US and South Korean troops seen during a joint drill.

China’s Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng reiterated that Beijing is in close contact with Washington to sign a first-stage trade agreement dubbed as Phase-1.

P-1 signing unclear

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, the spokesman said both sides were busy sorting out necessary procedures as they revise the written text and work on translations before a signing ceremony with presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping. Although the US and China announced an agreement on the Phase-1 deal two weeks ago, markets seem to be less convinced now due to the time that has passed that breaks trust and leads to the continued rise in gold prices.

Kuroda on inflation

The Bank of Japan (BoJ) Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Thursday that the central bank would ease policy further without hesitation if the momentum towards the 2% inflation target is threatened.

Speaking at an annual meeting of Keidanren, Japan’s largest business lobby, Kuroda, provided a slightly brighter view of the global economic outlook, supporting the market view that BOJ would not rush to change its current policy.

“While continuing to scrutinize various risks, the BOJ will not hesitate to take additional easing measures if there is a greater possibility that the momentum toward achieving the price stability target will be lost,” Kuroda said, according to the Nikkei financial network.

He added that the uncertainties in the global economy, including the developments in the US-China trade negotiations, have slightly alleviated.

Kim’s threat

US troops stationed in South Korea, about 60 miles from the North Korean border, have been on high alert in the last 24 hours due to the Pyongyang regime’s promise of a “Christmas gift” to the US, perceived as a military threat.

South Korean Yonhap news agency wired that US spy aircrafts conducted flights over parts of the Korean peninsula.

US President Donald Trump earlier underestimated the threat by the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and said maybe he will “send me a beautiful vase.”

Russian move versus American sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Moscow has a “pipe-laying vessel” to complete the construction of the NordStream-2 gas pipeline to his country’s biggest energy customer Germany.

According to the daily Kommersant, at a meeting with senior Russian businessmen, Putin said that the project would be “delayed” by several months due to fresh US sanctions.

Last week, Trump imposed sanctions on the NordStream-2 pipeline. Two ships owned by a Swiss-Dutch partnership working in the construction of the pipeline withdrew from the project to avoid US sanctions.

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