Trade war anxiety continues to dominate the news cycle. However, Asian stock markets have stabilized today after yesterday’s blistering fall.
The Shanghai Composite Index is up marginally at 0.41%. South Korea’s KOSPI Index is up a meager 0.05%. India’s SENSEX is up a reasonable 0.4%. Japan’s NIKKEI 500 is unchanged.
Europe is also in a holding pattern over its own trade disputes with the United States. Yesterday, President Trump declared “The WTO has treated the United States very, very badly and I hope they change their ways.”
The comments came during a tense meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the White House.
Previously, the Axios news reported that the Trump administration has drafted legislation that would violate WTO rules. First, it would allow Trump to raise tariffs at will. Second, it would allow Trump to negotiate special tariff rates with specific countries.
Any such tactics to subvert the WTO’s rules would likely escalate trade disputes with China and Europe.
Despite this, Europe’s stock markets are also treading water today. London’s FTSE 100 Index is up a reasonable 0.27% in early trading. France’s CAC 40 Index is up 0.53%. And Germany’s DAX Index is up a healthy 0.67%.
The US futures market is also in the green as the S&P 500 is showing a slight gain of 0.2%.
Oil Prices Rise as Libyan Production Falls
Libya’s National Oil Corporation has suspended oil exports from Libya’s eastern al-Hariga and Zweitina seaports. Military strongman Khalifa Haftar’s recapture of the ports last month has slashed production by 850,000 barrels per day.
As a result, the US benchmark WTI Crude Oil price is up 0.91% to $74.54 per barrel. Oil prices have spiked by 23.4% so far this year.
Moreover, upward pressure continues to build under oil prices as numerous geopolitical threats target supplies. Accordingly, higher oil prices are likely around the corner.