World stock markets and the U.S. dollar started the second quarter on a positive note on Monday, although caution also set in as the first meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping loomed.
European shares opened broadly higher , tracking Asian shares up after generally upbeat economic data.
German manufacturing growth reached an reached an almost six-year high in March, Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for manufacturing showed on Monday. Manufacturing activity in France and Italy also rose, adding to signs of a pickup in momentum in the global economy.
A private survey on China’s manufacturing on Saturday came in below market expectations but still showed a healthy expansion after a similar survey by the government on Friday pointed to strong growth in the sector.
The Bank of Japan’s “tankan” survey showed that business sentiment improved, albeit slightly less than expected.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS rose 0.2 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei .N225 gained 0.8 percent after hitting a seven-week low on Friday.
U.S. stock futures ESc1 1YMc1 also indicated a positive open for Wall Street shares, while focus turned to a meeting on Thursday and Friday between the U.S. and Chinese presidents.
“Despite the solid gains seen so far this year, there is some evidence that the rally in U.S. markets is looking a little tired given President Trump’s trials and tribulations in Congress,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.
“The reflation trade is likely to face a new test this week when President Trump entertains the Chinese leader Xi-Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago golf course in Florida, which in the words of President Trump himself could be a little ‘difficult’.”
A failure to push through healthcare reforms last month has added to concerns that Trump may struggle to pass highly-anticipated tax cuts and infrastructure spending bills.
Trump held out the possibility on Sunday of using trade as a lever to secure Chinese cooperation against North Korea and suggested Washington might deal with Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs on its own if need be.
On Friday, the U.S. president sought to push his crusade for fair trade and more manufacturing jobs back to the top of his agenda by ordering a study into the causes of U.S. trade deficits and a clamp down on import duty evasion.
Any hints that Washington may name some of its trade partners such as China, Japan and Germany as currency manipulators could dent the dollar. The U.S. Treasury will release its next currency report on April 15.
“The Trump administration is not necessarily seeking to reduce the trade deficit through a cheaper dollar. But it has strong intentions to do that and it could use a weaker dollar as a bargaining tool in trade negotiations,” said Minori Uchida, chief currency strategist at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.
The dollar index .DXY, which measures the dollar’s value against a basket of other major currencies, was up 0.15 percent at 100.49 – holding above four-month lows hit last week.
The euro ticked up 0.2 percent to $1.0679 EUR=, recovering from two-week lows hit on Friday after data showed inflation in the currency bloc had slowed by more than expected in March.
Government bond yields in the euro zone’s lower-rated countries PT10YT=TWEB IT10YT-TWEB meanwhile rose on Monday, underperforming their peers as a reduction in the European Central Bank’s bond purchase program took effect.
As of the start of April, the ECB’s monthly asset purchases fell to 60 billion euros from 80 billion euros.
Governments and other economic actors need to get ready for higher borrowing costs after years of record lows, ECB Executive Board member Benoit Coeure said on Monday.
Elsewhere, Brent crude futures LCOc1 were flat at $53.50 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures CLc1 were little changed at $50.58 a barrel.
(Additional report by Hideyuki Sano in Tokyo; Editing by Tom Heneghan)