CFA Society Singapore
DUBAI/SINGAPORE (Dec 31): Until a trade dispute between the US and China is resolved, a single tweet on the matter will have the power to ignite rallies and sell-offs.
The tweet in question this week is President Donald Trump’s declaration that “big progress” is being made toward a deal between the US and China, and it may spur gains across emerging markets. The message comes about 10 days before a US government delegation is said to plan a trip to Beijing in the week of Jan. 7 for the first face-to-face discussion between the two sides since early December.
Investors will also be on alert when Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell joins his predecessors for an interview on Friday as derivatives traders bet that the central bank won’t hike interest rates in 2019. Some see the next move as a cut in 2020.
“Emerging markets have been particularly hard hit so I expect to see a relief bounce in January,” said Tarek Fadlallah, the Dubai-based chief executive officer at Nomura Asset Management Middle East. “But where do we go after the relief bounce? I think nowhere. The reason why interest rates are not going up in the US is because the economy is not going to be very strong.”
Stocks, bonds and currencies across developing nations are poised for their worst annual performance in three years. The outlook for China’s economy is also key for developing-nation assets, Fadlallah said.
Economic data for December, the purchasing managers indexes for the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors, will be released Monday and provide further clues on the magnitude of the nation’s slowdown. “If Chinese manufacturing activity shows a surprise contraction, Asian currencies will likely weaken, though this could be offset -- or amplified -- by broad dollar moves,” said Maximillian Lin, an emerging-markets Asia strategist at NatWest Markets in Singapore.
That will also depend in part on whether there are signs of a deal in Washington to re-open the government as lawmakers prepare for the start of the 116th US Congress, he said China will lower import taxes on more than 700 goods from Jan. 1 in a third round of tariff cuts, part of its efforts to open up the economy and reduce costs for domestic consumers.
What Else to Watch Out For