Easing Trade Fears Provide Boost Ahead of US GDP

Markets buoyed by easing trade war risks

European markets are trading in the green once again on Friday, with futures pointing to a similar open in the US, as an apparent easing in trade tensions between the US and European Union boosts risk appetite.

While only the outline of an agreement on trade between the two – which account for more than half of global GDP – was released, it was widely viewed as an important first step towards more cooperation and closer ties, and away from protectionism. For Donald Trump, the concessions offered by the EU represent an important victory at home ahead of the midterm elections – although the real benefits of them may not be known for some time.

Juncker on the other hand will be a relieved man, returning to Europe having avoided tariffs being imposed on the auto industry and with apparent assurances both sides will work towards removing those already imposed, while lowering other tariffs and non-trade barriers in the future. This was also ultimately the goal of Trump as well when imposing the tariffs so both will feel they have come out of this better off.

U.S dollar firmer on GDP expectations

Strong week of earnings despite Facebook horror show

Ultimately, the biggest winner here may be investors as the meeting now potentially sets a precedent for how other trade conflicts can be resolved, although the feud with Beijing is more complex and may take much longer to repair. The protectionist measures adopted by Trump as a tool to fight other countries on trade – and then by those countries in retaliation – have weighed on markets since the start of the year, keeping the S&P 500 and Dow off their highs despite companies having reported huge earnings growth – primarily driven by tax cuts – in the first two quarters.

It’s been a big week for earnings season, with a third of S&P 500 and Dow companies reporting on the second quarter. While the general trend has remained, with companies reporting strong figures, it hasn’t passed without its casualties, with Facebook closing almost 20% lower yesterday after reporting disappointing numbers and forecasts. Today is looking a little quieter on the earnings front, although there are still 18 S&P 500 companies reporting, including Exxon Mobil and Twitter.

US GDP eyed as Trump hopes for more than 4%

On the data side, the US will release GDP figures for what is expected to be a bumper second quarter after a modest first few months of the year. The economy is expected to have grown 4.1% on an annualised basis, which will naturally be championed by Trump as being rewards for his hard work. It will be interesting to see how markets react, should the economy outperform expectations, with the Federal Reserve already on course to raise rates twice more this year.

Economic Calendar

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

First signs of tariffs impact in China’s June trade numbers

Imports drop as tariff wars bite

Today’s release of China’s trade data for June showed imports starting to feel the effect of tariff implementation, while exports managed a small increase. Imports rose a mere 14.1% in dollar terms, below the estimate of 20.8% and a severe drop from May’s 26.0% advance. Exports held up, recording 13.8% growth compared with a forecast of 10.0% and the previous month’s 12.6% gain. The trade surplus ballooned to $41.6 billion from $24.9 billion on the lower import bill.

At the same time, data for the first six months of the year were also released. Exports to the US rose 13.6% in dollar terms while imports climbed 11.8%. Commenting after the release, China Customs official Huang Song Ping said the H1 growth sets a solid foundation for the full year, though there are downward risks in H2.

China Data Calendar July 13

Source: MarketPulse

US economy “in a good place”

In a radio interview yesterday, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said he believes the US economy remains in a “good place” with recent tax cuts and spending programs likely to boost GDP for the next three years, adding that it is unclear how the trade disputes will end.

Fed Chairman Powell

Note: Powell will appear before Congress next week for his semiannual Humphrey Hawkins testimony.

EU growth forecast scaled back

Yesterday the European Commission cut its forecast for Euro-zone economic growth this year to 2.1% from 2.3% previously due to ongoing trade tensions with the US and rising oil prices. It singled out Italy as one to suffer most, with its growth forecast slashed to just 1.3%, the lowest among the 28-member bloc, citing ”re-emerging concerns or uncertainty about economic policies”. Germany and France, the two largest economies in the zone, are also expected to lose steam with forecasts of 1.9% and 1.7% respectively. This compares with 2.2% both economies grew by last year.

Fed’s Monetary Policy Report is the data highlight

The week finishes with a relatively nondescript data calendar. BOE’s Cunliffe, who sits on the dovish side of the fence, is scheduled to speak and it’s doubtful he will say anything different to his stance. US export and import prices feature in the US session while the Fed’s monetary policy report comes later. FOMC member Bostic closes off the week ahead of the weekly Baker Hughes oil rig count.

You can access the full data calendar on MarketPulse at https://www.marketpulse.com/economic-events/

Have a great weekend.

UK Growth Revised Lower

The UK economy expanded by less than previously thought in the last three months of 2017, official figures say.GDP grew by 0.4% in the October-to-December period, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, down from the initial estimate of 0.5%.The revision was due to slower growth in production industries, the ONS said.In 2017 as a whole, the economy grew by 1.7%, also slightly lower than previously thought and the weakest since 2012.

Source: UK economic growth revised downwards – BBC News

Futures Flat After Hawkish Fed Minutes

Dollar maintains its firmer tone