Asia stocks cheer trade truce, bonds retreat

Stocks rallied and bonds retreated in Asia on Monday as a thaw in the Sino-U.S. trade dispute tempered risks to the global economy, leading investors to pare wagers on aggressive policy easing by the major central banks.

The dollar gained on the safe-haven yen as Treasury yields jumped and futures reined in bets for a half-point rate cut from the U.S. Federal Reserve this month.

“The Osaka truce has reduced the probability of escalation in the near term, and slightly exceeded market expectations,” said analysts at Barclays in a note.

“However, we do not think the likelihood of a deal has necessarily increased,” they warned. “It is probably in the best interest of both parties to keep the talks running as long as they can.”

The initial reaction was one of relief that new tariffs were avoided and Japan’s Nikkei climbed 1.6% to a two-month top. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.3%.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.9%. Treasury futures slid 11 ticks and yields on 10-year notes rose 4 basis points to 2.04%.

Fed funds dropped over 5 ticks as the market scaled back the probability of a 50 basis-point rate cut this month to around 13%, from nearer 50% a week ago.

The United States and China agreed on Saturday to restart trade talks after President Donald Trump offered concessions including no new tariffs and an easing of restrictions on tech company Huawei in order to reduce tensions with Beijing.

China agreed to make unspecified new purchases of U.S. farm products and return to the negotiating table.


Still, no deadline was set for a deal and much damage has already been done, with a survey of Chinese manufacturing out over the weekend showing a continued contraction in new orders.

The official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) held at 49.4 in June, just missing forecasts.

“Although a worst case outcome has been averted, the threat of tariffs remains and it is unlikely the truce gives much confidence to firms’ investment and hiring decisions,” said Tapas Strickland, a director of economics at NAB.

“As such, it is likely that soft manufacturing conditions will persist until if and when a fuller agreement is fleshed out.”

The reaction in currency markets was to strip some recent gain from safe harbors like the yen and Swiss franc. The dollar hopped up 0.4% on the yen to 108.30 and gained 0.3% on the franc to 0.9792.

The dollar added 0.2% on a basket of currencies to 96.306, but was little changed on the euro at $1.1361. The offshore Chinese yuan gained 0.6% to 6.8248 per dollar, its highest since May 10.

The dollar’s gains took some of the shine off gold, which fell 1.2% to $1,391.71 per ounce.

Oil prices swung high in early trade on news OPEC and its allies look set to extend supply cuts at least until the end of 2019 as Iraq joined top producers Saudi Arabia and Russia in endorsing the policy. [O/R]

Brent crude futures rose $1.04 cents to $65.78, while U.S. crude gained $1.03 cents to $59.50 a barrel.