International markets and U.S. futures are reacting positively to hopes that tariffs wars between the U.S. and both China and Europe might begin to cool.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has suggested in meetings rolling back tariffs on goods from China to calm markets, according to the Wall Street Journal. March 1, 2019 is the deadline for U.S. tariffs on Chinese products to jump from 10% to 25%. However, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer opposes the idea because it might telegraph weakness in talks.
And on Friday, European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said the EU is ready to talk tariff deals with the U.S., according to Reuters. Part of Donald Trump’s trade policy and demand for better deals included the potential of a 25% duty on imported cars, which would be a problem for some major European firms.
“We are prepared to put our vehicles tariffs on the negotiating table … if the U.S. agree to work together toward zero tariffs on industrial goods,” Malmstrom said during a news conference. She also noted that higher auto tariffs would face retaliation.
Even with the uncertainty of improvements, investors and traders have largely taken it as good news. Asia Pacific markets generally traded higher, as CNBC reported. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 1.14% and the Shanghai Composite rose 1.42%. The Nikkei gained 1.29% and South Korea’s Kospi lifted 0.82%.
Pre-market trading Friday morning saw the S&P 500 up 0.44%, with the Nasdaq gaining 0.6% and the Dow, 0.61%.