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Economic risks of re-opening weigh on trade

Economic risks of re-opening weigh on trade

What a difference a week makes. Last week shares rallied globally as investors puts aside depression level economic data to focus on the positives of potential re-opening of economies. US shares slumped overnight after the White House’s chief medical advisor, Anthony Fauci, warned of the dangers of re-opening too quickly.

A week ago, the lifting of lockdowns was viewed as an unambiguous good. The potential damage of lifting restrictions and then having to re-impose them is now viewed as an economic risk, and markets are adjusting to the more nuanced understanding.

Commodities followed suit. Oil and base metals fell, and gold rose. CMC’s Agricultural index dropped almost 0.5%. Currency markets were steady, although the US dollar softened slightly and the Canadian dollar stood out among commodity currencies. The halving of Bitcoin captured a lot of attention, but the crypto rise into the event was negated by the subsequent fall.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand meets today. There is almost no chance of a change in interest rates after the RBNZ pledged in March to keep cash rates steady at 0.25% for a year. However many analysts expect a lift in the asset purchase program, from current commitments to buy NZ $30 billion in bonds to a level closer to double that. The New Zealand dollar is softer heading into this afternoon’s announcement.

Asia Pacific markets are looking at weaker trading. Futures for Japan, Singapore and Australia are in the red. Australian wage data and Japanese balance of payments are unlikely to overwhelm sentiment today.

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