Wall Street celebrated Apple’s milestone of becoming the first trillion dollar company by market cap in history, following upbeat earnings earlier this week.

Its share price surged 2.9% to US$207.39. Nasdaq jumped 1.2% overnight, pulling S&P 500 up from negative territory seen in the pre-hour market. Strong earnings and rally in technology giants masked the fact of deteriorating trade relationship between Beijing and Washington, as Trump’s administration is trying to force China back to the negotiation table by threatening 25% tariff on $200 billion imports, which received hard response form the counterpart.

Asian markets melt down yesterday on rising concerns over US-Sino trade relations, with Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite declining 2.2% and 2.0% respectively. Panic spilled over to other regional markets including Singapore, which fell 1.28% as investors underweight equities amid mixed earning results and re-escalated trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

Offshore Chinese yuan fell, hitting 6.87 mark against the greenback for the first time since May 17. Weaker currency will help Chinese exporters to better withstand trade headwinds, but the trade-off is that it will encourage more capital outflow. The immediate resistance level could be found at around 6.90 area. Against the backdrop of worsened trade relations and diverging monetary policy outlook, there is probably more room for the yuan to depreciate than strengthen in the months to come.

In Singapore, United Overseas Bank (UOB) announced an upbeat 2Q earnings results. Its net profit surged 28 percent yoy to S$1.08 billion, smashing analysts’ forecast of S$0.954 billion on the back of higher net interest income and fee income. The bank has declared interim dividend of 50 cents, higher than the 35 cents declared a year ago. UOB’s share price rebounded 1.2% at market opening today. Despite of strong earnings in the second quarter, the bank’s outlook remains cautious due to recent property cooling measures and rising trade uncertainty which might have significant impact to loan growth in the months to come.

GBP/USD fell 0.8% to the 1.301 area following BoE’s decision to hike interest rate to 0.75 from 0.50 percent on the back of improving labour market and credit growth. This outcome was in line with market expectation. The central bank also said it would probably increase rates further, albeit gradually, should macroeconomic condition continue to improve. Sterling was trading lower since mid April against the greenback and the trend remains bearish, largely due to concerns surrounding Brexit, which will likely take place on Mar 19.


By Margaret Yang in Singapore

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