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What to Watch: UK data, stocks jump after US-Mexico deal, Tory leadership

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
Trump announced an indefinite suspension of tariffs on Mexican goods. Photo: AP

Here are the top business, market, and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and abroad:

A raft of economic data in the UK

The bluechip FTSE 100 hit a five-week high in Monday’s early trading ahead of ahead of UK industrial and manufacturing data as well as April trade and economic growth statistics.

The pound was down marginally against the dollar (GBPUSD=X) and up against the euro (GBPEUR=X).

The focus on Monday will be on manufacturing production, whose year-on-year growth is expected to have slowed in April to 1.3%, from 2.6% in the previous month.

Meanwhile, some economists expect the UK economy to have contracted slightly in April after that month’s Brexit delay.

Investors will also be looking at the latest quarterly results from FTSE 100 member Ferguson to determine the impact of trade wars on UK construction suppliers who service the US market.

Markets climb after Trump relents on Mexico tariffs

Global markets on Monday looked set to stay in positive territory following US president Donal Trump’s decision to suspend tariffs on Mexican goods indefinitely, with Asian stocks and US and European equity futures climbing.

The Mexican peso has held onto its gains from Friday, when it surged the most it has in nearly a year, and was up 2.2% against the dollar on Monday, to 0.05 (MXNUSD=X).

Japan’s benchmark Topix index was up 1.3 per cent, while the country’s yen weakened after Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda said that his bank could introduce further stimulus measures if it was necessary.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped almost 2.3%, while Chinese stocks made gains, as did futures on the S&P 500 Index in the US.

Stocks in the US are likely to continue to make gains on the back of Federal Reserve chairman Jay Powell’s suggestion that he could cut interest rates if the global economy sours.

As part of a deal agreed with the US, Mexico said on Friday that it would take “unprecedented steps” to stem irregular migration and human trafficking, in part by sending up to 6,000 additional troops to Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala.

Conservative leadership race

Markets will also be watching the Conservative leadership race, with most economists expecting the pound to sink significantly if a candidate like Boris Johnson, who believes the UK should consider leaving the EU without a deal, wins the contest. Johnson said at the weekend that he would introduce a tax cut — by increasing the cut-off for the highest tax rate — that would mainly benefit pensioners.

He also suggested he would scrap the Northern Ireland backstop, something that dramatically increases the changes of a disorderly, or crash-out, Brexit.