Risk appetite starts the week in poor form. The shock announcement of 5% tariffs on all Mexican exports (from June 10) to the US and an intensification of tensions with China, have fuelled growing expectations of a worsening in the global growth outlook. Safe haven assets such as JPY and CHF are likely to remain in demand while core bond yields are likely to continue to move lower, with markets continuing to raise bets on Fed rate cuts this year. Indeed the 10y US Treasury yield has dropped by 1.1% since 8 November last year, with the fall in yields accelerating over recent weeks.
US/China tensions escalated over the weekend, with the deputy head of China’s negotiating team, Wang Shouwen, accusing the US of “resorting to intimidation and coercion”. This coincides with the increase in US tariffs on $200bn of Chinese goods coming into effect over the weekend as Chinese shipments reached US shores, while earlier on Saturday Chinese tariffs on $60bn of US exports came into effect. There is also growing speculation that China may curb exports of rare earth exports to the US.
Wang accused the US of abusing export controls and persisting with “exorbitant” demands and insisting on “mandatory requirements that infringe on China’s sovereign affairs”. Meanwhile China’s defence minister Wei Fenghe, said that China will “fight to the end” on trade if needed. China is also starting to investigate foreign companies who have violated Chinese law. Soon after Chinese state media reported that the government was investigating FedEx for allegedly “undermining the legitimate rights and interest” of its Chinese clients.
Attention this week will be on several central bank decisions including the ECB (6th June), RBA (4th June) and RBI (6th June). The market is fully priced in for an RBA rate cut to 1.25% this week. The ECB is unlikely to surprise, with no change in policy likely. Attention will be on terms of the TLTRO III while ECB President Draghi is likely to sound dovish in his press conference. RBI is set to cut policy rates again, with Friday’s release of weaker than expected Q1 GDP adding to pressure on the Reserve Bank to boost growth amid low inflation.