Markets Steady as US-China Trade Deal Nears Reality, NFP in Focus





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Investor risk appetite towards stock markets is edging cautiously higher on further optimism that the US and China are nearing closer to agreeing a “very monumental” trade deal. With US President Donald Trump stating that negotiations are “rounding the turn” and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He hailing the “new consensus” achieved recently, confidence is reaching new levels that a trade deal will eventually be signed after many months of protracted negotiations.

It is becoming increasingly more concrete and clear that both sides want to secure a deal, given the positive rhetoric from the respective governments, hence optimism is advancing that the outcome of a signed trade deal is moving towards a matter of “when” and not “if”. This rhetoric is highly encouraging for investors and fueling their appetite for riskier assets, which means good news for global stocks, emerging markets and potentially Oil as a consequence of improved risk appetite.

Questions will linger in the background over how much further upside can be priced in, but the likelihood is that investors will be more inclined to buy into this encouraging news before potentially selling the facts later down the line.

We believe that once the US-China trade deal is eventually announced, that could release pent-up demand and trigger a knee-jerk jump in risk-on assets. However, whether such gains are sustained depends on how markets interpret the technicalities of the deal, and what it means for a slowing global economy. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details.

Could NFP inject Dollar bulls with fresh inspiration?

The main event risk for the United States will be the upcoming US non-farm payrolls report due today.

This week has already presented some mixed data surrounding US employment. The March ADP employment data saw the weakest hiring by US companies in 18 months, although ISM’s job numbers saw its biggest gain in over three years. US jobless claims in the final week of March fell to its lowest level since 1969.

This sets up for a particularly intriguing March NFP report. Should the March NFP perform in line with the recent trend, showing that February’s slump was a one-off, that could strengthen tailwinds for the Greenback with 97.50 acting as a level of interest. On the other hand, if the jobs report exposes further weakness, markets could be prompted to send the Dollar index back below the psychologically-important 97.0 level.

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