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In this April 21, 2008 file photo, national flags of the United States, Canada, and Mexico fly in the breeze in New Orleans. Negotiations start Wednesday for an update to the quarter-century-old North American Free Trade Agreement. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Judi Bottoni

Nafta 2.0

Bloomberg
It took a while to get there, but the U.S., Canada and Mexico have struck a revised trade deal. Meanwhile, oil reached the highest level since 2014, and India vowed liquidity support to a debt-laden financier. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.

Nafta 2.0

President Donald Trump celebrated a trade deal with Canada and Mexico to replace Nafta as a “historic” win that vindicated his strategy of threatening tariffs on trade partners. Trump called the accord “the most important trade deal we’ve ever made by far.” He predicted the renamed U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, would “easily” pass Congress after he signs it by late November. The pact could spell relief for car manufacturers including Toyota and Honda; here are some other highlightsU.S. stocks rose, while Asian equities are looking at a mixed open.

Crude Surge

Oil jumped to the highest level in nearly four years as a slowdown in American drilling added to concern over supply losses from Iran and Venezuela. Crude futures gained more than 3 percent in New York on Monday. As U.S. sanctions dissuaded importers from purchasing Iranian oil, President Donald Trump and King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia discussed efforts to maintain supplies. Meanwhile, the number of rigs drilling for American crude dropped for a second week, signaling a potential slowdown in output growth.

Peak Steel

The world’s largest steel market is about to go into reverse. Production in China will peak in 2018 and then shrink next year as local demand drops, according to forecasts from the Australian government, which says the shift will add to headwinds for core ingredient iron ore. After topping out at 886 million metric tons, output is expected to drop to 861 million tons in 2019 and hit 842 million in 2020, the Department of Industry, Innovation & Science said. Over the same time frame, local demand is seen contracting by 34 million tons.

India’s IL&FS Move

The Indian government, which seized control of debt-laden financier Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd., has pledged to ensure the beleaguered lender has the money to prevent further defaults. Superseding the board of IL&FS, which has defaulted on more than five of its obligations, was essential to restore the confidence of the financial markets, according to a statement by the finance ministry on Monday. Government officials on Monday ousted IL&FS’s management and instituted a new six-member board. The dramatic move underscored the government’s concern that defaults at the systemically important shadow bank may spread to other lenders. The nation has sought to take control of a company on just two prior occasions, and only followed through once, with Satyam Computer Services Ltd. in 2009.

Defensives Lead Nikkei Charge

Japan’s blue-chip Nikkei 225 Stock Average soared to its highest in almost 27 years, but it’s not the usual suspects — the country’s giant exporters — that have been leading the charge this year. Retailers, drugmakers and other more defensive shares have been driving the increase. The Nikkei’s turnaround has been fast and decisive. It’s up almost 9 percent from a recent low on Sept. 7. But while the recent rally has been brisk, some money managers say it’s lacking in confidence. “People had doubts over whether the global economy will continue to fare well,” said Kiyoshi Ishigane, chief strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. “They had little choice but to go for defensives.”

What we’ve been reading

This is what caught our eye over the last 24 hours.

And finally, here’s what David’s interested in this morning

There’s no guarantee of course, but October tends to be a very good month to be long Japan. The trailing five-year average, which encapsulates stock market performance under Abenomics, shows October delivers the second-best monthly returns after November. Quarterly data that goes back thirty years shows the fourth quarter is by far the kindest to investors. On the flip side, if you’re on the lookout for short-term risks, probably start by looking at momentum. The yen looks oversold and the index itself looks overbought. Earnings season is also just around the corner. Japan was going through a significant earnings upgrade cycle last year; that story is not as compelling now. Mohammed Apabhai, Head of Asia Trading Strategy at Citi Global Markets, warned when this rally was gaining traction that most of these bets appeared to be very short-term in structure.

To end on something positive, the latest Tankan survey showed Japan Inc. still has very conservative assumptions on the exchange rate. That means a nice bump to income as long as the yen stays on the weaker side of 107.40. For all you Japan bulls out there, history — and conservative foreign exchange assumptions — are on your side for now.

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