“The first order of business will be to get the spread of the virus under control and then resume economic activity.”
The fresh trade tensions come ahead a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting which is expected to see interest rates reduced by 25 basis points (bps) in its first rate cut in more than a decade.
The widely expected quarter-percentage-point lowering of borrowing costs, however, is unlikely to assuage U.S. President Donald Trump’s increasingly strident demands for the central bank to ease monetary policy.
The Fed on Wednesday suggested rate cuts might start as soon as next month, saying it was ready to take action in the face of growing economic risks.
Even as the U.S. central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged for now, the shift in sentiment since its last policy meeting was marked.
Further weakness in inflation could prompt the U.S. Federal Reserve to cut interest rates, even if economic growth maintains its momentum, James Bullard, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
European stocks were expected to open lower, with futures tracking Britain’s FTSE, France’s CAC and Germany’s DAX indexes down between 0.5 percent to 0.7 percent in early trade.
The more intense focus among investors may be on the balance sheet, and the Fed’s plans to stop reducing its holdings of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities each month by as much as $50 billion.
Japan's Nikkei .N225 advanced 0.59 percent, and MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS rose 0.6 percent.
Rates are currently “appropriate,” Powell said in a wide-ranging interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes news show.
A raft of Fed policymakers speaking since the Fed’s January pledge of patience have insisted the economy is in a good place.
The Fed said it would pause its 3-year interest rate rise campaign while assessing the weakening of the economy.
And as 2018 closes out with a dramatic slump in stocks and a drop in bond yields, financial markets will need to brace for next year, when Powell is scheduled to make more unscripted public remarks than any Fed chief in history.
On Monday, Trump said “The only problem our economy has is the Fed.”
The Federal Reserve is finished raising U.S. interest rates.
Stocks fell again on Monday amid concern about slowing economic growth, the government shutdown and reports that Trump had discussed firing Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, whom he has repeatedly criticized for raising interest rates.
However, some analysts still see the Fed raising rates 2-3 times in 2019.
The central bank is due to announce its decision at 2 p.m. EST (1900 GMT) after its final two-day policy meeting of the year. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to hold a press conference half an hour later.
“I think that would be foolish, but what can I say?” Trump told Reuters in an interview.
U.S. interest rates may be nearing a peak, but relative interest rate differentials still offered some support for the dollar index, which rose 0.02 percent to 97.41 .DXY