U.S. carmakers jumped Tuesday, while European auto stocks surged, following a report from Bloomberg that suggested China is ready to substantially reduce tariffs on vehicles made in the United States and sold into the world's biggest car market.
Officials have submitted a proposal to reduce tariffs on cars made in the U.S. and imported into China to 15% from the current level of 40%, Bloomberg reported. President Donald Trump hinted at such a move following his trade summit with China's President Xi Jinping earlier this month in Argentina, and the Bloomberg report, which cited officials in Beijing, could mark an important thaw in U.S.-China trade relations while providing more clarity for European carmakers worried about the fate of tariffs from both Washington and Beijing. The report also followed data from China showing car sales have hit their weakest patch in five years.
General Motors (GM) - Get Report shares rose 3.2% to $35.52 following the report, while Ford Motor Co. (F) - Get Report jumped 1.5% to $8.65 and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) - Get Report gained 1.3% to $15.52.
German-listed automakers Daimler AG (DMLRY) and BMW AG (BMWYY) were marked 3.6% and 3.2% higher respectively, while the Stoxx Europe 600 Automobiles and Parts subindex jumped 3.5% to 457.03 points and Volkswagen AG (VLKAY) surged 4.5% to €147.32.
The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said Tuesday that November car sales fell 14% from the same period last year to 2.55 million, the five straight monthly decline and the weakest string of readings since 2012. If the pace isn't picked up in December, 2018 will be the worst year for the industry since 1990.
China's chief trade negotiator, Liu He, spoke with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer by phone last night, China's Commerce Ministry said in a statement, and agreed to work towards the framework of talks set during the G20 leaders' summit in Argentina.
"Both sides exchanged views on putting into effect the consensus reached by the two countries' leaders at their meeting, and pushing forward the timetable and roadmap for the next stage of economic and trade consultations work," the Ministry said.
The call suggests the two sides are still willing to work towards a broader trade agreement despite the political clouds surrounding the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver earlier this month. Meng, 46, faces a third day of bail hearings today as prosecutors in the United States seek her extradition on charges she helped a company evade State Department sanctions on Iran.