Global markets are responding to the unfolding trade dispute in a surprisingly robust manner. The overnight market action showed conflicting and contradictory trading patterns across asset classes that may be resolved in a surge in volatility. Asia Pacific markets are set for gains while the air of unreality lingers.

European bond market curves flattened overnight in a typical lower growth, lower inflation move. US bonds were unchanged after CPI data showed a lift in inflation. However shares surged in Europe and the US and industrial metals rallied as investors favoured higher growth exposures. The tech heavy Nasdaq outperformed. The differing reactions are not sustainable and markets could be vulnerable to sharp changes in direction.

China trade data today may act as a catalyst if it reminds investors of the potential negative impact of the recently announced trade barriers. The rally over the last twenty four hours was led by strong gains in Shanghai and Hong Kong, and these markets may once again determine the short term direction for global markets.