U.S. Fed chief Jerome Powell is ready to lower rates, just not quite yet. The FOMC shrugged off President Trump’s demand for an immediate cut by leaving its benchmark unchanged while indicating a readiness to ease for the first time in more than a decade. Officials cited economic “uncertainties,” dropped their “patient” mantra and forecast a larger miss of their 2% inflation target this year. Powell said he intends to serve his full four-year term, despite Trump’s repeated criticism that he’s not doing enough to boost the economy.
Asian equity futures look set to continue the upward momentum as U.S. stocks rallied for a third day and yields on shorter-term maturity Treasuries tumbled on the Fed’s dovish tone. The dollar weakened against every major currency. Oil slipped as record U.S. gasoline consumption and a steep drop in crude inventories failed to ease concerns about tepid demand.
Australia’s government said it’s committed to tackling structural flaws in its A$2.8 trillion ($1.9 trillion) pensions industry that have eroded retirement savings and cost people billions of dollars in unnecessary fees. The government will try again to stop young workers automatically being charged for life insurance through their pension plans, and will provide better options for drawing on savings, Senator Jane Hume will tell a Bloomberg conference Thursday.
Apple is playing poker with China, Wedbush said. Moving 15% of its iPhone production out of the country would be a “gargantuan endeavor,” laden with risks like supply-chain disruption and higher costs, the investment firm said. Nikkei reported earlier that Apple had asked key suppliers to calculate the cost of shifting 15% to 30% of their production to Southeast Asia.
Millennials and Iron
The shopping habits of millennials have helped fuel hefty gains at Australia’s Regal Funds’ Atlantic Absolute Return Fund, which shot up 74% through May, boosted by winning bets on buy-now, pay-later service Zip, and iron ore miner Fortescue. The out-sized gains stand in contrast to many global active money managers, who have adopted a cautious approach amid the escalating U.S.-China trade war and slowing economic growth. The Eurekahedge Hedge Fund Index gained 3.9% in the first five months of the year — half the advance of the MSCI World Index.