May 15, 2018
- US retail sales increased slightly in April versus March, though gasoline prices continue to weigh on consumers’ discretionary spending.
- Round 2 of trade talks between China and the US start today in Washington, with this round expected to be 4-days long. The talks became necessary after Trump demanded a $200 billion reduction in China’s trade surplus with the US.
- In the last couple of days Trump softened the line he was taking by offering a concession to Chinese telecom company ZTE, which was banned from using US technology after it was found to have evaded US sanctions on North Korea and Iran. Now Trump is looking to get ZTE back into business…“fast”.
- Oil prices are continuing to benefit from the impending US sanctions against Iran. Markets are also watching for today’s American Petroleum Institute weekly inventory report. WTI crude is up 0.78% to $61.51, with Brent crude up 0.70% to $78.80 at the time of writing.