News & Data:
Asian shares fell on Monday as new data showed China’s economy slowed slightly in the second quarter, compounded by fears of a full-scale Sino-U.S. trade war looming over markets. Official data showed China’s economy grew 6.7 percent in the second quarter of 2018, cooling from the 6.8 percent growth registered in each of the previous three quarters. While the GDP figures were in line with market expectations, the new data also showed slower-than-expected growth in China’s industrial output, pointing to slowing momentum and prompting some analysts to call for stronger government measures to support growth. Taken together, the data show an economy continuing to slow under the influence of a multi-year crackdown on excessive financial risk, even as trade war headwinds gather.
Markets in Japan are closed today in observance of Marine Day. The Australian market is declining in cautious trades ahead of quarterly production results from mining and energy companies later this week. With China being its largest trade partner, weak Chinese data did not help Australian markets. The Hang Seng is slightly in the red; with property and materials stocks slumping, and most of those losses offset by gains in the technology sector.
Major currencies have been in a holding pattern in recent days thanks in part to a lull in China-U.S. trade skirmishing. Investors had also been awaiting the China data, and are still looking to June U.S. retail sales figures, to gauge the state of global growth. In currencies, the dollar index, which tracks the U.S. dollar against a basket of currencies, traded at 94.66, marginally lower than Friday. Crude oil prices dropped, weighed by easing concerns about supply disruptions that had pushed prices higher.
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