Global stock markets rebounded Tuesday after China’s central bank fixed the Yuan at a slightly stronger rate, soothing fears that a protracted trade war between the U.S. and China would spill over into a currency war as well.
The slight gains followed a rout in global markets Tuesday after the yuan dropped past 7 to the dollar, spurring the United States to label Beijing a currency manipulator.
Safe-haven assets, including bonds, gold, and currencies like the yen and Swiss franc, dipped as investors moved tentatively back into the euro, sterling and some emerging-market currencies. Yet investor sentiment remained fragile.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average.DJI rose 56.54 points, or 0.22%, to 25,774.28, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 9.73 points, or 0.34%, to 2,854.47 and the Nasdaq Composite.IXIC added 51.36 points, or 0.66%, to 7,777.40.
“The markets are now scrambling to factor in the possibility of the United States imposing not only an additional 10% of tariffs on Chinese imports but the figure being raised to 25%.” Goldman Sachs also said it no longer expects a trade deal to be struck before the November 2020 U.S. presidential election. Morgan Stanley said more tit-for-tat tariffs could tip the world economy into recession by the middle of next year.
Though U.S. Treasury yields had edged back up to 1.74% from October 2016 lows of 1.672%, German yields stayed down at minus 0.54%. Markets are now pricing in a 100% chance the European Central Bank will cut its already negative interest rates again next month.
China’s offshore Yuan had stretched the previous day’s slide, briefly weakening to 7.1382 CNH=D4, the lowest since international trading in the Chinese currency began in 2010. But it pulled back to 7.0469 after Beijing’s firmer-than-expected fixing on Tuesday.
The Japanese yen, a perceived safe-haven in times of market turmoil and political tensions, touched a seven-month high of 105.520 per dollar JPY= before dropping back as far as 106.700 in volatile trade. Oil prices rebounded slightly from big falls in recent sessions, but Brent crude remained near seven-month lows around $60 a barrel due to escalating trade tensions between China and the United States. Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 rose 0.3% to $60.01 per barrel. U.S. crude rose 0.3% to $54.87.
Spot gold XAU= stalled after advancing to a six-year peak of $1,474.80 an ounce as investors sought safety. People are just rebalancing their portfolios in favor of bonds, gold, Japanese yen, Swiss francs and the usual safe havens.