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Analysts at ANZ explained that markets found some relief overnight on a lack of trade escalation and perceptions that China is taking a slightly more conciliatory tone.

Key Quotes:

“China’s Ministry of Commerce said they have made their best efforts to avoid escalation of economic and trade frictions.”

“They refute criticism of the country’s trade practices, and stated that responsibility for the escalation lies with the US. However, China avoided giving any details on what retaliation to the latest threats of US tariffs would look like and refrained from reiterating a pledge that measures would be taken.”

“The tone could be described as a reluctant step to war rather than a full run headfirst.”

“In light of this, some have suggested that Chinese officials are easing back their rhetoric with the intention of going back to the negotiation table, perhaps in light of increased concerns about economic impacts. But it is not clear whether it is truly a change in tone or if the US news was a surprise to China’s economic team and a reaction is being prepared.”

“Officials on both sides have said that they would be willing to resume talks. Overnight Mnuchin said that talks between China and the US have broken down in some areas, but if China is ready to make structural changes he and the administration are available to talk. He also said that the current tariffs on China have not dented the US economy and that they are closely watching the impacts. Whether further talks happen – and, more importantly, how successful they prove to be – remains to be seen.”