Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day
China hits back against U.S. tariffs. The cryptocurrency selloff plumbs new depths. And crude’s slump helps snap the S&P 500’s winning streak. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.
China Announces Tit-for-Tat Tariffs
China confirmed that it will impose 25 percent tariffs on an additional $16 billion worth of imports from the U.S. from Aug. 23, matching an earlier move from Washington in another ratchet higher for the trade war between the two nations. The U.S. decision to levy 25 percent tariffs on the same value of Chinese goods is "very unreasonable," and China will have to retaliate to protect its rightful interests and the multilateral trading system, China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement. The tit-for-tat protectionist measures are poised to surge even higher. Should the U.S. proceed with tariffs on a further $200 billion in imports, China’s ready to slap duties on an additional $60 billion of American goods.
Crypto Crash Hits New Low
The 2018 selloff in cryptocurrencies plumbed new depths on Wednesday after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission dented enthusiasts’ hopes for a VanEck exchange-traded fund backed by Bitcoin. A broad selloff in coins of all sizes reduced the market value of virtual currencies tracked by Coinmarketcap.com to about $230 billion, the lowest level since November. Digital assets have now lost about $600 billion since crypto-mania peaked in January, more than the market value of all but the four biggest companies in the S&P 500 Index. The SEC postponed its decision on whether to approve the Bitcoin ETF, dealing a blow to bulls who had bet a green light from the regulator would help sustain last month’s tenuous rally.
Musk Talked Tesla With SoftBank
Elon Musk and Masayoshi Son held talks last year about SoftBank Group Corp. investing in Tesla Inc., including potentially taking the electric car maker private, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions. Son and Musk met in April 2017 to discuss an investment in Tesla, the people said. The talks touched on taking Tesla private, but failed to progress due to disagreements over ownership. There are no active talks between the companies now, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations. Separately, the SEC is said to have made inquiries to Tesla over the truthfulness of Musk’s now infamous tweet Tuesday, Dow Jones reported.
Crude tumbled to a nearly seven-week low as the escalating trade dispute between the world’s biggest economies overshadowed a decline in U.S. stockpiles. Futures declined more than 3 percent on Wednesday in New York, the biggest drop in more than two weeks. The S&P 500 Index turned lower in the final minutes of trading to end a four-day advance. Still, the gauge sits just half a percentage point shy of its all-time record. Treasuries rose as investors scooped up a record $26 billion 10-year auction, showing that swelling U.S. government issuance has yet to put pressure on the nation’s long-term borrowing costs. The kiwi fell in early Thursday trading after the nation’s central bank held its key interest rate at a record low and pushed back expectations for future hikes.
U.S. Announces New Russia Sanctions
The U.S. announced new sanctions on Russia Wednesday, saying it’s made a final determination that Vladimir Putin’s government was responsible for the March 4 nerve-agent attack on a former double agent and his daughter in the U.K. The sanctions added to pressure on the ruble that began earlier in the day, when Russian media published the full text of a separate U.S. bill seeking “crushing sanctions” for election meddling. The new penalties will limit exports to Russia of U.S. goods and technology considered sensitive on national security grounds, according to a State Department official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity. The official said the action could block hundreds of millions of dollars in exports.
What we’ve been reading
This is what caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
- China’s largest insurer is eyeing a bid for Prudential’s Asia business.
- Women are (finally) becoming chief economists at big banks.
- China’s payment apps are giving U.S. bankers nightmares.
- The commodity at the heart of the U.S.-China trade war.
- Billionaire Joe Lewis is selling a David Hockney painting that could become the most expensive work by a living artist at $80 million.
- Man-made glaciers could fix the Himalayan water crisis.
- Is Apple really your privacy hero?
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.