This week, crude oil was one of the biggest movers in the market. The price of WTI crude jumped to the highest level since 2014. The jump came after the United States asked all oil traders to cut their Iran oil trades to zero. This was a tougher stance than the traders were expecting and will leave Iran more isolated. China could cover some of the losses, but Chinese companies could find it difficult to continue the trades fearing a retaliation from the United States. This comes a few days after Iran was isolated in OPEC after the other members refused to accept its proposals on oil cuts. Another reason for the jump was the decline in US stocks as the country continues to face a severe truck driver shortage.
The euro had a tough week after immigration issues threatened the union. In a hastily organized meeting in Brussels, the leaders met to deliberate on the best way to handle the issue of immigration. Recently, the union have continued to see thousands of West African migrants who are fleeing their countries. Most of these people land in the Coastal countries like Italy. In recent months, as nationalists have taken power in the region, so has the anti-immigration sentiment. In a passionate speech in Brussels, Angela Merkel said that the issue would bring the downfall of Europe. On Thursday, the regional members agreed on measures to control immigration, thus lifting the euro as seen shown below.
The biggest news this week was probably on trade. As we have written before, the tensions on trade have increased in the past few weeks. This is after Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on friend and foe countries. The biggest news was that the United States would start opposing Chinese investments to the United States. This led Chinese stocks to reach the bear market. Stocks in the United States fell as well but on Wednesday, there was a sigh of relief after a tweet from Steve Mnuchin. In a tweet, he said that the US would continue to use the CFIUS to vet Chinese investments. The gains were wiped away by Larry Kudlow who said that the policy would remain.
The effects of a trade war were visible this week after Harley-Davidson announced its plans to move the manufacturing of European products out of the United States. Harley is one of the America’s most successful and beloved company that has been manufactured in the US for decades. Its decision drew a rebuke from the US president because of his previous fights for the company. Other American companies are likely to follow the direction of Harley. The problem was partly offset by the decision of Foxconn to start a new manufacturing plant in Wisconsin. The plant will provide jobs to more than 15,000 Americans.
In terms of data, the biggest news was from Reserve Bank of New Zealand who left rates unchanged and signalled that it might lower interest rates. This led the kiwi to fall as shown below. Another important data was from the US where the final reading of the GDP was revised lower to 2.0%. Traders were expecting the final reading to remain at 2.2%.