Trade War Confusion Befuddles Traders, Rocks Markets

After two days of solid gains, global stock markets have resumed their downward path after traders begin to worry again that the trade war ceasefire between the United States and China won’t solve the deep-seated issues between the global economic giants. According to reports by CNBC, Chinese officials are “irritated” that U.S. President Donald Trump told the world about China’s concessions and boasted victory after his talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping last weekend. According the report, the Chinese have not acknowledged Trump’s 90-day deadline for new talks and have not committed to purchasing American agricultural products immediately as Trump claimed.

Though Trump lauded the talks, there have been no clear strategies out of Washington on how to move forward, a signal that caused traders to question the success of the talks and the future of trade relations between the U.S. and China. The renewed fears caused a selloff that sent Wall Street indexes broadly lower on Tuesday. The Nasdaq was the hardest hit, closing 3.80 percent lower on the day, while the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were close behind, plummeting 3.24 percent and 3.10 percent respectively.

Asian shares took their cues from Wall Street on Wednesday, trading in a sea of red. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 1.76 percent as of 2:07 p.m. HK/SIN. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 0.66 percent while South Korea’s Kospi eased 0.76 percent. The Chinese benchmarks also suffered, with the Shanghai Composite down 0.65 percent and the Shenzhen Composite down 0.56 percent.

Oil prices also plunged on Tuesday as traders worried that the mixed trade messages would impact the global economy negatively, reducing the need for shipping and oil. U.S. WTI was down 1.58 percent to $52.41 per barrel and Brent crude futures were down1.72 percent to $61.01 per barrel.

Sara Patterson has a Master’s Degree in political science and enjoys analyzing both current events and the international markets to get a fuller perspective of the currency market. Before turning to financial writing, she taught English writing skills to high-school age students. Sara’s work has been published on various financial and Forex blogs.