Feb 25, 2019, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
President Donald Trump said that substantial progress in the trade talks with China means he will extend the deadline for the imposition of new tariffs on the country beyond the current cut-off of March 1. He also said he plans to meet China’s President Xi Jinping next month, while offering few specifics such as the date or how long he’s going to let the tariff deadline slide. Even as they welcome the decision, analysts warn that the trade dispute is still a long way from resolution, while business leaders are also cautious on the outlook.
One place where caution seems to have been thrown to the wind is the Chinese stock market. Turnover in the country’s equities hit the highest one-day total since the heady days of 2015 as the Shanghai Composite Index added 5.6 percent and the CSI 300 Index closed 6 percent higher, with the CSI 300 now up 20 percent from the Jan. 3 low. The Chinese leader helped stoke the rally sparked by the trade truce by promising at a Politburo meeting to further open the finance industry.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is risking further rebellion at home by putting off the parliamentary vote on Brexit expected this week until March 12. The new date, just 17 days before the U.K. is due to leave the European Union, compounds the unease of members of her own party who want to avoid crashing out of the union without a deal. May is in Sharm el-Sheikh at an EU-Arab summit this morning where she is said to have told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that she doesn’t want an extension beyond the current March 29 deadline.
While much of the action has been in China, equities across the globe are rising today. Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.8 percent while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.7 percent higher with automakers leading the advance. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.2 percent higher at 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time, as healthcare stocks prove a drag on the generally good vibes. S&P 500 futures pointed to a gain at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.672 percent and gold was flat.
At 8:30 a.m., the Chicago Fed National Activity Index for January is published, with wholesale inventories data for December due at 10:00 a.m. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is expected to announce further measures against Venezuela at a speech today in Bogota, Colombia. Bayer AG is facing a day in court as a trial begins in Missouri over the company’s Roundup weedkiller’s health effects.