U.S. and World News
- The Trump administration sent a letter with specific requests to help reduce China’s trade surplus with the U.S. to Chinese economic overseer Liu He. These requests include a tariff cut on U.S. automobiles, more Chinese purchases of U.S. semiconductors and greater access to China’s financial sector by American companies. A list of retaliatory tariffs on a large number of major imports to China are to be announced soon.
- After revising its six-year-old bilateral trade deal with the U.S., South Korea is next to escape President Trump’s metal tariffs. Seoul will double its import quota for American-made cars and decrease the amount of steel sent to the United States. South Korea will also allow the United States to keep the 25% tariffs on pickup trucks in place for 20 more years.
- In more than a decade North and South Korea will hold their first Summit on April 27th, after Kim Jong-un pledged his commitment to denuclearization. The summit will be on the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone.
- During a meeting with President Xi in Beijing, Kim Jung-un agreed to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. Since he assumed power in 2011, this is Kim’s first known trip abroad. It is believed by analysts as preparation for upcoming summits with South Korea and the U.S. Kim is scheduled to meet President Trump sometime in May.
- The markets rebounded this week. The S&P 500 gained 05% and closed at 2,640.87. The Dow Jones followed suit by also gaining 2.42% and closed at 24,103.11. Year to date, the S&P is down 0.75% and the Dow Jones is down 1.95%.
- Yields moved lower this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 56% and 2.74%, respectively.
- The spot price of WTI Crude Oil decreased by 43% this week, closing at $64.94 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices are up 8.04%.
- The spot price of Gold fell this week by 62%, closing at $1,325.48 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 1.74%.
- Initial jobless claims dropped to a new 49-year low of 215,000, a decrease of 12,000. The largest decreases were in California, New York, New Jersey, and Virginia. The four-week moving average remained stable at 225,000.
- GDP grew to 2.9% reflecting a moderately faster pace of consumption growth.
- Merchant Wholesale inventories rose 1.1% in February.
- Pending home sales are up 3.1% in February which is slightly more than expected. Sales were led by the Northeast and the South regions. Pending home sales are still 4.1% lower than a year ago.
Fact of the Week
- American oil producers have pumped at least 10 million barrels a day of crude oil for the last 7 weeks, hitting 10.407 million barrels per day or the week ending Friday 3/16/18. The last time US oil producers hit 10 million barrels a day of crude oil was in 1970. (source: Energy Information Administration).
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