The S&P 500 took a small hit at the end of last week, following China’s refusal to negotiate with the US to try to ease trade tensions. There are currently 1,500 items on a list that could be affected by the tariffs, including soybeans and cars. Soybeans are particularly important to worldwide agriculture, as they are crushed and used as livestock feed; but the global supply is not enough without the US, so China would struggle without this crucial import. Whilst the movements in the markets are small, the continuing bickering between the US and China could escalate leading to increased volatility. China’s President, Xi Jinping, is expected to deliver a speech this week at the Bo’ao Forum for Asia regarding economic reforms in his country.

The US and North Korea have been holding talks in preparation for a summit to converse about the possible denuclearisation of the isolated nation. However, North Korea does have a history of backtracking and it is not clear what The Democratic People’s Republic aims to achieve with the denuclearisation and talks with the US; and neither has a date or location been set for the discussion.

Last week was the deadline for companies with over 250 employees to publish their wage data for all staff, to show the difference in hourly pay between men and women. The average UK pay gap for these 10,000 companies that reported their pay data is 9.7%, with the worst industries including construction, finance and education. The data shows, at a top-level view, that there are more men in the workplace, and those men tend to be paid more often because of their more senior roles at work.

Despite the negativity around the media reports on the above, these events offer the opportunity for green shoots of growth and development globally.