Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day
U.S. stocks slid and Treasury yields tumbled amid pessimism over trade and global growth. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.
Trump Won’t Meet Xi Before Deadline
President Donald Trump said he won’t meet Chinese President Xi Jinping before a March 1 deadline to avert new U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods. Trump responded “No” Thursday when reporters at the White House asked him if he would meet with Xi this month. But he added that the two would “maybe” meet later. Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow said earlier at the White House that a Trump-Xi summit was “off in the distance” but that he remained confident the two leaders would still meet at some point. Kudlow added that he had a “good vibe” about ongoing talks, and said that he saw all trade issues between the two countries as potential topics for discussion. Still, he declined to say whether he expected negotiators to strike a deal before the end of the month, when Trump has said he will raise tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion in Chinese goods.
Stocks Fall on Trade Concerns
Asian shares look set to decline, following a slide in U.S. stocks that deepened as investors grew anxious the Trump administration won’t reach a trade deal with China before a March deadline for escalating the war. Futures pointed lower in Japan and Australia, with Hong Kong ready to reopen after a three-day holiday. The dollar held gains and the yen ticked higher. The 10-year Treasury yield slipped to 2.66 percent. With Hong Kong traders back at their desks Friday and mainland China returning from holidays Monday, volumes will be ramping up again just as global growth concerns are resurfacing. The European Commission made sweeping downward revisions to most of the region’s major economies, the Bank of England said it expected the U.K. economy to grow at its slowest pace in a decade and Australia’s central bank earlier in the week acknowledged increased economic risks domestically and abroad. Elsewhere, crude slumped below $53 a barrel in New York and gold edged higher.
Germany Said to Rule Out Huawei Ban
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has ruled out an outright ban targeting Chinese equipment supplier Huawei Technologies Co. as the country moves toward building its ultrafast fifth-generation networks, according to a government official. Cabinet members from Merkel’s administration met Wednesday in Berlin to discuss the prospect of restricting Huawei equipment from the new 5G network. While they continue to work toward a final decision, the ministers concluded that singling out Huawei from a list of suppliers was not legally viable, the official said Thursday on condition of anonymity in accordance with government protocol. Economy Minister Peter Altmaier has signaled that any restrictions tied to Germany’s shift to the crucial next-generation technology won’t involve targeting specific companies, but rather subjecting all potential service providers to stringent security standards. Huawei has come under scrutiny by U.S. allies concerned its equipment could be used by Chinese intelligence.
Modi Gets His Rate Cut
India’s new central bank chief delivered an unexpected interest rate cut, providing Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the kind of stimulus he needs to stoke economic growth in an election year. In a sharp reversal from October, when the Reserve Bank of India took rate cuts off the table, Governor Shaktikanta Das -- who took office in December -- opened the door to more policy easing and brought growth back into the Monetary Policy Committee’s focus. That was a departure from his predecessor Urjit Patel, whose singular aim was to meet the RBI’s 4 percent inflation mandate. The cut came almost a week after Modi’s administration unveiled an expansionary budget, which included $13 billion of help for consumers ahead of the poll that’s due by May, and days after an adviser to the prime minister said the RBI should ease policy.
Thaksin-Linked Party Talk of Thailand on PM Rumor
A party linked to Thailand’s exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has become the talk of the country amid rumors it will soon announce a shock prime ministerial candidate for March’s election. The Thai Raksa Chart Party was among Thailand’s top trending hashtags on Twitter over speculation about who might be named. A local media report said the candidate won’t be a member of the Shinawatra family. The party, which declined to comment, is due to submit its choice at the Election Commission on Friday, the deadline day for candidate registration. Thai Raksa Chart is viewed as an offshoot of the main opposition Pheu Thai Party -- which is also linked to Thaksin -- and was established about a decade ago before re-branding and re-launching late last year. The March 24 general election will be the first since the military seized power in 2014, an intervention that unseated a Pheu Thai-led administration headed by Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin’s sister.
What we’ve been reading
This is what caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
- Jeff Bezos accuses the National Enquirer of blackmail.
- Trump’s focus on cars ignores a large slice of Japan’s economy.
- Quadriga’s crypto clients won’t get help from regulators.
- Brexit is only nine days away for exporters sending ships to Asia.
- Dollar Libor slumps most in a decade as market plays catch up.
- Amazon sued by Woody Allen for backing out of distribution deals.
- The ultimate guide to global bargain hunting.
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