Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Markets buoyed by optimism over US-China trade talks

U.S.-China trade talks in Beijing raise hopes that a deal may be reached What hope for markets in the US-China trade talks?
Russell Knight | 10 January, 2019, 20:26

Stocks rose across Asia and Europe, and equity futures indicated an increase in the USA on Wednesday, on signs the world's two largest economies are trying to resolve their trade war.

After extending to an unexpected third day, trade talks between USA and Chinese officials have concluded, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry announced Wednesday morning.

The talks "enhanced mutual understanding, and established a foundation for solving, each other's concerns", said the statement, stressing that both sides agreed to maintain close communication, while providing few other details.

Later this month, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is expected to meet with Vice Premier Liu He, President Xi Jinping's top economic aide who is leading negotiations for China, a person familiar with the situation said last week.

In a statement released on Thursday, China's Commerce Ministry said the country had concluded their trade talks with the US and the talks were extensive, . while establishing a foundation to resolve both sides' concerns. Stocks rose globally after the two economic powers appeared to inch closer to an agreement, with the S&P 500 Index rising for a fourth day to the highest in nearly a month.

The U.S. push for enforceable targets in a deal underscores the challenge of reaching a lasting truce.

McKinney's sentiment echoed that of President Donald Trump, who tweeted early Tuesday that the talks "are going very well!".

Washington has been clamouring for an end to the alleged forced transfer - and even theft - of American technology, as well as steep government subsidies for Chinese companies.

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China has imposed penalties on $110 billion of American goods, slowing customs clearance for US companies and suspending issuing licenses in finance and other businesses. "However, we do not see the USA fully removing the specter of tariff hikes any time soon". The council and other US business groups have pressed for a resolution to the trade hostilities between the world's two biggest economies.

The talks also focused on "China's pledge to purchase a substantial amount of agricultural, energy, manufactured goods, and other products and services from the US" according to the USTR. This meeting was previously unscheduled, signaling the two sides could be coming together on key issues.

The World Bank this week cut its outlook for the global economy as growth in trade and investment slowed and rising interest rates sapped momentum, especially in emerging markets. Without a breakthrough in talks, USA corporations are likely to experience a deepening decline in their Chinese sales, with Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts even seeing an "informal boycott" in place. The Chinese side has suggested talks were "constructive". Liu made a brief appearance at the talks in Beijing on Monday, boosting optimism that China was serious about making progress on a deal.

The working-level talks opened Monday and were supposed to end the following day, but were extended an extra day, a sign that the two sides had made progress in resolving tariff disputes that have roiled world markets.

She added that the Trump administration's complaint that China is stealing USA intellectual property is "top of mind" in the negotiations with Beijing.

Trump is increasingly eager to strike a deal with China soon in an effort to perk up financial markets that have slumped on concerns over the trade war, according to people familiar with internal White House deliberations. The S&P 500 Index has fallen about 7 percent since Trump and Xi agreed on a 90-day truce at their meeting in Argentina last month.

"Talks with China are going very well!". Trump said late Tuesday on Twitter.

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