U.S. President Trump continues his tour in Asia after visiting China yesterday saying he “don’t blame China for taking advantage of previous U.S. administrations. Meanwhile, the dollar is looking weaker today amid tax reform uncertainty as Gold prices slipped a bit after investors took profits. Elsewhere, Oil prices continue to trade at 2-year highs levels. These are the big things to know this Friday.
U.S. President Donald Trump was set to attend a major economic summit in Vietnam on Friday morning, where he was expected to argue for new trade rules and lobby against North Korea.
In a meeting with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Thursday, President Trump condemned countries he deemed guilty of "chronic trade abuses."
He then went on to blame his predecessors for the “huge” trade deficit between the world’s two largest economies and commended the Chinese President's support for his efforts to tackle North Korea’s weapons programs.
The two leaders unveiled more than $250 billion in economic deals at the conclusion of their meeting.
U.S. Senate Republicans unveiled a plan on Thursday which would reduce the corporate tax rate to 20% from 35% and make other significant changes to the individual tax system.
However, sentiment on the greenback remained fragile as Senate Republican leaders said they were considering postponing the implementation of the major corporate tax cut until 2019.
Meanwhile, a House tax reform bill, which differs from the Senate version, would be expected to take effect next year. If the Senate and House pass separate tax bills, lawmakers will have to reconcile them.
The U.S. dollar index was steady at 94.36 by 09:50 GMT, just off a one-week low of 94.31 hit overnight.
Gold prices slipped lower on Friday, as traders locked in profits from the precious metal's climb to 3-week highs in the previous session, helped by a softer dollar.
Gold is sensitive to moves in the dollar. A weaker dollar makes gold less expensive for holders of foreign currency.
Meanwhile, palladium futures remained supported at $1,005.15. The metal rallied to a 16-year high of $1,023.17 on Thursday, boosted by growing interest in lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars.
Palladium is used in catalytic convertors that convert harmful gases in car exhaust into less toxic substances. Demand for the metal is growing dramatically as car manufacturers look for other ways to cut emissions.
Crude prices remained within close distance of 2-year highs on Friday, amid growing hopes global oil producers will extend their current production cut efforts and as escalating tensions in the Middle East sparked concerns over potential supply disruptions in the region.
Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and 10 other non-OPEC countries led by Russia initially agreed to cut production by 1.8 million barrels a day (bpd) for six months. The agreement was extended in May of this year for a period of nine more months until March 2018 in a bid to reduce global oil inventories and support oil prices.
Discussions are continuing in the run-up to the Nov. 30 meeting, which oil ministers from OPEC and the participating non-OPEC countries will attend.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia on Thursday ordered its citizens to leave Lebanon immediately amid mounting tensions with Iran, which it claims is running the Lebanese government through its proxy Hezbollah.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri surprised markets last Saturday by announcing his resignation, citing assassination threats and blaming Iran for interference in Lebanon. Saudi Arabia has also been conducting an anti-corruption purge among the highest levels of the establishment.