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Made-in-China U.S. Treasury rally, Trump approves of the isolation of Qatar, and risk appetite goes missing. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.
Treasuries Get Lift from China
China is reportedly ready to boost its stock of U.S. debt as the yuan stabilizes, according to people familiar with the matter. The news helped extend a retreat in yields on Tuesday. In March, China added to its holdings of U.S. Treasuries by the most in two years. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin acknowledged on Tuesday that China has used “very significant reserves” to support its currency in a manner that benefits U.S. companies. On Wednesday, we’ll get an update on the People’s Bank of China’s foreign reserves, which are expected to increase to $3.05 trillion in May from $3.03 trillion in April.
Trump Approves Qatar Cutoff
U.S. President Donald Trump endorsed the move by Saudi Arabia and its allies to cut off diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar, tweeting that leaders in the region accused Qatar of funding extremist groups. Sources in the administration said Trump wasn’t warned about the upcoming Saudi-led isolation of the country during meetings last month. Following this decision, the world’s biggest container line said it has been unable to get cargo to or from Qatar and expects continued disruptions. However, if this action was intended to drive a wedge between Qatar and Iran, it may be backfiring: the blockaded Gulf nation is rerouting flights to Africa and Europe via its main regional ally.
U.S. stocks sold off in the last hour of trading, with the S&P 500 Index registering its biggest decline since May 17. Shares of department store Macy’s got slammed, ending down 8 percent Tuesday after the company warned that it’s facing margin pressures. West Texas Intermediate futures rallied in the afternoon during New York trading hours in anticipation of inventory data to be released Wednesday that’s expected to show slimming stockpiles. Gold also advanced, breaking through a six-year downtrend as investors sought safe havens ahead of major event risk on Thursday.
The yen was the best-performing G10 currency Tuesday as risk aversion dominated. Japanese stocks are poised for their third consecutive day in the red with Nikkei 225 futures pointing to a lower open. S&P/ASX 200 futures, meanwhile, are trading to the upside as of 5:50 a.m. in Tokyo.
On deck in the Asia Pacific region is Australia’s first quarter growth figures, scheduled for release at 10:30 a.m. Tokyo time. The quarterly rate of expansion is forecast to slow to 0.3 percent on the heels of 1.1 percent in the final three months of 2016. The Reserve Bank of Australia largely shrugged off this expected moderation in growth in keeping rates unchanged Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India is expected to keep its repurchase and reverse repo rates unchanged at 6.25 and 6 percent, respectively, as more than $60 billion in excess liquidity keeps monetary policy relatively accommodative.
What we’ve been reading
This is what caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
- China’s biggest bank is Wall Street’s biggest shadow lender.
Labour is ready to lose ground in the U.K. election.
China spawns a robot bubble.
Every Trump fix is two weeks away.
- Carson Block’s mystery Hong Kong short to be named Wednesday.
China’s monetary diplomacy.
The future of business class.