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World stocks on edge over trade worries
September 04, 2018
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LONDON: Global stock markets diverged Monday, with a weak pound lifting London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index and offsetting trade war concerns dragging down equities elsewhere.

In the eurozone, Frankfurt stocks dipped 0.2 per cent and Paris flatlined, as US President Donald Trump eyed fresh tariffs on a swathe of Chinese goods − while Nafta talks with Canada appeared to hit a wall.

“European equity markets are mixed... as traders remain cautious about global trading relationships,” said CMC Markets UK analyst David Madden.

“President Trump appears to be taking a tough line with Canada and the EU, and there is speculation he will ramp up tariffs on Chinese imports.” In a tweet over the weekend, Trump threatened to exclude Canada from a new North American Free Trade Agreement after negotiations to rewrite the 1994 pact ended without agreement.

Trump had already roiled markets last week by saying he wanted to impose tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports as soon as public consultation ends on Thursday, adding to the $50 billion already targeted.

That rekindled fears of an all-out trade war between the world’s top two economies.

Asian stock markets opened the week on a negative note, with Tokyo closing down 0.7 per cent, Hong Kong losing 0.6 per cent and Shanghai shaving 0.2 per cent.

- Brexit division hits pound - London equities meanwhile jumped 0.9 per cent on Monday on the back of the sliding pound, which traditionally boosts the share prices of multinationals.

Sterling sank on growing political acrimony over British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit blueprint, and after weak UK manufacturing survey data.

Pro-Brexit figurehead Boris Johnson labelled May’s plan a surrender that hands “victory” to the European Union, ahead of the nation’s exit from the bloc in March 2019.

The EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier remains “strongly” opposed to her blueprint, saying it could lead to the downfall of European integration.

“The Brexit optimism of last week has been predictably fleeting, with Barnier ripping Theresa May’s Chequers plans into shreds,” noted IG analyst Joshua Mahony.


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