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World stocks hit by trade strain
September 12, 2018
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LONDON: World stocks slipped back towards three-week lows on Tuesday, on ongoing concerns over the trade dispute between Washington and Beijing, while the pound hovered near a five-week high on hopes of a UK-EU deal over Brexit.

MSCI’s index of global equities inched lower on the day, after European shares joined Asian bourses in the red as markets awaited action from US President Donald Trump after the expiry of a deadline for public comment on additional tariffs on Chinese goods.

European shares, having opened broadly higher, were down on the day, with a pan-European index of shares lower 0.3 per cent.

Hopes around a new Brexit deal kept the British pound near five-week highs however, helping lighten the mood a touch in Europe. The currency which rose 0.8 per cent on Monday after the European Union’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said a Brexit deal was possible within weeks, hit a new five-week high of $1.3087.

It slightly slipped off those levels as the trade worries returned to lift the dollar off the day’s lows.

However, it was the second time in less than a week that Barnier signalled his desire to push ahead on Brexit negotiations, less than seven months before the United Kingdom is slated to leave the European Union on March 29, 2019.

His comments have eased some of the anxiety that Britain would exit from the EU without any formal trading arrangement.

“The Barnier headlines mean there’s a lower hurdle for getting a separation deal done by the end of the year, when the discussion about the future relationship can begin,” said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

“Also, the fact that Trump still hasn’t announced the tariffs yet as expected has prompted a bit of cautious optimism, but it’s not a problem that’s going to go away,” he added.


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