US and China Show Diverging Manufacturing Data Ahead of Would-Be Trade Pact

It has become rather difficult to predict the daily ups and downs of how trade negotiations between China and the United States will go. The current expectation is for a so-called phase one diluted trade pact to be signed, but even if that occurs, the real meat around intellectual property, ownership and forced technology transfers will remain. Both nations need and want the trade war to end, but the goalposts keep getting moved along the way. Also, a slew of economic data is showing mixed messages that will continue to work for or against each nation as time drags on.

U.S. manufacturing activity contracted in November, according to one report. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing PMI fell to 48.1 in November, well short of the 50.0 mark for three consecutive months. This was more than a full point short of consensus expectations from Econoday for 49.4. The U.S. Purchasing Managers Manufacturing Index (PMI) rose to 52.6 in November from 51.3 in October, beating Econoday’s 52.2 consensus and prior flash readings.

In China, the Caixin/Markit manufacturing PMI had slightly bear expectations with a 51.8 reading for November that was nearly a half-point above estimates.

Weekend news reports from China’s state media indicated that China wants to see a rollback (cancellation) of tariffs as part of its side for a phase-one trade agreement. Tensions were already perking up after President Trump last week signed legislation supporting the protesters in Hong Kong.

While it is not news between China and the United States, the president also has announced that he plans to restore tariffs on metals coming into the United States from Brazil and Argentina after the nations have been presiding over a massive devaluation of their currencies. The president said this:


Stocks were indicated to have a mildly positive open on Monday, but the futures had already been sliding lower on trade concerns. The S&P 500 was last seen down 21 points to 2,120, and the Dow Jones industrials were down 145 points to 27,905 on Monday.