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GLOBAL MARKETS-Dollar takes a dive, euro catapulted higher as U.S.-China talks start

Thu, 10th Oct 2019 10:33

* Stocks dither, euro jumps back above $1.10

* Mixed reports on U.S.-China trade negotiations

* Copper enjoys best day in a month

* Turkey assets under pressure after Syria incursion

By Marc Jones

LONDON, Oct 10 (Reuters) - A dive in the dollar catapulted
the euro higher and flattened stocks on Thursday, as the first
U.S.-China trade talks since July and a report accusing the
European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi of going rogue jostled
for attention.

Markets were bombarded from all sides by denials and
counter-denials on both the U.S.-China trade talks and the
countdown to Brexit, by Turkey's military push into Syria and by
a blizzard of weak data stretching from Japan to France.

Asia had enjoyed a broadly positive finish but European
stocks then spent their opening spell dithering as the
more serious action took place in the currency markets, where
the euro suddenly popped to a two-week high above
$1.10 versus the dollar.

The greenback was weaker across the board - partly due to
market chatter about a currency pact with China to stop
devaluation - but there was plenty else too.

The Financial Times reported that the ECB had restarted its
bond-buying programme last month despite objections of its own
officials, a further sign of how the move has reopened divisions
within the institution.

"The view on the currency story could be swinging here,"
said Saxo Bank's head of European currency strategy, John Hardy,
"And the market is sensing that euro-dollar is the pressure
point."

Perhaps the main mover overnight was a rally in China’s
offshore yuan, which strengthened to its best levels in more
than two weeks after a Bloomberg report that said U.S. and
Chinese officials were reviving a currency pact first mooted
earlier this year that stops further tariff hikes in return for
commitments to hold the yuan stable.

As well as the ECB resistance to Draghi's latest moves,
Hardy said that could also have a read-across for the euro, with
the United States expected to lay out sanctions next week in
retaliation for Europe's past aid for planemaker Airbus.

U.S. S&P 500 mini futures traded down 0.1%, with a
large part of early losses cut after the New York Times reported
that Washington would soon issue licences allowing some U.S.
firms to supply non-sensitive goods to China's Huawei
Technologies.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
gained 0.1% while Japan's Nikkei rose
0.45%. Shanghai shares also rose 0.8%.

"DIRE" TRADE SITUATION

Top U.S. and Chinese negotiators were scheduled to meet in
Washington on Thursday and Friday to try to end a bruising
15-month-old trade war.

Without significant progress, U.S. President Donald Trump is
set to hike the tariff rate on $250 billion worth of Chinese
goods to 30% from 25% next Tuesday.

"Barring any surprise today, it looks like their talks are
breaking down. The tariff (rate) will be hiked. The situation
looks dire," said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist
at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

China is unlikely to be willing to make an easy compromise
with a U.S. president who seems increasingly vulnerable to
domestic political pressure as opposition Democrats seek to
impeach him, analysts also said.

U.S. Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden called for
the impeachment of Trump for the first time in a deepening
partisan fight over a congressional investigation of the
Republican president.

"Mr. Trump's recent impeachment risk has turned the
timetable against him," Chi Lo, senior economist at BNP Paribas
Asset in Hong Kong, wrote in a report to clients.

"While China is not eager to reach a trade deal, Mr. Trump
is, however, under pressure to get at least a temporary deal
done to help his re-election bid before his impeachment risk
rises and the U.S. economy weakens further," Chi said.

U.S. Treasuries yield slipped back after having risen to
1.594% on Wednesday, pressured partly by this week's heavy bond
supply.

The 10-year Treasuries yield dipped to one basis point to
1.577% although the ECB chatter helped push euro
zone yields slightly higher.

The price of front-end Fed funds rate futures has been
gained on increasing bets on more rate cuts by the U.S. Federal
Reserve. The November contract is almost fully pricing in
a 0.25 percentage point cut on Oct. 30.

In commodities, oil prices also dipped on wariness over
U.S.-China talks. Brent crude futures fell 0.15% to
$58.23 a barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude
lost 0.11% to $52.53 per barrel.

Copper rose as much as 1.1% to $5,749 a tonne,
however, after falling 0.3%. It looked set to be its best day in
a month.
(Reporting by Marc Jones
Editing by Gareth Jones)

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