Fresh from a bust-up with Mexico and still mired in disputes with the likes of China and Iran, Donald Trump upped his criticism of Germany on Wednesday. He threatened sanctions over Angela Merkel’s continued support for a gas pipeline from Russia and warned that he could shift troops away from America’s NATO ally over its defense spending. As for the trade war with China, Trump said he has no deadline for the Asian nation to return to trade talks, other than the one in his head. Literally. He pointed to his head. With falling oil demand signaling easing global growth, and the U.S. budget deficit ballooning, Five Things is sure everything is gonna work out just fine and dandy.
It’s turning into quite the week in the oil market. West Texas crude tumbled 4% on Wednesday after EIA data showed total stocks at the highest since mid-2017, a sign that production is outstripping demand and yet more fuel (pun intended) for those who fear the U.S.-China trade war is tripping up the global economy. On Thursday morning, there was a new narrative — WTI was up almost 3 percent after two tankers were damaged in a suspected attack in the Gulf of Oman. The incident follows attacks on oil tankers near the Persian Gulf last month and once again raises the possibility of a disruption in crude flows. This will also probably work out OK, since when was there ever trouble in the Middle East?
Hong Kong calm
Hong Kong lawmakers once again postponed debate on legislation that would allow extraditions to China, as tensions remained high between police and protesters after violent clashes on Wednesday. Both the Hang Seng Index and the Hong Kong dollar were barely changed today. While all is relatively calm for now, side effects to all this are still filtering through, and the government postponed a high-profile land auction because of the disruption. Amid the lull there was one piece of good news for the city and its markets: Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has filed confidentially to list there, moving closer to what will potentially be Hong Kong’s biggest share sale since 2010. See? Everything is fine.
It’s getting more risk-on by the hour. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index sank 0.5% while Japan’s Topix finished 0.8% lower but the Stoxx Europe 600 index reversed earlier losses and is 0.2% higher as of 6:08 a.m. Eastern time. S&P futures are up 0.4%, the yield on 10-year Treasuries was at 2.112%, and gold was up 0.26%.
You want data? We got you. U.S. import numbers land at 8:30 a.m., and because you’ve been extra good, you get export figures as well. Not enough? OK then, how about initial jobless data at the same time, followed by Bloomberg’s June economic survey and our consumer comfort number at 9:45 a.m. And by 1:00 p.m. we’ll have the results of a sale of 30-year Treasuries for you. Boom, done.