Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
After a welcome long weekend break, City investors are returning to their desks…and returning to worrying about the US-China trade war.
Overnight, China’s yuan has sunk to a new 11 and a half-year low, on worries that its economy is suffering from the ongoing dispute with Washington. It has hit 7.16 yuan to the dollar in the onshore market for the first time since 2008.
The yuan has now lost more than 3% this month, as the trade conflict has escalated. These latest losses come after America and China confirmed they would impose new tit-for-tat tariffs next month.
China is imposing duties between 5% and 10% on more than 5,000 US products including agricultural goods, aircraft and crude oil.
This prompted America to hike its tariffs on many Chinese goods from 25% to 30%. It’s new tariffs, on $300bn of Chinese imports, will now be levied at 15% rather than 10%.
The yuan’s weakness will help Chinese companies compete abroad, and offset some of the impact of America’s tariffs.
But some economists believe China is actually trying to support the yuan, having allowed it to fall through the 7-level three weeks ago.
President Trump spooked global markets on Friday, when he demanded that US companies should repatriate their operations from China.
But there are also signs that we could yet see a reconciliation between the two sides. During yesterday’s G7 meeting, Trump claimed that China had called asking to restart negotiations, declaring:
“I have great respect for the fact that China called, they want to make a deal.
“This is the first time I’ve seen them where they really do want to make a deal, and I think that’s a very positive step.
Curiously, Beijing officials had no recollection of picking up the phone, but Trump’s comments were enough to push Wall Street higher yesterday. The Dow gained around 1%, having shed around 2% during Friday’s panicky rout.
Asia-Pacific markets are also calmer today, after suffering a sharp tumble on Monday.
Yesterday, China’s vice-president Liu He told a state-controlled newspaper that Beiojing wants to resolve the dispute “through calm negotiations and resolutely opposes the escalation of the conflict.”
Some calm would certainly be welcome in the City today, where traders are also watching out for new UK and US housing data. They’ll also keep an eye on Italy, where efforts to form a new coalition government are ongoing.
- 9.30am BST: UK Finance report on mortgage approvals in July
- 2pm BST: S&P/Case-Shiller survey of the US housing market
- 3pm BST: US consumer confidence for August