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Trump Rattles Emerging Markets With Threat of China Tariffs

Bloomberg News
Trump Rattles Emerging Markets With Threat of China Tariffs

(Bloomberg) -- Emerging-market currencies had their best weekly gain since July 2017 lat week and stocks strengthened for a fourth consecutive week as major central banks adopted a more dovish stance, improving investors appetite for risk assets. Bonds also gained, with yields on local government notes nearing an all-time low as the drumbeat for an interest rate cut in the U.S. got louder.

Read here, our emerging-market week ahead story.

Listen to the emerging-market weekly podcast, here.

The following is a roundup of emerging-markets news and highlights for the week ending June 23.

Highlights:

The Federal Reserve signaled it was ready to lower rates for the first time since 2008, citing “uncertainties” that have increased the case for a cut as officials seek to prolong the near-record U.S. economic expansionThe decision was not unanimous, with St. Louis Fed President James Bullard seeking a quarter-point rate cutMinneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said he had advocated for a 50 basis points rate cut at the last meetingMario Draghi nudged the European Central Bank closer to pumping more monetary stimulus into the economyU.S. President Donald Trump accused the euro area and China of weakening their currencies to gain an economic advantage, calling out European Central Bank President Draghi for a willingness to inject monetary stimulus if neededThe U.S. and China said their presidents will meet in Japan later this month to relaunch trade talks after a month-long stalemate, triggering a rally in financial markets. Trump said Tuesday that he had a “very good” phone conversation with Chinese counterpart Xi JinpingA group of chief executive officers of American corporations are set to meet with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as the simmering trade war ensnares companies from both countriesChina cut its U.S. Treasury holdings to the lowest in almost two years as the months-long trade conflict dragged on between the world’s two largest economiesChina’s Xi told Kim Jong Un that the world wanted him to make progress in nuclear talks with the U.S., drawing a complaint from the North Korean leader that he had already attempted to compromise with little successSecretary of State Michael Pompeo said the U.S. and North Korea were in a “better place” after the leaders of the two countries exchanged lettersTurkey will retaliate against any U.S. sanctions imposed after it takes delivery of a missile-defense system from Russia, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saidThe Trump administration is weighing three sanctions packages to punish Turkey over its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile-defense system, according to people familiar with the matterErdogan also slammed the Turkish central bank’s high borrowing costs and said they must come down, a statement sure to worry investors concerned about the bank’s autonomy Iran said it shot down a U.S. drone near the entrance to the Persian Gulf, escalating tensions in a region that’s been on the brink of a military confrontation for weeksTrump on June 22 said the U.S. will impose major new sanctions on Iran on MondayHe called off retaliatory strikes on three Iranian sites following the downing of the U.S. Navy drone because the action would not have been “proportionate”Trump downplayed the attack, suggesting a “loose and stupid” individual may have been responsible for the strike Iran will exceed an agreed cap on its inventories of low-grade uranium on June 27, potentially breaching for the first time a landmark 2015 agreement that was meant to prevent it from developing a nuclear bomb Lebanon’s Eurobonds have entered distressed territory as a budget delay and rising political tension in the region complicate efforts to tackle the nation’s fiscal crisisExchange-traded funds that invest in emerging markets suffered a seventh week of outflows, led by Asian assetsGold prices surpassed $1,400 an ounce for the first time since September 2013 on Friday, buoyed by dovish central banks

Asia:

China will maintain its long-standing commitment to reform and opening up of the economy in order to continue to expand, Premier Li saidThe People’s Bank of China and the main securities regulator called on big banks and brokerages to increase financing support for leading securities firms at a meeting on Tuesday, according to people familiar with the matterHuawei Technologies Co. is preparing for a 40% to 60% drop in international smartphone shipments as the Trump administration’s blacklisting hammers one of the Chinese tech giant’s most important businessesChina will likely increase the quota for new municipal bond issuance this year, and government debt levels will continue to rise, according to Zhao Quanhou, a researcher at Chinese Academy of Fiscal Science, which is under the Ministry of Finance.New home-price growth quickened last month after government measures to spur demand in smaller cities took effectMinutes of the Bank of Korea’s May 31 meeting showed there were at least two dissenting voicesThe escalating U.S.-China trade dispute and concerns over global economic slowdown have increased volatility in South Korea’s financial markets and somewhat weakened companies’ financial soundness, the Bank of Korea said in a semi-annual Financial Stability Report submitted to parliamentExports are showing no sign of recovery as a downturn in the global technology cycle and the U.S.-China trade war drag onBank Indonesia left its key rate unchanged while it cut reserve ratio requirements for lenders. Governor Perry Warjiyo said on Thursday that policy makers will cut rates, but it’s considering “the timing and the magnitude” The government plans to boost investment and improve balance of payment resilience to boost economic growth, according to Finance Minister Sri Mulyani IndrawatiIndia’s flagging growth prospects and subdued inflation give room for decisive action through easing of both monetary and fiscal policies, minutes of the latest meeting of monetary policy makers showedThe end of political uncertainty associated with elections and continuation of economic reforms will lead to a reversal of the current weaknesses in some economic indicators, Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das saidThe Bank of Thailand’s monetary policy is data dependent with an eye on financial stability as well as the tough export outlook, Somchai Jitsuchon, a member of the central bank’s monetary policy committee, saidThe central bank is closely monitoring baht strength and watching out for currency speculation, Assistant Governor Vachira Arromdee said as the baht reached its six-year high during the weekThe U.S.-China trade war is a serious concern for Thailand that has the potential to undermine global business, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha saidExports fell for a third month to 5.79% from year earlier in May, exceeding estimate of a 5% dropBank Negara Malaysia isn’t budging from a trading ban on offshore ringgit derivatives, according to Governor Nor Shamsiah Mohd YunusShamsiah said that companies shifting operations from China to Malaysia to sidestep higher U.S. tariffs could add about 10 basis points to growth this year, on top of the current forecast of 4.3% to 4.8%The Philippine central bank surprised most economists by keeping its policy rate unchanged at 4.5%. The monetary authority said it expects the peso to be at about 52.01 per dollar this year and at about 51.50 next yearThe Philippines has ample supply of dollars to meet any increase in demand during imports season, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin DioknoTrade Secretary Ramon Lopez says the nation’s exports may still grow by about 4% this year when global demand recoversTaiwan’s central bank kept its key rate unchanged at 1.375% as expectedThe ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s executive committee officially nominated President Tsai Ing-wen as its candidate in the presidential election scheduled for January

EMEA:

Russia returned to the Eurobond market after the dovish Fed meeting, selling $1.5 billion of debt maturing in 2029 and $1 billion of them maturing in 2035, with yields at 3.95% and 4.3% respectively The dovish market mood has driven Poland’s benchmark bond yield below the inflation rate for the first time in almost two decades Serbia raised 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) from its first publicly syndicated euro deal, taking advantage of low borrowing costs in Europe to refinance more expensive dollar securities Saudi Arabia may sell euro-denominated bonds for the first time after testing investor appetite for a possible deal, according to two people familiar with the matterSaudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said Aramco will go through with an initial public offering as soon as next year, though no decision has been made on where the stock will tradeHe also blamed Iran for the recent attack on tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, adding to accusations that are stoking tensions in a region supplying a third of the world’s oilMSCI Inc. will probably upgrade Kuwaiti equities to its main emerging-market index this week, which could trigger $2.8 billion of inflows from passive funds, according to the head of of the nation’s stock exchangePressure on South Africa’s credit rating is “more to the downside than the upside at the moment,” with state-owned electricity company Eskom the “main focus,” said Fitch Ratings’ managing director, Ed ParkerMoody’s Investors Service said South Africa’s credit-rating outlook is stable, giving the country’s new government more time to tackle key challenges such as low economic growth and embattled state-owned companies to ward off junk statusTurkish opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu won the redo of the Istanbul mayor’s race by a landslide on Sunday, in a stinging indictment of President Erdogan’s economic policies and his refusal to accept an earlier defeatThe Istanbul exchange started publishing quotes for the lira overnight reference rate, or TLREF, on June 17. The fixing is calculated using a weighted-average of repo transactions, which are short-term borrowings secured by government securitiesGhana’s first-quarter economic growth slowed after expansion eased in mining and the quarrying industry, which includes oil Uganda’s central bank kept its key rate at a two-year high for a fourth straight meeting as it sees inflation edging higher. The Monetary Policy Committee held the rate at 10%Zimbabwe’s stock market hit a record high, for all the wrong reasonsThe nation’s inflation rate is showing no signs of slowing down, reaching the highest level since it peaked at 500 billion% in 2008An attempted coup failed June 22 in Ethiopia, the prime minister’s office said on its Facebook/Twitter page. The nation has one international bond, a $1 billion facility due 2024 that saw its yield plummet about 200 basis points this year to 5.59% on Friday

Latin America:

Brazil held its benchmark interest rate at a record low and signaled it will be able to cut borrowing costs to help a frail economy once a key austerity measure advances further in CongressThe government struck a deal with lawmakers to vote the pension reform bill in the lower house of Congress in the first half of July, local newspaper Folha de S. Paulo reportedOdebrecht SA, the holding company of the Brazilian conglomerate that stretches from construction to oil and gas, filed for bankruptcy protection in a Sao Paulo courtThe company’s construction unit, which was not included in the bankruptcy filing, made a proposal to restructure $3.1 billion of its debt in an out-of-court dealMexico’s Senate ratified the North American trade deal with the U.S. and Canada, becoming the first to do so amid a truce reached with Trump over an unrelated tariff threatTrump praised Mexico’s efforts to crack down on migrants crossing the border into the U.S. after the two countries entered an agreement aimed at stemming the flow of people crossing Mexico from Central AmericaState-run oil producer Pemex plans $2.5 billion of debt refinancing in 2019, Reuters reportsArgentina remained in recession in the first quarter as unemployment hit a 13-year high and the central bank maintained the world’s highest interest ratesFormer central bank chief Federico Sturzenegger said monthly inflation could slow to 1% by year-endNation’s primary budget surplus rose to the highest level recorded since the data series began in March 2000, in nominal termsColombia left its benchmark interest rate unchanged as its economic recovery stalls and the peso surges the most in the worldProtests broke out in eastern Caracas on Friday during the third day of visits by the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, in Venezuela

--With assistance from Colleen Goko, Selcuk Gokoluk, Philip Sanders, Aline Oyamada and Alec D.B. McCabe.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Yumi Teso in Bangkok at yteso1@bloomberg.net;Netty Ismail in Dubai at nismail3@bloomberg.net;Ben Bartenstein in New York at bbartenstei3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tomoko Yamazaki at tyamazaki@bloomberg.net, Alex Nicholson

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