Christine Lagarde

30 May 2020

Market Brief: trade wars calming?

Lewis Thorn

Dealing team

There are signs that the US-China trade war may well be losing some momentum as negotiators rush to try to find a compromise on reducing the US’s trade deficit with China.

Today's data releases
  Key levels
      Support Resistance
10.00 EU consumer confidence GBP/USD 1.3890 1.4278
15.00 US Richmond Fed GBP/EUR 1.1134 1.1560

Market overview

There are signs that the US-China trade war may well be losing some momentum as negotiators rush to try to find a compromise on reducing the US’s trade deficit with China. In response the Dow Jones posted its biggest one day gain in two and a half years. US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin stated that talks were ongoing between officials and said he was ‘hopeful’ of a truce between the two sides. The news sent the Dow flying higher by 670 points or 2.9% - the third highest gain ever. Although the tariffs that Trump is proposing amount to less than 1% of GDP they can’t afford for the situation to escalate further hence the need for talks.

 

There was also some news out yesterday regarding Europe which for a change wasn’t about Brexit. Christine Lagarade the head of the IMF threw the institution's backing behind plans for greater fiscal and banking union among Eurozone member states and plans for a more economically integrated currency union. Although a positive move, it may further stoke tensions between member states within. Northern countries such as Germany are already unsure of the plans following the Greek bailouts and are not keen to take on further risk that the Mediterranean countries offer.

The day ahead

This week is cut short by the Easter break and is likely to be dominated by headlines on trade tariffs. Major US indicators will be in relatively short supply. Second revisions to Q4 GDP are due on Wednesday, though most observers are already pondering the extent of any slowdown over Q1. The headline and core PCE price index numbers for February will appear the following day.

 

Third estimates of UK Q4 GDP will be published on Thursday. This will include a cluster of other data including the current account (also for Q4) and the Bank of England’s figures on lending. Newsflow on Brexit will continue through most of the week as Westminster, Dublin and Brussels are expected to begin talks on how feasibly to maintain an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic in post-Brexit conditions.  

 

Thought of the day

Things remain quiet on the data front today but markets will almost certainly be looking for further comment on the trade tensions.  On the political scene Donald Trump on Monday expelled 60 Russian diplomats considered spies from the U.S., the most since 1986, demonstrating united resolve with Europe after the UK blamed Vladimir Putin’s government for a March 4 nerve-agent attack on a former Russian spy living in England. All told, more than 100 Russian envoys will be sent home from capitals across Europe and North America. Watch for further escalation here!

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