Global markets are climbing on optimism that a “phase one” US-China trade deal is within reach — and that a rollback of existing tariffs could be part of the package.
The news sparked speculation that Wall Street will set records again today.
Stocks “look to extend the market’s rally amid growing optimism that, as part of phase one of trade talks, the US will suspend tariffs on $156 billion of Chinese imports scheduled to take effect on December 15 and possibly roll back the September 1 tariffs on about $110 billion in goods,” wrote Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO, in a note to clients.
All three indexes hit all-time highs on Monday, so any incremental gain will put them again in record territory.
“Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 70 points and indicated a positive open of more than 58 points, while futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were also higher,” CNBC reported early Tuesday. “Major averages are on track for a third straight positive session.”
The Financial Times is reporting that Trump administration officials are debating removing some existing tariffs on Chinese goods to help seal a partial deal that would reduce tensions with Beijing as early as this month. The Wall Street Journal says that US and Chinese officials are “actively considering” rollbacks.
The United States is assessing current tariffs as it works to finalize “phase one” of a trade deal, officials told CNN, but no decisions have been made.
“Cue a further improvement in global risk sentiment,” Societe Generale strategist Kit Juckes wrote in a note to clients.
Such news reports take the idea that talks are going well to the next level. Goldman Sachs told clients on Sunday that it believed tariffs have likely peaked, and new taxes planned for December 15 would never take effect.
But the investment bank still predicted that US tariffs on imports from China would stay at current levels through 2020, and said it couldn’t entirely write off the risk of higher duties.
“A US-China deal that substantially reduces US tariffs continues to look much less likely than an eventual breakdown in talks that leads to renewed tariff escalation,” said Alec Phillips, Goldman’s chief US political economist.
The thinking, per Phillips: “Achieving a broad US-China agreement dealing with issues like technology transfer looks quite difficult, and we believe it is unlikely that the White House would lower tariffs meaningfully unless such a comprehensive deal can be reached.”