June 19, 2018, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
China is vowing to retaliate ” forcefully” against President Donald Trump’s threatened tariffs on another $200 billion of its goods. Trump ordered the identification of $200 billion in Chinese imports for an additional 10 percent tariff, with another $200 billion after that if Beijing retaliates. Should cooler heads not prevail, it seems inevitable that the escalation will hit American consumers as items such as electronics, clothes and textiles could not be spared. Investors are mapping out tactics for how to play the trade dispute, with the first reaction of many being to reduce risk exposure.
That reduction in risk exposure can be most easily seen in global equity markets. Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 1.6 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index closed 3.8 percent lower to end the session below the key 3,000 level for the first time since September 2016. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.7 percent lower at 5:30 a.m. Eastern Time in a broad-based selloff led by materials stocks. S&P 500 futures pointed to losses of more than 1 percent at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.869 percent and gold was slightly higher.
Crude is falling again today, with a barrel of West Texas Intermediate for July delivery trading at $64.98 by 5:30 a.m. as traders continued to assess OPEC’s discussions on a compromise output increase, as well as rising global trade concerns. While the meeting of oil-producing nations and their allies this weekend will likely be dominated by ironing out the output deal, the cartel is facing a threat from Washington as lawmakers there resurrect the ” No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act,” or NOPEC, which would make members subject to the Sherman antitrust law, last used to break up John Rockefeller’s oil empire. While the chances the bill passes are small, the impact on the oil industry, should it succeed, would be enormous.
Prime Minister Theresa May was defeated in the U.K. parliament’s upper house yesterday evening when the Lords backed an amendment to her Brexit bill which would force a “ meaningful vote” on any final deal agreed with the European Union on the country’s exit from the bloc. The bill now returns to the lower house, where the prime minister will face another vote tomorrow. With just over nine months left until Britain’s exit date, time is running short to agree with the EU the complexities of withdrawal, with that side said to be considering warning that a no-deal hard Brexit is now a real proposition.
ZTE Corp. dived 27 percent after American lawmakers went against the president and passed a law to restore severe penalties on the Chinese chipmaker. The move, passed 85-10 in the Senate as part of a wider defense bill, will complicate Trump’s plan to allow ZTE get back into business. Trump is due to meet Republican lawmakers tomorrow to persuade them to agree a compromise for the Chinese company.