US President Donald Trump tweeted on Tuesday that the so-called Phase-1 of the trade deal with China is going to be signed on January 15 at the White House.

Trump Announcement

“I will be signing our very large and comprehensive Phase One Trade Deal with China on January 15. The ceremony will take place at the White House. High level representatives of China will be present. At a later date I will be going to Beijing where talks will begin on Phase Two,” Trump said on Twitter.

Trump had last week claimed that he and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping would host a signing ceremony to seal the P-1 deal. The Chinese Foreign Ministry declined to comment on signing the trade agreement with the US at a press briefing Thursday.

China PMI

China’s manufacturing activity expanded in December, but missed expectations, The Markit/Caixin Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) released on Thursday showed. The index for manufacturing came in at 51.5 in versus the expected 51.7. The PMI was 51.8 in November.

IHS Markit and Caixin said in a press release that Chinese domestic demand expanded last month, but the pace was slower than previous months.

Oil Supported by Mideast

Oil prices are supported by revitalized trade relations between the US and China as demand concerns alleviate while tensions between the US and Iran in Iraq raises concerns over supplies.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Wednesday that about 750 soldiers were deployed to Iraq and an additional force could be sent if necessary in response to an attack on the American embassy in Baghdad.

The US military targeted the Iranian-backed Shia militia group Katib Hezbollah militia with airstrikes over the weekend in retaliation of an earlier attack by the group that killed an American civilian contractor. Shia militia supporters stormed the US Embassy in Baghdad on Wednesday, but they withdrew after the US and Iraq deployed extra troops in the vicinity of the embassy. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he strongly condemned the American attacks on Iran-backed militia in Iraq.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) will be releasing its official data due on Friday due to a delay for the New Year’s holiday.

China Bank Decision

China’s central bank slashed on Wednesday the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves. The people’s bank also released around 800 billion yuan ($114.91 billion) to help the economy overcome the slowdown and effects of the trade war with the US.

Kim’s New Pledge

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un is planning to develop his regime’s nuclear program further as he promises the introduction of a “new strategic weapon” in the near future, the state media KCNA reported on Wednesday.

Kim’s vow follows his last month threat of a ‘Christmas gift’ to the US unless Washington gives concessions in denuclearization talks.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “deeply concerned” that Pyongyang indicated it could resume nuclear and missile tests, a spokesperson said.


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