Picture: 123RF/NUPEAN PRUPRONG
Picture: 123RF/NUPEAN PRUPRONG

London — World stocks and risk currencies rallied on Tuesday on encouraging global economic data and assurances from US President Donald Trump that the US-China trade deal remains “fully intact” after confusion over its fate had emerged.

Jitters had struck Asian markets after White House adviser Peter Navarro said the trade deal with China was “over”, linking the breakdown in part to anger over Beijing not sounding the alarm earlier about the coronavirus outbreak.

The headlines prompted a brisk sell-off but sentiment quickly recovered when Navarro, an outspoken critic of China, said his remarks had been taken out of context, and Trump later confirmed in a tweet that the deal was fully in place.

Europe’s equity markets then extended the bounce, climbing between 1% and 2% as purchasing managers’ indices (PMIs), seen as a good gauge of economic health, thumped expectations to bolster V-shaped recovery hopes.

Eurozone PMIs recovered to 47.5 from May’s 31.9 and April’s record low of 13.6. The future output index, which had been below the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction for three months, recovered to 55.7 from 46.8 too.

Banks, carmakers and technology shares led the share market gains, while the euro almost got above $1.13, and Italian and Spanish government debt benefited in the bond markets.

“PMIs are coming in much better than expected and are another bullish arrow pushing markets back to the highs of May,” said CMC Markets senior analyst Michael Hewson. “The bar for second lockdowns is going to be a lot higher as well, so a second wave [of Covid-19 infections] is not going to be nearly as damaging economically as the first wave.”

Oil on the boil

In Asia overnight, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng ended up about 1.6% after the early trade deal wobbles, South Korea’s Kospi index added 0.2% and Japan’s Nikkei climbed 0.5%.

World stocks have rallied since hitting a low in March amid worries about the jolt to the global economy from the coronavirus-driven shutdown.

Ord Minnett investment adviser John Milroy said equity market sentiment was positive despite ongoing bursts of volatility across regional markets.

“It’s worth noting our clients here have been net buyers since the depths of market despair,” Milroy said from Sydney. “I should think any pullback would be a catalyst for that pattern to resume, the conversations I am having with clients are all about what to buy, not what to sell.”

Safe-haven gold, which initially rose on Navarro’s remarks, sold off on the clarification, while risk-sensitive currencies staged a recovery aided by a softer dollar.

“The saving grace for markets is liquidity, which is in abundance and will offer a backstop as the bulls and bears stage a tussle and cause market volatility,” said Vasu Menon, Singapore-based senior investment strategist at OCBC Bank Wealth Management.

Despite Trump’s assurances on Tuesday, Menon expects US-China tensions to escalate in the run-up to the US elections. “So expect markets to be very bumpy in second half of this year because of the double whammy from Covid-19 and US-China tensions.”

On Tuesday, China  reported 22 new coronavirus cases, of which 13 were located in Beijing, and the city’s government has started to restrict people from moving to help contain the outbreak.

New infections have spiked in Latin America, Brazil in particular, while New York City, the epicentre of the US outbreak, eased restrictions after 100 days of lockdown.

In commodities, oil continued its recovery. Brent was up 30c at a more than three-month high of $43.33, while US crude was up above $41 a barrel.

Reuters