Key market events to watch this week

21 May, 2018

Trade war on hold  - for now

Asian stocks gained on Monday morning as investors learned that the U.S. and China agreed to drop the tariff threats against each other while they continue to work out an agreement. This was the second round of trade negotiations without clearly defined targets, suggesting that there’s still a long way to go. Today, a trade war may have been averted, but according to the joint statement from both countries, nothing is being guaranteed apart from China promising to increase American imports. It seems that tensions will remain for the foreseeable future and investors will have to live with it; unless the U.S. officially announces that it is imposing tariffs on China, the noise in the background will have little impact on sentiment.

Nicolás Maduro wins Venezuelan elections

As was widely anticipated, Nicolás Maduro won another six years in office in Sunday’s elections. The Venezuelan economy, which has been struggling for several years, may enter a deeper crisis if the U.S. and other western countries step up sanctions against the nation. Brent crude, up 0.7% at the time of writing, might benefit further from the increasingly grave outlook for Venezuela, if proposed sanctions result in a  steeper decline in output.

FOMC minutes

The dollar climbed to a new 2018 high on Monday, with overall gains of more than 6.3% from its lowest point in February. The U.S. currency has been benefiting mainly from improved economic prospects and higher interest rates. Whether the upward trajectory will resume in the short run, is likely to depend on the FOMC minutes scheduled for release on Wednesday. The Fed has changed its language with respect to inflation and become slightly more bullish, but its latest statement didn’t indicate a faster tightening in monetary policy. Whether the Fed is prepared to fight inflation, or whether it will be more cautious about raising rates too quickly, will be reflected in the minutes. However, with a number of speeches scheduled from Fed officials this week, it will be interesting to hear their thoughts on how oil above $80 may impact policy.

Italy’s new government

Italy's new government is likely to be formed within the next few days and provide a new headache for Brussels, since populists will be leading it. Italian borrowing costs rallied sharply over the past several days, as investors sold Italian debt after a leaked draft showed the new coalition’s intentions to request the cancellation of €250bn of Italian government debt. How things go from here depends on whether the new government follows through on its promises, that include a massive spending spree that conflicts with the EU’s budgetary rules, or whether it starts to gradually scale back . 

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Risk sentiment takes advantage

Traders are taking advantage of a lull in news flow stemming from US-China trade tensions to send Asian stocks higher, after the S&P 500 posted...

Market sentiment influenced

Investor sentiment has swung back and forth this week due to the persistent uncertainty and ever-changing jigsaw puzzle that is being mapped...

Sterling crumbles on Brexit uncertainty

The British Pound extended losses against the Dollar on Wednesday amid speculation over Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal crashing...

Dollar flickers to life. Gold takes a breather

Dollar bulls made an unexpected appearance on Tuesday afternoon despite the mood across financial markets improving on revived trade optimism...

Markets on tenterhooks

US-China trade tensions are expected to continue being the dominant theme this week, as Asian markets kicked off Monday in risk-off fashion...

Truce of tariffs - what will happen?

The coming hours will be absolutely crucial for markets. The paramount question of the day is whether the US and China can strike a trade deal...

Keep watch on Lira and Rand

Smoke continues to linger across market sentiment following the smoke grenade President Trump launched over the weekend with the threat of adding further tariffs on Chinese imports at the end of the week.

Dollar slips ahead of Fed rate decision

Dollar bulls were nowhere to be found today despite US GDP growth figures for the first quarter of 2019 exceeding market expectations last week...

Dollar bulls back in driving seat

The Dollar Index (DXY) found comfort near a yearly high above 97.70 today, after a raft of strong US earnings in the previous session boosted confidence...


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