Jump to content

Global geopolitics: APAC brief 28 Feb

MaxIG

Around the globe, geopolitics dominates: Political spot fires have captured the attention of market participants. From Washington, to Hanoi, to Kashmir, to Caracas, to London: the ugly machinations of power have dominated the headlines. Only, despite fleeting action, the impact to market activity has seemingly been muted. A facile logic might suggest that it is because of the geopolitical uncertainty in the world that markets have traded so dull overnight. It would be too long a bow to draw, though: tremors can be seen in prices, but a global earthquake can’t be found. Not to diminish the events turning the world in the last 24-hours: they go well beyond the importance of markets. It’s simply just developed markets haven’t responded terribly much to them.

1.jpg

In Washington: The most salacious news that had traders’ interest excited last night took place in the halls of US Congress. No, not the testimony of US Fed Chair Jerome Powell – though his words are of far greater import to markets. It was instead the unfolding Michael Cohen testimony, at which the disgraced lawyer has cast a series of accusations and aspersions toward US President Donald Trump, on issues ranging from Russian ties, electoral fraud and hush payments. On the face of what’s been said, the revelations are potentially monumental. However, although demonstrating signs of nervousness in the lead up to the testimony, as it unfolded, financial markets have seemingly shrugged off the possible implications of that event.

In Hanoi: Is it a collective dismissal of Cohen’s testimony? It’s too hard call. One assumes that if there was a material chance that US President Trump could fact impeachment, traders would stand to attention. So far: they haven’t, so the roughest conclusion is that such an outcome is still considered unlikely. As the never-ending circus plays-out in Washington, US President Trump is of course half-the-world away in Vietnam, trying to employ his self-styled statesmanship to charm North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. The end game is denuclearisation in the Korean Peninsula and the end of what is technically a multi-decade war. Again, despite all the pomp and ceremony, markets are behaving as though no breakthrough will happen in that matter this week, either.

In Kashmir and in Caracas: Political posturing, and financial markets’ eye rolling, aside, there is a firm gaze on what is happening in both Venezuela, and the Indian-Pakistan border. At risk of conflating two all too complex geopolitical issues, markets are apparently taking note of the escalating tensions in those geographies. The necessary moral caveat:  the potential for human suffering in each conflict is the biggest issue by any measure. But for traders, the power-struggle in Caracas is being judged on its impact on oil markets, and the potential it could inflame tensions between the US, Russia and China; while the conflict in Kashmir is being monitored for the potential for an all-out war between two nuclear-armed nations.

Back in Washington; and in London: It’s a tinderbox out there, but until it catches alight, markets en masse don’t appear too fussed. The geopolitical concerns pertain primarily to the trade-war and Brexit – the perpetual bugbears. The trade-war narrative overnight centred on a statement by Robert Lighthizer that America is pursuing “significant structural changes” to China’s economy. It’s contestable what impact that statement had on markets. The Brexit narrative did manifest in markets, however: falling into lock step with the UK on the issue, the European Union stated its amenable to extending Brexit if necessary. The Cable leapt to 8-month highs, Gilt Yields rallied across the curve, and a much better than 50/50 chance is being priced in the BOE will hike rates this year.

Bonds fall; oil rallies: The market-friendly Brexit news looks as though it shared its benefits across national economies. German Bund yields climbed considerably, as did US Treasury yields. The yield on the US 10 Year note touched 2.70 per cent – something of a relief rally. Global equities were more reticent, with the major European and North American indices trading generally in the red. Important to note: the selling in bond markets could perhaps also reflect fundamentally altered inflation expectations, over and above growth optimism. Oil prices leapt overnight after US inventory data showed a much larger than expected drawdown in reserves, leading to US 5 Year Breakevens hitting 1.87 per cent – a level not registered since the middle of November last year.

2.jpg

Australia: While inevitably influenced by Wall Street’s limp-lead, and the political ructions evolving across the planet, SPI Futures are indicating an Australian share market that is marching to its own beat once more. On that contract: the ASX200 ought to open roughly 9 points higher this morning, perhaps due to the jump in oil and a leg-up in iron ore prices. The day’s trade might find itself focused on the macro-outlook for the Australian economy, and the reactions in ACGBs, the AUD and pricing for RBA rate cuts: local Capex figures will be delivered at 11:30AM this morning – and are taking on greater significance after yesterday’s Construction numbers greatly missed economist consensus forecasts.

Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia



2 Comments

Recommended Comments

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Blog Statistics

    • Total Blogs
      3
    • Total Entries
      586
  • Latest Forum Topics

  • Our picks

    • A US-China trade deal?; hope for Brexit breakthrough; IMF updates on economic outlook - DailyFX Key Themes
      UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar stirred hope when they both offered enthusiasm after their meeting, saying there was a “pathway” forward as they discussed the contentious border. That was followed by a meeting between the EU’s main negotiator Michel Barnier and UK Brexit minister Stephen after which it was stated they 'look forward to these intensified discussions in the coming days'. Though nothing material has yet been agreed to, this seems like a meaningful break owing to the language alone. Neither side has voiced confidence in their discussions for some time, so this does represent a significant change. 
      • 0 replies
    • Dividend Adjustments 14 Oct - 21 Oct
      Please see the expected dividend adjustment figures for a number of our major indices for the week commencing 14 Oct 2019. If you have any queries or questions on this please let us know in the comments section below. For further information regarding dividend adjustments, and how they affect  your positions, please take a look at the video. 
      • 0 replies
    • Trade wars; recession fears grow; gold's position - DailyFX Key Themes
      We have been unofficially engaged in a global trade war since March 2018. That is when the United States moved forward with a tariff on imported metals (steel and aluminum) from any destination outside of the country.

      As it currently stands, we are still awaiting another wave of products receiving a hefty tariff rate upgrade in approximately two months’ time while talks are set to resume on Thursday between the two parties. That said, reports over the weekend indicated China was not impressed with the Trump administration’s most recent efforts to find middle ground.
      • 0 replies
×
×