May 17, 2018, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
The Trump administration is distancing itself from National Security Adviser John Bolton’s hard-line stance on North Korea. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters she was “not aware” of plans to use the so-called Libya model, which would force Kim Jong Un’s regime to quickly abandon its nuclear program. While Bolton might be on the diplomatic naughty step, there has been a reprieve for President Donald Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro, who will now take part after all in talks with China when they begin in Washington later today.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury was at 3.106 percent by 5:45 a.m. Eastern Time this morning as the move through multi-year highs continues. The 30-year yield hit the highest level since 2015 as the bond selloff spread to the most-resilient part of the market. Incoming New York Fed President John Williams said yesterday that it is almost time for the Federal Reserve to stop holding the market’s hand, while James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, warned overly aggressive tightening could lead to yield-curve inversion.
Brent crude for July settlement hit $80.18 in London trading this morning, for the first time since 2014, as U.S. crude inventories fell and traders continued to brace for the impact of renewed Iran sanctions. A barrel of West Texas Intermediate for July delivery was trading at $72.20 by 5:45 a.m. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has warned that money managers reducing their bullish bets on crude are engaging in a “ dangerous” strategy.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.2 percent, while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.5 percent higher as the yen held recent losses against the dollar. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.2 percent higher at 5:45 a.m. with oil producers among the best performers as crude prices continued to rise. S&P 500 futures pointed to a slight drop at the open and gold was lower.
Going their own way
European Union leaders presented a united front against Trump’s moves on trade and his plans to scupper the Iran nuclear deal. EU President Donald Tusk said the bloc must learn to cope with what he called U.S. “ capricious assertiveness,” adding that common challenges posed by the White House are bringing member states closer together. Within the union, talks in Italy on the formation of a new government continue to drag on.