TOKYO, April 6 2018 : U.S. stock futures slid and the yen rose against the dollar today after U.S. President Donald Trump proposed additional tariffs on China, aggravating trade tensions and smothering a revival in broader investor risk appetite.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 0.25 percent. The index has spent the week swinging wildly in and out of negative territory amid the back-and-forth of the U.S.-China trade dispute.
The S&P 500 E-mini futures were down 1.2 percent ESc1, pointing to a lower start for Wall Street later in the session.
Trade tensions, however, returned to the fore after Trump said late yesterday that he had instructed U.S. trade officials to consider $100 billion in additional tariffs on China, fueling the trade dispute between the world’s two economic superpowers.
“Trump’s order to consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate, and recent trade actions and rhetoric in recent weeks, is an example of how battles can turn to wars,” said Dan Ivascyn, group chief investment officer at Pacific Investment Management Co (PIMCO).
“This is another reason investors should be reducing risk.”
The dollar, which had risen to a one-month high against the yen yesterday on an earlier easing of trade fears, slipped against its Japanese peer after Trump’s latest trade offensive.
The greenback was down 0.3 percent at 107.080 yen JPY=, pulling back from 107.490, its highest since March 1. It was up 0.8 percent on the week.
The dollar had risen to a one-month peak versus the yen, bolstered by Wall Street’s bounce yesterday when the United States appeared to signal a willingness to resolve the trade dispute.
The yen, a perceived safe-haven currency, is often sought in times of market turmoil and political tensions.
The dollar dipped 0.15 percent to 0.9621 Swiss franc, another safe-haven currency.
The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was down 0.1 percent at 90.359. The index has risen 0.4 percent this week.
Treasury debt prices gained and yields declined as investors sought the safety of government bonds.
The 10-year Treasury note yield fell 2 basis points to 2.811 percent, pulling back from yesterday’s nine-day high of 2.838 percent.
U.S. crude slipped 0.6 percent to $63.14 a barrel and Brent was down 0.55 percent at $67.94 a barrel. Oil had gained yesterday, helped by higher equities and Saudi Arabia’s unexpected hike in crude prices.
Beyond the trade turmoil, financial markets are focused on Friday’s U.S. non-farm payrolls report, which could determine the pace of future Federal Reserve interest rate rises and consequently the dollar outlook.
The U.S. March employment report is expected to show non-farm payroll growth of 193,000 jobs versus 313,000 in the prior month, according to the latest Thomson Reuters poll of economists. The unemployment rate is expected to drop to 4.0 percent from 4.1 percent in February. – Reuters