Feb 21, 2019, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
A little growth
Data from IHS Markit this morning showed that the euro area’s private sector barely expanded in February, with a composite PMI for the region coming in at 51.4. That expansion was almost exclusively driven by the services sector, with manufacturing PMI for Germany slowing to 47.6 as export orders had their steepest decline in more than six years. It was a similar story in Japan where activity in the manufacturing sector contracted for the first time in two and a half years. Markit’s PMIs for the U.S. economy are due at 9:45 a.m. Eastern Time.
Negotiators in Washington are working on multiple memorandums of understanding that would together form the basis of a final trade deal between the U.S. and China. Liu He, China’s chief negotiator, is expected to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump tomorrow as efforts continue to extend the current March 1 deadline in order to allow more talks. Morgan Stanley Wealth Management has warned that markets are too optimistic about a resolution to the dispute, while another front in the trade war might open soon with relations between the EU and the U.S. continuing to sour.
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but it seems there may soon be a deal agreed on the U.K.’s exit from the European Union. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond suggested there could be a vote in Parliament within days as officials try to negotiate legally binding changes to the previous agreement. Pressure continues to build on Prime Minister Theresa May to ensure the U.K. does not crash out without a deal, with some of her own ministers said to be considering voting against her strategy. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker spoke for all of us when he said this morning that he has “something like Brexit fatigue.”
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.2 percent while Japan’s Topix index closed unchanged as investors in the region awaited news from the trade talks in Washington. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.2 percent lower at 5:50 a.m. with banks the biggest losers in a session where most industry groups struggled to gain traction. S&P 500 futures pointed to fairly flat open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.663 percent and gold was a little lower.