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Asian stocks, currencies gain as investor optimism grows over US-China trade deal

Global investors are ready to celebrate any form of a US-China deal at this point.

Market fanfare will correspond with the contents of the actual trade deal Pound sees biggest jump in seven months as “pathway” identified in securing Brexit deal Oil breaks above $60/bbl after Iran oil tanker catches fire; market focus still on US-China talks

Most Asian stocks and currencies are gaining as investors grow increasingly hopeful that the US and China can reach a trade deal on Friday. There’s a clear risk-on mood in the markets at the expense of safe haven assets, as Gold trades below $1500, yields on 10-year US Treasuries breach 1.65 percent, and USDJPY breaks above the psychological 108 level for the first time since October 1.

Investors are ready to celebrate any form of a US-China trade deal, even an interim one, having endured trade-related volatility since May. The amount of market fanfare will correspond with the contents of the actual deal, assuming one will be announced later today. Investors are in sore need of a solid pick-me-up beyond mere whispers of a trade pact, and a formal agreement is likely to sustain risk sentiment for the rest of 2019. Still, investors are cognizant that a trade pact that marks a pause in tariff hikes without rolling back any of the tariffs imposed since last year would not solve all of the global economy’s existing problems.

At the other end of market expectations, failure to come to any agreement this week may have dire consequences for the global economy. Keep in mind that the US administration had threatened to raise existing tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods by 5 percentage points to 30 percent on Tuesday, with potentially more tariffs to follow in December.

More by FXTM: Warning lights flash red as weak US data fuels global economic gloom

Whiffs of Brexit deal send Pound on steepest climb in seven months

Risk sentiment is also being boosted by reports of another crucial deal becoming likelier across the Atlantic.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Irish premier Leo Varadkar said they have identified a “pathway” towards a Brexit deal. Following the news, GBPUSD breached the 1.245 mark for the first time since September 25 after seeing its biggest one-day jump in seven months, before moderating slightly to converge around its 100-day moving average.

With three weeks remaining before the existing October 31 deadline, markets can expect more twists and turns in the Brexit saga, as has been the case since 2016. This uncertainty also means that the Pound will be highly volatile as the UK endeavours to find its way out of the European Union. The 1.20 level remains the floor supporting Sterling, unless a no-deal Brexit becomes an absolute certainty.

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US-China trade deal to act as Brent boost

Brent futures could carve out a path back towards $64/bbl in the event that a US-China trade deal is announced going into the weekend. Despite Brent futures now breaking above the psychological $60/bbl level following news of an Iranian tanker catching fire, investors’ focus remains primarily on the outcome of the trade negotiations in Washington.

Oil markets have been weighed down by demand-side uncertainties, as heightened tariffs have choked global trade. Even in the event of a trade truce, the tariffs that remain in place however will limit Oil’s upside, barring any tightening in global supplies. This could come via a spike in geopolitical tensions involving major Oil producers or a tighter supply-cuts programme by OPEC+.