May 8, 2019, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
Iran said it will resume uranium enrichment beyond limits agreed under the 2015 nuclear deal in 60 days if European signatories to the agreement fail to find a way for the country to continue to sell oil and trade with the world. The move comes as tensions between the country and the U.S. continue to ratchet higher after America sent an aircraft carrier strike group to the region. When the U.S. ended exemptions allowing countries to buy Iranian oil, it also imposed new measures aimed at effectively halting all nuclear materials trade by Iran. So far, European efforts to find a way of allowing Iran to continue international trade have failed to produce meaningful results.
Chinese media reported that the nation has full confidence it can overcome challenges in trade negotiations with the U.S. on the eve of the next round of talks in Washington. Attention will focus on whether the U.S. will follow through on threats to implement tariffs on Friday, whether China will retaliate, and if talks can survive such moves. Latest data shows that the trade war and global growth slowdown continue to take their toll on the world’s second-largest economy. JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon put the odds of the U.S. and China reaching a trade deal at 80 percent.
Congress vs Trump
The fallout from the Mueller report continues on Capitol Hill, with Attorney General William Barr threatening to ask President Donald Trump to invoke executive privilege to stop the House Judiciary Committee getting the full, unredacted report. Presidential aides, meanwhile, are pushing for Trump to continue to defy Democrat congressional investigations in the hope that such a standoff would distract from 2020 candidates and make the president look like the victim of partisan gamesmanship. Elsewhere in Trump news, the New York Times reports that he lost $1.17 billion on failed business deals over a 10-year period in the 1980s and 1990s.
Markets add to losses
Investors remain cautious this morning after the two-day selloff. Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 1 percent, while Japan’s Topix index closed 1.7 percent lower. Things were looking better in Europe, where the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.2 percent lower at 5:45 a.m. Eastern Time in a session that has fluctuated between gains and losses. S&P 500 futures pointing to another opening the red, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.440 percent and gold was rising.
Today’s results for Walt Disney Co. will be watched by investors to see if the company can sustain its recent very strong run. Office Depot Inc., Fox Corp. and Barrick Gold Corp. also report earnings. It is a fairly quiet day on the eco front, with the oil inventory report at 10:30 a.m. the only data point of note. ECB president Mario Draghi and Fed Governor Lael Brainard both speak this morning. South Africa votes in a general election today.