October 24, 2019
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At the end of the Second World War a consensus was forged between the advanced economies of the world, led by the U.S., around the idea of seeking a world without barriers to trade in goods and services and capital flows. Thus, for decades, the United States adopted a policy of trade opening and promotion of global trade.
The ever-escalating trade war between the U.S. and China has become a "new normal" in the international trade scene. Since January 2018, the U.S. average import tariffs on Chinese goods have risen from 3 to 23 percent. Meanwhile, China's retaliatory import tariffs on U.S. goods rose from 7 to 24 percent.
A week ago, BBVA Research revised its GDP growth forecast for 2019 upward one tenth to 2.3%, twice as much as in the eurozone. Days later, the IMF did the same and its forecast was also raised to 2.3%.
Financial markets rattled for the third straight day as US-China trade tensions festered ahead of crucial negotiations between high-level officials in Washington, starting today. Trump’s rebuke that ‘China broke the deal’, accelerated the sell-off in equities.
The 'risk-off' mood persisted across markets today as global growth concerns mounted in the wake of escalating US-China trade conflict, downbeat China exports data, and a flair-up in geopolitical tensions in the Middle East with Iran poised to breach parts of the nuclear deal.
Caution prevailed across financial markets, as US-China trade tensions ratcheted up further today. The slight downward revision in Eurozone growth forecast by European commission did not help either. Safe-haven bonds continued to attract fresh demand, while equity markets declined.
Risk-off mood in financial markets. Trump’s threat to introduce further tariff barriers against China took a heavy toll on equity markets today, boosting flows towards safe-haven bonds, amid mute inflation pressure.
Safe-haven bond yields increased and equity markets retreated from their recent highs, while bond investors searched for an extra-yield, in turn, narrowing peripheral and HY spreads, as Fed Chair Powell guided markets to a neutral stance on interest rates.