US President Donald Trump has extended the 1 March deadline for increasing tariffs on $200 billion’s worth of Chinese imports, suggesting Washington and Beijing made progress on some of the underlying issues, including intellectual property, technology transfers and foreign exchange. No further details were given on the timing of the new tariff deadline.
The yield on the 10-year US Treasuries fell by 4 basis points to 2.65 per cent after the Federal Reserve admitted it did not expect to reduce its balance sheet to levels seen ahead of the 2008 financial crisis.
Meanwhile, European stock markets made only minor gains, with analysts suggesting Europe’s exports could be the next target for the White House at a time when Eurozone growth remains almost stagnant.
In the UK, Prime Minister Theresa May has pushed back the next Brexit vote in Parliament to 12 March, just 17 days before Britain is due to leave the European Union to the dismay of business, Tory Brexiteers and European leaders. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and the CBI business group condemned the gambit as “running down the clock”.
MPs see the new deadline as May’s way to circumvent their attempts to extend the Brexit talks. A proposal by Labour’s Yvette Cooper, which Parliament is set to debate on Wednesday, 27 February would enable MPs to seek an extension to the exit process if no deal has been approved by Parliament by 13 March.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz noted it might “be good to postpone Brexit” if May failed to win a majority by early March.
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