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Goldman Sachs says US-China tariffs may have peaked

Happy Tuesday. A version of this story first appeared in CNN Business’ Before the Bell newsletter. Not a subscriber? You can sign up right here.

Global markets are climbing on optimism that a “phase one” US-China trade deal is within reach — and that a rollback of existing tariffs could be part of the package.

The Financial Times is reporting that Trump administration officials are debating removing some existing tariffs on Chinese goods to help seal a partial deal that would reduce tensions with Beijing as early as this month. The Wall Street Journal says that US and Chinese officials are “actively considering” rollbacks.

CNN’s read: The United States is assessing current tariffs as it works to finalize “phase one” of a trade deal, officials told CNN, but no decisions have been made.

“Cue a further improvement in global risk sentiment,” Societe Generale strategist Kit Juckes wrote in a note to clients.

Such news reports take the idea that talks are going well to the next level. Goldman Sachs told clients on Sunday that it believed tariffs have likely peaked, and new taxes planned for December 15 would never take effect.

But the investment bank still predicted that US tariffs on imports from China would stay at current levels through 2020, and said it couldn’t entirely write off the risk of higher duties.

“A US-China deal that substantially reduces US tariffs continues to look much less likely than an eventual breakdown in talks that leads to renewed tariff escalation,” said Alec Phillips, Goldman’s chief US political economist.

The thinking, per Phillips: “Achieving a broad US-China agreement dealing with issues like technology transfer looks quite difficult, and we believe it is unlikely that the White House would lower tariffs meaningfully unless such a comprehensive deal can be reached.”

Uber can’t shake its steep losses

Uber keeps losing money — and investors are losing patience.

The ride hailing company on Monday reported that it had lost nearly $1.2 billion during the third quarter, including $401 million in stock-based compensation expenses related to its public offering in May, my CNN Business colleague Sara Ashley O’Brien reports.

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company is focused on achieving profitability in 2021. “We’ve got a roadmap ahead of us,” he told analysts.

But that pledge isn’t instilling much confidence on Wall Street. Shares are down nearly 6% in premarket trading.

One bright spot: Uber posted revenue of $3.8 billion during the third quarter, a 30% increase compared to the previous year. Revenue growth was just 12% in the second quarter compared to 2018.

Watch this space: Uber’s newer business lines are growing the fastest, Sara notes. Sales from its meal delivery service Uber Eats were up 64% from a year earlier. Revenue from Uber Freight jumped 78%. Revenue in its “other bets” category, which includes its dock-less bikes and e-scooter business, reached $38 million in the third quarter, up from just $3 million a year ago.

Visitors to China can now use Alipay

Visitors to China can now access the country’s massive cashless economy.

Alibaba-affiliated Ant Financial launched a new international version of its mobile payments app Alipay on Tuesday, marking the first time tourists and business travelers can use mobile payments in mainland China, my CNN Business colleague Sherisse Pham reports.

The service could remove one of the biggest headaches for visitors to China, where everyone from taxi drivers to luxury malls have come to rely on mobile payments. It also exposes Alipay to an entirely new customer base — perhaps paving the way for further growth abroad.

Up next

More earnings. Allergan, Cinemark, Mylan and Peloton report before US markets open. Caesars Entertainment and Match Group follow after the close.

Also today:

Coming tomorrow: SoftBank reports its first earnings since WeWork’s IPO flub.

CNN

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