Monday, October 31, 2016
Friday, October 28, 2016
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Minister-President of Wallonia Paul Magnette arrives at a meeting on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a planned EU-Canada free trade agreement, at the Lambermont Residence in Brussels, Belgium, October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Yves Herman
By Robert-Jan Bartunek | BRUSSELS
Belgium agreed a deal with its regional parliaments on Thursday to approve a landmark EU-Canada free trade agreement, breaking a deadlock that has blocked the pact for weeks.
Prime Minister Charles Michel said the heads of the regions had drawn up an addendum to the agreement that answered their concerns over the rights of farmers and governments - an addendum that still needs the approval of Canada and other EU states.
Canada called the announcement a "positive development", a cautious welcome echoed by European Council President Donald Tusk, who chairs EU leaders' summits.
But both stopped short of declaring the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a done deal.
"Only once all procedures are finalised for EU signing CETA, will I contact (Canadian) PM @JustinTrudeau," Tusk said in a tweet.
All 28 EU governments back CETA, which supporters say could increase trade by 20 percent, but Belgium had been prevented from giving its consent because of objections led by its French-speaking Wallonia region.
Wallonia, along with the capital Brussels and Belgium's grouping of French speakers, had opposed the deal for weeks, saying it was bad for Europe's farmers and gave too much power to global corporate interests.
Belgium's Prime Minister Michel did not give detail on Thursday on how Wallonia's concerns had been allayed in the addendum. But the premier of the Flemish region, Geert Bourgeois, said the original 1,598-page text of the trade deal stood.
"This is a clarification, the actual treaty does not change," he said
Failure to strike a deal with such a like-minded country as Canada would have called into question the EU's ability to forge other deals and damage credibility already battered by Britain's vote to leave the bloc and disputes over the migration crisis.
Canada's trade minister Chrystia Freeland, who walked out of talks in Walloon capital Namur last Friday, had asked, if the EU could not do a deal with Canada, who could it do a deal with.
"I'm sorry for all other Europeans and our Canadian partners that they had to wait, but what we managed to get here is important not just for Wallonia but for all of Europe," said Paul Magnette, Socialist premier of the Walloon region who has led opposition to the deal.
He said the Belgian deal meant the trade agreement would be one that set clear rules on the global economic order.
"We want to regulate the market, we want to protect citizens, for that we fought, and I think it was worth it because we were heard."
(Additional reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Andrew Heavens)
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
People walk through the lobby of the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain August 25, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/File photo - RTSKZK9
By Marc Jones | LONDON
World markets had a swagger about them on Tuesday as upbeat economic data and signs of a revival in inflation pushed up stocks and commodity prices and kept the dollar at a nine-month high.
Factory surveys in the United States and Europe had boasted the best readings of the year so far on Monday and a six-month high for Japanese stocks in Tokyo [.T] overnight had followed a record close for the tech-heavy U.S. Nasdaq. [.N]
European markets started with Germany's Dax .GDAXI nudging its highest level of the year as the closely-watch Ifo sentiment survey beat expectations a day after purchasing manager numbers had done the same.
The region's mining firms .SXPP were the standout performers though as they hit a 14-month top as zinc surged to a five-year peak and iron ore reached its highest since mid-2014, all of which should pick up the pulse of inflation globally.
"We are seeing a pick up of economic activity against the backdrop of only one central bank -- the Fed -- that is likely to tighten policy and that is supporting asset markets," said CMC Markets senior analyst Michael Hewson.
In the foreign exchange markets, the dollar .DXY took a breather having reached its highest since early February against other top currencies as traders continued to add to the bets on a December U.S. interest rate rise <0#FF:>. [/FRX]
China's yuan CHH=D3 went the other way, hitting its lowest since 'offshore' trading was introduced in 2010 as Beijing nudged down official rates again [CNY=PBOC].
It traded as soft as 6.7882 yuan per dollar. The currency's fall of more than 1.5 percent since the end of September has prompted renewed suspicion of a possible extended slide in the yuan, even though officials have reiterated their expectations for a stable currency.
But the weakness has revived memories of a shock yuan devaluation last August and another rapid depreciation early this year - falls that triggered a bout of global market turmoil.
But analysts pointed out that during this round of yuan weakness, global risk sentiment was holding up.
"That highlights the extent to which dollar gains are unlikely to be as extended as they were (in the past)," said BNP Paribas currency strategist Sam Lynton-Brown, in London.
The cheer around the mining sector increased as a production update pushed up London-listed giant Anglo American's shares (AAL.L) up over 3 percent to take their gains this year to almost 270 percent.
The staggering rise has made Anglo the top performing stock on Europe's STOXX 600 this year.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei .N225 rose 0.7 percent to levels last seen in April as a softening yen burnished the outlook for the country's exporters. Australian stocks added 0.6 percent and Taiwan.TWII 0.7 percent.
Wall Street had taken encouragement from upbeat corporate results. Over one third of U.S. companies have now reported and 80 percent have beaten market expectations.
Another third of the S&P 500 components are scheduled to report earnings this week, including heavyweights Apple (AAPL.O), Alphabet (GOOGL.O), Amazon (AMZN.O) and Boeing (BA.N).
Merger and acquisition activity added extra fizz in the wake of AT&T Inc's (T.N) $85.4 billion bid for Time Warner Inc (TWX.N), though the deal seemed destined to face stringent scrutiny from regulators.
In commodities, oil prices dipped on news of the impending restart of Britain's Buzzard oilfield and Iraq's wish to be exempted from OPEC production cuts.
Brent LCOc1 was down 9 cents at $51.37 a barrel, while U.S. crude CLc1 also lost 2 cents to $50.50.
But going the other way were metals with zinc shining and Chinese iron ore futures reaching their highest since August 2014.
Coal prices also reached new peaks after weeks of gains, a prop for the Australian dollar AUD=D4as the two commodities are the country's biggest export earners.
Another mover was the Canadian dollar which rebounded from a seven-month low after Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said the decision on whether to cut interest rates again was not one to take lightly.
The comments countered recent speculation about an imminent easing and nudged the U.S. dollar down to C$1.3333 CAD=D4 from a peak at C$1.3398.
(Additional reporting by Wayne Cole in Sydney; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)
Monday, October 24, 2016
The European Parliament president says he is optimistic that a free-trade deal between the EU and Canada can be signed soon despite last-minute obstacles.
What is Ceta?
Why does success hinge on one small region?
Belgium's constitution stipulates that each of its regional governments must back the deal before the federal government can sign it.
How big a deal is this for Canada?
How does the EU look now?
Are there lessons for Brexit?
Friday, October 21, 2016
Traders react while working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., September 15, 2016.REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
By Alistair Smout | LONDON
Global stocks were set for their first weekly gain in four weeks on Friday and the dollar rose to its highest since March, as the euro came under pressure after the European Central Bank shot down talk of tapering its easy money stance.
The euro hit its lowest against the dollar since March after the ECB left its ultra-loose policy unchanged on Thursday but kept the door open to more stimulus in December.
ECB President Mario Draghi also doused recent market speculation that the central bank had discussed winding down its 1.7 trillion euro asset-buying programme.
"Weaning markets off easy monetary policy will be a delicate exercise for the ECB, and we think the bank is unlikely to remove its stimulus until inflation is solidly on track to 2 percent," Andrew Bosomworth, managing director and portfolio manager at PIMCO, said in a note.
"We thus view tapering as a topic for 2017 and beyond."
The dollar index touched 98.606, its highest since early March, while the euro was down 0.4 percent at $1.0887 after seeing a seven-month trough of $1.0875.
The dollar was down 0.2 percent at 103.73 yen after rising 0.5 percent in the previous session.
The dollar index was set for its third straight week of gains, driven by hardening expectations of a rise in U.S. interest rates in December.
China's offshore yuan fell to its lowest level in six years against the broadly stronger dollar.
After three weeks of falls, world stocks were set to end the week higher for the first time since September.
The dovish stance taken by the ECB helped underpin appetite for European stocks, with the STOXX Europe 600 rising 0.1 percent.
Equities have also been boosted by a good start to earnings season, with expectation-beating results from U.S. banks the highlights so far. On Friday, Norway's Yara International and France's Valeo were the latest to beat expectations.
However, companies such as Daimler have posted solid results but weak outlooks, and some said that the market's recent run was unsustainable.
"This week held several positives for markets. The Q3 earnings season so far managed to surprise rather strong market expectations and solidified anticipations that the earnings recession has ended after four quarters," said Susan Joho, economist at Julius Baer.
"As good as these developments may look at first sight, none of them are robust enough to be sustained in the next months. The reality looks more sober: corporate guidance is weak."
European equities posted a record 37th week straight of outflows, according to Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, and Europe Inc's third-quarter earnings are expected to see a double-digit decline, Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S/ data shows.
Sterling slipped 0.1 percent to $1.2236, taking in its stride comments by European Council President Donald Tusk that British Prime Minister Theresa May had confirmed that Brexit talks would be triggered by end-March 2017.
Weakness in the euro saw it slip to its lowest level versus the pound since a "flash crash" in sterling on October 7.
Portugal's government bond yields held just above six-week lows on Friday, with analysts expecting Lisbon to survive a crucial ratings review and keep its place in the European Central Bank's asset purchase scheme.
Oil edged higher as Russia reiterated its commitment to joining a producers' output freeze to stem a two-year slide in prices, turning higher after a strong dollar had knocked back prices overnight. Brent crude was last up 0.5 percent
A stronger greenback tends to increase the purchase cost for non-U.S. buyers of commodities such as crude oil and gold, which are denominated in dollars. Weakness in oil prices overnight contributed to falls in Asian equities.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed down 0.4 percent.
Spot gold was down 0.2 percent at $1,263.91 an ounce, although it was on track for a 1 percent gain on the week.
(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Toby Chopra)