By Lorcan Roche Kelly
A Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesperson said that officials remain in close contact with their U.S. counterparts, reiterating tariffs should be reduced proportionally as part of a phase-one trade deal. While there are only 10 days left ahead of the Dec. 15 imposition of further import levies by the U.S., investors continue to see little risk of the increased measures being implemented. Speaking in London yesterday President Donald Trump said discussions with China are going very well. “We will make a lot of progress,” he said.
Carrot and stick
Oil Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, in Vienna for the OPEC meeting, is willing to raise Saudi Arabia’s production slightly if other countries keep failing to meet agreed output levels, according to delegates. But if they comply, Riyadh would lead the way in deepening cuts, they said. Tanker-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg show that oil exports from the Middle East fell to their lowest level since July last month. In the market today, crude is holding onto yesterday’s rally, with a barrel of West Texas Intermediate for January little changed on the session.
Not so fast
Data this morning showed that Germany’s economy may not be out of the woods yet, with factory orders unexpectedly falling 0.4% in October, when a 0.4% increase had been forecast. Retail sales for the euro area also disappointed, dropping by 0.6% in the month. While there was some better news in the final statement of third-quarter GDP for the common-currency zone, the mixed picture underscores the shaky regional position as it faces risks from Brexit, trade and upheaval in the car industry.
Global stocks continue to inch higher on the back of the positive noise surrounding a potential trade deal. Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.5%. Japan’s Topix index also closed 0.5% higher after a somewhat muted reaction to the announcement of a 26 trillion yen ($239 billion) government stimulus plan. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index had gained 0.4% by 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time. S&P 500 futures pointed a positive open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 1.784% and gold was flat.
Initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. will give one last look at the health of the U.S. labor market ahead of tomorrow’s payrolls number. The U.S. October trade balance is also due at that time, while 10:00 a.m. sees the latest factory and durable goods orders data. Tiffany & Co., Dollar General Corp., Michaels Cos Inc. and Kroger Co. all report earnings as retailers remain in focus.