Having started off with a sharp gap lower following Sunday’s news of the latest, 6th nuclear test by North Korea, global stocks and US futures pared losses in the overnight session, despite reports of North Korean preparations for yet another missile launch, while the yen trimmed its risk-off gains even as gold kept its upside and the South Korean Kospi closing 1.2% lower, with traders asking whether “this time will be different:, or inversely, will today’s market reaction will be a carbon copy of what happened last Monday, when stocks gapped sharply lower on North Korea missile launch fears, only to surge 1% by the end of the week, as shown in the chart below.

Still, concern that U.S. President Donald Trump has few viable options to rein in North Korea has disrupted a three-week-long rally in emerging markets, sending stocks to the biggest loss since Aug. 11: The MSCI index of world stocks dropped 0.7%, led by consumer-discretionary and industrial-goods sectors, as the relative strength index, a measure of momentum, fell to 60 from 68 on Friday.

The South Korean Kospi extended declined at the close, down 1.2% after Yonhap reported South Korea had detected North Korea’s preparation for an ICBM missile launch.The index fell as much as 1.7% at the open Monday before paring back some of its decline to a 0.9% drop; volatility among South Korean stocks surged as much as +15%, although absent further escalation, that spike will likely be faded in the coming days.

Europe’s Stoxx Europe 600 Index declined, with all industry sectors in the red, after a Monday morning report from Yonhap that Pyongyang is preparing to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile heightened investors’ unease. European equity markets opened lower and stay within a tight range, with tech and banking lagging.

Both USD/JPY and U.S. equity futures fell, but have stayed within overnight ranges and in the case of the Yen, much of the latest gains have been unwound, while European government bonds advanced and Swiss franc led currency gains.

 

 

The euro strengthened even as economists expect European Central Bank President Mario Draghi to express concern Thursday about the currency’s rise. Industrial metals including copper and nickel extended a rally. US Treasuries and bund futures briefly hit session highs on Korean concerns before fading. The German curve steepened, with focus on upcoming supply this week.

Having surged to the highest level since the Trump election victory, spot gold edged modestly lower from overnight high, tagging $1,334 in early trading.

Currencies, as a group, erased losses thanks to an advance in offshore yuan; otherwise, most currencies are lower against the dollar.

Meanwhile, China’s onshore yuan extended gains to a 15-month high as North Korea’s nuclear test failed to dent bullish sentiment on the currency. The Chinese exchange rate traded in Hong Kong’s overseas market rose for a 14th day, the longest rally on record. In onshore markets, the CNY climbed 0.5% to 6.5245 per dollar; the currency climbed 1.35% last week, the strongest showing in CFETS data going back to April 2007. The PBOC strengthened the yuan reference rate by 0.37%, the most since Aug. 10, to 6.5668 against the greenback.

It wasn’t just the Yuan that proved immune to Korean worries: shares in mainland China rose as strength in commodity producers outshone concerns about North Korea saying it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb over the weekend. Hong Kong’s benchmark fell for a third day. The Shanghai Composite Index rises 0.4%, most in a week, to 3,379.58

What happens next for global risk is in the hands of China and the US as the North Korean conflict is rapidly escalating into a proxy war of the world’s two most powerful nations.

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