Asia EM FX under pressure as US -China talks shelved

Sept 24 (Reuters) – Asian currencies were weaker across the
board on Monday as investors faced the prospect of an escalation
in the Sino-U.S. trade conflict after China cancelled upcoming
talks even as the latest round of tariffs take effect.
China cancelled mid-level trade talks with the United
States, the Wall Street Journal reported. With no compromise in
sight, many expect the latest move will only raise the tension
between the world’s two largest economies.

U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods and
retaliatory tariffs by Beijing on $60 billion worth of U.S.
products took effect on Monday.
With Beijing’s stance appearing to have hardened, U.S.
President Donald Trump’s threat of tariffs on all remaining $267
billion of Chinese exports to the United States looks more like
becoming a reality.

Several regional central banks are expected to raise their
own rates to defend their respective currencies.
Indonesia’s rupiah weakened 0.3 percent to 14,865 per
dollar ahead of a Bank of Indonesia meeting set for Thursday.
Similarly, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is also
meeting on Thursday to decide rates, with the peso
slipping 0.2 percent to 54.21, lingering around its weakest
level against the dollar since late 2005.
With the Fed rate hike priced in by many, Mizuho and OCBC
bank both predict BSP will raise rates by 50 basis points, while
Bank Indonesia is seen hiking its policy rate 25 basis points.
Stephen Innes, head of trading Asia for Oanda, cautioned the
hawkish plays, “without addressing the real underlying problems
around deficits, hiking interest rates to prop up currency is
like putting a band-aid on a broken leg. Speculators will
continue to target deficit currencies at every opportunity.

Reuters

Oil is is trading higher post Algeria OPEC meeting

Brent crude climbed above $80 a barrel after OPEC and its allies signalled less urgency to boost output despite U.S. pressure to temper prices.

Futures in London rose as much as 1.7 per cent. OPEC and its partners gave a tepid response to President Donald Trump’s demand that rapid action be taken to reduce prices, saying they would boost output only if customers wanted more cargoes. Brent could rise to $100 for the first time since 2014 as the market braces for the loss of Iranian supplies due to U.S. sanctions, according to Mercuria Energy Group Ltd. and Trafigura Group.

Oil has rallied since the lows of August as speculation swirls over whether OPEC and its allies will boost output as the sanctions on the Middle East nation’s exports nears. Still, a full-blown trade war between the U.S. and China could imperil global economic growth that underpins crude demand as the two countries begin a new round of tariffs on each other’s goods.

Oil investors are “trading the weekend news very favourably,” said Stephen Innes, Singapore-based head of Asia Pacific trading with Oanda Corp. “Saudi Arabia and Russia ruled out any expeditious supply increases at the Algeria meeting while decidedly ignoring U.S. President Trump’s call to increase supplies and ease price pressures.

Bloomberg

Gold trades mixed in Asia

(Reuters) – Gold edged lower on Monday as the dollar held firm on news that China has cancelled trade talks with the United States, with the market also eyeing this week’s U.S. Federal Reserve meeting for guidance on future rate hikes.

Investors are awaiting this week’s Federal Reserve meeting, where the U.S. central bank is widely expected to raise benchmark interest rates and shed light on the path for future rate hikes.

“Gold traditionally trades poorly ahead of anticipated Fed hike and the dollar will have up ground,” said Stephen Innes, APAC trading head at OANDA.

Meanwhile, speculators increased their net short position in COMEX gold contracts in the week to Sept. 18, U.S. data showed on Friday.

 

Reuters

Asia shares slide as US-China trade talks shelved

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares have fallen in Asia after China reportedly rebuffed a plan for talks with the U.S. on resolving their dispute over trade and technology. The slow start to the week followed a mixed close Friday on Wall Street, where an afternoon sell-off erased modest gains for the S&P 500 that had the benchmark index on track to eke out its own record high for much of the day.

 

ANALYST’S VIEWPOINT: “The weekend headlines have not been a blessing for ‘risk sentiment,’” Stephen Innes of OANDA said in a commentary. He added, “the optimist in me is siding on ‘this too shall pass,’ but with markets closed in Japan, China and South Korea as a large part of Asia celebrates the Mid-Autumn festival, it impossible to gauge sentiment in these drastically diminished liquidity conditions.”

 

Tampa Bay Times

A Cautious FOMC?? : dovish tail risks abound

US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell is expected to reaffirm his cautious approach to monetary policy this week, potentially paving the way for an extended rally in the Australian dollar.

The Aussie has battled back from below US71¢ less than two weeks ago and is now within reach of US73¢, helped by a muted market response to the latest trade tariff moves by the US and China and the return of a semblance of calm to emerging markets.

With the economic party raging, the Federal Reserve is widely expected to drain some more punch from the bowl,” TD economist Leslie Preston said, adding the central bank appears far from done: “We expect the Fed to hike four more times over the next year, placing the fed funds target at a peak level of 3.25 per cent in 2019.”

The challenge for investors, as it is for Fed policymakers, is more nuanced.

“We suspect the FOMC will signal in its statement the need for policy, moving forward, to potentially become more nimble when it comes to rate hikes compared to the current workmanlike (quarterly) pace,” Bank of Montreal deputy chief economist Michael Gregory. “This could mean longer-than-one-meeting pauses or none at all (the latter becomes easier with the advent of pressers after each meeting next year).

“In any event, we suspect the phrase: ‘The Committee expects that further gradual increases in the target range for the federal funds rate will be consistent with sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labour market conditions, and inflation near the Committee’s symmetric 2 per cent objective over the medium term’, might be modified.

The dot plot – or the specific rate forecasts by individual policymakers – is expected to be little changed for both 2019 and 2020.

“With two US rates hikes priced into [the balance of] 2018 and in the absence of inflation, it’s almost impossible for the Fed to bump up the 2019 curve,” OANDA’s Stephen Innes said in a weekend note.

“So, the markets will end up focusing on shifts in the long ball forecast into 2020 which is not the best or brightest of signals for currency traders who tend to view markets in much nearer time horizons,” Mr Innes said.

Australian Financial Review

By Stephen Innes Head of Trading Asia @steveinnes123

Bring on the FOMC!

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ASEAN currencies edge higher

Sept 21 (Reuters) – Asian currencies strengthened for the
third consecutive day on Friday, supported by a weaker dollar
and shifting views over how much damage the Sino-U.S. trade war
will inflict on global demand and export-reliant regional
economies.

The dollar index has fallen more than 1 per cent this
week. Analysts said investment flows are being diverted away
from the greenback to its peers such as emerging market
currencies as trade tensions have ebbed.
“A significant factor in adding to the current run of dollar
weakness is the drop on safe-haven appeal after China suggested
they won’t weaponise yuan in a trade war,” said Stephen Innes,
head of trading for Asia-Pacific at OANDA in Singapore.
“Regional risk is very steady supported by thriving global
equity markets, a slightly weaker dollar and a positive glean
that North Korea’s leader Kim Jung-un has asked for a second
summit with President Trump.”

 

Reuters

U.S weekly jobless claims fall

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, hitting near a 49-year low in a sign the job market remains strong.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 201,000 for the week ended Sept. 15, the Labor Department said on Thursday. That is the lowest level since November 1969. Data for the prior week’s claims was unrevised.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 210,000 in the latest week.

The Labor Department said only claims for Hawaii were estimated last week. The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, declined by 2,250 to 205,750 last week, the lowest level since December 1969.

The labor market is viewed as being near or at full employment. It continues to strengthen, with nonfarm payrolls increasing by 201,000 jobs in August and annual wage growth notching its biggest gain in more than nine years. Job openings hit an all-time high of 6.9 million in July.

Though there have been reports of some companies either planning job cuts or laying off workers because of trade tensions between the United States and its major trade partners, they have been partially offset by increased hiring in the steel industry.

Economists, however, have warned of job losses if the trade tensions escalate.

Thursday’s claims report also showed the number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid fell 55,000 to 1.645 million for the week ended Sept. 8, the lowest level since August 1973. The four-week moving average of the so-called continuing claims fell 20,750 to 1.691 million, the lowest level since November 1973.

CNBC

China Retaliates to US Tariffs With $60B Tariffs on US products

China is to slap tariffs on an additional $60bn (£46bn) of imports from the US in retaliation against $200bn of new trade sanctions on Chinese goods announced by Donald Trump.

The latest moves represent a new step towards a full-scale trade war between the world’s two biggest economies. Further escalation is deemed likely because Trump is facing low approval ratings ahead of the US midterm elections in November, while China will not want to be seen to back down.

Trump announced his latest escalation of the bitter trade standoff late on Monday, promising to introduce the additional border taxes of 10% on Chinese goods from next week.

Via The Guardian

Trump Leaves Door Open to Deal with China

President Donald Trump on Tuesday left the door open for China to negotiate an end to the trade war between Washington and Beijing, a day after imposing new tariffs on nearly $200 billion Chinese imports and threatening more if China retaliates.

Speaking to reporters during a visit with Polish President Andrzej Duda, Trump said that the United States may make a deal at some point with China and that his country is always open to talking.

via Reuters

Canadian Foreign Ministers to Renew NAFTA Talks on Wednesday

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland will hold fresh talks on renewing NAFTA with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington on Wednesday, a spokesman for Freeland said on Tuesday.

Freeland told reporters on Monday she would be meeting Lighthizer this week in another attempt to settle disagreements between the two countries over the trilateral North American Free Trade Agreement.

U.S. President Donald Trump last month announced a side deal with Mexico – the third member of the pact – and has warned Ottawa that he is prepared to leave Canada out if it fails to accept terms more favorable to the United States.

via Reuters