Jan 8, 2019, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
President Donald Trump is due to address the nation during prime time this evening on the “national security crisis” at the southern U.S. border. Trump’s choice of words is no accident, as people familiar with the president’s thinking say he is eager to invoke a national emergency that may allow him to allocate defense spending towards construction of a border wall without requiring Congressional approval. While the legality of such a move has been questioned, some White House insiders believe Trump will move ahead even if a legal challenge is certain. For now, the shutdown continues and the fallout from the lack of Federal funding is starting to have more real world consequences.
German industrial output unexpectedly slumped 1.9 percent in November in a broad-based decline led by consumer goods and energy. Year-on-year output was down 4.7 percent, the worst performance since 2009. The dramatic downturn raises the risk that Europe’s largest economy will slip into recession as expectations for a rebound, voiced by the country’s central bank, seem premature.
Good to talk
Both sides in U.S.-China trade talks have expressed satisfaction with progress towards resolving the dispute. China is buying more American supplies of soy as tensions continue to cool. Factory price data released overnight for China showing further weakening added to evidence that its economy remains under pressure.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.1 percent while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.4 percent higher as investors remained optimistic about trade talks. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.7 percent higher at 5:50 a.m. as upbeat assessments of global trade trumped German worries. S&P futures pointed to a gain at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.696 percent and gold was lower.
A barrel of West Texas Intermediate for February delivery was trading at $49.20 at 5:50 a.m., helping the commodity to its longest rally in almost 18 months. Once again, trade talks are one of the main drivers of the recovery in crude, while expectations that tomorrow’s U.S. stockpiles data will show a drawdown are helping push oil back towards $50 a barrel. Shipping data, meanwhile, shows OPEC is following through on its latest promise to reduce production.