Mnuchin told CNBC that he's confident President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping can make progress in stalled trade talks.World Economyread more
U.S. stock index futures jumped Wednesday morning after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC that the U.S. and China were almost there on a trade deal.US Marketsread more
President Donald Trump's administration hopes additional sanctions on Iran will force the country to negotiate.Politicsread more
Democrats want Mueller's testimony on his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and Trump's efforts to influence it.Politicsread more
Mortgage application volume was 40% higher than a year ago, largely because lower rates are strengthening the refinance market.Real Estateread more
Stocks should rally if the U.S. and China agree to new negotiations and a ceasefire in the trade war, but the economic impact of tariffs will continue.Market Insiderread more
Bitcoin surged as high as $12,919 in early morning trade Wednesday, to its highest level since January 2018.Technologyread more
AbbVie's deal to buy Allergan for about $63 billion is a "nice exit from a tough situation," RBC Capital Markets analyst Randall Stanicky says.Biotech and Pharmaceuticalsread more
Omada Health just raised $73 million at a valuation of around $600 million as it seeks to expand its digital health offerings.Technologyread more
Chevy is just rolling out an all-new version of its heavy-duty Silverado with the new High Country trim package that could become the first U.S. pickup to top $100,000, Chevy...Autosread more
The trade war between Beijing and Washington appears to have depressed Chinese property purchases in the United States. China's own actions may also be playing a role.Real Estateread more
* Eskom cuts 4,000 MW from national grid
* Test for Ramaphosa months before election
* Rand currency, Eskom dollar bonds slump
* Eskom board says to audit power system (Updates after Eskom board statement)
JOHANNESBURG, Feb 11 (Reuters) - South Africa's Eskom implemented the most severe power cuts in years on Monday after seven generating units unexpectedly went offline, underscoring the challenge President Cyril Ramaphosa faces to fix the struggling state-owned utility.
Ramaphosa is trying to reform cash-strapped Eskom, which supplies more than 90 percent of the power in Africa's most industrialised economy but is drowning in 419 billion rand ($30 billion) of debt, to lift the economy before an election in May.
But he has been hampered by fiscal constraints, as well as a sharp deterioration in Eskom's power plant performance after years of mismanagement during which critical maintenance work was delayed.
The rand fell to its weakest in almost three weeks, and Eskom's dollar-denominated 2028 bond suffered its steepest daily fall in more than two months, as investors fretted about the economic impact of the power cuts.
Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said the company would cut 4,000 megawatts from the national grid from 1100 GMT on Monday, likely until 2000 GMT, and that the last time Eskom had slashed so much power was in the 2014/15 financial year.
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan met Eskom executives and the firm's board of directors to discuss a way out of the crisis. They decided to conduct a full audit of the country's power system to identify weak points and avoid further crises, the board said in a statement.
Four of the seven units that unexpectedly went offline were back in service by Monday evening, while the remaining three would be back by Tuesday morning, the statement added.
Ramaphosa, who announced a plan last week to split Eskom into three separate entities in an effort to make it more efficient, said on Twitter the power cuts had come as a shock and were "most worrying".
Ramaphosa's plan to split Eskom faces opposition from powerful labour unions and within his ruling African National Congress party, while some analysts have said a bolder approach was needed.
Ratings agency Moody's said on Monday an "unbundling" of Eskom into different units for generation, transmission and distribution would pave the way for greater transparency but do little to solve the firm's financial difficulties.
"While this is a bold step, it probably won't be enough. Splitting it in three doesn't fix the issue that Eskom is in a very dire financial situation," said Trieu Pham, an emerging market debt strategist at Dutch bank ING.
Eskom was also forced to cut power for a sustained period in late November and early December, also due to a shortage of generating capacity because of unplanned outages.
($1 = 13.8106 rand) (Additional reporting by Tanisha Heiberg in Johannesburg and Karin Strohecker in London; Editing by Dale Hudson and Mark Potter)