Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
Fresh optimism that the US and China could end their trade war is pushing markets higher this morning.
Asian stocks have hit their highest level in seven months today, with gains in Tokyo, Shanghai, Seoul and Hong Kong. Optimism is on the rise, shaking off worries about the global economy.
The rally comes as China’s Vice Premier Liu He heads to Washington with a group of trade negotiators, in another push for a deal.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow has fuelled optimism of a breakthrough, telling the US Chamber of Commerce that:
“We expect to make more headway. I can’t report any of the details, but it’s a larger, grander discussion than anything we’ve had before in U.S.-China trade relations, and there’s a certain amount of optimism.
The tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by China and America on each other’s goods have been blame for the slowdown in global growth recently, so investors are desperate for signs of détente.
President Trump will also be keen to announce a victory, especially as the US economy seems to have cooled of late.
However, hawkish members of the US administration will be demanding significant concessions from Beijing, on issues such as intellectual property protection. So there’s no guarantee of a breakthrough this week.
Oil is also benefitting from this morning’s wave of optimism, hitting its highest level since the start of 2019.
Yesterday, world markets hit a six-month high, with Britain’s FTSE 100 jumping over 1% to its highest level since October 2018. European markets are expected to push higher today.
Also coming up today
The latest surveys of purchasing managers (PMIs) will show how the world’s service sector companies performed last month.
The UK Services PMI is tipped to dip to 51.0, from 51.3, signalling little growth in March.
Europe could do better, with its services PMI expected to hold at 52.7, while America probably had a stronger month.
- 9am BST: Eurozone services PMI for March
- 9.30am BST: UK services PMI for March
- 3pm BST: US services PMI for March