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U.S.-China tensions, coronavirus, currencies in focus

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Stocks in Asia Pacific were set to trade lower on Monday as tensions between the U.S. and China continue to weigh on investor sentiment.

Futures pointed to a lower open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 23,170 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 23,140. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 23,289.36.

Shares in Australia were also set to decline. The SPI futures contract was at 6,026.0, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 6,126.20.

Markets in South Korea are closed on Monday for a holiday.

On the economic data front, Japan’s second quarter gross domestic product figures are expected at around 7:50 a.m. HK/SIN.

U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order Friday forcing China’s ByteDance to sell or spin off its U.S. TikTok business within 90 days. In his order, Trump cited “credible evidence” that ByteDance “might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.”

Meanwhile, Reuters reported over the weekend that a planned U.S.-China trade deal review initially set for Saturday was delayed with no new date agreed upon, citing sources familiar with the plans. The sources told Reuters that the delay was due to scheduling conflicts as well as to give time for more Chinese purchases of U.S. exports.

Those developments came as tensions between Washington and Beijing have heated up in recent weeks.

“For now there is no signs the trade deal is in jeopardy with the review’s postponement seen as an allowance for China to increase its purchase of US agricultural goods, which are way behind schedule,” Rodrigo Catril, a currency strategist at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note.

The U.S.dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.055 after its decline last week from levels above 93.6.

The Japanese yen traded at 106.56 per dollar, weakening from levels below 106.4 against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7185 after touching the $0.711 handle last week.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

  • Japan: Second quarter gross domestic product data at 7:50 a.m. HK/SIN

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