World markets mixed over US-China trade concerns

ASSOCIATED PRESS
SINGAPORE
Published 04.02.2019 18:16

World markets were mixed Monday amid speculation over the next steps in a dispute between the U.S. and China over technology development and trade following meetings in Washington last week.

American and Chinese negotiators ended two days of talks in Washington last week without a word of a deal, though those involved — including U.S. President Donald Trump — were optimistic about the road ahead.

Trump said he plans to meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to sort out contentious issues. "I think when Xi and I meet, every point will be agreed to," Trump said, without specifying a date or location.

A tariffs cease-fire between the U.S. and China is set to end on March 2, and the U.S. is expected to raise import taxes from 10 percent to 25 percent for $200 billion in Chinese goods.

"There is rising optimism on the trade talks between the U.S. and China, although no details have been nailed down. The upside is limited as President Trump also mentioned that if the talks are not successful a new round of tariffs is imminent," Alfonso Esparza, senior market analyst at OANDA, said in a commentary.

A private survey released on Sunday suggested that China's services activity slowed in January. The Caixin services purchasing managers' index fell to 53.6 points for the month, down from 53.9 in December, likely due to domestic conditions. Numbers over 50 indicate expansion on the index's 100-point scale. But new export sales grew at the fastest pace in more than a year, in a nod to an easing trade standoff with the U.S.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 8 cents to $55.34 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It added $1.47 to settle at $55.26 per barrel on Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was up 31 cents at $63.06 per barrel. The contract gained $1.91 to $62.75 per barrel in London.

The dollar strengthened to 109.87 yen from 109.50 yen late Friday. The euro was up slightly $1.1450. The British pound was trading at $1.3056, down from $1.3082.

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