Steven Mnuchin Looks for Substantial Progress as Trade Talks Recommence With China

The trade war between the United States and China has possibly been one of the most damaging and protracted trade disputes in recent history. The impact of the trade war between the world’s two biggest economies has sent ripples throughout the world economy, and almost all nations are waiting for the trade dispute to be over soon. However, despite months of talks, no resolution has come to pass despite noises from both the US and China that the talks are progressing well. The two negotiating teams are slated to meet for probably the last two rounds of talks, beginning in China in May, and the United States Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin has stated that he hopes that there will be ‘substantial progress’ in this round of talks. The next round of talks will take place in Washington.

Mnuchin spoke to reporters in Beijing today regarding his hopes about the next round of talks in Beijing, and as always, he sounded optimistic about the negotiations. He said, “We have a meeting here, and then the vice premier and team will be coming back to Washington D.C., and we hope to make substantial progress in these two meetings.” The second meeting is potentially going to be the final one before the deal is ratified in a summit meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping.  

Some of the stickier issues in relation to the whole new trade deal to be signed between the two countries include an enforcement mechanism, and that is something that will need to be thrashed out before any deal could be signed. On the other hand, the gradual lifting on the existing tariffs that had been placed on Chinese products is also an issue that will need to be looked into closely. US President Donald Trump had earlier stated that the tariffs could be kept on for some time to ensure that China sticks to the agreement. However, it is unlikely that China is going to agree to a deal if those are not lifted eventually. When asked about the issue of an enforcement mechanism, Mnuchin refused to comment on the whole thing. He said, “I’m not going to comment on specific issues of the discussions. They’ve been quite broad as I’ve said before. We’ve made a lot of progress. We look forward to the meetings here.”

Keith GilbertSteven Mnuchin Looks for Substantial Progress as Trade Talks Recommence With China
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Donald Trump says No Meeting with Chinese President Xi Ahead of Trade War Deadline

On Thursday, the US President Donald Trump addressed that meeting with his counterpart Chinese President Xi Jinping is not going to take place before the trade war deadline on March 1.

Last week, following a two days discussion on trade in Washington, a meeting between the two leaders was reported, and it was initially assumed to take place during the end of this month, which was nearer to Trump’s second summit meeting in Vietnam with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

On Thursday, while addressing the reporters at the White House, Trump admitted that meetings were not planned between him and with Chinese President Xi before the trade war deadline March 1 for a deal. Due to missing of an agreement, fresh US tariffs will be imposed on the Chinese imports on March 2.

When asked if he could meet Xi Jinping in this month, Trump replied ‘No’ and shook his head. Later, he said it is ‘not possible.’

The key economic advisor of Trump’s administration Larry Kudlow, on Thursday, said reporters that, he wants the meeting to take place between Xi and Donald Trump, but I am not sure when and where it is going to happen.

Most recently, Larry Kudlow’s addressed Fox Business that, the distance between the two countries is very big and sizeable enough to go on a trade deal between the two largest world economies.

Trump says trade deal with China needs structural modification to end US jobs theft

The comments were the first radical switch in tone ever since Beijing and Washington moved ahead for discussion last week, expecting to agree over a structure for a deal before the deadline. The 90-day break had been taken by the countries during their trade war by placing a hold on the planned increase in the tariffs in order to negotiate the agreement. In the absence of one, the US will raise the tariffs on the Chinese goods of worth the US $200 billion to 25 percent from 10 percent.

In the previous week, during the end of two days negotiations, in a tweet, Trump said “there will be no deal formulated unless I and my friend President Xi meet” in the near future to negotiate and to agree upon the long situation and on most complex points.

As soon as the news broke, the US stock market declared their first significant drawback at the beginning of January that the discussion will take place in Washington. The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Thursday noticed a slip of 200 points or 0.87 percent while Nasdaq and S&P 500 both lost 1 percent each.

Countdown for Trade war

Later after March 1, Trump and Xi might meet for a short while, although there is more work to be done to flesh out the trade war by negotiating. US President Donald Trump needs to be trained ahead of high stake meeting with Kim that is scheduled on February 27 and 28.

On Tuesday, during the Union address in his state, Trump mentioned that the trade deal requires including real organizational changes to end the improper trade practices which will decrease our trade deficit and will save more jobs for Americans.

China is ready to buy more of soybeans while US farmers see a gloomy future

The lead negotiator of China, Vice Premier Liu He, last week stunned Trump with a promise to purchase American soybeans of worth 5 million metric tonnes, a product in between of the tariff dispute, Congress emphasized that the US should not turn back to its demand for significant structural changes in return to China for buying more of American products.

On Thursday, while recognizing that Trump is still positive about the deal, Kudlow stated, there is the rather sizable distance to go from here. On Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin mentioned that he along with the Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer would be heading to China for another fresh round of talks in the week ahead.

On Thursday, the US stock sell out worsened due to global market pullback and raised concern over the worldwide economic slowdown. During this year, the growth expectation for the eurozone was cut by the European Commission because of risks over domestic challenges and global trade tensions.

Keith GilbertDonald Trump says No Meeting with Chinese President Xi Ahead of Trade War Deadline
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Unimpressive Forecasts Halts Rally on Wall Street

The rally on Wall Street came to a halt on Wednesday and stocks went marginally south as some of the key indicators seemed to have tempered the optimism of investors. According to a report on Reuters, the downward trend is primarily to do with the events related to the US-China trade war and less than impressive revenue estimates from videogame makers.

Standard & Poor 500 and Nasdaq, the benchmark indices showed declines as the losses suffered by videogame giant Electronic Arts Inc weighed them down. Electronic Arts released its estimates for the company’s revenues for the whole year, and the figures did not meet with the estimates of Wall Street analysts. Following the release, the shares of EA crashed by as much as 13.3% and hurt other stocks from the videogame industry.

Another videogame major Activision Blizzard Inc also suffered losses as its stock nosedived by as much as 10.1%. The drop in videogame stocks accounted for the 1.5% decline in the communication services sector index of the S&P 500. It was the major drop across the different sectors that are tracked by S&P. However, it needs to be pointed out the different Wall Street indices are still not far off from its highest point in two months.

The being said, many analysts are not looking into Wednesday’s decline as being a particularly alarming event. Nathan Thooft of Boston based Manulife Asset Management said, “The market is feeling a little exhausted after we’ve had a nice run in January and early February.” Furthermore, it is believed that at this point there are not many events or triggers that could instigate gains in the market. In other words, not much is happening that could inspire a rally.

On the other hand, the events surrounding the trade talks between the United States and China could also be a reason behind a bit of trepidation that might have kicked into Wall Street recently. The trade war has been one of the biggest reasons behind spooked markets all over the world and in March, the two countries are supposed to reach a trade agreement. That could be another hugely important trigger that could send the stock markets either way. In addition to that, it is necessary to keep in mind that if the two countries fail to reach an agreement that fresh tariffs might be imposed and that is something no one really wants.

Ralph WilliamsUnimpressive Forecasts Halts Rally on Wall Street
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Trump Speech: Asian Shares Subdued, Aussie Dollar Falls

The US President Donald Trump speech at the State of the Union failed to give any fresh trading catalysts to the market due to which the Asian shares ended on a subdued note, and the Australian dollar saw a slump after Central Bank’s possibility of a rate cut.

With the markets around China and several markets closed for Lunar New Year Holiday, the MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares did not move much outside Japan. While Nikkei gained by 0.3%. In the other markets, Dow ended with a rise of 0.68%, Nasdaq increased by 0.74 % and S&P 500 gained by 0.47%. The treasury bonds also increased due to the US data showing US service sector index of 56.7. The US dollar held firm and ended at 96.104 above last week’s 95.162. However, it fell short by 0.1% compared to yen.

What was said in Trump’s State of the Union Speech?

Trump in his Tuesday speech vowed to build the border wall in the Mexican border and said that the Democratic attempts at ‘ridiculous partisan investigations’ could potentially dent US prosperity. Moreover, there was no mention of any real progress made between China and the US in the trade negotiations which did not help the investors in any way. COO at Rakuten Securities, Sydney said that ‘The market had much more hopes that he would come up with something concrete. We didn’t get it’.

There is another round of negotiations and trade talk that is likely to start in Beijing next week to look for a deal on averting the increase in taxes on Chinese products by the United States and also look for a deal on the American IP row. The talks are to be held before the Mar’ 2 deadlines. There is also reports that the talks will be headed by Steve Mnuchin who is the Treasury Secretary and by Robert Lightizer who is the US Trade Representative.

Why Aus Dollar slumped?

The Australian shares rose by 0.5%, but the Australian dollar fell by 1% to reach its one-week low of $0.7153 after Reserve Bank Of Australia said that there might be rate cuts if unemployment increases and inflation is low though the bank is optimistic about the economic growth. The RBA governor in his speech said that ‘Over the past year, the next-move-is-up scenarios were more likely than the next-move-is-down scenarios. Today, the possibilities appear to be more evenly balanced’.

Paul AlbinTrump Speech: Asian Shares Subdued, Aussie Dollar Falls
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