When it comes to America’s relationship with the rest of the world, things got off to a solid start on Tuesday, when China announced they’d be slashing tariffs on cars.
The rational among you will probably see that as a step in the right direction, but if you’re Steve Bannon, you think it’s indicative of Steve Mnuchin selling out America.
Fortunately, no one listens to Steve Bannon anymore, because you know, “crazy” and “he openly backed Roy Moore” and “he tried to destroy the GOP” and “he wears his racism ‘like a badge of honor‘” and other such things.
But when it comes to foreign relations, things went juuuust a wee bit off the rails later on, when Trump used an Oval Office presser with Moon Jae-in to talk about Obama’s “spies” and also to suggest that the Kim meeting might not happen after all. This instant classic snapshot from the meeting says it all:
Despite Trump’s best efforts to deliver enough senseless “covfefe” to lay claim to the “quote of the day” title, he lost it to Schumer:
quote of the day:
SCHUMER: WORRIED CHINA'S XI CRAFTING BETTER DEAL THAN TRUMP
— Walter White (@heisenbergrpt) May 22, 2018
The wishy-washy comments on North Korea appeared to dent stocks late in the U.S. session. Trump is “disappointed”:
- TRUMP SAYS `DISAPPOINTED’ BY CHANGE IN ATTITUDE FROM KIM
Here he is saying things “may not work out”:
JUST IN: President Trump says North Korea summit "may not work out for June 12," but adds "there is a good chance that we'll have the meeting." pic.twitter.com/jdUzdUnvtl
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 22, 2018
That, in turn, “disappointed” stocks. You can see when things stopped “working out”:
The dollar was lower, although it trimmed losses during the U.S. session:
Dealers again take down A LOT of two-year notes (about the most since late 2016).
Hard to find buyers with a yield chart like this… pic.twitter.com/K8zWREUPwO
— Brian Chappatta (@BChappatta) May 22, 2018
The ruble was up for a second day, rising in tandem with crude (which was up again early before paring gains).
According to VTB Capital, if USD/RUB “confidently” falls below 61.50, it could trigger stop- losses and drive an additional recovery in the currency, “especially in light of looming tax payments”.
You’ll recall the correlation between RUB and oil broke down completely earlier this year as the overhang from U.S. sanctions outweighed the boon from rising oil prices.
Here’s a 2-day of crude which is of course still hovering near its highest levels since 2014 amid ongoing geopolitical angst:
Meanwhile, the bond market seems to care more about the rise of populism in Italy than it does about the ongoing tension between Washington and Moscow:
Speaking of Italy, Italian bonds mercifully caught a bid following a truly harrowing session on Monday. 10Y yields were down the most in a least a week:
BTP-bund spread snapped back tighter by 10bps after blowing out 39bps over the past two days, which Bloomberg reminds you was “the most since the hung parliament in 2013 (when comedian Beppe Grillo’s anti-establishment Five Star came third)”:
But there was no respite for the lira, which fell to yet another record low amid ongoing jitters about soon-to-be Sultan (and also soon-to-be central bank governor) Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. People have given up on this:
“A continued absence of aggressive steps to combat current toxic mix of negative domestic developments (e.g. political interference, surge in CPI, sharp deterioration in inflation expectations) may accelerate the lira’s plunge,” SocGen’s Phoenix Kalen writes, in a new note.
Finally, for your moment of zen, here is Sarah Huckabee Sanders trying to explain whether, in light of today’s comments, it was “premature” to make commemorative coins for the Trump-Kim meeting:
Sanders says the coins are "standard procedure" by White House Communications Agency, "made up exclusively of career military officials." pic.twitter.com/Ye8XxlZ09h
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) May 22, 2018
There's now a White House Military Office coin for the upcoming Trump Kim Jong Un summit. The North Korean dictator is referred to as "Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un." pic.twitter.com/tFAmE813Y1
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) May 21, 2018