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Trump calls off his planned summit with Kim Jong Un, the Turkish lira continues its slide, and the U.S. Justice Department digs into bitcoin. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.
The Summit Is Off
President Donald Trump called off his planned June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, citing “tremendous anger and open hostility” in recent statements from Pyongyang. Trump called the collapse a setback for both North Korea and the world and said the U.S. military is ready if necessary in the event of a conflict on the Korean peninsula. “While many things can happen and a great opportunity lies ahead, potentially, I believe this is a tremendous setback for North Korea and indeed a setback for the world,” Trump said at the White House hours after releasing a letter to Kim canceling the meeting. Trump said he had spoken with the leaders of South Korea and Japan, and the two nations “are not only ready should foolish or reckless acts be taken by North Korea, but they are willing to shoulder much of the financial cost or burden” of a conflict.
U.S. stocks partially rebounded from early declines sparked by the cancellation of the U.S.-North Korea summit, as investors assessed the broader impact on trade relations and economic growth. Gold posted its biggest gain in a month and Treasuries rose with the yen amid a move to safe-haven assets. Trump’s decision heightened concerns that geopolitical turmoil may upend hopes for a global expansion, particularly as a China trade deal looks less likely. On Wednesday, the administration threatened to impose tariffs on imported cars and trucks for “national security” purposes. Energy stocks paced the losses as crude plunged after Russia’s energy minister reiterated that OPEC and its partners will discuss phasing out supply curbs when they meet next month.
Lira’s Slide Continues
The relief brought by Turkey’s decision to boost interest rates at Wednesday’s emergency meeting didn’t last long, as the lira resumed its nosedive against the dollar. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears to be offering little respite. Erdogan, who’s seeking re-election in a June 24 vote, didn’t mention the lira or the rate increase in an opening campaign speech in Ankara Thursday. While he kept his remarks on economics brief, he reiterated his commitment to an open economy. Market analysts in the country, meanwhile, are censoring their reports for fear of losing their jobs after one research chief was fired for publishing speculation Erdogan might have staged a failed 2016 coup.
U.S. Launches Bitcoin Probe
The Justice Department has opened a criminal probe into whether traders are manipulating the price of Bitcoin and other digital currencies, dramatically ratcheting up U.S. scrutiny of red-hot markets that critics say are rife with misconduct, according to four people familiar with the matter. The investigation is focused on illegal practices that can influence prices -- such as spoofing, or flooding the market with fake orders to trick other traders into buying or selling. Authorities worry that virtual currencies are susceptible to fraud for multiple reasons: skepticism that all exchanges are actively pursuing cheaters, wild price swings that could make it easy to push valuations around and a lack of regulations like the ones that govern stocks and other assets.
Merkel Urges China to Open Home Market
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said China risks facing investment “constraints” in Europe unless it further opens its home market, even as both sides pledged to defend global institutions against U.S. attacks. Standing alongside Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing, Merkel told reporters Thursday that both are “committed to free and fair trade.” For his part, Li signaled backing for European efforts to uphold a nuclear accord with Iran that Trump is abandoning. “We understand that China is still developing, but we also see that in some areas China is the absolute technology leader,” Merkel said at a Germany-China business forum she attended with Li. “So in these areas we naturally want reciprocal access. Otherwise, this will gradually lead to us putting in place constraints -- perhaps too many constraints, and that wouldn’t be good.”
What we’ve been reading
This is what’s caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
- Morgan Stanley sees China as the main driver of its Asia wealth business.
- A payments "battleground" is looming in Hong Kong.
- Bloomberg Opinion: Malaysia needs more tact handling 1MDB.
- The world's best and worst bank returns can be found in one country.
- Trump threatened U.S. allies with more tariffs.
- Ugly numbers are plaguing China's top selfie airbrushing app.
- These seven charts show why Australia's housing boom is ending.
— With assistance by Garfield Clinton Reynolds