US President Donald Trump met on Thursday with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and discussed ways to reach agreement in the trade war. Trump sounded optimistic in his remarks and tweets earlier. “We’ve made tremendous progress,” he said.
Trump also revealed that he will meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and sign “the biggest deal ever made.” No date is set yet.
US Trade representative Bob Lighthizer and Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin are heading to Beijing for more detailed talks in early February.
The private Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) on China’s manufacturing came in on Friday at 48.3 for January, proving a second consecutive month of contraction and the lowest reading in the past three years.
The reading was weaker than the 49.5 expected. The Caixin/PMI reading above 50 means expansion, a number below that level indicates contraction.
EP on track with the US Venezuela policy
In yet another step taken by Western powers against the socialist regime of President Nicolas Maduro, the European Parliament voted on Thursday to recognize Juan Guiado as the interim President of the Latin American country and urged member states to follow suit.
Germany’s hawkish Weidmann warns
Germany’s Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann said he expected the slump in the European powerhouse to continue throughout the year and warned of gloomier news in the mid-term.
“Contrary to our forecast from December, the dip in growth is likely to extend into the current year,” said Weidmann who the German government hopes to install in the post of ECB President Mario Draghi when the latter’s tenure expires.
“From today’s perspective, therefore, the German economy will probably grow well below the potential rate of 1.5 percent in 2019. Bad news from the German economy could keep coming for a while,” he added.
Positive news for Japan
The unemployment rate in Japan to 2.4 fell in December from 2.5 the previous month. Data from the Internal Affairs Ministry on Friday showed that the availability of jobs remained steady.
US Senate vs Trump in Syria pullout
In strong disapproval of Trump, the US Senate with the participation of both Democrats and Republicans passed on Thursday a largely symbolic bill that opposed President’s plans for any hasty troops withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan. The Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Islamic militant groups in both countries continued to pose a “serious threat” to the US.