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Traders go phew on Syria but won't declare mission accomplished

Russian markets themselves also retreated, with bonds, the ruble and stocks declining after the US said it will impose fresh sanctions on Moscow

Netty Ismail | Bloomberg 

Syria airstrikes, chemical attack on Syria, US led airstrikes on Syria, Donald Trump, global markets, US treasuries, Russia market, chemical weapons, US President Donald Trump, Donald Trump,Arqaam Capital, Hamas, middle easet, Russia, US -Russia
Damaged buildings in Douma, the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack. Russia and Syria have not yet allowed a fact-finding mission from the world's chemical weapons watchdog to enter Douma. (Photo: PTI)

The US-led military strikes in Syria on Friday may have been met with a collective sigh of relief in global markets, but investors are hardly letting their guard down as US-tensions simmer.

Although haven assets such as gold and aren’t rising stocks in Asia relinquished earlier gains. Russian themselves also retreated, with bonds, the ruble and stocks declining after the US said it will impose fresh sanctions on Moscow following Syria’s reported use of

“Investors don’t expect any significant escalation of military activity between the West and Syria’s government and its main backers, and Iran,” said Mansoor Mohiuddin, head of the currency strategy at NatWest in Singapore. “What would make investors concerned again would be a response from the Syrian government or its allies that broadens the conflict beyond Syria’s borders.”

US President declared “mission accomplished” via Twitter on Saturday, a day after the US, France and the UK carried out strikes in response to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s suspected chemical attack on civilians. US oil futures fell back below $67 a barrel as there was no significant response to the missile attack. Stocks across most Arab extended their gains from Sunday, while US stock futures indicated a higher opening Monday.

“It will be risk-on today it seems, as don’t-know-hummus-from- optimists were right, and gloomy ‘WW3’ pundits were wrong,” Michael Every, head of Asia financial markets research at Rabobank in London, wrote in a report. “However, there is still a big difference between a risk-on trade and assuming that underlying risks have actually gone away. After all, the Middle East remains a powder-keg.”

History shows that a US-led attack on Syria doesn’t necessarily send investors running for cover. After the previous bombing on April 7, 2017, the MSCI All Country World Index finished the day little changed. And US Treasuries, typically a haven, fell, with yields on 10-year notes climbing 4 basis points.

While the 10-year yield rose 3 basis points to 2.86 per cent Monday, it’s still below the four-year high of 2.95 per cent reached on February 21. That reflects the lingering geopolitical tension, according to “Unless it’s a major and a longterm event, the market has gotten numbed to regional geopolitics,” said Abdul Kadir Hussain, the head of

fixed income at Dubai-based

“However, I would argue that on a global basis, one of the reasons are at these levels isbecause of global geopolitics and that would include Syria. There is no other reason for the 10-year not to be a lot closer to 3 per cent.”

First Published: Mon, April 16 2018. 21:11 IST
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