Feb 13, 2019, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
President Donald Trump said he is open to extending the March 1 deadline to raise tariffs on Chinese imports if both sides are close to agreement by the end of the month. China’s President Xi Jinping is set to meet key members of the U.S. delegation currently in Beijing for high-level talks on Friday, according to local media. The White House still wants a meeting between the two leaders in order to seal any trade deal, the timing of which would depend on progress made this week, and whether Trump extends the deadline.
Avoiding a shutdown
The president may reluctantly sign the congressional border-security deal agreed earlier this week in order to avoid another partial government shutdown, according to a person familiar with his thinking. A vote on the deal reached on Monday could be held in Congress later today, with the president’s signature needed by midnight Friday at the latest. With border funding in the bill far short of what Trump needs to build a wall, he will try to find money from other sources as Republican leaders attempt to forestall any effort to declare a national emergency in order to get the cash needed.
Hard Brexit, weak Europe
Inflation in the U.K. dropped below the Bank of England’s target for the first time in two years in January with prices growing 1.8 percent from a year earlier. There were more questions about the health of the euro-area economy as industrial production fell 0.9 percent in December, with the annual drop the largest since 2009. And stop us if you’ve heard this before: A resolution of the Brexit mess isn’t on the horizon. It now seems almost certain that both sides are willing to wait until the last minute to try to strike a deal that would prevent the U.K. crashing out of the EU without agreement.
Equity markets across the world are rising for a third day as things continue to be less awful than expected. Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.6 percent while Japan’s Topix index closed 1.1 percent higher. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.3 percent higher at 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time with cyclical stocks leading the gains as trade hopes rise. S&P 500 futures pointed to a small rise at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.682 percent and gold was flat.
At 8:30 a.m., January inflation data for the U.S. is published, with expectations for a fairly substantial drop in the headline number to 1.5 percent, while core inflation is forecast to ease slightly to 2.1 percent. At 2:00 p.m., the budget statement for December is published. There are more Fed speakers today, who may be worth watching closely in the wake of inflation numbers, with Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic, and Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker due at various events.