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Markets calm amid signs of US-China trade war truce

27 March 2018

Stocks recovered their poise Monday after a stormy week, as investors sensed that a trade war between the US and China could be averted.

Beijing could also inflict pain on U.S. multinationals that rely on China for a substantial - and growing - portion of their total revenues, said Alex Wolf, senior emerging markets economist at Aberdeen Standard Investments. Steven Mnuchin is even considering a trip to Beijing to continue the talks.

Stock markets have responded positively to reports that USA and Chinese officials are negotiating in a bid to de-escalate the chances of a full-blown trade war. In February a year ago, China imported just 9 cubic metres from the U.S.

Mr Kennedy said a deal to cut China's US$375 billion United States goods trade surplus by US$100 billion is far easier to achieve with additional purchases of U.S. soybeans, beef, liquefied natural gas, Boeing aircraft and other equipment.

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China's Ministry of Commerce said the 15% tariff would be applied to a range of US products including fresh and dried fruit, nuts and wine.

"The president's public statements on these exemptions lay bare that not only was the Steel Proclamation a political move, but the true rationale was simply that of seeking leverage in other trade negotiations", Severstal's lawsuit says.

A South Korean presidential office spokesperson said that the government was closely monitoring the situation, studying all possibilities and communicating closely with the countries involved, reports Efe news.

Rather than how proposed tariffs would impact companies' bottom lines, Preston says of greater concern are the indirect effects of "a more adversarial global trade environment and the uncertainty it breeds that could hamper investment and trigger volatility on financial markets".

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USA soybean growers want to maintain strong relationships, which are especially important during times like this, said Lindsay Greiner, president-elect of the Iowa Soybean Association and a farmer near Keota in eastern Iowa.

For now, it remains unclear when or if US tariffs on Chinese imports will come into effect.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said she was unaware of the situation. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Sunday talk shows that the $60 billion in USA tariffs could be avoided through talks and a possible agreement that could require China to open its markets to more US goods. It said American market-opening requests as a possible condition of a settlement covered the auto, finance and semiconductor industries. Xinhua cited Liu as saying Beijing is "capable of safeguarding its national interests".

The U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports have drawn widespread criticism and sparked fears that metals markets elsewhere will be oversupplied after the United States slams its door.

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For additional details from the economists, read the full reports from TD and BMO.

Markets calm amid signs of US-China trade war truce