Asian equities unable to keep up with US stocks climb

19 November, 2019

Asian stocks are mixed, unable to stay in lockstep with their US counterparts which marched on to post fresh record highs. Sentiment remains weighed down by concerns over the prospects of a US-China trade deal, as investors’ patience is wearing thin over the fate of the “phase one” agreement whilst Asian currencies are mixed against the US Dollar. Gold has climbed above the psychological $1470 mark, while 10-year US Treasury yields declined towards the 1.80 level.

With less than two weeks remaining in November, the clock is ticking on prior estimates that a deal would be signed by this month. While investors are aware of the intricate challenges involved in trying to resolve trade differences between the world’s two largest economies, many believed that a deal was close. The longer investors are made to wait, the wider the door becomes for doubt and risk aversion to creep back into the markets, which could in turn restore appetite for safe haven assets.

Pound in focus ahead of TV debate

The Pound is mounting yet another assault on the 1.30 mark versus the US Dollar, having reached its strongest level against the Euro since May. Conservatives have strengthened their lead in the polls ahead of the December 12 elections, which makes for a seemingly clearer path for Brexit while paving the way for more Sterling upside.

It remains to be seen how much either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn can sway voters’ minds during today’s TV debate, or how much the rhetoric could sway the Pound over the near-term. Ultimately, investors will relate the outcome of the December 12 polls to the UK’s ambitions of leaving the European Union. A path to a surer and speedier Brexit could translate into GBPUSD emulating its year-to-date high around 1.34.

Brent kept range-bound as markets await trade deal agreement

Brent futures have been unable to break meaningfully above $63/bbl, hemmed in by concerns over the US-China trade deal. Compounding Oil’s outlook are forecasts that US stockpiles could climb higher after reaching a 4-month high.

Oil’s supply-demand equation requires an erosion of demand-side uncertainties or it risks falling further into an oversupplied environment, which would drag Oil prices lower. Considering the unrelenting US shale output, as well as the perceived stance by OPEC+ members to maintain its supply cuts at current levels during its December meeting, Oil bulls can only pin their hopes on a successful conclusion to the “phase one” trade deal.

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