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Morning Bid: Markets brace for supply chain aftershock

In Business
April 03, 2024

A look at the day ahead in European and global markets from Tom Westbrook

The strongest quake to hit Taiwan in at least 25 years has also hit a pressure point in the global supply chain.

The island accounts for about 90% of production for chipmaker TSMC and while its plants are mostly on the opposite coast from the epicentre, they are full of fragile equipment that’s crucial to turning out chips for global firms.

TSMC said it had evacuated some fabrication plants and its safety systems were operating normally, while it confirmed details of the impact. The quake has killed four people, knocked down buildings in the eastern county of Hualien, and was felt in Shanghai as aftershocks rattled Taipei through the morning.

Serious damage to chip foundries would ripple around the world and highlight the urgency of U.S. President Joe Biden’s strategy of encouraging onshore production to reduce reliance on Taiwan’s output.

Shares of TSMC, which has a more than 60% share of global contract chipmaking and a monopoly over advanced microprocessors, were down 1.4% in early trade.

Apple supplier Foxconn’s stock fell more than 2% and shares of flat-panel maker Au Optronics dropped 1.7%. Markets more broadly also slipped as investors await an appearance from U.S Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and U.S. services and jobs figures due later in the day.

Easter Monday’s stronger-than-expected U.S. manufacturing data seemed to trigger selling in the bond market that pushed benchmark 10-year yields past major chart resistance, unleashing even more selling.

Ten-year yields steadied at 4.35% in Asia trade on Wednesday. An uneasy calm has settled on foreign exchange markets, with traders leery of testing the mettle of Japanese authorities who have ramped up warnings of possible intervention.

The yen was steady at 151.55 per dollar. [FRX/]

European inflation figures are also due later in the session, with a slight cooling expected.

Key developments that could influence markets on Wednesday:

Economics: Euro zone inflation, U.S. non-manufacturing ISM, ADP employment

Speeches: Fed’s Powell

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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