Markets mostly on front foot as trade hopes return

A man stands in front of an electronic board showing the Nikkei stock index outside a brokerage in Tokyo March 25, 2019. — Reuters pic
A man stands in front of an electronic board showing the Nikkei stock index outside a brokerage in Tokyo March 25, 2019. — Reuters pic

LONDON, Dec 5 — Asian and European markets mostly rose today on renewed hopes for the China-US trade talks after a report said a deal could be finalised by the end of next week.

The story came a day after Donald Trump had poured freezing water on the prospects for an agreement by suggesting he would be happy waiting until after the 2020 presidential election before signing off on one.

It provided a much-needed boost to investors following disappointing US data on jobs and the key services sector.

Bloomberg News reported that US negotiators expected a deal to be completed before a new round of US tariffs on China is due to hit on December 15.

It quoted unnamed sources as saying Trump’s comments that he had no deadline and “in some ways, I like the idea of waiting until after the election” should not have been taken as a sign the talks had stalled.

Markets had globally turned south following the Trump remarks, with observers suggesting US bills supporting Hong Kong protesters and minority Uighurs in China had also dented the chances of a pact being signed.

AxiTrader’s Stephen Innes said weak US data played an important role in Trump’s thinking regarding the trade talks.

“These are critical chunks of the economy the president must defend, but the more vulnerable data also provides inferior optics for his election 2020 campaign,” he wrote in a note.

“If these gloomy forward economic gauges start to leak into the consumption and/or employment sectors, one would have to assume that President Trump, from a purely economic perspective, would be as motivated as (Xi Jinping) to table a trade deal sooner than later”, he said.

However, he added that “it really feels like we’re always walking up a down (escalator) when it comes to navigating these never-ending US-China hostilities”.

Polls support pound

In foreign exchange activity, the pound held around its highest levels against the euro since May 2017 after fresh polls indicated Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives would win a majority at next week’s general election, giving him a mandate to push through his Brexit deal and avert a no-deal divorce.

“With just a week to go until the general election it seems that the financial markets are placing their bets on a Conservative majority with the pound extending its push higher,” said XTB analyst David Cheetham.

“It is quite clear that the markets are looking favourably on the prospects of a Conservative majority, which due to the promise of delivering Brexit will lift some uncertainty at least for the next couple of months.”

In commodity markets, world oil prices firmed, one day after surging on reports that Opec and other major producers were ready to announce fresh output cuts.

Faced with slowing global economic growth and abundant reserves putting pressure on oil prices, Opec and its partners could seek to deepen output cuts when they meet in Vienna today and tomorrow.

The cuts of 1.2 million barrels per day from October 2018 levels were originally fixed in December last year and were already extended at Opec’s last meeting in July.

Some observers expected the cuts to remain in place possibly until the end of 2020.

Key figures around 1145 GMT

London — FTSE 100: FLAT at 7,186.70 points

Frankfurt — DAX 30: UP 0.3 per cent at 13,177.15

Paris — CAC 40: UP 0.8 per cent at 5,847.64

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.6 per cent at 3,681.95

Tokyo — Nikkei 225: UP 0.7 per cent at 23,300.09 (close)

Hong Kong — Hang Seng: UP 0.6 per cent at 26,217.04 (close)

Shanghai — Composite: UP 0.7 per cent at 2,899.47 (close)

New York — Dow: UP 0.5 per cent at 27,649.78 (close)

Pound/dollar: UP at US$1.3141 from US$1.3104 at 2200 GMT

Euro/pound: DOWN at 84.43 pence from 84.54

Euro/dollar: UP at US$1.1094 from US$1.1078

Dollar/yen: UP at 108.91 from 108.86 yen

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.1 per cent at US$63.09 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.1 per cent at US$58.48 — AFP

Related Articles