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Dollar up, metals down

Nervous investors honed in on falls in the Argentinian and Turkish currencies overnight. Despite a lack of grounding in economic reality, “contagion” fears were cited as a basis for a sell down in European shares and industrial metals. In contradictory moves bonds sold off and gold slumped. Cryptocurrencies were the winners in a night of nonsensical trading.

The challenge for investors is that irrationality is difficult to predict. A dawning of logic could occur at any time, reversing recent market moves.

The US dollar lifted modestly, sending shivers through commodity markets. LME base metal trading featured, and the uniform nature of falls across lead, nickel, zinc, copper and aluminium point to a panic around growth. Escalation in global trade disputes could validate the sell down if the White House implements the $200 billion in tariffs due at the end of the week.

Asia Pacific trading today is set for a tentative start. Futures markets indicate opening falls across the region, although lower local currencies may provide support over the session. Australian GDP data due late morning could influence market thinking. Weaker component reads over the last week could see a lower than forecast annual growth rate, potentially stoking further fears.

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