Investors turn risk-averse on tariff war escalation
US announces list of next tariff targets
The US close was looking hunky dory, with equity markets aiming for a higher close as there appeared to be a lull in trade war rhetoric, once the first salvos had been fired last weekend. Then BOOM! Headlines that the US was set to announce the list of the next $200 billion worth of Chinese goods targeted for a 10% tariff hit the wires. Once the contents of the list were known, the sour tone intensified as a general risk-averse mood permeated through markets during the Asian session.
News reports say the list runs to more than 200 pages and refers to goods from TV components, food products, tobacco, raw materials and even badger hair! The tariffs are scheduled to be implemented after public consultations end on August 30. Bloomberg also notes that China only imports about $136 billion worth of US goods, so it could be interesting to see how countermeasures match up. The only reaction from China so far has been from the Ministry of Commerce which stated the latest round of tariffs interferes with the globalization of the world economy and harms the WTO trade order. It reiterated that cooperation is the only correct choice for US-China relations, though vowed to roll out a response.
Equities and yuan suffer
In reaction, the Nikkei225 fell up to 1.86% while China shares slumped as much as 2.76%, as investors once again tried to gauge the true impact on the Chinese economy and companies. In the currency space, the yen was bid, rising 0.69% versus the AUD, 0.07% versus the EUR and 0.05% against the pound. It did, however fail to gain ground against the dollar. The offshore yuan was under pressure the whole session, falling as much as 0.63% versus the dollar to hit 6.69190.
NOTE: Last time the offshore yuan weakened through 6.70, on July 3, the PBOC stepped up its comments on the tools it has to adjust policy
Aussie data ignored
Australian data releases were generally positive. The Westpac consumer confidence index jumped 3.9% in July, home loans rebounded in May, signaling the first growth in six months while home loans for investment purposes fell a less-than-expected 0.1%. The good data couldn’t help the local dollar which was caught up in the broader risk-averse trade. AUD/USD is down 0.72% at 0.7405 having failed to penetrate the 0.75 handle in the previous two sessions.
AUD/USD Daily Chart
Bank of Canada decision on the radar
The highlight of today’s data calendar will likely be the Bank of Canada rate decision where market consensus is that the central bank will hike rates for the first time in four meetings as it seeks to close the rate gap with the Fed. Expectations are for a 25bps increase to 1.50%. The press conference will be monitored for hints on future guidance on rate trajectory. USD/CAD is currently at 1.31366.
Other data bites include speeches from ECB’s Draghi, Praet and Mersch, US producer prices for June and wholesale inventories for May. Speeches continue later in the day with BOE’s Carney and Fed’s Bostic and Williams all on tap.
You can access the full data calendar on MarketPulse at https://www.marketpulse.com/economic-events/