May 25, 2018, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
North Korea expressed surprise that President Donald Trump canceled the June 12 leaders summit, with First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan saying his country still wanted to pursue peace, and remained willing to meet with the U.S. at any time. Markets reversed some of the selloff that followed the president’s announcement. However, the latest Trump foreign-policy reversal is making allies, both at home and abroad, increasingly nervous about decision-making in the White House.
Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said his country is discussing easing output curbs with Russia for the first time. His Russian counterpart Alexander Novak said loosening production-cut targets will be discussed at a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its partners next month. The plan has already fulfilled its original goal of eliminating a global surplus of crude inventory. Already facing a loss for the week, oil prices were put under further pressure by the news with a barrel of West Texas Intermediate for July delivery trading at $69.60 by 5:40 a.m. Eastern Time.
Investor worries about Italy continue to be reflected in the bond market where the spread between the country’s 10-year yield and Germany’s widened to 200 basis points. The populist parties’ coalition plan has included moves to shake-up the country’s banking sector, which analysts worry will hit bank valuations. In Spain, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy did not have long to bask in the success of getting a budget passed, as the main opposition party has tabled a motion of no-confidence in his leadership after former aides were convicted of running a multi-million euro corruption racket. Finally, as ever, there are Brexit concerns as the European Union has once again dismissed U.K. plans for the country’s relationship with the trading bloc after it leaves.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.2 percent, while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.2 percent lower as that gauge capped its biggest weekly decline since March, with automakers the biggest drag. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.5 percent higher at 5:40 a.m. as equities rebound following North Korea’s olive branch, while Italian stocks remain volatile. S&P 500 futures pointed to a gain at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.970 percent and gold was broadly unchanged.
At 8:30 a.m., U.S. April durable goods orders is due, with expectations for a 1.3 percent drop in the headline figure. University of Michigan consumer sentiment figures are scheduled for 10:00 a.m. In Fedspeak today, Chairman Jerome Powell is due at 9:20 a.m. from Stockholm, while Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic and Chicago Fed President Charles Evans are all making an appearance on a panel in Dallas. At 1:00 p.m. oil traders will get more information to mull in an already busy day when the latest Baker Hughes rig count is released.