Global markets edge higher as US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are due to resume negotiations with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Washington today, shortly after both sides reported progress from talks in Beijing last week. The focus is now on whether both the countries can agree on lifting hefty US tariffs on Chinese exports.
The World Trade Organization lowered its forecast for trade growth this year by more than a percentage point to 2.6 percent, down from 3.7 percent due to an economic slowdown and amid a trade conflict between the US and China.
The UK services sector activity witnessed an unexpected downturn and entered the contraction territory for the first time in almost three years in March as the economy was brought to a standstill by the Brexit paralysis. The headline seasonally adjusted IHS Markit/CIPS UK Services PMI Index slipped to 48.9 in March vs. 51.3.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to meet opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn in a bid to break the Brexit deadlock. Earlier European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that if the UK cannot agree on a Brexit position by April 12, no short-term extension will be possible.