Stock markets diverge before US-China tariff deadline

LONDON, July 5 (INP) – European stock markets enjoyed solid gains Thursday on robust German data, brushing off trade war fears that sent Asian indices falling.

Asian stock markets closed with losses and the dollar fell against major rivals, with US-China tariffs kicking in Friday.

“Europe has rallied in advance of the US return to trading following its (July 4) holiday, even as the deadline for the imposition of US trade tariffs looms,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG trading group.

“One point of hope has been German factory orders, which have moved higher and posted their strongest growth since February, boosting the euro as well as German stocks.”

The US is set to begin enforcing tariffs on more than $34 billion (29 billion euros) in Chinese imports from Friday.

Beijing has vowed to respond with its own tariffs immediately, arguing it has “no choice but to fight” and accusing Washington of “opening fire on the whole world” with the trade restrictions.

But Washington has threatened to introduce even steeper US counter-measures, potentially covering another $400 billion in Chinese goods, if Beijing retaliates.

Washington describes its tariffs as retribution for Beijing’s theft of American technology and other unfair trade practices.

Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader, said “there has been a subtle but distinct shift in the number of voices who are now saying this could all end up in a big global mess with a huge hit to global growth”.

Traders may have underestimated the resolve of the US administration to pursue President Donald Trump’s protectionist agenda, he said.

In Europe meanwhile, official data showed German industrial orders bounced back in May after a string of setbacks, suggesting Europe’s largest economy may not face the sharp slowdown some observers feared.

Thursday’s positive data was “more evidence that the economy could rebound during the second half of the year”, ING Diba bank economist Carsten Brzeski commented.

Elsewhere, oil prices traded mixed after Trump fired a warning shot at OPEC.

“The OPEC Monopoly must remember that gas prices are up & they are doing little to help,” Trump tweeted, adding: “REDUCE PRICING NOW!”

Oil prices have been on an upward trend as Saudi Arabia struggles to offset supply disruptions around the world including in OPEC and non-cartel producing countries.

The prospects of Iranian oil exports being curtailed owing to US calls for countries to stop buying from them — and Tehran’s belligerent threats to choke Middle East crude supply routes — have put upward pressure on the market.

” can tweet as much as he wants but until the oil flows successfully, or there is a real belief it will, prices will remain elevated,” McKenna said.

Inp/khan