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China Backslides while Taiwan Starts Talks with the US

The first half of 2021 closes with a proper vaccination campaign in developed nations, and the gradual lifting of global lockdowns. This has reflected good results for the dollar, 10-year US Treasuries, gold, oil, and the S&P 500, the big winner of the half-year.

The close of the first six months of the year has left the S&P 500 index with one of the best half-year results since 1998. This morning the Asian session had its best start to the year in 23 years, rising 0.1%.

Gold also started the second half of the year on a good note. During the Asian session, the yellow metal rose 0.3% to $1,775.56 per ounce. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil remained at $73.70 a barrel, up 0.3%. US 10-year Treasuries were at 1.53% in the Asian session, up slightly by 1.47% from the US session.

China’s economy Contracts

Asian markets do not seem to be following the same trajectory as the US markets. The latest outbreaks of the virus and a slower vaccination campaign seem to have influenced the markets in the eastern continent. Yesterday, China released data on exports, manufacturing, and production. The figures reflected a shrinking Chinese economic growth. Financial analysts from giants such as Morgan Stanley believe that the Chinese GDP could fall below 9% as a consequence of higher raw material prices on production, as well as lower-than-expected consumption. Moreover, due to the abuse of forced labor, the US has China under scrutiny. Last week, the country added five companies to its blacklist. On the other hand, the US has resumed a series of talks with Taiwan.

US-Taiwan Talks

Talks aimed at creating an environment free of forced labor in Taiwan are resuming after a five-year hiatus. One of the driving forces behind the talks was Taiwan’s gesture last year to lift its ban on some American meat products.

Deng Chen-Chung, Taiwan’s representative in the digital meetings with the US, is seeking to sign a bilateral agreement with the US. Meanwhile, US representatives point out that “many things” still need to be done before a commercial pact is reached.

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