Risk-off trades continued today, as sentiment remained fragile amid resurgent US-China trade tensions fuelled by the US President Trump’s recent tariff threat while the comments by the US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Trade Representative Lighthizer re-ignited fresh trade concerns.
Yen traded on the front foot amid mixed action in the Asian equities, negative US equity futures and Treasury yields, keeping USD/JPY in a tight range around the 110.70 level. EUR/USD and GBP/USD traded firmer amid broad US dollar weakness, despite the economic and monetary policy divergence.
The European calendar kicked off with the German March factory orders data at 06:00 GMT, that expanded less than expected at a monthly 0.6% during March. Later in the European session, markets will look forward to the UK Halifax house prices data amid a lack of first-tier macro news. The BOE MPC member Cunliffe’s speech will be also closely heard at 08:00 GMT for fresh hints on the interest rates outlook while Brexit-related developments will continue to influence the pound.
In the NA session, the US JOLTS job openings data for the month of March will be reported at 14:00 GMT. At 2030 GMT, oil traders will eagerly await the US API weekly crude stocks data that will wrap up a relatively busy macro calendar today. Meanwhile, markets will keep an eye around the US-China trade developments, with a trade deal could be struck at the eleventh hour.
Oil prices were mixed on Tuesday, pressured by concerns that the escalating Sino-U.S. trade dispute could slow the global economy, while U.S. sanctions on crude exporters Iran and Venezuela helped keep the market on edge.
Gold is currently struggling to pick up a strong bid, despite renewed US-China trade tensions. The recovery in US stocks and gold's inability to rally hard indicates the markets are still optimistic that the US and China will strike a trade deal. The precious metal is often used by investors to hedge against economic and political instability.