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European equities slide as global fears resurface

  • Published at 06:07 pm August 17th, 2018
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‘Emerging market worries are not going away any time soon’

European stock markets sank Friday on investor concerns over Turkey and the ongoing trade war between China and the United States.

Asian stocks however railed higher after a positive lead from Wall Street, with dealers there cautiously optimistic about upcoming US-China trade talks – although worries festered over emerging markets.

The Turkish lira meanwhile rebounded from record lows hit earlier this week, despite Washington warning that it would levy more economic sanctions on Ankara if it did not release a jailed American pastor.

"Global trade worries have not disappeared ... as market participants prefer to regroup and strategize in this unorthodox US trade and foreign policy environment," said OANDA analyst Dean Popplewell.

"Emerging market worries are not going away any time soon."

Further volatility ahead?

"US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin stated ... that Turkey would face more sanctions if the country did not release a detained American pastor and coupled with a weeklong Turkish public holiday, beginning Monday, should provide further emerging markets volatility," Popplewell added.

"For now, the possibility of a Sino-US trade deal has brought some calm to the market – but trade and currency wars remain."

Negotiators from Washington and Beijing will meet later this month for the first publicly announced dialogue in weeks on their bitter trade dispute, which has seen both sides impose reciprocal tariffs on goods worth $34 billion.

The news has helped global markets regain composure after several days of volatility sparked by fears that Turkey's financial crisis could infect other economies.

"Markets are optimistic but remain weary," said FXPro analyst Alexander Kuptsikevich.

"It is worth noting that the status of officials involved in the negotiations is not very high, which eliminates the possibility of breakthrough decisions in the near future."

Tit-for-tat tariffs by the US and China on another $16 billion of each other's goods are due to kick in next week, and President Donald Trump has threatened to go after even more Chinese imports in the future.

Lira 'not out of woods yet'

Meanwhile, most commentators do not expect that the end is in sight to the Turkish currency saga.

"Concerns over the China-US trade dispute and the state of the Turkish lira remain undispelled," said City Index analyst Fiona Cincotta.

"On the Sino-US front, delegations from the two countries are due to meet in Washington next week to try and find a negotiated solution to the conflict over their trade imbalance – but the markets are relatively cautious about the outcome."

She added: "The embattled Turkish lira, the cause of much of the markets' declines this week, is trading marginally higher ... helped by the fact that Qatar has pledged to give Turkey a $15-billion loan.

"The currency is not out of the woods yet and sellers are pushing to see at which level it will hold."