Trade concerns between the world’s largest two economies returned to haunt markets on Thursday after President Trump ordered his administration to consider more than doubling previously proposed tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. The new proposed tariffs of 25% dragged Asian equities heavily during morning trade, sending the Hang Seng Index to its lowest level since September 2017.
The BoE looks almost certain in our view to raising interest rates for the second time since the global financial crisis. With inflation already being above target, it can’t justify holding rates this low as even modest economic growth in the coming months is likely to generate further inflationary pressures.
A busy week gets underway and amidst trade tensions, earnings, geopolitics and the July jobs report, the Federal Reserve is still the biggest voice in the room; U.S. and China trade heats up again this week with the White House expected to impose the second wave, $16 billion on Chinese goods, on Wednesday.
In reaction to today’s U.S. GDP release, the U.S. dollar eased back slightly after it had staged a bounce the day before. As my colleague Matt Weller reported earlier, the first estimate of second-quarter growth for the world’s largest economy came in at 4.1% annualized, the highest rate since 2014.
As is often the case with central bank meetings in the era of communication-as-a-policy-tool, the Bank of England’s “decision” (read: no change) on interest rates was already telegraphed well in advance. But for the always forward-looking markets, there was still plenty to digest from this morning’s BOE statement.
The UK’s FTSE 100 index has had an amazing run of late, outperforming many of its peers. It has been supported above all by a weaker pound after a run of poor economic pointers sharply reduced the probability of a Bank of England rate increase in May.