English (India)

Dow edged up Friday on upbeat U.S. economic data and conflicting signals about U.S.-China Phase One trade deal; Dow Future inched up early Monday on reports of broad consensus on China deal

calendar 25/11/2019 - 14:40 UTC

The U.S. stock market inched up Friday on upbeat U.S. economic data and conflicting signals of the U.S.-China Phase One trade deal. Dow was buoyed by upbeat U.S. economic data and Trump’s optimism on China trade deals with an indication that he may veto the Hong Kong bill, although overall suspense remains about the actual progress of U.S.-China Phase One trade deal amid conflicting news headlines.

Overall on Friday, Dow edged up after a rangebound day of trading as the market is quite confused over the fate of U.S.-China tentative trade deal, but somehow relieved that, even if there is no deal by 15th Dec, the planned Trump tariffs will be eventually postponed. Eventually, Dow slumped -0.47% for the week, but still up +3.06% for the month of Nov (MTD) on hopes & hypes of U.S.-China Phase One Trade deal.

On early Friday, in an interview, Trump said the U.S., China 'very close' to trade deal, but he is not so much in a hurry to make a deal right now. Trump was asked about the progress of trade deal-Trump said: "We have a deal potentially very close—but he (President Xi) wants to make it much more than I want to make it. I'm not anxious to make it. We're taking in hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs”.

Trump was also asked about an earlier comment by China’s President Xi, in which Xi said Beijing wants to ‘work for a phase one agreement on the basis of mutual respect and equality’- Trump furiously said he didn't like Xi's use of the word ‘equality’ because the U.S. is ‘starting off from the floor and China is already at the ceiling’ due to the $500B a year China is receiving (stealing) from the U.S. (as trade surplus). Thus Trump wants an ‘upper hand’; i.e. more concessions from his ‘friend’ Xi before going to sign a tentative trade deal with China.

Trump also predicted making a tentative trade deal with China ‘very good’ but warned that unrest in Hong Kong is also ‘complicating’ the effort. But Trump also declined to clarify whether he would sign recently passed Hong Kong legislation. Trump said he stood with Hong Kong, with ‘freedom’ and also with his ‘great friend’ Xi, for the trade negotiations. Trump also claimed that he urged Xi not to send troops to Hong Kong and it’s only for his intervention; Hong Kong is still relatively calm.

Overall, although, Trump has until December 2 to sign the HK bill into law or veto it, it’s now almost certain that Trump will use it as leverage in China trade negotiations, but ultimately veto it because the China trade deal is much more important for him than Hong Kong’s political chaos.

And Trump will also postpone his planned Dec 15 Chinese tariffs irrespective of the progress of the Phase One trade deal. Till now most Trump tariffs are on Chinese industrial goods ($260B) and little on consumer items ($112B). Trump will not impose additional tariffs on remaining Chinese consumer goods (for around $200B) and tax the U.S. public for their day-to-day requirements of various consumer goods, causing some price rise and pressure on family budget for ordinary Americans ahead of the 2020 election.

And the U.S has now no viable cost-effective alternatives for those consumer goods supply lines from other nations (sources) and also domestically. At the end of the day, Trump tariffs (imported duties) are being paid by U.S. importers/consumers, and not by China or Chinese exporters despite China’s currency (Yuan) devaluation. The American public also understands this simple fact despite Trump’s narrative, that he is collecting billions of dollars as tariffs from China indirectly through their currency devaluation.

Actually, Trump is providing tax cuts on one hand and collecting revenue on the other hand through his tariffs. Trump also does require higher revenues to balance surging U.S. fiscal deficit/debt to some extent out of his fiscal stimulus, especially tax cuts and subsidy payment to U.S. ‘patriotic’ farmers. Thus Trump will never rollback his additional tariffs (existing) completely as China is demanding for any trade deal, but Trump could partially do that rollback, like Sep tariffs. But China wants to roll back till at least prior to May position when trade talks were broken.

Trump also wants more concessions from China on the thorny issues of alleged IP theft, tech transfer in exchange of existing tariffs rollback for the sake of Phase One trade deal; otherwise, it’s almost the same as China is trading with the U.S. for the last 25-years and Trump can’t claim a significant victory over China trade deal than his predecessors. And this is not a simple trade war; it’s actually a cold war which Trump has launched in the disguise of a trade war. The U.S. is now extremely worried about China’s superpower capability and global influence, be it on economic front or military. And Trump & Co (U.S.) is now basically suffering from ‘China phobia/jealousy’.

Trump said in an hour-long telephonic/TV interview:

“We have to stand with Hong Kong, but I’m also standing with President Xi. He’s a friend of mine. He’s an incredible guy, but we have to stand ---I’d like to see them work it out-- okay? But I stand with Hong Kong-- I stand with freedom. I stand with all the things we want to do, but we’re also in the process of making the largest trade deal in history. And if we could do that would be great”.

“If it weren’t for me, Hong Kong would have been obliterated in 14 minutes. China has a million soldiers standing outside of Hong Kong that isn’t going in only because I asked him (Xi), please don’t do that--- you’ll be making a big mistake, it’s going to have a tremendous negative impact on the trade deal, and he wants to make a trade deal”.

“China has been taking advantage of us for 25 years. It’s hard for them to understand it’s not going to happen anymore, and now they understand. I am expecting more concessions from Beijing because the U.S. has been giving China $500 billion a year, and that’s not including theft of intellectual property, etc. I told Xi this can’t be like an even deal because we’re starting off from the floor and you’re already at the ceiling so we have to have a much better deal. The bottom line is we have a very good chance to make a deal. I didn't like his word equality because we started off so low”.

“President Xi wants a deal much more than I want to make it. I'm not anxious to make it. We're taking in hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs. We never took in 10 cents (before). Meanwhile, the United States has the greatest economy we ever had, as it has increased by $20 trillion. China has gone down by 30 or $35 trillion (?). If crooked Hillary had won, China would be the largest economy in the world. They were going to surpass us, expected to in the second year of the presidency...they will never catch up”.

“Meanwhile, U.S. farmers are doing great after the deal talks began, including receiving money from tariffs and after the U.S. signed trade deals with Japan and South Korea”.

Later in the White House presser, Trump reiterated that the trade deal with China is ‘coming along very well’, but it all depends on his final decision (whims and fancies): "The China deal is coming along very well. The question is whether or not I want to make it”.

As a pointer, on Friday, China’s President Xi said China wants to reach an interim trade deal with the U.S. but it will not hesitate from retaliation if required. And China will never allow its ‘humiliating’ history to repeat itself (from colonial suppression). Xi was speaking to a group of selected delegates and journalists at an Economy/IMF-BBG Forum in Beijing. And it was his first rare public comment on the prospects of an interim trade deal with the U.S. (unlike Trump, who basically caged himself with his own rhetoric over the last 16-months of trade war).

On Friday, China’s President Xi basically said it’s the U.S. (Trump), which started the trade war causing today’s synchronized global economic slowdown, and thus it’s U.S. responsibility to end the same. But China is also accelerating its reform and opening up the economy more. And China is also not afraid of an all-out trade war with the U.S.:

“We want to work for a phase one agreement on the basis of mutual respect and equality but Beijing is not afraid to continue fighting the trade war if necessary. When necessary we will fight back, but we have been working actively to try not to have a trade war. We did not initiate this trade war and this is not something we want”.

“Global economic growth is slowing down with increasing downside risks, protectionism in the world is on the rise, and multilateralism and free trade are facing severe challenges; therefore the international community has higher expectations for the role of the IMF. China and the U.S. should strengthen communication on strategic issues to avoid misjudgment”.

“The pursuit of the ‘Chinese dream’ does not mean the country is seeking hegemony or wants to replace other nations. But the move is intended to restore China’s dignity and status and ensure the history of China being invaded and ruled by colonial powers would never be repeated again. China was not complacent about its achievements and would continue the process of reform despite the difficulties. The more resistance there is, the more obstacles people set up, the more we have to overcome difficulties and further expand the (process of) opening up”.

As per reports, Xi also discussed ‘innovation co-operation’ with the U.S. in an apparent reference to repeated U.S. allegations of forced technology transfers and IP theft. Xi urged for opening up/cooperation from the U.S. side on tech innovations (IP) rather than ‘hiding it into mountain caves’:

Xi said:

“The result of innovation should benefit the whole world, instead of burying it in caves hidden in the mountain. China and the US have some disputes over innovation cooperation, but the key is to form a consensus through dialogue to continue cooperation instead of being suspicious”.

China’s state media also said that Xi warned about the cold war mentality of the U.S. towards China. In a one-on-one meeting with former U.S. secretary of state Kissinger (a key person in the normalization of diplomatic relations between U.S. and China in 1970s and a reliable communicator for both sides), Xi said the relationship between China and the U.S. was at a crossroads and faced some difficulties: “China and the United States should step up communication on strategic concerns to avoid misjudgment and enhance mutual understanding”.

On early U.S. session, Friday, Dow inched up on renewed hopes of progress in U.S.-China tentative trade deal after China's foreign ministry reiterated that China is in close contact with the U.S. on trade talks and hope for a trade deal is in everyone's interest. There was also another conflicting media report that suggested the U.S.-China Phase One trade deal is said to be on the ‘doorstep’ with the removal of tariffs is now the only hurdle. On late Thursday, sources close to the trade issues told media that Washington and Beijing are on the ‘doorstep’ of reaching a trade deal but pointed out that the removal of import tariffs remains the main hurdle to striking the phase one agreement.

On early EU session, Friday, Dow Future was also undercut on lingering worries about the fate of the U.S.-China Phase One trade deal. On late Thursday, China’s twitter proxy, the influential GT editor Hu tweeted, reminding that the U.S. should be pro-active for the much-awaited trade deal:

The US has the upper hand in the US-China trade war, which allows it to decide when to end the trade war, but far from enough for it to decide how to end the trade war. The US side wants both, then it needs to change an adversary”.

Hu also tweeted, warning U.S. about H.K. interference:Most people in the world can see the insanity of HK rioters, restraint of the HK police and Beijing’s respect to HK autonomy. But US lawmakers have gone blind altogether. President Trump needs to sign the bill using braille”.

The risk-on sentiment was under stress on Hong Kong bill/legislation issues as the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act passed Tuesday in the U.S. Congress, now waiting for Trump's signature for a law or rejection of the same (veto power) by 2nd Dec.

An influential Chinese media said: Beijing is watching closely. While they fully expect that he won't veto the bill, Chinese leaders don't want to see Trump parading the bill in front of reporters. While US President Donald Trump is not expected to veto the bill, which enjoys broad bipartisan support, even the symbolic aspects may carry an extra significance - with a high-profile signing ceremony likely to further anger the Chinese government.

Meanwhile, a report suggested that although U.S. Commerce Ministry already started issuing temporary licenses (waivers) to Huawei, a bipartisan group of Senators warned against this practice and called for it to be halted. Also, an influential official from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Brilliant said late Wednesday Phase One trade deal may not get signed before December 15, when additional tariffs on China's goods are set to take effect. He also warned that all tariffs may not be removed even after the deal is signed.

Brilliant talked about his trade discussions with Chinese Vice Premier (Chief trade negotiator) Liu He:

“I explained to (Liu He), ‘you’re going to have to have some give-and-take here. China has to bring more to the table in the final package’. This is the sixth time I’ve sat down with Liu He in two years. What I said to him ‘Don’t overshoot.’ China very much wants to see a rollback on the tariffs. By the way, so does the American business community--the levies have affected consumers, retailers, manufacturers and farmers alike. This is the sixth time I’ve sat down with Liu He in two years. What I said to him ‘Don’t overshoot.’ China very much wants to see a rollback on the tariffs. By the way, so does the American business community--the levies have affected consumers, retailers, manufacturers and farmers alike. But we’re not going to see an elimination of all the tariffs after Phase One”.

Brilliant was also asked if he thought a deal could be inked by then- Brilliant said: “We’re going to have just a few weeks now and I’m not sure we’re going to get a deal done by Dec. 15. I hope so, I want to continue to emphasize there is an opportunity here between now and then, but we need more than Dec. 15 suspended”.

As a pointer, on 1st Sep, Trump imposed 15% additional tariffs on around $112B of Chinese goods, mainly consumer items (certain types of clothing and shoes, cameras and desktop computers). Pointing out that, on late Thursday, Brilliant clarified:

“We need to see a rollback, I believe, on the Sept. 1 tariffs that were about a $112 billion—but I don’t think China should be having aspirations that go greater than that in terms of a rollback. Overall, reaching a phase one deal would be an important starting point because it would put a trade truce between the U.S. and China, and prevent further escalation. It would also build a little confidence and certainty in the trading system. But, some of the more serious structural issues around Chinese subsidy practices and industrial policies are not going to be addressed in the Phase One agreement”.

Elsewhere, on Friday, regarding other issues, Trump claimed that the FBI spied on his 2016 presidential campaign and stated that the upcoming report on the origins of the Russia investigation will be ‘historic’. Trump was commenting on the reports that former FBI lawyer is under a criminal investigation for changing a document that contains info on Trump's campaign adviser, Carter Page, that was allegedly spied on. The campaign to prevent his victory in the presidential election involves the ‘highest levels’ of the previous administration. Trump also refused to reveal the sources that gave him information about the alleged misconduct in 2016.

On Friday, Trump again blasted House Intelligence Committee Chair Schiff calling him ‘a sick puppy’. Trump said: "I want to put Adam Schiff to testify about the fake whistleblower. There were no quid pro quos. I know exactly who he is, you know it too. Everybody knows it. A lot of people think Schiff is a whistleblower. If he doesn’t know who the whistleblower is, he is the only one in Washington”.

Trump also called Schiff to testify in Congress about the whistleblower, and also called the whistleblower a ‘political operative’ and claimed that Schiff had met with the anonymous individual prior to the release of his complaint, which is now the basis of the impeachment investigation. Trump also said he wants a full trial of his impeachment in the U.S. Senate (to clear his stand in front of millions of U.S. public, watching the impeachment soap-opera round the clock live on TV).

On ambassador Sondland’s testimony, Trump said: “I hardly know him but in his 22-page statement he did say the most important thing: ‘I want nothing, I want nothing, I want no quid pro quo’.” Trump reiterated there should never be an impeachment, calling it as ‘hoax’ and witch-hunt’, and again slammed House Speaker ‘nervous’ Pelosi for being ‘totally incompetent’.

On Yovanovitch, (the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine testified in Congress last week in the impeachment investigation against Trump, revealing some damaging information), Trump accused: “She is an ‘Obama person’ and wouldn't even hang my picture at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv. And I have a right to appoint and depose ambassadors and that Yovanovitch was not liked by Ukrainian President Zelensky either”.

On Biden, Trump said even though Joe Biden has the advantage, he may not be able to make it ‘mentally’ through the Democratic nominations for the 2020 presidential election. On billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who filed his Presidential nomination at the last minute with a huge ad budget, Trump commented that he doesn't see to enter the race, taking the lead in the Democrat primaries, citing his policies while he was Mayor of New York City. On Warren, Trump simply commented that she's ‘come up from the ashes’.

On the Mexican border wall, Trump said it’s ‘coming up fast--- around 100 miles of the wall on the Mexico border have been built”. Trump was asked about a recent remark by Warren that she would use taxpayers' money to remove the wall. Trump clarified that Pentagon construction funds have been diverted to the process of building the wall. He also hailed the U.S. military's recent successes and to underline that his administration invested more in the military sector than any of his predecessors.

Overall, although till now Trump is way ahead in the 2020 election, looking ahead, the path may not be so smooth amid intensifying ‘impeachment saga and Russian Spy allegation’; damaging for Trump’s approval rating and re-election prospect. On the other side, if Warren is elected in the DNC primaries for Presidential candidate against Trump, it could add further ‘horror’ as Wall Street is quite scared about Warren’s ‘Main Street’ socialistic policies.

But if Bloomberg is eventually nominated as the final DNC Presidential candidate against Trump, it will be positive for Wall Street and thus it’s now backing him (Bloomberg) quite strongly, considering Trump’s bellicose policies. The market is now concerned about U.S. political uncertainty, growing ‘war of words” between RNC (Trump & Co) and DNC (Pelosi & Co) and resultant policy paralysis in the Oval office, negative for U.S.-China Phase One as-well-as USMCA trade deal and also for planned personal tax cuts for middle earners and infra stimulus.

On Thursday, the U.S. House Speaker Pelosi indicated that passing USMCA remained uncertain and more work needs to be done by all the countries involved. This contradicts the previous perception that the USMCA trade deal will be passed by Dec’19.

Now from U.S. politics to economics, there was good news on Friday as the flash data shows that the U.S. manufacturing PMI surged to 52.2 in Nov (at 7-month high) from prior 51.3, higher than the expectations of 51.5. The U.S. service PMI also surged to 51.6 in Nov (4-month high) from prior 50.6, higher than the expectations of 51.0. The U.S. composite PMI jumped to 51.9 in Nov (4-month high) from prior 50.9, right on the expectations. The U.S. manufacturing output index also jumped to 53.1 in Nov from prior 52.4 in Oct and was at a 10-month high.

Markit said the U.S. Business activity growth quickens in November; although the worst for the U.S. economy may be over, business is still concerned over trade and geopolitical uncertainty. Markit also predicted +1.5% modest GDP growths for the U.S. economy and an average NFP headline of 100K job additions in Q4.

On Friday, another data shows that the Michigan/U.S. consumer sentiment jumped to 96.8 in Nov from 95.5, higher than the expectations of 95.7. The U.S. consumer expectations also surged to 87.3 from 84.2, higher than the expectations of 86.1. The Michigan current conditions although declined to 111.6 in Nov from prior 113.2; it was higher than the expectations of 111.4.

The University of Michigan (UM) said although the U.S. consumers are not worried much about the present saga of Trump impeachment, going ahead it could influence their sentiment and spending habit. But as of now, the U.S. consumers are now in solid-state as the deep political divisions in the Capitol Hill will ensure that ultimately Trump will be not impeached (thanks to U.S. Senate majority for Trump/RNC).

Overall, the U.S. consumer spending, the backbone of the U.S. economy is set to grow by +2.5% in 2020, offsetting subdued business capex (confidence) to some extent. But going forward, there are significant risks in Trump trade war, Trump impeachment and U.S. election/political uncertainty, that could dent U.S. consumer confidence/sentiment and spending.

Conclusions:

In brief, the Nov preliminary Markit PMI and U.M. consumer sentiment data was simply awesome and the market was relieved to a great extent that despite Trump trade war and impeachment/political/election uncertainty, the U.S. economy/consumers are resilient, rock-solid and firing all the cylinders, supporting the Goldilocks nature of the overall economic conditions, paving the way for Goldilocks Fed policy.

The bill-‘Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act’ stipulates that the U.S. reviews Hong Kong's special trade status every year and sanctions Chinese officials found to be responsible for human rights abuses in the autonomous city. Trump may use this HK bill as leverage in trade talks, although he may not sign it immediately. Subsequently, Dow surged coupled with hopes for postponement in Dec proposed Trump tariffs, even if the much-awaited U.S.-China Phase One trade deal further delayed into early 2020.

Market Wrap:

On Friday, the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJ-30) inched up +0.39% to close around 27873.61, near the session high of 27896.70; earlier it made a low of 27773.98 in a day of rangebound trading. The broader S&P 500 (US-500) edged up +0.22% to close around 3110.29, near the session high of 3112.87; earlier it made a low of 3099.26 in a day of rangebound trading. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) ticked up +0.16% to close around 8519.88, near the session high of 8535.46; earlier it made a low of 8477.50 in a day of rangebound trading.

On Friday, the broader U.S. market was helped by consumer discretionary, financials, healthcare, industrials, materials, communication services, and utilities to some extent, while dragged by consumer staples, energies, real estate, and techs. Out of 11-major SPX-500 sectors, 7-were in green. And out of 30-Dow blue-chips, 11-were in red: Alphabet, Apple, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Home Depot, Intel, Merck, P&G, Tesla, Visa, and Walmart. Dow was helped by Boeing, 3M, Pfizer, J&J and Walt Disney

Dow was boosted by Boeing amid renewed 737-MAX optimism as the company unveiled a new model (737-MAX 10) ahead of next year’s schedule, which may be able to get an early approval from the U.S. FAA to fly again, even if the 737-MAX-7/8 models could be grounded. Boeing said the latest model, MAX 10, the largest variant of the MAX family, can seat as many as 230 passengers and offers the lowest seat-mile cost of any single-aisle airplane ever produced. The MAX-10 has more than 550 orders, a small portion of the total backlog of ~4,400 MAX jetliners; the grounded MAX 8 comprises the lion's share of Boeing's MAX orders.

In another report, a manager at Canada's aviation regulator said in an email to other international agencies that Boeing should remove the MCAS software that played a role in the two deadly 737-MAX crashes. In response, Transport Canada said the email reflects ‘working-level discussions’ and was not reviewed by the regulator.

Tesla plunged after an epic debacle in its new Cybertruck launch event, when its ‘armored glass’ windows, although later on Sunday, the CEO Musk said the company has received 146K advance orders for its new launch (Cybertruck), which is available from late 2021. In the Cybertruck launch event, Musk asked his chief designer to throw a metal ball at the vehicle's window in order to show it was shatterproof, but instead of withstanding the force, the window shattered. The designer made a second attempt on another window and the ball again went through it. After that Rivals Ford and General Motors surged, while Musk was spellbound and said ‘f***god’.

Techs dragged led by chipmakers including Intel, Qualcomm, AMD and Netflix (streaming disruption). Airlines surged as oil slips. Apparel retailers Macy’s, L Brands jumped and was led by Nordstrom on better than expected report card (earnings and guidance), boosting the SPX-500.

On early Monday, Dow Future inched up +0.25% on renewed optimism about U.S.-China trade truce and M&A boost. A report said that Washington and Beijing are getting ‘very close’ to reaching the Phase One trade deal. And the Chinese Foreign Ministry also stressed that it hopes the U.S. will work on an agreement based on ‘mutual respect and equality’. Meanwhile, billionaire Bloomberg officially launched his 2020 U.S. presidential election campaign, claiming his intention ‘to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America’. The market is now favoring Trump vs Bloomberg duet rather than Trump vs Warren.

Also, two major merger M&A deals - the takeover of Tiffany by France's LVMH, and the purchase by Switzerland's Novartis of the cholesterol drugmaker Medicines have added to the over risk-on sentiment.

On the weekend, a statement from China promising major changes to the way it protects IP rights supported a weekend optimism that a so-called Phase One trade agreement could be reached before the end of the year. As per reports, China issued a guideline for enhancing IPR protection on the weekend and agrees to toughen IP theft penalties, a key US priority. As a reminder, Chinese companies like Huawei have been accused of IP theft. The Chinese government said it will take a harsher stance on alleged IP theft on Sunday in a move that should please the U.S. in this trade/cold war on attrition.

Chinese officials said: “China’s new guidelines would focus on strengthening the punishment of infringement and counterfeiting and ensuring effective protection of trade secrets, confidential business information and source code”.

But responding to speculations of China's IPR having any linkage with China-U.S. trade talks, a Chinese official also said China's decision to enhance IPR is an inherent demand for its development, as China is promoting innovation-driven development, and IPR is an indispensable basis. China has been stepping up efforts to shore up IPR by raising the penalty for infringement violations and shortening the reveal progress of related cases to speed up the pace of rights protection.

Also, Liu He, China's vice premier and head of the Chinese negotiating team, in an article Friday called for adherence and improvements to China's socialist economic system and called for improved IPR protection, market reforms, and fairer competition.

The U.S.-China interim trade deal optimism was further boosted by the new U.S. NSA O'Brien, who said that it was still ‘possible’ to reach a deal, but cautioned that weekend elections in Hong Kong needed to proceed without violence or interference.

The U.S. NSA O’Brien said over the weekend: “We were hoping to have (a phase one) deal done by the end of the year. I still think that’s possible. Though, at the same time, we’re not going to turn a blind eye to what’s happening in Hong Kong or what’s happening in the South China Sea, or other areas of the world where we’re concerned about China’s activity”.

As a pointer, the local polls in Hong Kong, which has been crippled by anti-China protests for the past five months, delivered a resounding victory for pro-democracy candidates, which may help Trump to get some additional concessions from Xi (China) as China may be now in the back foot after the HK election debacle. And the local election victory may also help to end the lingering protests/violence promptly.

As a recapitulation, the market is concerned amid conflicting news that the U.S.-China Phase One trade deal would slip into next year as there are still significant differences over Trump tariffs rollbacks and China’s commitment issues over U.S. farm products purchase coupled with IP protection and tech transfer (structural issues).

But on early Monday, the risk-on mood got further boost on another contradictory report by a Chinese media (GT): Contrary to negative media reports, China and the U.S. are very close to the Phase One trade deal, and China remains committed to continuing talks for a Phase Two or even a Phase Three deal with the U.S. on equal footing, experts close to the Chinese government told GT.

The GT report further said U.S. and China have basically reached ‘broad consensuses for Phase One trade deal, but the thorny issues of tariffs removals are still not resolved. The report suggested:

The two sides have basically reached broad consensus for the phase one agreement, and are still moving closer to reaching a phase one deal soon, unlike the contradictory information in the media reports. However, the issue of tariffs is still a sticking point. Although the two sides have agreed to roll back tariffs but are having differing opinions over which tariffs should be removed or to what degree the tariffs should be lowered.

A report published earlier claimed that both U.S. and Chinese officials confirmed they are not close to the phase one trade deal. As per a report Sunday, U.S.-China are having trouble striking the much-awaited Phase One deal, a follow-up for Phase Two and Three is also fading away.

The report said quoting an anonymous Trump admin official that President Trump's main priority at the moment is to ‘lock-in’ major purchases of U.S. farm products by China and turn it into one of his biggest presidential achievements during the 2020 election campaign. And once Trump has made the announcement, Trump would probably return to domestic policy and leave other major issues, such as IP theft by China, to senior aides to deal with in Phase Two talks.

As a pointer, China imported 1.15 MT of soybeans from the United States in October, meaning the figure declined by 33.5% month-on-month and reached the lowest levels in three months as reports suggested tariffs were influencing the sale of U.S. farm products in China. However, data from China's customs administration showed on Monday that soybean imports from the U.S. jumped a whopping 1617% from last October's 6.70 MT.

Meanwhile, Chinese imports of U.S. soybeans are seen as surging to as much as 8.5 MT in November after some imports that were being held at Chinese ports were released. In October, China imported most soybeans from Brazil. China is also importing a huge quantity of U.S. poultry as African swine have a devastating effect on the country’s pig/chicken farming.

As per another report late Friday, quoting senior WH official, despite Trump is optimistic on China trade deal and continue to claim that the deal is coming along very well’, his planned tariffs of additional 15% on $156B worth of Chinese imports (mostly consumer goods) is still scheduled to kick in on December 15. However, the WH official also reportedly pointed out, if U.S. and China manage to smooth out the differences and seal the phase one deal by December 15, the decision on additional levies might change.

The influential WH reporter (Fox Business) tweeted Saturday:

“Sr. White House Official says as of right now Dec 15th an additional 15% tariffs are scheduled to go into effect on Chinese imports. SAO says caveat: if there are Phase One trade deal things could change with potential goodwill & a Presidential decision”.

Meanwhile, Chinese officials said that that phase two negotiations may not start before the election in November next year, partly because China wants to see if Trump able to win for his second term in office: "It’s Trump who wants to sign these deals, not us. We can wait”. As per reports on the weekend, the ‘ambitious’ Phase One/Two deal looks increasing less likely for now.

Meanwhile, in a fresh heightening of tensions, the Chinese tech sector was dealt another blow after the U.S. FCC voted not to allow spending of federal funds for the purchase of equipment made by Chinese tech giants Huawei and ZTE.

In response, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng warned and slammed FCC for barring China's Huawei and ZTE from supplying U.S. carriers in rural areas: “This economic bullying by the U.S. side blatantly flouts U.S.' principle of the market economy. If this principle does not need to be adhered to, other countries can also do the same to U.S. companies. The U.S. is used to suppressing specific countries and enterprises without any solid evidence”.

On Monday Geng also reiterated that the two sides (China-U.S.) have maintained close contact and China hoped ‘both sides could find a solution acceptable on the basis of equality and mutual respect’. However, Geng ducked and referred questions about the progress of phase one deal to the Ministry of Commerce.

Bottom Line:

Looking ahead, the Phase One trade deal may not be signed in Dec. But by Jan’20, Trump will decide about the China tariffs rollbacks as per his domestic political compulsion and then may go ahead with an interim trade deal in Feb, when he and Xi could meet on the sideline of a regional/global summit in Vietnam.

Technical Outlook: SPX-500, DJ-30, and NQ-100

Technically, whatever may be the narrative, SPX-500 now has to sustain over 3145 for a further rally to 3165/3200*-3230/3255* and further to 3285/3305*-3330/3350* in the near term (under bullish case scenario).

On the flip side, sustaining below 3135, SPX-500 may fall to 3095/3070*-3050/3025* and further to 3005/2985*-2960/2920* in the near term (under bear case scenario).

Technically, whatever may be the narrative, DJ-30 now has to sustain over 28350 for a further rally to 28615/ 28800-28955*/29100-29300/29555* in the near term (under bullish case scenario).

On the flip side, sustaining below 28300-28250 DJ-30 may fall to 28150/28000*-27700*/27500 and further to 27300*/27000-26700/26550* in the near term (under bear case scenario).

Technically, whatever may be the narrative, NQ-100 now has to sustain above 8405 for a further rally to 8455/8510*-8575/8645 and further to 8705/8795-8880/8925* in the near term (under bullish case scenario).

On the flip side, sustaining below 8385, NQ-100 may fall to 8275/8220*-8120/8050* and further to 7955*/7895-7800/7700* in the near term (under bear case scenario).

 

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