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Tariff watch

Markets are on high alert today as the deadline for the imposition of increased US tariffs on Chinese goods approaches. The US dollar is weaker, and bonds and gold firmer, as investors price the potential for tariff induced lower global growth. European shares slumped and US indices traded lower overnight. Asia Pacific market participants are looking at another weak opening.

In the absence of a last-minute trade deal, the US will lift tariffs on $325 billion dollars of goods from 10% to 25%. The action is scheduled for 4 pm Auckland time, 2 pm Sydney and Melbourne and 12 noon in Singapore and Shanghai. Tepid trading is the forecast, but any announcement could set a new course for the session.

Uber shares will list tonight in the US. The lead managers of the Initial Public Offering announced a stock price of $45 per share last night. This is at the low end of the indicated $44 - $50 range, possibly reflecting the poor performance of Lyft shares after their IPO just over a month ago.

The Reserve Bank of Australia releases its quarterly Statement on Monetary Policy today. After this week’s pass on a rate cut analysts will focus on growth and inflation assumptions as well as any explanation of the interest rate decision.

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