Asian stocks subside as China-US tensions escalate

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SYDNEY / HONG KONG (Reuters) – Asian stocks held tight ranges on Monday as concerns over rising tensions between the United States and China weighed on sentiment, though signs of a recovery in industrial activity in the world’s second-largest economy have capped losses.

FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian wearing a face mask walks near an overpass with an electronic card displaying stock information, following an outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the Lujiazui financial district in Shanghai , in China, March 17, 2020. REUTERS / Aly Chanson

European markets are expected to open into positive territory, with EUROSTOXX 50 STXEc1 futures up 0.77% and FTSE FFIc1 futures up 0.71%, while E-mini futures for the The S&P 500 ESc1 index climbed 0.19%.

The largest MSCI Asia-Pacific stock index outside of Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS has flipped between red and green, remaining below a 6-1 / 2 month peak hit last week. The Japanese and Singaporean markets were closed on public holidays.

Investors have been wary after US President Donald Trump signed two executive orders banning WeChat, owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent (0700.HK) and TikTok in 45 days by announcing sanctions against 11 Chinese and Hong Kong officials.

To complement the actions, US regulators have recommended that foreign companies listed on US stock exchanges be subject to US public audits from 2022.

“The bigger question for the markets is whether these actions jeopardize the US-China trade talks on August 15 and the markets will be on the lookout for Chinese retaliation,” said Tapas Strickland, director of markets and business. economics of the National Australia Bank.

“The common assumption in the markets has been that President Trump needed the phase one deal to be as successful as China on this side of the November election… At the same time, President Trump is launching a hard line with China for the election, ”Strickland added.

China’s top-notch CSI300 .CSI300 fell by a shadow and Hong Kong’s .HSI Hang Seng index fell 0.36% after a top Hong Kong media mogul was arrested under of a new national security law.

As the deterioration of Sino-US relations depended heavily on sentiment, data showing slowing Chinese factory deflation boosted hopes for an economic recovery in the world’s second-largest economy.

China’s industrial production steadily returns to levels seen before the pandemic crippled huge swathes of the economy, as pent-up demand, government stimulus packages and surprisingly resilient exports propel a recovery.

Australian stocks resisted the uptrend of 1.68% while South Korea’s KOSPI index .KS11 jumped 1.38%. New Zealand’s benchmark rose 0.3%.

In foreign currencies, the dollar JPY = fell against the safe haven of the Japanese yen at 105.79 while the risk-sensitive Australian dollar AUD = D3 healed its losses after declining 1.1% on Friday. [FRX]

The pound GBP = edged up to $ 1.3073, but was still below a five-month high of $ 1.3185 hit last week. The euro has remained largely flat at $ 1.1789, after hitting its highest level since May 2018 last week.

That left the dollar index = USD at 93.35, after struggling on a slippery slope since late June.

Uncertainty over the U.S. fiscal stimulus hangs over the greenback after President Trump signed a series of executive orders to extend unemployment benefits after negotiations with Congress failed.

The ordinances would provide $ 400 more per week in unemployment benefits, less than the $ 600 per week spent earlier in the crisis.

While analysts see the move as a spending cut that exposes landlords and tenants to eviction, they remain optimistic about the prospects for further stimulus.

“I see this as another step in the negotiations rather than a cessation of negotiations, with an as yet unknown timeline,” JPMorgan analyst Andrew Tyler wrote in a note.

“If we see the White House considering that it does not want to negotiate until after the election, then I think we will see a wave of downward revisions to GDP followed by lower spending and spikes in unemployment. September at the end of the year. ”

In commodities, XAU = gold slipped slightly to $ 2,029.20 an ounce after hitting an all-time high of $ 2,072.5 last week.

Oil prices were higher with Brent LCOc1 rising 43 cents to $ 44.83 per barrel. The US crude CLc1 added 54 cents to $ 41.76.

Editing by Sam Holmes and Lincoln Feast

Our standards:Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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