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НБУ стримує падіння долара на рівні 27 гривень

Національний банк України 21 лютого викуповує на міжбанківському валютному ринку надлишки долара США, не допускаючи таким чином значного зміцнення гривні.

«Попит і пропозиція майже вирівнялися. Уповільнення просідання курсу виникло за рахунок виходів НБУ з викупом надлишків долара в останні кілька годин сесії. Всього регулятор купив уже не менш як 10 мільйонів доларів за ціною в межах 27 гривень», – вказує профільний сайт «Мінфін», який відстежує перебіг торгів на міжбанку.

Станом на 12:00 НБУ встановив довідковий курс на рівні 26 гривень 99,95 копійки за долар.

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Samsung’s Folding Phone Aims to Rejuvenate Smartphone Market

Ten years after launching its Galaxy line of smartphones, Samsung Electronics unveiled a new form of the ubiquitous device — a phone that seamlessly turns into a tablet — to create some new excitement in the sluggish global smartphone market.

At an event in San Francisco on Wednesday, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Fold, its long-awaited foldable smartphone. Only FlexPai, by Royale, a U.S.-based Chinese company, has anything like it on the market, but the FlexPai has garnered mixed reviews.

Samsung ignored the FlexPai’s existence and unveiled the Galaxy Fold as if it were the first of its kind.

“The size of our screens is still fundamentally limited by the size of our devices until now,” said Justin Denison, Samsung senior vice president of product marketing. “With the Galaxy Fold, we are creating a new dimension for your phone and your life. We are giving you a device that doesn’t just define category, it defies category.”

 

WATCH: Samsung Rolls Out New Smartphones

Three apps at once for multitasking

When closed, the Galaxy Fold is a smartphone. When opened, the Fold turns into an expansive tablet.

The device is for the impatient multitaskers because users can run three apps at the same time and continuously use the apps while moving from phone to tablet.

The Galaxy Fold is slated to go on sale in late April. It will cost nearly $2,000. That price tag caused sticker shock at the event, eliciting gasps and some grumbling among the audience.

But it appears the Galaxy Fold is in keeping with Samsung’s aim to generate buzz for the smartphone market, while also aiming for the market’s high end, where Apple and its iPhone dominate.

Slumping smartphone sales

The challenge smartphone makers have faced in recent years is that consumers hold on to the devices for longer and longer, seeing few reasons to upgrade.

The leader in worldwide smartphone sales, the South Korean electronics firm is hoping to give consumers a few reasons to trade in their older ones, and generate buzz about what smartphones can be in the future.

Samsung’s new line of Galaxy smartphone, the S10, comes in three models, S10e, S10 and the S10+. The S10 models have bigger screens, more battery life and more cameras packed in each device than earlier Galaxy lines.

​Ultrasound fingerprint scanner

The S10 has the world’s first “ultrasonic fingerprint scanner,” which uses sound waves that bounce from a user’s fingertip to unlock a device. It’s unclear if the fingerprint scanner will work through screen savers. And the S10 can act as a charger for other devices such as watches.

The S10 line, with a price starting at $749, will start shipping March 8.

Samsung executives say that with the firm’s foldable phone and new S10 line, it is ushering in the mobile era for the next decade.

“For those who say everything possible has already been done,” said DJ Koh, president and CEO of Samsung’s IT and mobile communications division. “I say open your mind and get ready for the dawn of a new mobile era.”

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Samsung Rolls Out New Smartphones

Samsung has unveiled its newest line of smartphones. The top-selling smartphone maker hopes to inject excitement into a sluggish global smartphone market. Michelle Quinn attended the event in San Francisco on Wednesday and gives us a look.

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Students Build City of the Future

A future of rising oceans and stronger storms awaits the next generation as the climate warms. It will take talented engineers and city planners to tackle those challenges. The annual Future City competition aims to get middle school students excited about learning the skills they’ll need. More than 40,000 students from 1,500 schools participated this year. VOA’s Steve Baragona was at the finals in Washington.

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Resumption of High-level US-China Trade Talks Raises Hopes

The Trump administration is set Thursday to resume high-level talks with Chinese officials, aiming to ease a trade standoff that’s unnerved global investors and clouded the outlook for the world economy.

A Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He will meet in Washington with a U.S. team led by Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross as well as Larry Kudlow, a key White House economic adviser, and Peter Navarro, a trade adviser. The talks are expected to end Friday.

The world’s two biggest economies are locked in a trade war that President Donald Trump started over his allegations that China deploys predatory tactics to try to overtake U.S. technological dominance. Beijing’s unfair tactics, trade analysts agree, include pressuring American companies to hand over trade secrets and in some cases stealing them outright. 

To try to force China to change its ways, Trump has imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions in Chinese goods. Beijing has retaliated with tariffs of its own. China rejects the allegations and complains that Washington’s goal is simply to cripple a rising economic competitor.

On March 2, the Trump administration has warned, it will escalate its import taxes on $200 billion in Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent if the two sides haven’t reached a resolution by then. But in recent days, Trump has signaled that he may be willing to extend the deadline if negotiators are making progress.

The conflict has rattled markets. It’s also fanned uncertainty among businesses that must decide where to invest and whether Trump’s tariffs – which raise the cost of the affected imports – will be in effect long enough to justify replacing Chinese suppliers with those from countries not subject to the tariffs. 

The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have all downgraded their forecasts for the global economy, citing the heightened trade tensions.

After meetings last week in Beijing, Lighthizer said the two countries had “made headway.” 

And citing upbeat comments from the two countries, Xingdong Chen, chief China economist at BNP Paribas, said the negotiators are “likely to make progress, convincing Trump it is worth extending the tariff truce if necessary.”

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US Trade Representative to Testify on China Next Week

 U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will testify next week at a U.S. House of Representatives hearing on U.S.-China trade issues, a spokesman for the House Ways and Means Committee said on Wednesday.

Lighthizer has been the lead negotiator in ongoing trade negotiations with Beijing as the world’s two largest economies seek to find agreement amid a bitter dispute that has seen both sides impose tariffs on imports.

In a statement, the committee said the hearing was scheduled for Feb. 27, just days ahead of President Donald Trump’s March 1 deadline that the Republican U.S. leader has said could slide.

China and the United States began their latest round of talks this week.

 

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Нацбанк зміцнив курс гривні до 27,09 грн/дол

Національний банк України зміцнив офіційний курс гривні до долара на 21 лютого до 27,09 гривні за долар порівняно з 27,17 грн/дол, встановлених на сьогоднішній день.

Курс гривні до євро на 21 лютого складає 30,72 порівняно з 30,68 сьогодні.

У середині січня під час своєї підсумкової доповіді у Верховній Раді голова Національного банку України Яків Смолій заявив, що обсяги міжнародних резервів України сягнули найвищого рівня за останні п’ять років завдяки зміцненню гривні.

Читайте також: Навіщо Україні гроші МВФ і скільки доведеться повернути​

За його даними, національна валюта протягом року зміцнилася на 1,4%, що дозволило Нацбанку купувати валюту на міжбанківському ринку.

Зміцненню гривні, пояснив він, сприяла жорстка монетарна політика, сприятливі ціни на український експорт і високий врожай.

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Putin Announces Social Handouts in Bid to Stop Opinion Poll Slide

A year ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin sailed to victory in what challengers dubbed a “filthy election.” Facing weak candidates — some likely encouraged to run by a Kremlin eager to give the poll a veneer of greater competitiveness — Putin basked in his re-election, promising a flag-waving rally of loyalists off Moscow’s Red Square that “success awaits us.”

But with less than a month to go before marking the anniversary of his re-election, Putin faces rising public frustration with his rule and unprecedented dips in his approval ratings. In a recent opinion poll, nearly half of those surveyed said the country is heading in the wrong direction.

Putin, who has held power since succeeding Boris Yeltsin in 1999, had always been guaranteed victory in an election timed to coincide with the fourth anniversary of the Russian annexation of Crimea. Many pro-Putin voters interviewed by VOA last year said they were backing him because he had restored Russian strength and transformed the country from a regional power to a global player.

The domestic political landscape has changed since then, and the spell of Russian foreign adventurism doesn’t have the pull it once had, say analysts. The 66-year-old Russian leader appeared to acknowledge that Wednesday in his first address to parliament since his re-election.

Shift in focus

He went much more lightly on foreign and military issues in contrast to his last annual address in which he saber-rattled and unveiled a raft of new missiles, bragging about their stealth and speed. This time, he focused more on domestic challenges.

 

In response to rising public anger at the country’s economic malaise, Putin pledged to increase spending on development and social benefits, announcing a jump in child benefits along with tax breaks for families. He also pledged to almost double disability support payments. Putin boasted that for the first time, the country’s currency reserves cover external debt obligations and said economic growth should exceed 3 percent by 2021.

“Thanks to many years of common work and the results achieved, we can now direct and concentrate enormous financial resources on our development goals for our country,” Putin said.

“Nobody gave these funds to us; we did not borrow them. These funds were earned by millions of our citizens, the whole country,” he added.

“In the near future, this year, people should feel real changes for the better,” Putin pledged.

A tough sell

Whether Putin can deliver and reverse his growing unpopularity waits to be seen.

Analysts say Russians are unlikely to be satisfied with just words when it comes to quality of life issues, including the delivery of public services, municipal amenities or, more often than not, their absence, and on health and safety issues. It is the everyday “parochial” issues that worry them, including the potentially deadly consequences of shoddy and unsafe municipal housing and the reckless discarding of trash as Russia runs out of landfill sites.

Last year, thousands protested when dozens of children, in the town of Volokolamsk near Moscow, were hospitalized with suspected poisoning, the result of noxious gases emanating from an overfull local landfill.

In the past, when his political star has waned, Putin has turned to adventurism abroad to shore up support, offering foreign policy triumphs to whip up his domestic standing. That is unlikely to work moving forward, say analysts such as Mikhail Dmitriev.

Urban-rural divide

Dmitriev says polling data suggest the Kremlin is heading for a rocky few months with signs that dissent is likely to mount, and not just among the usual middle-class Putin skeptics and critics in the Russian capital and St. Petersburg, but in non-metropolitan Russia, in the smaller towns and villages, which traditionally have been the backbone of his support.

Raising the retirement age last year triggered the slide in Putin’s popularity. Cuts to salaries and sluggish economic growth added to the drag on his approval ratings, pollsters say. Real incomes have fallen by more than 10 percent since 2014, and nearly 40 percent of Russians say their material well-being has worsened just in the last 12 months.

Alexander Baunov of the Carnegie Moscow Center, a research institution, noted in a commentary earlier this month that ordinary workers are becoming more vexed with the Kremlin’s failure to deliver higher standards of living, as Putin promised he would do during the election campaign.

“Increasingly he is getting into fights with real Russians who want to complain about government policies. Last September, when he visited the Zvezda shipyard in the Russian Far East, the president got into an argument with the workers there about their salaries. (The transcript of their conversation in which Putin massively overestimated what they were paid was subsequently removed from the Kremlin website),” according to Baunov.

Baunov says the Putin system is increasingly being found wanting and the Russian president will not be able to deliver on the growing demand for economic redistribution “at the expense of the country’s rich capitalists,” in effect the friends of Putin and businessmen close to the Kremlin.

 

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