Global stocks mostly rise on US-China trade talks as dollar gains

Global stocks mostly rise on US-China trade talks as dollar gains

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Global stocks mostly rose on Monday as US and Chinese officials in Beijing geared up for crunch trade talks while the dollar gained on the euro for the sixth straight session.

European and Asian bourses pushed higher at the start of trade talks in Beijing before a March 1 deadline that could lead to additional US tariffs if a deal is not reached.

Deputy US Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish led the US side in preparatory meetings ahead of the arrival later in the week of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The Chinese delegation will be led by Vice Premier Liu He, who will be joined by central bank Governor Yi Gang.

While the two sides said they made major progress in talks last month in Washington, more recent comments have jarred financial markets, amplifying concerns about how the dispute will affect global growth.

Paris and Frankfurt both gained about one percent after Shanghai and Hong Kong climbed earlier.

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“European stocks have rallied… as traders are hopeful about the next round of trade talks between the US and China,” said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

“Given that both sides are still far apart, there is no guarantee that the discussions will be successful, and dealers’ optimism might be wishful thinking.”

London’s benchmark FTSE 100 rose after an announcement that British economic growth has slowed, weighing on the pound and lifting stocks in multinationals that have earnings in foreign currency.

With Brexit looming next month, the British economy grew by 1.4% last year, data showed. That was the lowest level for six years, and down from 1.8% in 2017.

US stocks finished a choppy session mixed, with the Dow dipping and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq edging higher.

Adding to the anxiety over trade is uncertainty over US budget talks. Lawmakers in Washington were looking to resolve a budget impasse before Friday or risk another possible government shutdown.

President Donald Trump was scheduled for a campaign-style rally appearance in Texas at which he was expected to amplify his call to build a wall along the Mexican border.

Rising dollar

The US political quagmire did not dim the dollar, which climbed again against the euro and also advanced on the pound and yen.

The dollar’s gains on the euro follow a series of weak economic reports last week out of the eurozone. While the US Federal Reserve has shifted to more dovish stance, other major central banks are viewed as even less likely to tighten monetary policy.

“While it’s not apparent today, there’s a lot to be worried about over the next few weeks,” said BK Asset Management’s Kathy Lien, who listed US-China trade talks, Brexit, the US budget standoff and potential US tariffs on car imports as among the outstanding issues that could rock foreign exchange markets.

“Each of these events pose a significant downside risk to currencies but they could also lead to be short squeezes if the unexpected happens and they are resolved positively,” Lien added.


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