Published: Thu, January 03, 2019
Money | By Hannah Jacobs

China Daily | #AsiaNewsNetwork: Sino-US ties at 'vital stage', Xi says

China Daily | #AsiaNewsNetwork: Sino-US ties at 'vital stage', Xi says

Oil posted its first year of losses since 2015, with Brent crude futures down 19.5 percent and US West Texas Intermediate crude futures down 24.8 percent. Australia's S&P ASX/200's benchmark edged 0.1 percent lower to 5,646.40 and Singapore's benchmark was up 0.5 percent. The Nasdaq composite slid 3.9 per cent.

Brexit's impact on the United Kingdom and Europe also anxious investors, as did a slowdown in the Chinese economy. Bear markets are generally measured as a 20 percent retreat from recent highs.

The 2018 US National Security Strategy and US National Defense Strategy called China a strategic competitor and a revisionist power that aims to challenge US interests, which led many to believe that the US has taken a more hawkish attitude toward China.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last Sunday aimed to allay investor anxiety by announcing that he had held a conference call with major bank CEOs, but the comments were widely criticized by market watchers for raising new doubts. 2018 was a year fraught with volatility, characterized by record highs and sharp reversals.

Wall Street started 2018 strong, buoyed by a growing economy and corporate profits.

China's tariffs improved margins for US soy crushers such as Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM.N) by leaving plentiful supplies of cheap soybeans on the domestic market. Ahead of trade talks with China, President Trump negotiated a deal to lift tariffs on China's dietary staple, rice. A slowing USA housing market and forecasts of weaker global growth in 2019 stoked traders' unease. The indexes are still all down around 10 per cent for the month and on track for their worst December since 1931. A Christmas Eve plunge brought it briefly into bear market territory, or a drop of 20 per cent from its peak, before closing just short of the threshold that would have meant the end of the market's almost 10-year bull market run.

The risks confronting investors have market strategists along Wall Street forecasting another turbulent year for stocks in 2019, and potentially one of the most hard years for investors since the bull market began. The S&P 500 was down 6.2% and the Nasdaq fell 4%.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 15/32 in price to yield 2.686 percent, compared with 2.738 percent late on Friday. Best Buy gained 2.1 per cent to $52.41.

Health care and utilities ended as the only two positive sectors for the year.

As a decade-long equity bull run starts to waver, USA stocks halted a two-day rally Friday as thin trading added to already-volatile markets, though the S&P 500 Index held onto its first weekly gain in a month.

Energy companies fared the worst, plunging 20.5 per cent for the year, as the price of US crude oil tumbled around 40 per cent from a four-year peak of $76 a barrel in October.

On Monday, benchmark U.S. crude oil inched up 0.2 percent to settle at $45.41 a barrel in NY.

Shares were mixed Monday in subdued New Year's Eve trading.

In his message to Mr Trump, Mr Xi said China-US relations have experienced ups and downs but have made historic progress over the past four decades, state news agency Xinhua said.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -President Donald Trump has claimed many things during his life, but the one thing he pushes often is his ability to make a deal...and that's what he just did.

The pointless trade war president Donald Trump ignited - and who bragged will be easy to win - has made big losers out of both the United States and China to the tune of billions of lost dollars, while inflicting incalculable damage to global growth.

In comments broadcast live by all state media, Xi said China launched more than 100 major reform measures in 2018 and unveiled a comprehensive and systematic overhaul of both party and state institutions. The euro weakened to $1.1439 from $1.1442.

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