|06 May, 2019

Threat to trade through Trump Tweet turns markets

Tan Chung Han (Han Tan) joined FXTM in January 2019 as a market analyst, providing insights on global financial markets, with a focus on Asia-Pacific and Southeast Asia. A highly experienced financial journalist and news presenter, he has worked for a number of national and international business broadcasters, including Bloomberg TV Malaysia, BFM and TV3. He also reported for the popular shows Dashboard and Moving Malaysia on Bloomberg TV Malaysia. He graduated from Liberty University in Virginia, USA, in 2006.

Website: https://www.forextime.com/uk/market-analysis

Chinese yuan fell at its fastest pace in over two years on Monday morning

The period of historic calm across global financial markets is staring at the prospect of a rude awakening after United States President Donald Trump unexpectedly raised the stakes in trade talks with China by threatening to increase tariffs even further as early as the end of the coming week.

Risk-off sentiment has been the response to this swerve from Trump, with risk-off mood sweeping across Asian and emerging markets in early Monday trading, following the U.S. President’s tweets about raising existing U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports this Friday, while hinting at new tariffs “shortly” on a separate $325 billion worth of Chinese goods.

At the time of writing, the Chinese yuan has fallen at a pace not seen in over two years, by nearly one percent against the U.S. dollar while the Australian dollar has weakened by some 0.6 percent against the greenback, falling below the psychologically-important 0.70 level.

Stocks in China have dropped by more than five percent after returning from a holiday, while Dow futures point to a drop exceeding 450 points. Commodities are reacting to the news as well, with Brent futures falling by more than two percent as demand for oil drops, while safe haven assets such as gold and the Japanese yen are edging higher by about 0.3 and 0.4 percent respectively as of writing.

While it remains to be seen whether the Trump administration will press ahead with the added tariffs, it’s already evident that markets are taking some risk off the table, undermining the base case that investors had been pricing in: a formalised U.S.-China trade deal in the near future.

With Chinese Vice Premier Liu He scheduled to lead a delegation to Washington this week, the timing of the tweets also suggests that President Trump is attempting to push through an immediate resolution to the drawn-out talks. This latest development once again demonstrates how Trump’s tweets can be a wild card for any attempt to formulate a lasting outlook on global growth, as trade tensions remain a key overhang for markets.

What remains to be seen is whether Trump’s wielding of the tariff hammer at a stage of negotiations where the majority thought a new trade agreement with China was close, could be a ploy to jawbone an immediate resolution to the drawn-out trade talks that have dictated market sentiment for close to a year. This development has also served as a reminder of the threat investors still carry when it comes to being blindsided from a set of completely unexpected tweets.

Should the White House indeed proceed with the added layer of tariffs, this is something investors cannot afford to underestimate as it carries global ramifications. Optimism had only just been picking up on hopes that China’s economy was finding stability and this threat from Trump risks derailing that train in a hurry.

Another shot in the arm for global trade tensions also risks crippling global trade even further, which has already encouraged some very strange trade figures from a list of economies in recent months. Ailing demand would prove another thorn in the side for Germany’s ailing manufacturing sector, while the addition of further tariffs would also raise the bar of alarm for shipments from trade-dependent economies. Several economies across Southeast Asia have posted declines for exports since Q4.

It remains to be seen whether the Trump administration will press ahead with the added tariffs, or if China will actually walk away from the negotiating table. What is clear is that investors are already taking risk off the table, as the latest trade developments cloud the global growth outlook for the year.

To read more market analysis from FXTM please visit: FXTM.

Disclaimer: This written/visual material is comprised of personal opinions and ideas. The content should not be construed as containing any type of investment advice and/or a solicitation for any transactions. It does not imply an obligation to purchase investment services, nor does it guarantee or predict future performance. FXTM, its affiliates, agents, directors, officers or employees do not guarantee the accuracy, validity, timeliness or completeness of any information or data made available and assume no liability for any loss arising from any investment based on the same.

Risk Warning: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Any opinions expressed here are the author’s own.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. The content does not provide tax, legal or investment advice or opinion regarding the suitability, value or profitability of any particular security, portfolio or investment strategy. Read our full disclaimer policy here.

© Opinion 2019

More From Commodities