Asian stocks advanced as worries surrounding a trade war dissipated and U.S. equities recouped losses. President Donald Trump plans to offer Canada and Mexico a 30-day exemption from planned tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, which could be extended based on progress in NAFTA talks, a White House official said on Wednesday night. The move, first reported by the Washington Post, followed comments earlier in the day by a White House spokeswoman that the impending tariffs could exclude Canada, Mexico and a clutch of other countries “based on national security.” The S&P closed 0.05 percent lower after being down 0.4 percent, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 0.33 percent. The U.S. dollar pared gains to end little changed, while the Canadian dollar and Mexican peso pared some losses.
Attention now turns back to central banks with investors honing in first on the commentary emanating from the European Central Bank’s policy meeting Thursday, then to the Bank of Japan, which concludes its discussions Friday. The euro trod water ahead of a European Central Bank meeting, later in the day, that is expected to leave policy rates unchanged for now, but may provide clues to the future. And oil prices steadied on Thursday after falling the previous day on the back of record U.S. crude production and rising inventories. The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference runs through March 15 and overlaps with the National People’s Congress meetings in Beijing, through March 20. China reports on its trade balance on Thursday 8 March 2018.