Mon, Feb 11, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Investors watch US-China talks

EARNINGS SEASON:Several local firms are to hold earnings conferences soon, while a pilot strike might affect China Airlines shares and a GDP forecast is due on Wednesday


Investors will be hoping that the US and China can put trade talks back on the road to a deal after US President Donald Trump said that he is unlikely to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) before a March 1 deadline to avert higher US tariffs on Chinese goods.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin are to lead a group of US administration officials headed to Beijing, although Lighthizer has said that it was not certain a pact could be reached.

Time is running out for the world’s largest economies to strike an agreement before next month, when the Trump administration is set to more than double tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods.

While the US has said that it is a hard deadline, Trump has also suggested that he could agree to extend negotiations beyond this month’s end if progress is being made.

“Our base case is that China will package together enough concessions for the US to declare a partial victory and hold off on tariff hikes,” Bloomberg Economics chief economist Tom Orlik said. “Absent more concrete details on the discussions, uncertainty around that call is considerable.”

The White House said that there would be a preparatory meeting of senior officials beginning today and the talks would include officials from the US departments of Agriculture, Energy and Commerce.

The main delegation also includes David Malpass, whom Trump has nominated to be president of the World Bank and who has worked to limit the bank’s assistance to Beijing.

However, White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro, a strident China critic, was not listed as part of the US team.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (劉鶴) would join Lighthizer and Mnuchin in the trade talks this week, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on Saturday, without giving further details about the talks that are to take place on Thursday and Friday.

For local investors, other key economic events to watch this week include the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics’ release of its first-quarter GDP growth forecast on Wednesday and the Ministry of Finance’s export report, which is due on Friday.

Tomorrow, the central bank is to publish its latest foreign exchange reserve tallies.

A number of listed companies are scheduled to hold earnings conferences right after the Lunar New Year holiday, providing investors a glimpse of corporate financial results in the fourth quarter of last year and the business outlook for this quarter.

China Airlines Ltd (中華航空) stocks are worth watching as trading resumes on the Taiwan Stock Exchange amid an ongoing pilots’ strike.

Additional reporting by AFP and staff writer

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