Apr 3, 2019, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
Expectations are rising that a trade agreement could be reached between the world’s two largest economies as authorities in both China and the U.S. push for agreement. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will resume negotiations with his U.S. counterparts in Washington today, with the Financial Times reporting that many outstanding issues have been agreed. While China has already announced various concessions, how to enforce any deal remains a sticking point of talks.
Growth outlook improves
Fears over global growth are easing this morning after services and composite PMI data came in generally stronger than expected. In China, the services gauge rose to 54.4 in March, while Markit’s composite PMI for the euro area came in at 51.6, higher than the earlier estimate. The one blot on the copybook was U.K. services unexpectedly slipping below 50, pointing to a contraction in that critical part of the British economy amid continued Brexit uncertainty. Markit services and composite PMIs for the U.S. are published at 9:45 a.m. Eastern Time, with ISM non-manufacturing at 10:00 a.m.
The improving growth outlook has boosted commodities, with iron ore prices rising above $90 a ton as the bullish outlook adds to Brazilian supply concerns. Oil’s great start to 2019 still shows no sign of abating as a barrel of West Texas Intermediate for May delivery traded at $62.72 by 5:40 a.m., while Brent crude came within a couple of cents of trading above $70 for the first time since November. Finally, and perhaps most critically, avocado prices surged 34 percent for their biggest jump in a decade.
Overnight the MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.8 percent while Japan’s Topix index closed with a 0.6 percent gain as investors became increasingly optimistic over the chances of a trade deal. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.7 percent higher at 5:40 a.m. in the wake of the better-than-feared PMI data. S&P futures pointed to a bounce at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.519 percent and gold was flat.
British Prime Minister Theresa May will meet opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn today to see if they can find enough common ground to forge a way forward for Brexit that would pass a vote in Parliament. Some members of May’s own party have reacted with dismay to the move, calling it a “betrayal” while one minister quit this morning. Labour Party members are expressing concern that May’s plan could just be a trap to pin the blame on any hard Brexit on the party, which illustrates the level of distrust between both sides.