The Dow Jones Industrial Average reached a record high on Thursday after China said the world’s two largest economies had agreed to remove existing trade tariffs.
The blue-chip index climbed 200 points, or 0.7 percent, with trade bellwethers Caterpillar and Boeing up at least 1.2 percent each. The S&P 500 also hit an all-time high, rising 0.5 percent
Gao Feng, a ministry spokesperson for China’s Commerce Ministry, said that both sides had agreed to simultaneously cancel some existing tariffs on one another’s goods, according to the country’s state broadcaster. The ministry spokesperson said that both sides were closer to a so-called “phase one” trade agreement following constructive negotiations over the past two weeks.
One important condition for a limited trade agreement, Feng insisted, was that the U.S. and China must remove the same amount of charges at the same time.
It comes after reports that a meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could be postponed until December — delaying a chance for the two leaders to sign an interim trade deal.
"The market is already partially pricing in removal of the tariffs that were implemented on Sept. 1,” said Tom Essaye, founder of The Sevens Report, in a note to clients. “That also means the risk is of disappointment is now real on an actual phase-one announcement, because if all we get is ‘what’s expected’ and we don’t see any existing tariff removal, we could easily see a sell-the-news reaction in stocks."
Market participants had expected the two economic giants to sign a deal later this month, after both Washington and Beijing spoke of progress in talks late last week.
The U.S. and China have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of goods since the start of 2018, battering financial markets and souring business and consumer sentiment.