Trade war

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Brexit headwinds and global economy to blame

An anti-Brexit protest outside the Houses of Parliament on 10 January
An anti-Brexit protest outside the Houses of Parliament on 10 January

The UK economy slowed in the three months to November, as factory output fell for the fifth month in a row. This also marked the manufacturing sector’s longest losing run since the financial crisis in 2008.

According to Hargreaves Lansdown, there are two reasons for this.

"The global economy looks to be stuttering, with the ‘Chimerica’ trade war rumbling on, and Chinese consumer spending on a downward trend. UK companies are also dealing with a significant Brexit headwind, with heightened levels of uncertainty putting business off investment and damaging consumer confidence," said Ben Brettell, a senior economist with Hargreaves Lansdown.

"Meanwhile the US Federal Reserve’s rhetoric has become increasingly dovish over the past few weeks.

"Markets had been expecting further interest rate rises over the coming year, but Fed Chair Jerome Powell hinted yesterday the central bank could press pause on further rate rises for now. In my view the next move for US interest rates could even be downwards."

Trade war talks 'went fine'

A woman works in a steel hub factory in China
Getty Images

Closely watched US-China trade talks have wrapped up in Beijing but few details have emerged.

The mid-level officials met for their first face-to-face talks since President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day truce in their trade spat.

The talks were scheduled to last two days but were extended for a third.

A member of the US delegation Ted McKinney told reporters outside his hotel room that his team would head home later Wednesday, and that talks "went just fine".

Trade war talks extended

Women sew at a factory in China
Getty Images

The US and China could be making progress on their bruising trade battle as negotiators from both sides extended talks aimed at resolving the dispute.

The meeting in Beijing, initially due to wrap up yesterday, continued on Wednesday.

It's the first time the two sides have held formal talks since US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day truce in a trade war.

Vice Premier's attendance is 'a positive signal'

BBC World Service

One of the leading US China business groups has told the BBC that there are plenty of positive signals coming from China regarding its trade war with the United States “but more can be done”, as talks between the two continue in Beijing.

Jake Parker from the US China Business Council, which represents about 200 American companies that do business in China including the likes of Apple, IBM and Ford, says China needs to "offer something very specific and very tangible", in order for the talks to move forward.

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China has 'good faith' to resolve US trade dispute

Chinese flag

The US and China have agreed to hold "positive and constructive" talks to resolve their differences over trade, according to a spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry.

As delegates from the two countries met in Beijing, he said: "From the beginning we have believed that China-US trade friction is not a positive situation for either country or the world economy. China has the good faith, on the basis of mutual respect and equality, to resolve the bilateral trade frictions."