May 17, 2019, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
Chinese state media signaled that the country has little interest in resuming trade talks with the U.S. as long as authorities in Washington continue to threaten more tariffs. This means that the next opportunity for both sides to come together will be a meeting between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit towards the end of next month. The nation’s equity markets were hit after the media reports were published, with the Shanghai Composite Index tumbling as much as 2.8%, while the yuan briefly fell to its weakest level against the dollar since November.
A barrel of West Texas Intermediate for June delivery was trading at $63.32 by 5:40 a.m. Eastern Time as the commodity is in line for its best week since early April. The gain belies warnings over global demand and market volatility since Iran became a renewed focus of tension. There may be some relief on that front as people familiar with the matter say that Trump is wary about drawing the U.S. into a war in the region which may hurt his chances of reelection. OPEC and its allies meet this weekend in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah, with the Iran situation expected to dominate the agenda.
British Prime Minister Theresa May was forced by members of her own party to agree to set a timeline for her to quit as leader. Under the terms she will try one more time to get her Brexit deal through Parliament and then, regardless of the outcome of that vote, will leave her position. On Brexit, the opposition Labour Party this morning said that talks with the government have gone as far at they can, increasingly the likelihood of Parliament rejecting May’s deal for a fourth time. The pound fell to the lowest since January.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index was broadly unchanged, while Japan’s Topix index closed 1.1% higher with a rebound in electronics makers and positive earnings boosting the gauge. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.3 percent lower at 5:40 a.m. Eastern Time as trade fears again came to the fore. S&P 500 futures pointed to a drop at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.387% and gold eased.
It’s a fairly quiet day on the economic data front, with the U.S. April Leading Index and May University of Michigan consumer sentiment at 10:00 a.m. Oil-market watchers, already with a lot to keep an eye on, will get the latest Baker Hughes rig count at 1:00 p.m. In Fed speakers today, New York Fed President John Williams and Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida are the lineup. There’s interest in Deere & Co. earnings this morning as the company faces fallout from the trade war and difficulties among its U.S. farmer customer base.