The three things you need to know this week: More signs are pointing to U.S.-China trade war de-escalation, ECB launches new stimulus and the PBOC cuts required reserve ratios.
Tariff Delay: More signs are appearing to show that the U.S. and China are attempting to de-escalate trade tensions before the October meeting in Washington, D.C. President Donald Trump said the U.S. would delay increasing tariffs from 25% to 30% on $250 billion of Chinese imports to October 15, from October 1 (also the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China). Trump termed the delay a goodwill gesture. Separately, a Bloomberg report noted the U.S. has discussed proposing a limited trade agreement to China that would delay and potentially roll back some tariffs in exchange for China’s commitment on intellectual property and agricultural purchases. The offer would be an interim deal and not a final resolution to the trade conflict, aimed at alleviating recent market and economic trade distress.
ECB Meeting: The ECB eased monetary policy at its September 12 meeting, as expected. Several measures were announced, including a 10 bps cut in the deposit rate to -.50% and a restart of quantitative easing (QE) on November 1. The ECB will restart QE at a monthly pace of €20 billion and continue until shortly before the first rate hike. A two-tiered deposit system was announced that exempts part of banks’ excess liquidity from negative rates. The TLTRO terms were improved by lowering the interest rate and increasing the maturity from two to three years. The ECB scrapped its calendar-based forward guidance, instead linking its interest rate guidance to meeting the inflation objective. ECB President Mario Draghi has one more policy meeting on October 24 before his term ends a week later.
PBOC Lowers RRR: China's central bank will cut the required reserve ratio (RRR) by 50 bps for all banks effective September 16 and an additional 100 bps for some city commercial banks, which will be phased-in during October and November. The cut is the third this year and seventh since early 2018, bringing the RRR to its lowest level since October 2007. The PBOC said the latest cut will free up 900 billion yuan ($126 billion) of liquidity, helping entice lenders to finance projects to boost growth and support employment.