Jan 7, 2019, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
The first day of negotiations between the world’s two largest economies on resolving their trade dispute seem to have got off to a good start, with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He unexpectedly attending what was meant to be a discussion between lower-ranking officials. While no breakthrough is expected at talks this week, they will lay the ground for senior-level discussions later this month, and a possible meeting between President Donald Trump and China’s Vice President Wang Qishan at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Both sides face a resumption of tariffs in March if no deal is reached.
No further meetings between White House officials and Congress are planned after talks over the weekend produced no breakthrough to end the partial government shutdown, with both sides remaining far apart. Costs related to the funding curtailment, now in place since Dec. 22, are rising with businesses losing an estimated $200 million a day in missing or delayed revenue. Trump, who says he is happy for the shutdown to continue, has suggested he may declare a national emergency to allow funding for the border wall to proceed without Congress.
After a holiday break where not much happened at all, Brexit is returning today to continue its domination of the U.K. political agenda. With just 12 weeks left until the U.K. leaves the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May is under pressure to get her deal through parliament, with a vote still expected next week. The back and forth ahead of the vote is set to dominate pound trading this week.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 1.8 percent as optimism over trade negotiations lifted equities in the region, with Japan’s Topix index closing 2.8 percent higher. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.3 percent lower by 5:45 a.m. Eastern Time in a quiet start to the week. S&P 500 futures were also slightly lower, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.643 percent and gold was higher.
This preview section is in existential limbo as the government shutdown hits economic reports. Today’s factory orders and durable goods data are postponed, trade figures due this week seem set to meet the same fate, while the WASDE report is also likely to fall victim. As such, there are fairly slim pickings on the data front. At 10:00 a.m., the ISM non-manufacturing index is published, while Fed-watchers may want to keep an eye on a speech from Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic at 12:40 p.m.