Financial markets will be poised for signs of a thaw in fraught US-China trade relations tomorrow when phase one of a trade deal between the two superpowers is signed.
Trade friction has rocked financial markets for almost two years now but US President Donald Trump, in a message from his Twitter account last December, said Washington and Beijing were "very close" to reaching a deal that would halt the 18-month-old tariff battle.
"Getting VERY close to a BIG DEAL with China," Trump said in his tweet. "They want it, and so do we!" Trump added.
The deal includes Chinese commitments to respect American intellectual property, and a US expectation for US$200 billion in new purchases of US goods that should help reduce a yawning trade gap between the two, which has been heavily in China's favour.
The US has agreed to reduce tariffs on Chinese products, but is expected to keep tariffs on about US$380b in goods.
Unlike agreements negotiated by prior administrations, this one is enforceable, and there will be real and immediate economic repercussions for China if it comes up short, international business news wire Bloomberg reported.
"We think it was a good negotiation, we think it will make a real difference," US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in December.
Trump has acknowledged that a second phase of a deal is unlikely to occur before the November US presidential election.
According to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, average US levies on Chinese imports will be 19.3 per cent even after the deal takes effect - more than six times higher than before the trade war began in 2018.
Financial markets have taken some comfort from the apparent willingness of both parties to paper over the cracks of their fractured trade relationship.
"It means that they are getting along, and markets are certainly giving them the benefit of the doubt in that regard," Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners said.
"They (the markets) have chosen to see it from a glass half full perspective."
Disappointment on the trade front would see market volatility creep back, but Lister said the devil will be in the detail of the two parties' first attempt at reconciliation.
Trump, with an eye the November presidential election, will be keen to keep the US economy in good shape, particularly given the rising tide of trade protectionism that has been felt in parts of the US economy, particularly in manufacturing, and specifically by US industrial behemoths such as Caterpillar.
"A China Trade deal is part of that because if the wheels fall off, uncertainty will creep in and you will see the markets sold down. All of those things will be bad for Trump," Lister said.
For New Zealand, what happens in the Chinese economy will be important, particularly if the economy continues to slow.
China is New Zealand's biggest trading partner. Australia is its second biggest, and Australia's biggest partner is also China.
"We have hitched our wagon to the Chinese growth story, directly and indirectly, via our number 2 - Australia," Lister said.
"If all goes to plan (with the trade deal), it will be positive for the financial markets," he said.
Share markets could maintain their upward, record breaking, momentum if phase one of a trade deal comes to pass.
"If it goes through as expected, and there are no fishhooks, and we don't have a spanner in the works, then the path of least resistance for the financial markets will be to remain buoyant and to keep pushing higher," he said.
Once this week's trade issue is out of the way, investors' focus is likely to turn to the US corporate reporting season, which starts next week, he said.
However, the US-China trade relationship is likely to remain a recurrent theme throughout 2020.