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Thursday, May 09, 2019

Asia trades warily with one eye on Friday

Poor sentiment across equity markets

With one eye on tomorrow’s tariff deadline, Asian investors continued to scale back risk and seek safe haven assets. US indices extended the recent decline with losses of about 0.5%, with both the NAS100 and SPX500 indices facing a fourth consecutive down day. China shares fell 1.2% while Australian shares bucked the trend with gains of 0.26% for the Australia200 index.

The wariness was also reflected in currency markets, with the yen’s safe haven status very much in evidence. USD/JPY fell as much as 0.15% to 109.82, the lowest since March 25.

Trump says don’t fret

Soothing words from US President Trump failed to halt the decline in risk appetite this morning. Speaking at a rally, he said that China “broke the deal” in earlier trade talks and hence the tariff threat. However, he added that China’s Vice Premier was coming to the US for trade talks and that “it will all work out”. The markets remain skeptical, and expectations are growing that some additional tariffs will be introduced on Friday, no doubt closely followed by retaliatory moves by China, as they have promised

Fed speakers dominate the calendar

The data calendar is a little busier today, but not in Europe where there are no major economic releases scheduled. Speeches from Fed members Powell, Bostic and Evans accompany the release of the March trade balance. That’s expected to show a widening of the deficit to $50.2 billion from $49.4 billion, according to the latest poll of economists. Canada’s trade data for the same month is also due, and expected to show a slight narrowing of the deficit to C$2.45 billion from C$2.90 billion.
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