Donald Trump imposed additional sanctions on Iran, including against supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in retaliation for last week’s downing of a U.S. drone. The restrictions would deny Khamenei access to financial resources, as he’s “the one who ultimately is responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime,” the president said. Analysts called the move largely symbolic, and Tehran said the new penalties won’t force it to negotiate or capitulate. The hard part will be getting Iran and the U.S. to talk to each other. Trump also blasted China, Japan and others over money the U.S. spends to defend oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.
Fund managers don’t expect much progress to be made at this week’s meeting between presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, and they’re sticking to their positions. Most China investors see little chance the two leaders will suddenly reach an agreement and resolve a trade dispute that has weighed on markets over the past year. Most are keeping an emphasis on domestic-focused defensive stocks, though much potential downside is already priced in, while foreign-exchange traders expect a slight weakening in the yuan.
Asian equity futures are slightly lower after U.S. stocks edged away from records as expectations for easier monetary policy vied with concerns about a slowing global economy. Treasuries gained, while the dollar fell against every G-10 peer. WTI crude rose, and gold extended its advance above $1,400. Bitcoin surged above $11,000.
Oil’s Bleak Outlook
Oil’s outlook could be even bleaker than expected. While the Saudi Arabian-led efforts to restrain supply amid surging North American shale production have hogged headlines, a sense of malaise is quietly creeping across Asia. OPEC and its allies would be advised to pay close attention as they prepare to make a key decision on output curbs early next month. With the U.S.-China trade war now almost a year old and showing no signs of ending, its impact is manifesting itself in everything from profit warnings by Japanese car makers to sagging Chinese diesel consumption.
Ready to Launch
SpaceX will try to pull off its most ambitious launch yet later today. The mission for the U.S. Air Force is to deliver 24 satellites to space on boosters that are being reused after having flown in the past. SpaceX will carry the two dozen spacecraft into three distinct orbits. Having done so, it will then attempt to land the two boosters back on earth simultaneously and the first stage of the rocket on a drone ship in the ocean about 770 miles away from where it initially takes off.