June 15, 2018, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
President Donald Trump has approved tariffs on Chinese goods worth about $50 billion, according to a person familiar with the decision. The administration is expected to release a refined list of targeted products later today, with China’s technology sector expected to be hit hardest. Reuters reported that the U.S. is also preparing a second list of $100 billion of imports from China to rachet up the pressure on Beijing’s trade policies. Shares in Shanghai fell to their lowest level since September 2016 as the U.S. move added to concerns about the economic trajectory.
Bank of Japan
Following Fed tightening, and ECB tapering, the BOJ ended three days of major central-bank decisions by not doing very much at all. It left monetary policy unchanged, maintaining the settings on its yield-curve control program and asset purchases, as economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected, while cutting its inflation outlook. Russia’s central bank is due to announce its latest decision this morning.
Developing-market woes continue, with the Argentine peso at the center of the storm following the surprise resignation of Federico Sturzenegger as the head of the country’s central bank. The currency plunged more than 6 percent in trading yesterday. The Turkish lira, Thai baht, Indian rupee are all under pressure today, with the Malaysian ringgit the only emerging-market currency higher against the dollar this week, according to Bloomberg data. It’s not all bad news though, as Bank of America Merrill Lynch sees opportunities for investors in some of the hardest-hit countries.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.2 percent, while Japan’s Topix index closed higher in the wake of the Bank of Japan decision to maintain stimulus. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.2 percent lower at 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time as the region’s stocks gave up some ground following yesterday’s large post-ECB rally. S&P 500 futures point to a lower open as trade worries increase, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.928 percent and gold was lower.
Next week’s meeting of OPEC and its allies is shaping up as a standoff between Saudi Arabia and Russia favoring production increases, with Iran, Iraq and Venezuela all opposing the moves. Oil in London is set for a second week of declines, while a barrel of West Texas Intermediate for July delivery was trading at 66.69 at 5:50 a.m. Baker Hughes will publish their rig count for the U.S. at 1:00 p.m. today, with demand for drilling hardware expected to continue to increase.