Trump kills advisory panel on infrastructure needs

Paterniano Del Favero
Agosto 18, 2017

The market was also on edge after a van crashed into dozens of people in the centre of Barcelona killing at least 13 people in an attack claimed by Islamic State.

U.S. equity losses deepened on news that a driver deliberately slammed a van into crowds on Barcelona's most popular street in what police said was a "terror attack". President Moon Jae-in's remarks Thursday came as the latest round of warlike rhetoric over North Korea's weapons tests appeared to ease following Pyongyang's announcement that it would hold off on a threat to launch missiles at the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. But some investors said the pullback would likely be temporary.

Until then, "sentiment may remain the driver for the fluctuations in the markets and could make for good entry opportunity for regional markets", she added. That reaction to the news is already being dismissed with the EUR/USD now trading at $1.1733, a gain of 0.07%.

Japan's Topix index fell 1.1 per cent as of 10.44am in Tokyo, Australia's S&P/500 Index was down 0.8 per cent and the Kospi index declined 0.3 per cent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 1.3 per cent.

Overnight, Wall Street's major indices slumped between 1.2% and 1.9%.

The S&P 500 volatility index, known unofficially as the "fear index", surged 32.5 percent.

The move comes a day after Trump disbanded two other councils - the Manufacturing Council and the Strategy & Policy Forum - after business leaders, CEOs and union leaders began fleeing the groups in response to the President blaming "both sides" for violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. "But today, it can take as long as a decade and much more than that - many, many stories where it takes 20 and 25 years just to get approvals to start construction of a fairly routine highway", the president said during a press conference at Trump Tower in New York City.

Investors were rattled over rumours regarding Economic Adviser Gary Cohn's future
Investors were rattled over rumours regarding Economic Adviser Gary Cohn's future. Andrew Harrer

Cohn's rumored departure shook Wall Street, which considers the NEC director one of the few powerful White House pro-business influences countering chief strategist Stephen Bannon's economic nationalism.

And the White House Thursday said Trump also has abandoned plans to form an advisory council on infrastructure.

The dollar posted its third session of losses against the yen, falling 0.15% to ¥109.40 and shrinking this week's gains to 0.4%.

Minutes from last month's European Central Bank meeting, which revealed some rate-setters were concerned about an excessive rise in the euro, sent the currency to a three-week low, briefly boosting the STOXX 600 into the black, though the index rapidly retreated again. The euro rose to $1.1732 from $1.1723.

Bitcoin, which hit a record high of $4,480 in the previous session, was little changed from Thursday's close at $4,259.91. It is on track for a 2.2% decline for the week.

Japan's Nikkei slipped 0.1 per cent to 19,702.63, weighed down by a stronger yen as the USA dollar wilted and shrugging off data showing the country's exports rose for an eighth straight month in July.

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