Unlike the 400-plus point fall in the S&P BSE Sensex in March following U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade war with China, the index closed nearly 40 points higher on Monday after the G7 summit failed.
Geopolitics plays a major role in giving direction to the market mood. But, the markets seem to be maturing now. While Trump lashed out at his G7 allies and refused to sign the final communiqué, the Indian equity markets were left more or less unscathed. The 30-stock S&P BSE Sensex, which opened at 35,472.59 points on June 11, closed 39.80 points higher at 35,483.67. This after recording a day’s high of 35,704.84, and a day’s low of 35,444.49—a swing of 260.35 points during the day.
This is in contrast to earlier, when a trade war between the U.S. and China had caused bouts of volatility on the bourses. On March 23, the S&P BSE Sensex had touched the day’s low of 32,483.84, a fall of 522.43 points (or a 1.58% decline) against the previous day’s close of 33,006.27. The 30-stock index lost 409.73 points, or was down 1.24%, at the day’s close at 32,596.54.
Beyond the larger index, after Trump’s G7 outburst, the S&P BSE MidCap closed 14.79 points lower compared to its previous close, while the S&P BSE SmallCap closed 86.24 points higher. The swing between the day’s high and low was 159.21 points, and 145.09 points, respectively, for the mid-cap and small-cap indices.
In a macro strategy note from DBS Bank, rates strategist Eugene Leow, and FX strategist Philip Wee say scepticism dominates hope over the summit between the US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on Tuesday. “Looking beyond trade and geopolitical tensions and rising US rates/oil prices, Asia ex-Japan currencies remain vigilant against emerging market volatility,” the duo says.
The Sensex closed at 35,692.52 -- up 209.05 points from the previous day's close of 35,483.47, after hitting a high of 35,743.08 due to the positive news flow from Singapore. The close of the trading hours, and the conclusion of the four-hour-long Singapore summit were almost simultaneous, where Trump announced that the US would end 'war games' which North Korea perceives as a threat to its security.
Asia has largely been resilient (but not immune) to the bouts of emerging markets volatility, and several central banks facing overheating/external funding risks, the strategists note, adding the Philippines, Indonesia and India have already raised rates. “Judging by elevated short-term interest rates in these economies, liquidity conditions are clearly not as flushed as last year.”
But that is all for the macro and currency side of the market; the changed market reaction to trade wars, in less than three months, points to the fact that the Indian bourses seem to have reacted in a mature manner to the developments at the G7 summit. It is time to see what the Donald Trump-Kim Jong-un summit has to offer to the world and a relatively immune Indian equity market.
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