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Erdogan wins his referendum, China's economy picks up, and North Korean tensions rise. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.
Let's talk Turkey
Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan won the closely-watched referendum on whether to amend the constitution to give him sweeping new powers by a slim margin — winning the approval of 51.3 percent of Turks. The emboldened president has already been taking aim at political opponents while the European Union's rapporteur for Turkey said accession talks to join the group will be suspended if the constitution is passed in its current form. The win sparked a relief rally in markets, with the lira jumping as much as 2.5 percent before paring some of those gains.
China-watchers have a few things to choose from this Monday. GDP increased 6.9 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, beating expectations for a 6.8 percent gain. It was helped along by a recovery in retail sales and property markets, plus buoyant credit growth. Meanwhile, the National Statistics Bureau said the country's production of crude steel expanded 1.8 percent from a year earlier, to a record 72 million metric tons.
Just a day after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un defied the Trump administration with an unsuccessful ballistic missile test, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visited the DMZ and encouraged China to take action against the hermit kingdom. North Korea later snubbed some Chinese diplomats amid the mounting tensions. Elsewhere on the peninsula, South Korea's former President Park Geun-hye was charged with bribery and abuse of power.
Investors were seeking safe havens in markets on Monday, many of which were closed for various holidays. The yen climbed 0.3 percent to 108.28 per dollar while gold reached $1,295.56 an ounce. Asia stocks were mixed as lingering geopolitical concerns offset Chinese economic data. The Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.7 percent, for instance, while the Topix climbed 0.5 percent. Futures on the S&P 500 Index were down 0.1 percent. Today will also be the first day of trading for U.S. bond markets following weaker than expected inflation data published on Friday.
Oil prices slip
Crude oil repeated a familiar pattern, slipping below $53 a barrel following data late on Friday that showed U.S. shale continues to ramp-up its drilling. U.S. explorers added 11 rigs last week, capping the longest stretch of gains since 2011, according to Baker Hughes Inc. data. The latest CFTC data did show hedge funds boosting their bets on higher West Texas Intermediate crude prices for a second week, however, as expectations build for an extension of OPEC's production cut agreement.
What we've been reading
This is what's caught our eye over the weekend.
- Odd Lots: What happens when markets as we know them cease to exist.
- Now is as good a time as any to learn about political economy.
- Bond traders finally broke 2017's range. Now comes the hard part.
- Revisit this French town known for foie gras and picking France's presidents.
- Uber lifted the veil on its financials.
- A tale of two cycles in China.
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