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EU agrees to start trade talks with US

The European Commission receives a mandate from the EU to negotiate new trade arrangements with the US.

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EU members yesterday, 15 April granted permission to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for trade talks with the US.

Last year Juncker and Donald Trump agreed they wanted to reduce trade barriers. However, only a week ago the US announced tariffs on $11 billion’s worth of European goods in response to subsidies for the pan-European aircraft manufacturer Airbus. Any sign that tariffs escalation can be averted and the giant German car industry is safe will be a positive for the Eurozone.

Meanwhile, analysts have forecast the UK unemployment rate will remain at 3.9 per cent, having dropped from 4 per cent in January despite the number of new jobless claims jumping to 27,000. That was the biggest increase since May 2018 when the Universal Credit initiative was introduced. If the figure for February comes in above the forecast of 20,000, the Pound could weaken as any indication that the labour market could suffer from Brexit will limit consumers’ ability to spend.

Later today, the US will release industrial output data. The forecast is that the manufacturing sector grew in March by 0.2 per cent, compared to a flat reading of 0 per cent in February. As concerns over global growth are not abating, any sign the US is weathering the storm well will boost the Dollar.

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