Last week, the focus among traders was mostly on politics and the earning season. During the week, the final batch of large banks such as Goldman Sachs and Bank of America released their earnings that excited the markets. Nonetheless, the stocks markets ended the week largely flat from where they had started the week.
Bank of Japan Easy Money Policies
During the weekend, the major market-moving news came from Japan. Hurohiko Kuroda, the Bank of Japan governor dampened the mood of investors when he sounded more dovish. In a statement, he said that the bank would keep interest rates at the historically low level to boost the economy and increase inflation to the targeted 2%. The bank’s base interest rates is currently at negative 0.1%, which is significantly low. The only other bank with the negative rates is Swiss National Bank.
While Kuroda remained optimistic of the country’s economy, he remained cautious about the consumer prices. Very low inflation may make it difficult for the bank to hike interest rates. High rates would make it difficult for people to spend, which in turn would drag the rate of inflation.
Another major topic during the weekend was on North Korea. The country is preparing major summits this week with South Korea. It is also preparing another summit with the US in the coming weeks. These summits will be very important not only for the countries involved, but also for the world. On Friday, the country announced that it would end all nuclear tests and shut down its major testing facilities. It also removed the condition that the US removes its troops from South Korea. It also agreed to no pre-conditions for the summit.
There is a likelihood that the country has a hidden agenda, coming at a time when it has developed nuclear weapons that could reach the US. Only time will tell.
Shinzo Abe Problems
Last week, Japan Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe finished his summit with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago. The summit ended with a commitment that the US will advocate for the release of Japanese hostages held in North Korea. Other than that, the meeting did not have any major outcomes for the country. For example, many Japanese expected the PM to ask the US president to return to TPP. He did not. Back at home, his approval ratings plummeted following a scandal about a private school. His approval rating currently stands at less than 30%. Therefore, there are chances that he will not view for the PM job in the next election. His finance minister is also under pressure to resign.
Mnuchin in China
Over the weekend, it was reported that Steve Mnuchin, the treasury secretary for the US will make a trip to China. During his trip, he will meet with many Chinese leaders to discuss about trade issues. His trip is a sign of hope that the two countries may iron out the issues on trade that exist. Thus, there is a likelihood that that the potential trade war will be avoided.