In early Asian trading on Wednesday, renewed turmoil in the Middle East, with the US military base in Taji, Iraq, hit by a katyusha rocket, spurred a return to risk aversion despite no immediate word of casualties, with gold now trading close to $1,550 an ounce. January 15 will be a key day for global financial markets, with China and the us planning to sign the first phase of a trade deal today.
In the early hours of Wednesday in Asia, Iraqi media reported that the Taji military base north of Baghdad was hit by katyusha rockets. The base is home to U.S. troops training Iraqi forces.
The Iraqi military said in a statement that the Taji military base north of Baghdad was hit by a katyusha rocket on Tuesday local time, with no casualties.
The Iraqi military confirmed in a statement that the attack targeted a military facility where U.S. personnel were deployed at the base.
The news spurred some risk aversion, with spot gold rising in early Asia to as high as $1549.90 an ounce. Gold is currently trading around $1,549 an ounce.
Two katyusha rockets hit a military base in Taji, about 20 kilometers north of Baghdad, on Tuesday night local time, according to the Iraqi interior ministry.
A statement from Iraq’s joint operations command said there were no casualties. No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The U.S. -led military coalition fighting the Islamic state here said Tuesday that no troops were affected by the attack.
Suleiman, commander of Iran’s Quds force, was killed in a U.S. airstrike outside Baghdad’s international airport.
In the early hours of January 8 local time, Iran’s Islamic revolutionary guard corps fired dozens of missiles at two Iraqi military bases where U.S. troops were stationed, but there were no American casualties. Iran said the attack was in retaliation for the US assassination of Mr. Suleimani.
U.S. military bases in Iraq have been hit by rocket fire amid ongoing tensions with Iran.
Four Iraqi air force personnel were wounded Sunday night when eight katyusha rockets hit the barred airbase in Salahuddin province.
China-us trade comes to a critical juncture
On Wednesday, investors will focus on the us-china trade. China and the US plan to sign the first phase of the trade agreement today. Investors will await details of the deal.
The deal will include some tariff cuts, increased Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural products and changes to intellectual property and technology rules.
In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Treasury secretary mnuchin reiterated the importance of the deal and said Beijing had agreed to buy about $200 billion worth of U.S. goods over the next two years.
At the invitation of the us side, Liu he, a member of the political bureau of the communist party of China central committee, vice-premier of the state council and Chinese leader of the comprehensive economic dialogue, will lead a delegation to Washington from January 13 to 15 to sign the first phase of the economic and trade agreement with the US side, said Gao Feng, spokesperson of the ministry of commerce at a regular press conference on January 9. The two teams are in close communication on specific arrangements for the signing of the agreement.
China and the United States have previously gone through necessary procedures such as legal review, translation, and proofreading, and communicated closely on the signing of the agreement. According to the statement of the Chinese side, through the joint efforts of the economic and trade teams of the two countries, the two sides have reached an agreement on the text of the first stage economic and trade agreement based on the principles of equality and mutual respect.
The signing ceremony will take place at the White House at 11 a.m. Wednesday. About 200 people, including representatives of major U.S. trade groups, will attend the signing ceremony.
US President Donald Trump said in a tweet on December 31 that he will sign a “phase I” trade agreement with China on January 15 while senior Chinese representatives are present at the White House. Mr. Trump also said at the time that he would then travel to Beijing to start “phase two” negotiations.
Mr. Trump wrote at the time: “on January 15, I will sign the first phase of our very large and comprehensive trade agreement with China. The ceremony will take place at the White House. High-level Chinese representatives will be present. At some later date, I will go to Beijing and start the second phase of negotiations there!”
The Wall Street Journal reported on January 11 that the United States and China have agreed to launch a new semi-annual dialogue to promote economic reform and resolve disputes. The two sides will announce the new dialogue mechanism on January 15.
In a gesture of goodwill, the US has dropped its designation of China as a currency manipulator ahead of a planned first-phase trade agreement between the US and China on January 15. It was seen as a gesture of reconciliation before the deal was signed.
The US Treasury on Monday formally dropped its decision to label China a currency manipulator last year, in what was seen as another sign of a thaw in us-china relations.
“The Treasury has decided that China should no longer be listed as a currency manipulator at this time,” the Treasury said in its semi-annual report on currency intervention. The US Treasury said the first phase of the trade deal, to be signed this week, contained enforceable Chinese commitments not to devalue the renminbi and not to set exchange rate targets for competitive purposes.
However, there were reports on Tuesday that the US would not cut tariffs further and that existing tariffs could remain in place until after the US election. CNBC website reported that day, the news, the stock market panic.
The dow closed up just 32.62 points, or 0.1%, at 28,939.67. The s&p 500 fell 0.1% to 3,283.15. The nasdaq composite index fell 0.2% to 9,251.33.
Myron Brilliant, executive vice president of the U.S. chamber of commerce, said that while the first phase of the agreement succeeded in “stopping the bleeding” of the trade war, it was more important than both sides to show a commitment to moving forward with the second phase. “Significant challenges remain ahead, given that the core structural issues that are at the heart of the dispute remain unresolved, particularly in the tariff area,” he said.
Gold prices could rebound if the details of the trade deal do not impress markets, FXTM wrote on Tuesday. Technical traders will continue to keep a close eye on price movements around $1,555 an ounce. Closing below that level should signal a move toward $1535 an ounce. Instead, a move above $1,555 could open the door to $1,570.
Dailyufx, a foreign exchange website, notes that the details of the agreement are most notable. Details such as the U.S. agreeing to no more tariffs and China’s agreement to increase purchases of U.S. agricultural products would further ease concerns about global trade and dampen risk aversion, weighing on gold. Otherwise, risk appetite is weakened, making gold stronger.