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Marketmind: China disappoints again, fanning speculation on stimulus


A look at the day ahead in European and global markets from Sonali Desai

China’s keenly awaited trade data for May did little to stir markets increasingly inured to weakening momentum in the world’s second-largest economy, although it will fuel further speculation of policy stimulus measures from Beijing.

For the record, exports posted a bigger-than-expected drop of 7.5% year-on-year, sending the trade surplus to a 13-month low, while imports remained mired in negative territory.

While the data had little immediate broad impact, the Chinese yuan weakened on cue and Europe could well view the figures in a bleaker light on a day that features few domestic catalysts.

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s surprise rate hike and hawkish messaging on Tuesday continue to reverberate, raising speculation that the Bank of Canada might similarly defy poll forecasts by resuming rate hikes later on Wednesday, following recent sticky inflation data.

Indeed, RBA Governor Philip Lowe was still explaining Tuesday’s policy decision in a speech to bankers after the central bank wrong-footed economists who predicted there would be a rate pause for a second straight month.

Expectations of a follow-up hike in July cushioned the Aussie from the weak Chinese trade numbers and Australia’s own below-forecast first-quarter gross domestic product data.

Stock markets in Asia were mixed, as were U.S. equity futures, following a slightly firmer finish on Wall Street. Light positioning could well persist into next week’s lineup of major central bank meetings, as the earnings season draws to a close.

One corner of the market that is seeing volatility is bitcoin, which reversed much of Tuesday’s sharp drop on a flight to quality in the crypto space following a widening U.S. crackdown on exchanges and smaller coins.

Key developments that could influence markets on Wednesday:

German April industrial output

ECB’s Fabio Panetta, Edouard Fernandez-Bollo and Luis de Guindos speak at conference on financial integration in Brussels

ECB’s Klaas Knot briefs Dutch parliament on financial sector stability

OECD updates global economic outlook

U.S. April trade and consumer credit

Bank of Canada policy decision

(Reporting by Sonali Desai; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

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