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Markets on wall of worry

Markets are worried

By Vincent-Frédéric Mivelaz

Stock markets are on the ‘wall of worry’ over various events. After initial excitement that US and Chinese representatives talked trade for three days, the lack of apparent progress and the silence from the participants are pushing investors towards caution. Has a been reached? We don’t yet know. Despite a rise in the Hang Seng index, which rose for the fifth consecutive day by +0.22%, Asian equities are facing difficulties. A slowdown in China’s economy is emerging: softer-than-expected December CPI and PPI data at 1.90% and 0.90%, at 6-month and 27-month lows; a drop in 2018 car sales, the first in 20 years; and American tariffs of 25% (up from 10%) on USD 200 billion of Chinese goods start on 2 March 2019.  European equities are also weak, UK Prime Minister May’s Brexit plan is not pleasing the UK Parliament, which is expected to reject the proposed Withdrawal Agreement terms on 15 January.

The USD is in recovery, after a sharp decline yesterday (-0.71%), hitting its lowest since October 2018, after the US Federal Reserve Bank said it will be cautious about interest-rate tightening in 2019. Currently at 1.1525, EUR/USD is expected to drop toward 1.15.

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