Jan 9, 2019, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
China and the U.S. wrapped up trade talks, which had been extended into a third day, on an optimistic note. While there is still some distance between both sides on some of the harder issues, people familiar with the positions said that progress had been made on energy and agriculture. The next meeting towards resolving the standoff is higher-level talks between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Vice Premier Liu He, President Xi Jinping’s top economic aide, expected to happen later this month.
Both sides in the political battle that has left parts of the government without funding since Dec. 22 are scheduled to meet later today to continue talks on resolving the impasse. With little to gain from giving up ground, there’s little expectation they’ll budge in the short-term. The list of groups hit by the ongoing shutdown is growing, with travelers, consumer-facing firms, dealmakers and realtors among those affected.
Crude’s recovery is continuing for another day, with West Texas Intermediate trading above $50 this morning, and Brent briefly rising over $60 a barrel. The main driver of the lift in oil prices continues to be renewed optimism over the global outlook as the trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies seems moves toward a resolution. The apparent effectiveness of the latest OPEC agreement on production cuts means the rally had both supply and demand driving it.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 1.4 percent while Japan’s Topix index closed 1.1 percent higher for a third day of gains. In Europe, the Stoxx 500 Index was 0.8 percent higher at 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time as trade deal optimism dominated, with autos, tech and miners all gaining as defensive stocks under-performed. S&P 500 futures pointed to a gain at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.735 percent and gold was lower.
Central banks are the main story for economy-watchers today with the Bank of Canada’s latest rate decision due at 10:00 a.m. That announcement will be accompanied by updated quarterly forecasts and a press conference from Governor Stephen Poloz. At 2:00 p.m., we get the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s December meeting that should give some insight into the unanimous decision to hike rates.