Investors expressed a clear preference for safe havens in Friday night trading. Fears of a viral contagion hit share markets and industrial commodities hard, despite positive developments in US politics and a smooth Brexit. US ten-year bonds rallied towards for their lowest yields in four years, and gold in US dollars hit levels last seen in 2013.
The US Senate voted on Friday night to exclude witnesses from the impeachment trial. This will shorten the process, and many pundits expect the Senate to return a not guilty verdict as early as this week. Traders may see this as a positive, boosting President Trump’s chances of re-election and lowering the risk of extraordinary responses.
The official Brexit on Saturday sparked festivities and lifted the British pound. Share investors were less optimistic, although the UK 100 index’s 1.3% fall was broadly in line with continental peers.
Futures markets indicate a tough day at the office for Asia Pacific investors, although news over the weekend of additional support from the People’s Bank of China may ease losses.
The PBoC will inject around 1.2 trillion Yuan into the economy. The bulk of these funds will cover near term maturities, but includes an overall liquidity boost of around 130 billion Yuan (c. US $21 billion).
This liquidity cushion is important given the more than 7% tumble in China A-share futures while mainland bourses were shut for the Lunar New Year. Uncertainties around the spreading coronavirus means the reaction of investors on the ground could see global markets moderate or add to recent losses for growth exposed assets.