Asian shares veer between gains and losses before key China data
By Andrew Galbraith | Fri, July 12, 2019 02:14 EDT
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Asian shares shuttled between small losses and gains on Friday as investors awaited China trade, lending and growth data, and as worries over Sino-U.S. trade tensions deflated optimism rooted in expectations of a Federal Reserve rate cut this month.
But while an anticipated Fed cut did little to spur gains in Asian markets, European equities were expected to open higher.
Pan-region Euro Stoxx 50 futures
Later on Friday, China will release June trade data, with analysts expecting exports to have fallen as weakening global demand and a sharp hike in U.S. tariffs took a heavier toll on the world's largest trading nation.
China is also due to release lending data on Friday, while second-quarter GDP figures are scheduled for Monday. The world's second-largest economy is expected to have slowed to its weakest pace in at least 27 years, raising hopes for more stimulus to fend off a sharper slowdown.
"You've got key data coming out, and I don't see why anyone would want to take a position until you've got that data," said Michael Every, head of Asia-Pacific financial markets research at Rabobank in Hong Kong.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS>, which moved in a narrow range through the day, was flat in the afternoon. Chinese shares rose, with the CSI300 <.CSI300> adding 0.85%.
Australian shares <.AXJO> dipped 0.3% and Japan's Nikkei stock index <.N225> started the day with small losses, but ended 0.2% ahead.
Underscoring the economic impact of global trade tensions, Singapore's economy grew at its slowest pace in a decade in the second quarter as electronics manufacturing output declined for a sixth consecutive month in May, and as exports saw their biggest decline in more than three years.
Amid the global slowdown, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated on Thursday that a rate cut is likely at the Fed's next meeting.
Bets for such a cut remained strong despite a rise in U.S. consumer inflation in June, and helped to lift the S&P 500 index on Thursday by 0.23% to end at a record closing high of 2,999.91 points.
While the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> fell 0.08%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> also hit a record high close of 27,088.08 points, rising 0.85% on the day.
S&P 500 e-mini futures
But a tweet by U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday in which he said that China was not living up to promises it made on buying agricultural products from American farmers threatened to revive worries over trade.
"Markets have enjoyed a bit of a calm spot in the U.S.-China trade war saga since the announcement of a truce and restarting of trade talks at the G20 meeting. Unfortunately, headlines are once again beginning to emerge," ANZ analysts wrote in a morning note.
"While this wasn't a big market mover, it does serve as a reminder that things could flare up again," they said.
WEAK TREASURY AUCTION
U.S. Treasury yields had jumped on Thursday after demand was weak for a $16 billion 30-year bond auction and after the U.S. Labor Department said its consumer price index excluding food and energy rose 0.3% in June, the biggest increase since January 2018.
The poorly received auction had pushed the 30-year yield as high as 2.672% on Thursday, according to Refinitiv data.
Yields continued to rise on Friday. Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes
"The CPI report will have no material impact on Fed guidance nor have a significant influence on the great Fed debate around 25 or 50," said Stephen Innes, managing partner at Vanguard Markets Pte, referring to expectations of the size of a July rate cut.
"After all, the FOMC is unquestionably willing to let inflation run hotter after spending the better part of a decade trying to ignite those flames," he said.
The dollar fell 0.15% against the yen to 108.32
The dollar index <.DXY>, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was down 0.15% at 96.900.
Oil prices picked up as U.S. oil producers in the Gulf of Mexico cut by output by more than half, in the face of a tropical storm and as tensions in the Middle East remained.
Global benchmark Brent crude
Gold prices, dulled by the stronger-than-expected U.S. consumer inflation data, regained their shine thanks to renewed trade worries and rate cut expectations. Spot gold
(Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Additional reporting by Josephine Mason in LONDON; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Richard Borsuk)
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