Today's data releases
 Key levels
13.30Chicago Fed indexGBP/USD1.38901.4219

Market overview

As markets continue to react negatively to the current rising tensions around trade tariffs, US businesses have appealed to the White House to provide clarity over its tariffs on steel and aluminium after some of the biggest exporters of steel to the US were made exempt. Friday’s rollback saw the EU members as well as Canada, Brazil, Mexico and South Korea all exempt from the new tariffs until May 1. Still, China remains subject to the tariffs and has hit back with a proposed $3bn of US imports, including US steel pipes, fresh fruit and wine, and pork. However, China has so far held back from imposing tariffs on US soybean exports, a measure that would significantly hurt both China and the US. Rather, the authorities appear to want to keep such a measure in reserve as their ace in the hole if a trade war were to erupt.


On Saturday, the China Daily reported that China is researching what additional US imports it could impose tariffs on, citing former vice commerce minister Wei Jianguo. While on Sunday Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he was optimistic the US could reach an agreement with China to avert the planned tariffs on $50bn of imports, with President Trump having asked China to reduce its trade surplus with the US by $100bn. Broadly, these developments may suggest that the two countries are not actively seeking to start a trade war with one another but are rather are open to other avenues to addressing the trade imbalances between them.

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

In the early hours of Saturday morning an aviation feat was achieved after the first non-stop flight from Australia touched down at Heathrow. The 14,500km flight which took 17 hours to complete had long been a goal of the Qantas Airline which was made possible in the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It may surprise you to know that the middle-east Airline, Qatar Airways, lays claim to the world’s longest commercial route which is Doha to Auckland at 14,535km. This will soon be surpassed by Singapore Airlines which plans to launch a 19 hour Singapore to New York direct flight. It’s clear to see how the innovation drives the aviation industry particularly when you consider that a little over 50 years ago, a flight from Australia to the UK took 55 hours over four days with 7 refuelling stops! Investec also strives to be at the forefront of innovation with our Treasury Online platform and soon to be released Hedging Analytics functionality. This upgrade is designed to give an interactive overview of existing hedges and how they are impacted by changing rates. To discuss this or find out what other innovations we have to come, give your Investec Dealer a call today.

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