World shares gain on reports Trump might delay tariff hike

Joe Mcdonald
Associated Press

Beijing – Global stock markets rose Wednesday following reports President Donald Trump’s advisers were preparing for a possible delay in a weekend tariff hike on Chinese goods.

London and Frankfurt rose in early trading while Shanghai and Hong Kong closed higher. Tokyo declined.

Investors were counting on Trump to postpone Sunday’s duty increase on $160 billion of Chinese imports. But with no official action, Wall Street fell for a second day Tuesday.

In this Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, file photo, a guard tower and barbed wire fences are seen around a facility in the Kunshan Industrial Park in Artux in western China's Xinjiang region.

The Wall Street Journal and other outlets reported Trump’s advisers were preparing to postpone punitive duties on smartphones, laptop computers, toys and other goods. But they said the president had yet to decide.

“Markets hope that the tariff can is kicked down the road while talks are underway,” said Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank in a report. However, he warned, such hopes are “tentative if not fragile” with no commitment from Trump.

Investors are looking ahead to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision Wednesday on interest rates and a similar decision Thursday by the European Central Bank.

Both are expected to affirm a commitment to low rates to support economic growth.

Elsewhere, markets are watching Britain’s parliamentary election Thursday. Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the election two years before it was required in hopes of a gaining a majority in the House of Commons to support his plan to leave the European Union by the end of January whether or not the two sides have negotiated details of their future relations.

The biggest risk for stocks has been the U.S.-Chinese tariff fight over Beijing’s technology ambitions and trade surplus. It has weighed on global commerce and threatens to depress economic growth.

On Thursday, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives and the White House announced a revised trade deal with Mexico and Canada. The deal would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement and would offer more provisions for U.S. workers.