Wall Street Breakfast: U.S.-China Trade Talks Resume

February 11th, 2019

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Category: Trade

(Seeking Alpha) U.S. stock index futures are pointing to gains at the start of the week, up 0.5%, despite the collapse of border security talks as the federal government barreled towards another shutdown. Investors appear to be banking on a new round of U.S.-China trade talks that begins today, with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying telling reporters that Beijing hopes to see good results. About 60 companies listed on the S&P 500 are also set to report quarterly figures in what will be the last big week of the Q4 earnings season.

Economy

The Shanghai Composite index rose 1.4% overnight as markets in China reopened after a week-long Lunar New Year break. China’s retailer and catering enterprises earned over 1T yuan ($148.3B) during the holiday, defying an economic slump to rise 8.5% from last year. Domestic tourism over the week further generated total revenues of 513.9B yuan, up 8.2% Y/Y, with the number of trips rising 7.6% to 415M.

With just 47 days to go until Brexit, the British government has asked lawmakers to give Theresa May more time to rework her divorce deal with the EU. The news could mean a vote scheduled for Valentine’s Day – which would decide on Britain’s Brexit options – could be shelved. Data this morning also showed the British economy grew just 0.2% in the final quarter of 2018 against a background of Brexit-related uncertainty.

Italy’s populist government lashed out at the country’s central bank over the weekend, saying its top brass should be replaced because they had failed to supervise the nation’s troubled banking sector. The government can’t impose new management on the independent Bank of Italy – a member of the ECB – but it can withhold approval for the bank’s own senior appointments, creating the potential for an institutional standoff.

Paying more… South Korea will shell out $920M this year for the 28,500 U.S. military personnel stationed in the country, representing an increase of about 8% from what Seoul paid in 2018 and about half of the overall cost. “Most of our contributions for the cost-sharing is returned to the Korean economy by helping create jobs, boost domestic consumption and develop regional economy,” according to the Ministry of Defense.

Looking for alternative payment mechanisms after the latest U.S. sanctions, Venezuela said it is open to barter-like payments from India – like oil for medicine – to boost sales to the world’s third-largest crude consumer. State-run oil company PDVSA is also reportedly telling customers of its joint ventures to deposit oil sales proceeds in an account recently opened at Russia’s Gazprombank.

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