India could lose a vital U.S. trade concession, under which it enjoys zero tariffs on $5.6 billion of exports to the United States, amid a widening dispute over its trade and investment policies.A move to withdraw the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) from India, the world’s largest beneficiary of a scheme that has been in force since the 1970s, would be the strongest punitive action against India since President Donald Trump took office in 2017 vowing to reduce the U.S. deficit with large economies.
Trump has repeatedly called out India for its high tariffs. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has courted foreign investment as part of his Make-in-India campaign to turn India into a manufacturing hub and deliver jobs to the millions of youth entering the workforce.Trump, for his part, has pushed for U.S. manufacturing to return home as part of his Make America Great Again campaign.
China’s retailer and catering enterprises earned over 1 trillion yuan ($148.3 billion) during the Lunar New Year holiday, defying an economic slump to rise 8.5 percent from last year, the country’s commerce ministry said.The increase was down to the rapid growth in sales of new-year gifts, traditional foods, electronic products and local speciality products over a six-day holiday period ending on Saturday, the Ministry of Commerce said in a notice on its website.Domestic tourism during the new year break generated total revenues of 513.9 billion yuan, up 8.2 percent on the year, with the number of trips rising 7.6 percent to 415 million, the official Xinhua news agency said on Sunday, citing official data.
New Zealand’s central bank is expected to leave interest rates unchanged this week but may adopt a more dovish tone and cut forecasts, in line with other major central banks as global economic headwinds add risks to the outlook.The bank was expected to become more dovish in its tone due to a slew of economic indicators suggesting softer growth and the risk of spillover from Brexit and the ongoing trade tensions between the United States and China, New Zealand’s key trading partner.
Prime Minister Theresa May will pledge this week to give parliament another chance to voice their opinions on Brexit by Feb. 27 as she tries to buy more time to negotiate a new deal with the European Union.As the clock ticks down to Britain’s scheduled exit on March 29, May is trying to persuade the EU to change a deal that was agreed between London and Brussels late last year but overwhelmingly rejected by parliament in January.
May wants to win over lawmakers in her Conservative Party with changes relating to the Northern Irish border, but the EU has refused to reopen that part of the deal and instead wants May to pursue a compromise with the main opposition Labour Party by agreeing closer UK-EU ties.The impasse has left the world’s fifth largest economy facing an uncertain future, rattling financial markets and businesses about the prospect of a disorderly exit from the bloc that could damage the economy.
Asian shares started the week on the backfoot as investors were unable to shake off worries about global growth, U.S. politics and the Sino-U.S. trade war, keeping the safe-haven dollar well bid near a six-week top against major currencies.Chinese shares see-sawed on Monday after they resumed trading following a week-long Lunar New Year holiday. The blue-chip index was last up 0.4 percent, Australian stocks were down 0.6 percent while South Korea eased 0.2 percent.That left MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan off 0.1 percent after it was toppled from a four-month top on Friday.
U.S. negotiators are preparing to press China next week on longstanding demands that it reform how it treats American companies' intellectual property in order to seal a trade deal that could prevent tariffs from rising on Chinese imports.A new round of trade talks begins in Beijing on Monday, after the most recent set of negotiations concluded in Washington last week without a deal and with the top U.S. negotiator declaring that a lot more work needed to be done.
The dollar rose against most other currencies on Monday, holding near a six-week high as fresh worries about U.S.-Sino trade tensions and global growth drove appetite for safe-haven assets.
Talks on border security funding collapsed after Democratic and Republican lawmakers clashed over immigrant detention policy as they worked to avert another U.S. government shutdown, a Republican senator said on Sunday.
Britain and Switzerland will sign an agreement on Monday to continue trading on preferential terms after Brexit, the British trade department said, protecting a trade relationship worth 32 billion pounds ($41.41 billion).The formal signing of the deal, on which agreement had previously been announced, is one of only handful of concrete steps Britain has made towards ensuring that all the trade deals it currently benefits from as an EU member will continue after it leaves the bloc next month.
"Not only will this help to support jobs throughout the UK but it will also be a solid foundation for us to build an even stronger trading relationship with Switzerland as we leave the EU,” International Trade minister Liam Fox said in a statement.
Gold prices held firm on Monday, supported by worries over a slowdown in global economic growth and uncertainties around Sino-U.S. trade war, but a strong dollar limited the safe-haven metal’s appeal.Spot gold was marginally lower at $1,312.76 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures fell 0.2 percent to $1,316.50 per ounce.Global growth worries, absence of positive signs in U.S-China trade (talks) and reduction in the euro-zone growth forecasts have laid a strong foundation for gold in the longer run,” said Benjamin Lu, an analyst with Singapore-based Phillip Futures.There are a lot of headwinds for gold in the near-term from the six-week rally in U.S. equities and a vigorous dollar.
Oil prices fell by more than 1 percent on Monday as U.S. drilling activity picked up and as a refinery fire in the U.S. state of Illinois resulted in the shutdown of a large crude distillation unit.U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $51.92 per barrel at, down 80 cents, or 1.5 percent, from their last settlement.International Brent crude oil futures were down 71 cents, or 1.1 percent, at $61.39 a barrel.
Crude oil prices dipped as US drilling activity picked up and as Russia's biggest oil producer pressured President Vladimir Putin to end the supply cut deal with Middle East-dominated producer club OPEC.
Middle East oil benchmarks Dubai and DME Oman have nudged above prices for Brent crude, an unusual move as U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Iran along with output cuts by OPEC tighten supply of medium to heavy sour oil. Sour crudes, mainly produced in the Middle East, Canada and Latin America, have a high sulphur content and are usually cheaper than Brent, the benchmark for low-sulphur oil in the Atlantic Basin. But Dubai spot prices and DME Oman crude futures for April have held above ICE Brent at Asia’s market close since the start of February, data from the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).
France is expected to have first quarter economic growth of 0.4 percent, the Bank of France said in its monthly business survey on Monday, as the euro zone’s second-biggest economy grapples with the impact to business from anti-government protests.First-quarter growth of 0.4 percent would represent a slight improvement from the fourth quarter of 2018, when the French economy grew by 0.3 percent.The French government expects the country’s economy to grow by 1.7 percent for 2019.