It was a weekend of escalation in the Middle East with an attack in northeastern Jordan near the Syrian border leaving three US service members dead and many more injured. Iran's mission to the United Nations denied Tehran’s involvement. It appears inevitable that there will be a US military response. This came quickly on the heels of the Houthi hit on a tanker in the Red Sea. The result was a gap higher opening for oil and gold in Sunday evening futures trade, and a little lower for US equity index futures. All of these gaps have been filled. Gold is, so far at least, the only one to have traded back towards its opening price.

Across major FX moves have been relatively subdued. It appears that ‘waiting on the FOMC’ has been adopted as an excuse to hold back on much activity already. The FOMC statement is not due until Wednesday afternoon, US time. AUD/USD ticked around 20 or points higher.

China continues to be a focus. There is more in the point above but in summary:

  • there were further stock short sale restrictions announced over the weekend
  • a Hong Kong court has ordered the liquidation of deeply troubled property development firm Evergrande. Trading in its shares was halted.
  • China plans to merge three of its biggest ‘bad debt’ managers into its sovereign wealth fund
  • Trump floated the possibility of 60% tariffs on Chinese goods

China’s mainland stock indexes fell while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore left its monetary policy unchanged, as expected.

Oil gap wrap 29 January 2024 2