Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day
Good morning. The inevitable Brexit delay arrived, the trade truce lives on and pontificating about European monetary policy is reaching a peak. Here’s what’s moving markets this morning.
U.S. President Donald Trump extended the temporary truce in the trade war with China beyond the March 1 deadline, saying “substantial progress” has been made in the talks. The haggling now appears to be concentrated on China agreeing to keep the yuan stable and how to enforce this, given all the ways it influences its currency. Banks are boosting yuan forecasts on the view a deal’s in sight. Still, don’t ignore this yet. China’s Xinhua news agency noted “ new uncertainties” in the talks and tensions between Trump and U.S. trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer are heightened.
Delay the day
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed what many had already expected, that there will not be a meaningful vote on a rejigged Brexit deal for Parliament this week and instead the new plans will be put before MPs before March 12. After last week’s party defections, this is likely to increase the level of rancor in her own party and throughout an increasingly tense House of Commons. The European Union, meanwhile, is considering telling May that if the exit process gets delayed, the U.K. may have to stay in the block until 2021, another option unlikely to please British lawmakers.
Anticipation for the next European Central Bank policy meeting in March is running high. Officials have shifted into a more dovish mode and attention will be paid to any comments about a potential response to the slowdown in Europe, but at the center of the debate will be the potential for new long-term loans to the banking sector. Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny on Friday said there was no need to rush new loans and the debate now is whether a bigger rethink is needed to find a more permanent solution to the long-term funding provided to lenders.
To fold, or not to fold
The Mobile World Congress is taking place this week in Barcelona, a time of year for smartphone makers that aren’t Apple Inc. or Samsung Electronics Co. to grab some attention. The event has a history of flops but that won't stop people watching for what the likes of Huawei Technologies Co. and Microsoft Corp. are going to do next. The new model made under the Nokia name is already out there and the main takeaways? It doesn't fold and doesn't have 5G connectivity like the new Samsung does. But it does have five, yes five, cameras. Huawei’s new offering, however, does fold.
Another very busy week ahead on all fronts. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will testify before Congress and a host of other speakers from the Fed and the European Central Bank will also be on the slate through the week. President Trump will head off to Hanoi, Vietnam, for the next summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and has already said he has no plans to lift sanctions on the nation.
What We’ve Been Reading
This is what’s caught our eye over the weekend.
- “ Play the pause” is the phrase buzzing around Wall Street trading rooms.
- “Green Book” was the surprise Best Picture winner at the Oscars.
- Spain has topped Italy as the world's healthiest nation.
- Venezuela’s opposition leader has hinted at more radical steps to topple the ruling regime.
- The mysterious finances of the biggest backer of the Brexit campaign.
- Everyone’s got a podcast. How do you make it profitable?
- Women’s lives are put at risk because everything is built for men.
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