Latin America markets affected by US-China trade deal

By Sergio Garcia Hernandez

BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) – Financial experts do not usually wait to decide on money — they anticipate and the effects of a particular political event may have on world markets.

The recent signing of a "phase one" agreement between the U.S. and China, which slows down or at least suspends the so-called trade war, is part of those anticipated events.

According to several financial and economic analysts, it was taken for granted by markets.

Since the end of 2019, the Latin American market had been anticipating possible low trade tensions between the two major world economic powers. That is why the most crucial effects of the agreement, signed Wednesday, would have been foreseen since December.

Felipe Campos, manager of strategies and investigations at Alianza Group — a fiduciary and commission agency, told Anadolu Agency that markets did perceive in advance the effects of an agreement suspending the trade war.

In Latin America, the main effect of the brake on the trade dispute was the revaluation of the region's currencies, which became evident with a drop in the value of the dollar last December, said the analyst.

For that reason, he affirms that any other consequence of the agreement, after its, would be "very limited."

"The dollar has already dropped its value quite a lot and I don't think that with the signing there will be any additional impacts," Campos said.

According to the analyst, since the end of last year, the world's stock markets, including Latin America's, had also taken into account that China and the U.S. would not escalate their trade dispute.

The stock market would have already had its rise in Latin America due to the end of tensions between the two powers and its eventual share price in the coming months would be associated with other events, such as the next presidential elections in the United States.

"Election years are good, but they are very volatile in the United States and that is reflected in Colombia. The issue of the global economic slowdown also generates noise that can affect oil prices," he said.

The expert also said he does not believe there will be a reactivation of trade in Latin America on behalf of the recent agreement unless Washington and Beijing enter into the second phase of negotiations and accept forceful tariff reductions on goods.

The trade war halt was not the only issue that allowed Latin American currencies to gain value at the end of 2019, according to Campos.

Several events led to the recovery of trade and stop currency devaluation in Latin America, such as the Federal Reserve's decision to keep interest rates unchanged, the announcement of a plebiscite that ended Chile popular uprising and the small cuts in OPEC oil production,

"I think all these elements helped the risky assets at the end of the year, especially to developed country's stock markets than emerging countries, but let's say they all benefited from it," said Campos.

The U.S. and China signed a "phase one" trade deal Wednesday that marks a major milestone in the more than two-year trade war between the world's top two economies.

The trade war has rattled global markets on fears it could spark a global slowdown.

At issue for Washington is a lopsided trade imbalance with China — the U.S. had a $378.6 billion trade deficit with China in 2018, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative — as well as concerns over intellectual property theft, including what the Trump administration says is Beijing's policy of forced technology transfer.

China agreed "to make significant reforms" as part of the deal, including enhancing intellectual property protections and ending forced technology transfer, according to the White House, which said China further promised to make "substantial" purchases of American goods and services "in the coming years."

The agreement establishes a mechanism for the parties to resolve disputes during its implementation.

Trump imposed wave after wave of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods and China has responded in kind. To date, the U.S. has imposed tariffs on roughly $360 billion in Chinese imports.

Trump maintained U.S. tariffs would remain in place until a final deal with China is reached "because otherwise, we have no cards left to negotiate with."

Ahead of the agreement's formal signing, the Treasury Department dropped China on Tuesday from its list of currency manipulators.

Instead of being treated as a currency manipulator, China is now on a "monitoring list" of U.S. trade partners that "merit close attention." The list includes Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Switzerland and Vietnam.

*Jose Baez G. from Colombia contributed to the story

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By Handan Kazanci

ANKARA (AA) - Anadolu Agency is here with a rundown of the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic and other news in Turkey and around the world.

- Coronavirus in Turkey

Turkey on Thursday confirmed 926 additional recoveries as the country began easing measures against the novel coronavirus, according to the country’s health minister.

The total number of recoveries from the disease hit 131,778 as 926 more patients were discharged from hospitals over the past day, Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter, citing Health Ministry data.

The country's death toll from the outbreak rose to 4,630 as Turkey reported 21 new fatalities over the last 24 hours.

Turkey conducted over 54,000 COVID-19 tests in the past 24 hours, bringing the total tally to more than 2.2 million, said Koca.

Meanwhile, Turkey plans to resume international flights to 40 countries gradually as of June 10, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu said Thursday.

International flights from Turkey will carry passengers first to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Qatar and Greece, Karaismailoglu said in a statement.

Turkey suspended all international flights on March 28 amid COVID-19-related travel restrictions worldwide.

- Global coronavirus developments

A low death toll was once again recorded Thursday as France recovers from the coronavirus pandemic which plagued the country over the last three months, according to the latest statistics reported by the Health Ministry.

The country registered a total of 46 deaths in hospitals Thursday, a drop of 39 cases over those reported Wednesday.

Italy on Thursday reported 88 more fatalities from the pandemic, bringing the death toll to 33,689 as authorities unveiled new guidelines to prevent crowded summer spots like beach resorts from becoming new virus hotbeds.

The slowing trend in the number of deaths registered in May continued in early June, confirming that the peak of the crisis has been passed.

Face masks on English public transport will be mandatory from June 15, the British government announced Thursday, as a further 176 people died from the coronavirus over the past 24 hours.

British authorities announced that the UK-wide death toll from COVID-19 is now 39,904.

As Spain prepares for its state of emergency over COVID-19 to last until June 21, the Health Ministry reported Thursday that 195 more people were infected with the coronavirus and five more had died.

The number of infections diagnosed Wednesday was down slightly from the 219 people who tested positive Tuesday but up from Monday and Sunday. In total, 240,660 infections have been confirmed in the country.

Health officials in the Palestinian enclave of Gaza announced Thursday the arrival of medical supplies sent by Turkey to help fight the novel coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement, Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra confirmed that two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines had been delivered for detecting the virus.

- George Floyd Memorial service

Hundreds of mourners on Thursday attended the first of several memorials for George Floyd – an unarmed black man who was killed in police custody on May 25.

The service at North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota was attended by Floyd's family and Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney representing the family, as well as celebrity guests.

Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday urged demonstrators joining protests over the death of George Floyd to get tested for the novel coronavirus.

Speaking at his daily press briefing, Cuomo said around 30,000 people have taken part in the statewide protests demanding justice for the killing of the unarmed black man in police custody.

Of them, 20,000 were involved in rallies in New York City.

In Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged citizens not to overlook the racism problem in Germany while intensely discussing racism and police brutality in the US after the death of George Floyd.

"This murder of George Floyd is very, very terrible. Racism is something terrible,” Merkel said Thursday evening in an exclusive interview with public broadcaster ZDF.

“Racism has always been present, but sadly we also have this [problem]. We should first sweep in front of our own door,” she stressed.

- Other developments

Turkey and Libya plan to advance cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean, including exploration and drilling activities, to further benefit from natural resources, Turkey’s president said in a meeting with Libya’s prime minister Thursday.

The meeting between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Fayez al-Sarraj took place at the presidential palace in the Turkish capital Ankara.

Erdogan said Turkey and Libya have reached a consensus on expanding their cooperation areas on the territory of Libya.