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Focus back on US-China trade talks – Asian markets rise

The Thaiger

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Focus back on US-China trade talks – Asian markets rise | The Thaiger

“A large percentage of the market thinks China may roll the dice and take advantage of what they think is Trump’s weakened political state.”

Asian markets rise today as investors resume their focus on the next round of China-US trade talks this week. But hopes for success are being tempered by mixed messages from both sides of the table. There has been a general feeling of positivity in recent weeks that a solution to the long-running tariffs saga can be found, providing some much-needed support to equities in the face of worsening economic data.

Beijing’s top trade envoy Liu He will meet with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin from Thursday this week.

But observers warn it is unlikely progress will be smooth, with reports this week saying China had cut back on the number of areas it is willing to discuss, suggesting leaders sense weakness in the White House as Donald Trump faces impeachment proceedings and a slowing economy.

Trump said late Monday he preferred to strike a big deal. “We’ve come this far. We’re doing well. I would much prefer a big deal and I think that’s what we’re shooting for.”

And on Monday, the US said it was blacklisting 28 Chinese entities it accuses of being implicated in rights violations and abuses targeting Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region. The move bars them from buying US products.

The meeting comes just over a week before a new round of punitive tariffs is due to be imposed on China.

Stephen Innes, Asia-Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader says China is gaining confidence in the lead up to the negotiations.

“A large percentage of the market thinks China may roll the dice and take advantage of what they think is Trump’s weakened political state, trying to push negotiations closer to next November’s presidential election”.

“In this context… Trump may decide to hardball the upcoming talks, suggesting there could be a high level of disappointment even relative to the market’s muted expectations.”

Still, regional markets were enjoying some much-needed buying support today as the Chinese delegation heads to Washington. Hong Kong climbed 0.7% as dealers returned from a long weekend break to mixed US jobs data that eased concerns about a US recession while also keeping expectations for an interest rate intact. Shanghai rose 0.6% following the week-long National Day celebrations, while Tokyo went into the break 1% higher.

Sydney and Singapore were each 0.5% higher, Seoul rose 0.9%, Manila jumped more than 1%, and Taipei and Jakarta both put on 0.6%. Wellington was slightly lower.

Also on the agenda for investors is the release this week of minutes from last month’s US Federal Reserve policy meeting, which will provide an idea about the bank’s thinking leading up to its rate cut, while third-quarter earnings season also gets underway.

Key figures this morning…

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.0% at 21,596.47 (break)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.7% at 26,010.07

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.6% at 2,923.26

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0976 from $1.0970 at 2040 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2292 from $1.2297

Dollar/yen: UP at 107.34 yen from 107.29 yen

West Texas Intermediate: UP 34 cents at $53.09 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 40 cents at $58.75 per barrel

New York – Dow: DOWN 0.4% at 26,478.02 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.6% at 7,197.88 (close)

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

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Economy

TAT says ‘all go’ for tourism discount campaign

Greeley Pulitzer

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TAT says ‘all go’ for tourism discount campaign | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thailand Shopping and Dining Paradise

The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s governor says that the TAT will introduce two domestic tourism promotional measures – a 100 baht nationwide tourism campaign, and “shocking-price weekday” discounts.

The 100 baht campaign will offer some 40,000 products and services at only 100 baht each. Registration is required and will be open on November 11-12 and December 11-12, 2019, for up to 10,000 people each day on the the TAT website, starting at midnight each day.

The weekday discount campaign, valid Mondays to Thursdays will run from November 1 until December 3, offering up to 70% discounts on selected tourism products. The TAT will open an online store offering the same discounts. Eligible purchases made with the government’s wallet app will also receive a 15% VAT rebate.

The TAT says they are now ensuring the readiness of the system to accommodate registrations, after issues found during the previous ‘Chim Shop Chai’ campaign for Thais in a recent successful economic stimulus package from the government. In that campaign the government handed out 1000 baht gift to Thais with the stipulation it had to be spent in another province. 12 million Thais registered for the program.

The governor says he is confident these measures will provide an ongoing economic boost following the success of the Chim Shop Chai campaign, spiking revenue 10-20% during the campaign.

SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand

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Economy

Strong baht and divisive politics threatening Thailand’s economy

May Taylor

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Strong baht and divisive politics threatening Thailand’s economy | The Thaiger

The director of the Economic and Business Research Centre for Reform at Thailand’s Rangsit University, says that if the US Federal Reserve cuts the policy rate by another 25 basis points this month, the baht could reach 29 baht to the US dollar.

Anusorn Tamajai says such a cut would put pressure on Thailand’s currency, which has been seen as a safe haven. The surging baht continues to create problems for policymakers, as exporters complain about the exchange rate making their products more expensive as they struggle to remain competitive.

While the Bank of Thailand is preparing a range of new measures to address the soaring baht, it continues to edge closer to 30 baht to the dollar, hitting a six-year high last week.

Insecurity in the global economy continues, and although it’s expected that the US will agree a partial trade deal with China, President Trump still plans to raise tariffs on another batch of Chinese goods worth $160 billion to 15% come December. The ongoing uncertainty is expected to have a severe impact on China’s economy, Anusorn says.

The US has also announced a boycott of Chinese tech companies, accusing them of human rights abuses among the country’s minority Muslim population, and President Trump has also warned China that any acts of violence against pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong would negatively impact a US-China trade deal.

Meanwhile, in Thailand, there is ongoing disagreement over amending the junta-sponsored Constitution, with opposition politicians, academics, and civil groups in favour, while the Army Chief remains opposed.

Anusorn fears the ongoing schism in the country’s political landscape may have a detrimental effect on consumer and investor confidence.

“Hate speech could deepen political conflicts and adversely affect confidence. There is a need for political reconciliation by all sides and a determined move towards democracy and raising the standard of living of the people.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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Economy

“Eat, Shop, Spend” drive reaches registration target

Greeley Pulitzer

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“Eat, Shop, Spend” drive reaches registration target | The Thaiger

Ten million people signed up for the first Eat, Shop, Spend stimulus campaign since its launch on September 23. The organisers have expressed thanks to all who have participated.

The first phase of the campaign aimed to boost domestic spending by offering 10 million people a 1,000 baht voucher via the G-Wallet mobile application to spend in specific shops, outside their province, before November 30.

The Minister of Finance says the campaign will be extended into Phase 2 but with the criteria and regulations adjusted to attract more people with purchasing power to spend their own money, without the 1,000 baht per person give-away seen in Phase 1. The second phase will take place in November and December.

SOURCES: The Thaiger | The Nation | National News Bureau of Thailand

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