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Market Update: Asian Shares Slip on Trade Worries, Oil Gives up Some Gains

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Asian equities
  • Asian Shares Slip on Trade Worries, Oil Gives up Some Gains

Asian shares fell on Monday on escalating trade tensions between the United States and major economies while oil prices gave up some of their hefty gains made after major oil producers agreed to a modest increase in production.

S&P500 mini futures eased as much as 0.6 percent in early trade while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.25 percent. Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.4 percent.

The falls were triggered by a report from the Wall Street Journal that U.S. President Donald Trump plans to bar many Chinese companies from investing in U.S. technology firms and block additional technology exports to China.

“Until last week, there was vague optimism that we can muddle through this. But now it looks like, unless the U.S. lays down its arms, things will be getting more chaotic,” said Hirokazu Kabeya, chief global strategist at Daiwa Securities.

As the threat of a full-blown trade war has become all the more real, MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe has fallen in five of the last six weeks, including last week, when it declined one percent – its biggest weekly drop in three months.

Chinese shares were among the biggest losers, tumbling 3.7 percent last week, as Trump put the heat on Beijing, threatening to hit $200 billion of Chinese imports with 10 percent tariffs.

Policy makers in China moved fast to temper any potential economic drag from the trade dispute with the United States, with China’s central bank on Sunday saying it would cut the amount of cash that some banks must hold as reserves by 50 basis points (bps).

The reduction in reserves, the third by the central bank this year, had been widely anticipated by investors and is aimed to accelerate the pace of debt-for-equity swaps and spur lending to smaller firms.

Following the move, the CSI300 Index of mainland Chinese shares rose 0.1 percent in early trade.

On the other hand, the index of global auto manufacturers , which shed 4.7 percent last week, remained soft.

Trump threatened to impose a 20 percent tariff on Friday on all imports of EU-assembled cars, a month after his administration launched an investigation into whether auto imports posed a national security threat.

A senior European Commission official said on Saturday that the European Union will respond to any U.S. move to raise tariffs on cars made in the bloc.

Investors and traders are worried that threats of higher U.S. tariffs and retaliatory measures by others could derail a rare period of synchronised global growth.

Oil prices were supported after OPEC and non-OPEC producers agreed on a modest increase in production from next month, without announcing a clear target for the output increase, leaving traders guessing how much more will actually be pumped.

OPEC and non-OPEC said in their statement that they would raise supply by returning to 100 percent compliance with previously agreed output cuts, after months of underproduction.

“In reality, there aren’t many countries that can raise outputs, with only Saudi Arabia having the capacity to flexibly increase the output. But if Saudis alone increase outputs sharply, they could face backlash from some other countries,” said Tatsufumi Okoshi, senior commodity economist at Nomura Securities.

“So markets seem to be sceptical how much Saudi can increase. We could see some profit-taking after last week’s gains but the market will be supported. The next focus will be on the size of output increase by Saudis in July,” he added.

U.S. crude futures traded at $68.36 per barrel, down 0.3 percent for the day after Friday’s 4.6 percent rally.

International benchmark Brent fell 2.0 percent, however, to $74.08 per barrel, giving up more than a half of their gains made on Friday.

In the currency market, the euro held firm at $1.1656 , bouncing back after hitting an 11-month low of $1.1508 on Thursday.

The euro climbed on Friday as traders were encouraged by improved regional economic growth data and new assurances by Italian politicians that their nation would not leave the single currency.

Business activity in Germany and France, the euro zone’s top two economies, picked up in June despite trade tensions between Europe and the United States, IHS Markit data showed.

The dollar fell 0.4 percent to 109.50 yen, hitting its lowest levels in two weeks as the yen firmed on concerns about global trade frictions.

The Turkish lira gained by up to 1.6 percent on expectations of a stable government after Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling AK Party claimed victory in Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary polls on Sunday.

But his victory kept alive worries about inflation and the central bank’s independence given Erdogan’s recent comments suggesting he wants to take greater control of monetary policy.

The lira last traded at 4.6500 to the dollar, up 0.5 percent from 4.6625 at the end of last week, but off the day’s high hit earlier of 4.5870.

Bitcoin steadied after hitting seven-month lows during the weekend as the security of cryptocurrency exchange operators came under more scrutiny.

The digital money fell to as low as $5,780 and last stood at $6,155.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade long experience in the global financial market.

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Investment

Barclays Tell High Net Worth Investors to Shun Africa and Other Emerging Economies

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Barclays Bank

Barclays to High Net Worth Clients, Stay Off Africa and Other Emerging Economies

Barclays, one of the world’s largest investment banks, has started advising high net worth clients to stay off Africa and other emerging economies.

According to Barclays, despite the recent recovery noticed in emerging-market stocks, investors are better off avoiding the risks that still abound in emerging nations. Barclays Plc, however, advised high net worth clients to focus on U.S equities despite the S&P’s breakneck rally.

The investment bank said emerging economies do not have enough fiscal buffers to spend their way out of the COVID-19 pandemic and will likely continue to struggle in the near-time compared to the US with 12 percent of gross domestic product fiscal-support.

It said the huge US stimulus may halt rebound in emerging-markets stocks as more money is expected to flow into the world’s largest economy and its European counterparts.

“Compared to the U.S., emerging-market economies appear more vulnerable,” said Haider, the London-based managing director and head of global growth markets. “Their central banks have less room to maneuver, their governments may not be able to provide unlimited support and equity markets, given their sector mix, can be more challenged by an economic slowdown.”

Barclays added that even after 33 percent rebound in stocks of emerging markets since the panic selloff subsided in March, stocks are still down by 9 percent from year-to-date while the US S&P 500 stocks are up by 45 percent. Presently, their stocks trading at a 36 percent discount to US stocks, up from 25 percent three months ago.

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Economy

Crude Oil Rises to $43.1 Per Barrel on Production Cuts Extension

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  • Crude Oil Hits $43.1 Per Barrel Following OPEC’s Production Cuts Extension

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil price is measured, rose by 1.25 percent on Monday during the Asian trading session following OPEC and allies’ agreement to extend crude oil cuts to the end of July.

OPEC and allies, known as OPEC plus, agreed to extend production cuts of 9.7 million barrels per day reached in April to July on Saturday.

In the virtual conference, delegates agreed that members, including Nigeria and Iraq presently struggling to attain a 100 percent compliance level must keep to the agreement or be forced to do so in subsequent months.

Nigeria, Iraq and others failed to keep to the cartel’s agreement in May after reports show that Nigeria only managed to attain a 19 percent compliance level during the month while Iraq struggled to attain just 38 percent in the same month.

Russia and Saudi Arabia, the two largest producers of the group, warned members to stick to the agreed quota if they want to rebalance the global oil market.

While the errant producers such as Iraq and Nigeria have vowed to reach 100% conformity and compensate for prior underperformance, we still think they will likely continue to have some commitment issues over the course of the summer,” said Helima Croft, head of global commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets.

The potential return of Libyan output could also cause considerable challenges for the OPEC leadership.

Earlier on Monday, Brent crude oil hits $43.1 per barrel, more than a month record-high, before pulling back slightly to $42.83 per barrel.

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Economy

Gold Dips by 2 Percent on Better Than Expected Job Report

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  • Gold Dips by 2 Percent on Better Than Expected Job Report

Gold prices declined by 2 percent on Friday following a better than expected US non-farm payroll report.

The report showed an increase of 2.5 million payroll numbers against a decline of 7.5 million predicted by many experts.

The surprise number boosted investors’ confidence in US recovery as many dumped their haven investment (gold) for the stock market.

“We had significantly stronger-than-expected U.S. payroll numbers – an increase of 2.5 million versus an expectation of a decline of 7.5 million – that 10-million swing has brought forward expectations of the economic recovery in the United States,” said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities.

Spot gold immediately declined by 1.9 percent per ounce to $1,678.81 while the U.S. gold futures slid 2.6 percent to settle at $1,683.

Gold was also being pressured by stronger yields and a slightly firmer dollar, “meaning the opportunity cost to hold gold in the portfolio has gone up,” Melek added.

The surprise didn’t stop there, US Dow Jones was up 614 points despite the protest going on the US and US-China tension.

Also, NASDAQ rose by 29 points while the S&P index added 50 points increase.

Note: Investors generally increase their investments in gold and other haven assets during a crisis to avert risk exposure and do the opposite once they sense a better economy.

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