Sterling slides on Trump’s trade remarks

The pound is trading lower against all its major peers after comments from US president Trump late last night that claimed the Brexit blueprint published yesterday has probably killed hopes of a UK-US trade deal. The slide in sterling and a push higher for equities in the latter part of Thursday’s US session have contributed to a bright start for the FTSE, with the index rising back near its highest level in a month around 7700.

More problems for PM May

Its is just under a week since the cabinet seemingly agreed upon their Brexit stance at the Chequers summit, but the 7 days since have contained several developments which have certainly taken the shine off what was initially celebrated as a key victory for the PM. The resignations of 2 key cabinet members and widespread criticism from the city in response to Thursday’s white paper had certainly kept any positivity firmly in check, before Trump’s remarks poured further cold water on the Brexit blueprint. The comments come just over 2 years since Trump’s predecessor Obama, weighed in on the Brexit debate in warning that the UK would go to “the back of the queue” for trade deals if it left the EU. While these comments were invited by then PM Cameron and Trump’s are certainly unwelcome as far as May is concerned, they do at least seem to be consistent as far as UK-US trade deals are concerned.

China trade surplus with US hits record high

Trade remains one of the key topics for investors at present, with China announcing a record surplus with the US for the month of June. In Trump’s simplistic view of trade, the president views a deficit as a loss to the US, and therefore he will clearly be unhappy with the record high $29B shown against China for last month. The recently announced tariffs should see this fall in the present month, but it is unlikely to contribute to a major decline immediately with the tariffs themselves still only representing a fairly small portion of overall trade. Another development that will likely attract the ire of Trump is the ongoing depreciation of the Chinese yuan, which is on course for its fifth consecutive week of losses against the US dollar - its longest weekly losing streak in two years.   

Turkish Lira set for biggest weekly drop in almost a decade

Another currency that is in decline of late is the Turkish Lira, with the drop seen this week far larger than the yuan depreciation. The Lira hit its lowest ever levels against the US dollar and Euro on Thursday and is on track for its worst week since 2008. The reason for the rapid declines lies in the decision of President Erdogan to appoint his son-in-law, Albayrak, as the country’s new finance minister. This has once more raised investor concerns that despite runaway inflation the central bank may refrain from further monetary policy tightening with Erdogan choosing to appoint close allies to key roles, ahead of more qualified candidates.  

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