor darlings, Indonesia and India, are however no longer so, as asset managers worry about quantitative easing and currency weakness, suggesting a bigger shift in allocations around the region.

Foreign investors sold a net $1.1 billion in Indonesian bonds in February and $1.4 billion in March, marking the biggest outflows in a year. They sold a net $1.8 billion of Indian bonds in February and March, the biggest outflows in almost a year.

While a yield of 6.5% on its 10-year bond makes Indonesia an attractive bet, the prospects of a patchy and slow economic recovery, high fiscal deficit and a shaky currency that has already shed 2.8% against the dollar this year worry investors.

India is not as popular with bond investors as China or Indonesia, and risks to its economic outlook are more acute after a fierce surge in coronavirus infections.

Hayden Briscoe, head of fixed income global emerging markets and Asia Pacific at UBS Asset Management in Hong Kong, says investors are likely to keep away from emerging market bonds as these central banks contemplate raising pandemic-era low interest rates.

“At the moment you’ve got a few things going wrong,” Briscoe said. “You’ve got the rates going wrong for your rate volatility in the U.S. and then you’ve got the dollar on the stronger side now. It’s time to be sort of wary on your emerging market allocations.”

While U.S. volatility began to subside at the end of April, it remains relatively elevated and investors could be more “idiosyncratic” in their allocations and assessment of whether bonds pay enough to compensate for risks.

“There’s always the tension of, is there enough carry to compensate for the volatility?” said Briscoe.





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