Stock rebound fizzles after Trump restores Brazil, Argentina tariffs - GulfToday

Stock rebound fizzles after Trump restores Brazil, Argentina tariffs


Asian stock markets have risen after Chinese factory activity improved ahead of a possible US tariff hike on Chinese imports. Benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong advanced.Associated Press

Stock markets reversed earlier gains on Monday after US President Donald Trump said he would restore tariffs on some imports from Brazil and Argentina, overshadowing data showing that the Chinese and eurozone economies were stabilising.

European stocks had initially rebounded towards four-year highs, as decent manufacturing data in China and renewed optimism over a trade deal between Washington and Beijing eclipsed last week’s jitters. The positive mood also encouraged investors to dump government debt in the eurozone and the United States.

Trump then accused Brazil and Argentina of a “massive devaluation” of their currencies and said he would immediately restore tariffs on US steel and aluminium imports.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, gave up its earlier gains but clung to positive territory and remained near last week’s highs.

In Europe, the Euro STOXX 600 slipped after earlier rising 0.3 per cent. The German DAX succumbed to selling pressure. French and British shares were also in the red.

Wall Street futures, however, remained in positive territory.

Investors have been sticking with the broad view that a further escalation in the trade war between China, the US and other countries can be avoided, even after last week’s decision by Trump to sign legislation backing protesters in Hong Kong, which enraged China.

Stock markets headed back towards record highs in November as investors bet the worse of the trade war had passed and a fears of a recession receded.

Chinese data did much to help the initial mood on Monday. The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) in November marked its fastest expansion since December 2016.

“What we had in China on the weekend with the two PMIs being above expectation is clearly a good sign in terms of making the global stabilisation scenario more credible,” said Francois Savary, chief investment officer at Swiss wealth manager Prime Partners.

Another PMI survey published on Monday showed eurozone manufacturing activity shrank for a 10th consecutive month in November, but it also signalled that the worst may be over.

Savary cautioned that while we do have signs of “economic stabilisation” and a decreased risk of deflation, “a lot of positive news has been priced in”.

Some of the most striking moves in global markets on Monday were in government bonds, where the strong economic numbers and election of new political leaders in Germany prompted a selloff in safe-haven government debt.

The surprise election of new leftist leaders to the Social Democrats (SPD) threatened Germany’s ruling coalition, sparking a jump in German bond yields as markets bet it would ease the path towards fiscal expansion.

The 10-year German bond yield rose more than 7 basis points to as strong as -0.273 per cent, a three-week high.

US Treasury yields were also notably higher, with the 10-year bond yield up by more than 7 basis points at a two-week high.

The buoyant mood among investors was also evident in the US dollar, which has tended to perform well on hopes for a trade deal.

It rallied to a six-month high of 109.73 yen, its strongest against the safe-haven Japanese currency since May, before settling at 109.54 after Trump’s tariff announcement.

Currency markets were largely quiet elsewhere, with the euro down marginally against the dollar at $1.1005.

Markets are now focused on the US Institute for Supply Management’s November manufacturing survey, which is due at 1500 GMT, for a further gauge of the health of the US economy, followed later in the week by closely watched jobs data.

“The onus is now on the ISM data to see if there is a rebound, and the odds are on a bit of rebound but not a strong one,” said Sebastien Galy, senior macro strategist at Nordea Asset Management.

Oil prices recovered after slumping on Friday on record high US crude production. Expectations that OPEC and its allies are set to extend existing cuts in oil output when they meet this week helped drive the rebound. Brent crude futures extended earlier gains to $61.99 a barrel, up 2.48 per cent. US West Texas Intermediate crude gained 2.52 per cent to $56.56 per barrel.

Asian and European markets rose as investors cheered data showing a surprise jump in Chinese factory activity. But while the week started on a positive note, worries about trade were revived by China’s Global Times newspaper saying Beijing wanted all US tariffs rolled back as part of a mini deal, a move observers said Washington is unlikely to agree to.


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