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Bitcoin in Zimbabwe: Importing cars and sending money to family

A young Zimbabwean Bitcoiner built out a business with Bitcoin — importing cars and sending remittance payments — when he returned to his homeland…

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A young Zimbabwean Bitcoiner built out a business with Bitcoin — importing cars and sending remittance payments — when he returned to his homeland during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bitcoin (BTC) is a tool for freedom and economic empowerment. For one young Zimbabwean, Ovidy, it turned his life around when he returned to his home country at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

An entrepreneur who first learned of Bitcoin while living in the United States, Ovidy has since built a business with Bitcoin at its core. Below, Ovidy (center) is pictured with Paco the Bitcoin traveler (left):

Ovidy imports cars using Bitcoin. “I really like to import BMWs,” he told Cointelegraph, as well as enabling peer-to-peer remittance payments to friends’ families in Kenya and overseas. In short, Bitcoin makes him hopeful for the future.

Ovidy told Cointelegraph that he “came across Bitcoin when it was around $10,000,” during the 2017 bull run. However, he didn’t invest “because I didn’t have any knowledge about it.”

“I thought that you could Bitcoin one day and have $500; the next day you have $1,000 and it goes up and up.”

He stacked some sats over this period, but it took a few years’ learning and small experiments tinkering with Bitcoin — such as using BitPay to pay for clothes on Amazon — before he could get to grips with the decentralized digital currency. However, it was no more than a hobby and an experience that was soon forgotten.

Jump to the dark beginnings of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and Ovidy was obliged to return to Zimbabwe from the United States. In an unfortunate twist of events:

“I didn’t have anything to do when I came back to Zimbabwe. There were no jobs, so I considered foreign exchange (forex) trading.”

The forex account asked for him to deposit some Bitcoin and Ovidy remembered he had some “Bitcoin in an old Coinbase account.” He checked, and to his delight, the $500 he bought during 2017 and 2018 was worth more than $2,000.

A eureka moment, Ovidy immediately realized he could leverage Bitcoin for payments and investments. He could create work, and more importantly, a salary for himself. The Ovidy E-Wallet transfer hub was born.

A flier for Ovidy's money transfer business. Source: Facebook 

He tapped into his network of contacts and began facilitating the import of cars from Japan. From BMWs to Toyotas to off-the-shelf Hondas, his Zimbabwe clients give him dollars after which he sends Bitcoin to Japanese car dealerships. Weeks later, the cars arrive. He explained:

“It is impossible for me to send dollars to Japan as the only way to do so is through banks. When something gives me $5,000 in Bitcoin, I send the Bitcoin to Japan almost instantly, and I already have the cash here and the transaction is confirmed. Bitcoin is a faster and safer process.”

The process would take more than two weeks and involve high commissions if it were done through banks, he added.

Related: ‘We don’t like our money’: The story of the CFA and Bitcoin in Africa

Ovidy takes a small commission on the sale of cars and balances the dollars he earns with a money transfer service that uses Bitcoin remittance in reverse. As dollars are in scarce supply in Zimbabwe, Ovidy receives Bitcoin from “family members across Zimbabwe,” or from friends’ families in Kenya or overseas, and sends the dollars he makes on cars in return.

Two of the cars Ovidy imported recently, all paid for with Bitcoin. Source: Ovidy

Ovidy told Cointelegraph that while Bitcoin adoption in Zimbabwe is growing, it’s not plain sailing. Many people “really don’t trust Bitcoin,” and there is a significant education gap:

“At first people didn’t appreciate Bitcoin because most people investing get scammed. Even me, I was scammed $500 when I was learning about Bitcoin! A convincing “invest company” asked me for money, and I didn’t realize.”

He mentioned that the trickiest part about Bitcoin adoption — particularly for older generations — is that it is not tangible. A friend of his, William Chui, built a “Bitcoin house, using funds from Bitcoin,” as “a testimony to prove to people that with Bitcoin you can actually be financially free.”

Bitcoin House, built by Ovidy's buddy William Chui. Source: Ovidy

While education remains a hurdle in the country experiencing hyperinflation, he is hopeful. “We start small and 10 to 15 years from now — and given that the younger generation appreciates Bitcoin — there will be a significant number of people adopting Bitcoin in Zimbabwe.” 

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Is Bitcoin Really A Hedge Against Inflation?

The long-standing claim that bitcoin is a hedge against inflation has come to a fork in the road as inflation is soaring, but the bitcoin price is not.

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The long-standing claim that bitcoin is a hedge against inflation has come to a fork in the road as inflation is soaring, but the bitcoin price is not.

This is an opinion editorial by Jordan Wirsz, an investor, award-winning entrepreneur, author and podcast host.

Bitcoin’s correlation to inflation has been widely discussed since its inception. There are many narratives surrounding bitcoin’s meteoric rise over the last 13 years, but none so prevalent as the debasement of fiat currency, which is certainly considered inflationary. Now Bitcoin’s price is declining, leaving many Bitcoiners confused, as inflation is the highest it’s been in more than 40 years. How will inflation and monetary policy impact bitcoin’s price?

First, let’s discuss inflation. The Federal Reserve’s mandate includes an inflation target of 2%, yet we just printed an 8.6% consumer price inflation number for the month of May 2022. That is more than 400% of the Fed’s target. In reality, inflation is likely even higher than the CPI print. Wage inflation isn’t keeping up with actual inflation and households are starting to feel it big time. Consumer sentiment is now at an all-time low.

(Source)

Why isn’t bitcoin surging while inflation is running out of control? Although fiat debasement and inflation are correlated, they truly are two different things that can coexist in juxtaposition for periods of time. The narrative that bitcoin is an inflation hedge has been widely talked about, but bitcoin has behaved more as a barometer of monetary policy than of inflation.

Macro analysts and economists are feverishly debating our current inflationary environment, trying to find comparisons and correlations to inflationary periods in history — such as the 1940s and the 1970s — in an effort to forecast where we go from here. While there are certainly similarities to inflationary periods of the past, there is no precedent for bitcoin’s performance under circumstances such as these. Bitcoin was born only 13 years ago from the ashes of the Global Financial Crisis, which itself unleashed one of the greatest monetary expansions in history up until that time. For the last 13 years, bitcoin has seen an environment of easy monetary policy. The Fed has been dovish, and anytime hawkishness raised its ugly head, the markets rolled over and the Fed pivoted quickly to reestablish calm markets. Note that during the same period, bitcoin rose from pennies to $69,000, making it perhaps the greatest-performing asset of all time. The thesis has been that bitcoin is an “up and to the right asset,” but that thesis has never been challenged by a significantly tightening monetary policy environment, which we find ourselves at the present moment.

The old saying that “this time is different,” might actually prove to be true. The Fed can’t pivot to quell the markets this time. Inflation is wildly out of control and the Fed is starting from a near-zero rate environment. Here we are with 8.6% inflation and near-zero rates while staring recession straight in the eyes. The Fed is not hiking to cool the economy … It is hiking in the face of a cooling economy, with already one quarter of negative gross domestic product growth behind us in Q1, 2022. Quantitative tightening has only just begun. The Fed does not have the leeway to slow down or ease its tightening. It must, by mandate, continue to raise rates until inflation is under control. Meanwhile, the cost-conditions index already shows the biggest tightening in decades, with almost zero movement from the Fed. The mere hint of the Fed tightening spun the markets out of control.

(Source)

There is a big misconception in the market about the Fed and its commitment to raising rates. I often hear people say, “The Fed can’t raise rates because if they do, we won’t be able to afford our debt payments, so the Fed is bluffing and will pivot sooner than later.” That idea is just factually incorrect. The Fed has no limit as to the amount of money it can spend. Why? Because it can print money to make whatever debt payments are necessary to support the government from defaulting. It’s easy to make debt payments when you have a central bank to print your own currency, isn’t it?

I know what you’re thinking: “Wait a minute, you’re saying the Fed needs to kill inflation by raising rates. And if rates go up enough, the Fed can just print more money to pay for its higher interest payments, which is inflationary?”

Does your brain hurt yet?

This is the “debt spiral” and inflation conundrum that folks like Bitcoin legend Greg Foss talks about regularly.

Now let me be clear, the above discussion of that possible outcome is widely and vigorously debated. The Fed is an independent entity, and its mandate is not to print money to pay our debts. However, it is entirely possible that politicians make moves to change the Fed’s mandate given the potential for incredibly pernicious circumstances in the future. This complex topic and set of nuances deserves much more discussion and thought, but I’ll save that for another article in the near future.

Interestingly, when the Fed announced its intent to hike rates to kill inflation, the market didn’t wait for the Fed to do it … The market actually went ahead and did the Fed’s job for it. In the last six months, interest rates have roughly doubled — the fastest rate of change ever in the history of interest rates. Libor has jumped even more.

(Source)

This record rate-increase has included mortgage rates, which have also doubled in the last six months, sending shivers through the housing market and crushing home affordability at a rate of change unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.

30-year mortgage rates have nearly doubled in the last six months.

All of this, with only a tiny, minuscule, 50 bps hike by the Fed and the very beginning of their rate hike and balance sheet runoff program, merely started in May! As you can see, the Fed barely moved an inch, while the markets crossed a chasm on their own accord. The Fed’s rhetoric alone sent a chilling effect through the markets that few expected. Look at the global growth optimism at new all-time lows:

(Source)

Despite the current volatility in the markets, the current miscalculation by investors is that the Fed will take its foot off the brake once inflation is under control and slowing. But the Fed can only control the demand side of the inflationary equation, not the supply side of the equation, which is where most of the inflationary pressure is coming from. In essence, the Fed is trying to use a screwdriver to cut a board of lumber. Wrong tool for the job. The result may very well be a cooling economy with persistent core inflation, which is not going to be the “soft landing” that many hope for.

Is the Fed actually hoping for a hard landing? One thought that comes to mind is that we may actually need a hard landing in order to give the Fed a pathway to reduce interest rates again. This would provide the government the possibility of actually servicing its debt with future tax revenue, versus finding a path to print money to pay for our debt service at persistently higher rates.

Although there are macro similarities between the 1940s, 1970s and the present, I think it ultimately provides less insight into the future direction of asset prices than the monetary policy cycles do.

Below is a chart of the rate of change of U.S. M2 money supply. You can see that 2020-2021 saw a record rise from the COVID-19 stimulus, but look at late 2021-present and you see one of the fastest rate-of-change drops in M2 money supply in recent history. 

(Source)

In theory, bitcoin is behaving exactly as it should in this environment. Record-easy monetary policy equals “number go up technology.” Record monetary tightening equals “number go down” price action. It is quite easy to ascertain that bitcoin’s price is tied less to inflation, and more to monetary policy and asset inflation/deflation (as opposed to core inflation). The chart below of the FRED M2 money supply resembles a less volatile bitcoin chart … “number go up” technology — up and to the right.

(Via St. Louis Fed)

Now, consider that for the first time since 2009 — actually the entire history of the FRED M2 chart — the M2 line is potentially making a significant direction turn to the downside (look closely). Bitcoin is only a 13-year-old experiment in correlation analysis that many are still theorizing upon, but if this correlation holds, then it stands to reason that bitcoin will be much more closely tied to monetary policy than it will inflation.

If the Fed finds itself needing to print significantly more money, it would potentially coincide with an uptick in M2. That event could reflect a “monetary policy change” significant enough to start a new bull market in bitcoin, regardless of whether or not the Fed starts easing rates.

I often think to myself, “What is the catalyst for people to allocate a portion of their portfolio to bitcoin?” I believe we are beginning to see that catalyst unfold right in front of us. Below is a total-bond-return index chart that demonstrates the significant losses bond holders are taking on the chin right now. 

(Source)

The “traditional 60/40” portfolio is getting destroyed on both sides simultaneously, for the first time in history. The traditional safe haven isn’t working this time around, which underscores the possibility that “this time is different.” Bonds may be a deadweight allocation for portfolios from now on — or worse.

It seems that most traditional portfolio strategies are broken or breaking. The only strategy that has worked consistently over the course of millennia is to build and secure wealth with the simple ownership of what is valuable. Work has always been valuable and that is why proof-of-work is tied to true forms of value. Bitcoin is the only thing that does this well in the digital world. Gold does it too, but compared to bitcoin, it cannot fulfill the needs of a modern, interconnected, global economy as well as its digital counterpart can. If bitcoin didn’t exist, then gold would be the only answer. Thankfully, bitcoin exists.

Regardless of whether inflation stays high or calms down to more normalized levels, the bottom line is clear: Bitcoin will likely start its next bull market when monetary policy changes, even if ever so slightly or indirectly.

This is a guest post by Jordan Wirsz. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.

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Final Capitulation — 5 reasons why Bitcoin could bottom at $10,000

Bitcoin. The bottom. Are we there yet? Several higher timeframe metrics suggest BTC’s real bottom will be somewhere around $10,000.

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Bitcoin. The bottom. Are we there yet? Several higher timeframe metrics suggest BTC’s real bottom will be somewhere around $10,000.

Bear markets have historically been challenging to navigate for traders and the conventional set of "reliable" indicators that determine good entry points are unable to predict how long a crypto winter might last.

Bitcoin’s (BTC) recent recovery back above the psychologically important price level of $20,000 was a sign to many traders that the bottom was in, but a deeper dive into the data suggests that the short-term relief rally might not be enough proof of a macro-level trend change.

Evidence pointing to the need for caution was provided in a recent report by cryptocurrency research firm Delphi Digital, which suggested that “we need to see a little more pain before we have conviction that a market bottom is in.”

Despite the pain that has already been felt since Bitcoin’s price topped in November, a comparison between its pullback since then and the 2017 market top points to the possibility of further decline in the short-term.

BTC/USD price normalized since all-time high (Current vs. 2017 peak) source: Delphi Digital

During previous bear markets, the price of BTC fell by roughly 85% from its top to the eventual bottom. According to Delphi Digital, if history were to repeat itself in the current environment it would translate into “a low just above $10,000 and another 50% drawdown for current levels.”

The outlook for Ether (ETH) is even direr as the previous bear market saw its price decline by 95% from peak to trough. Should that same scenario play out this time around, the price of Ether could drop as low as $300.

ETH/USD price percent drawdown (current vs. prior ATH). Source: Delphi Digital

Delphi Digital said,

“The risk of reliving a similar crash is higher than most people are probably discounting, especially if BTC fails to hold support in the $14K–16K range.”

Oversold conditions prevail

For traders looking for where the bottom is in the current market, data shows that “previous major market bottoms coincided with extreme oversold conditions.”

As shown in the weekly chart below, BTC’s 14-week RSI recently fell below 30 for the third time in its history, with the two previous occurrences coming near a market bottom.

BTC/USD weekly price vs. 14-week RSI. Source: Delphi Digital

While some may take this as a sign that now is a good time to reenter the market, Delphi Digital offered a word of caution for those expecting a “V-shaped” recovery, noting that “In the prior two instances, BTC traded in a choppy sideways range for several months before finally staging a strong recovery.”

A view of the 200-week simple moving average (SMA) also raises question on whether the historical support level will hold again.

BTC/USD price vs. 200-week SMA and 14-week RSI. Source: Delphi Digital

Bitcoin recently broke below its 200-week SMA for the first time since March 2020. Historically speaking, BTC price has only traded below this level for a few weeks during the previous bear markets, which points to the possibility that a bottom could soon be found.

Related: Bitcoin price dips under $21K while exchanges see record outflow trend

The final capitualation

What the market is really looking for right now is the final capitulation that has historically marked the end of a bear market and the start of the next cycle.

While the sentiment in the market is now at its lowest point since the COVID-19 crash of March 2020, it hasn’t quite reached the depths of despair that were seen in 2018.

According to Delphi Digital:

“We may need to see a bit more pain before sentiment really bottoms out.”
Crypto Fear & Greed Index. Source: Alternative

The weakness in the crypto market has been apparent since the end of 2021, but the real driving force behind the market crumbling include run-away inflation and rising interest rates.

BTC/USD vs. Fed funds rate vs. Fed balance sheet. Source: Delphi Digital

Rising interest rates tend to be followed by market corrections, and given that the Federal Reserve intends to stay the course of hiking rates, Bitcoin and other risk-off assets are likely to correct further.

One final metric that suggests that a final capitulation event needs to occur is the percentage of BTC supply in profit, which hit a low of 40% during previous bear markets.

BTC/USD price vs. percentage of supply in profit. Source: Delphi Digital

This metric is currently at 54.9%, according to data from Glassnode, which adds credence to the perspective that the market could still experience another leg down before the real bottom is in.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Futures, Global Markets Rally, Bonds Slide As Traders Turn More Bullish

Futures, Global Markets Rally, Bonds Slide As Traders Turn More Bullish

Following the best week for stocks in one month, global stocks extended…

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Futures, Global Markets Rally, Bonds Slide As Traders Turn More Bullish

Following the best week for stocks in one month, global stocks extended gains on Monday on continued easing of fears for a hawkish Fed; US futures rose, with the Nasdaq 100 advancing 0.5% as by tech giants Amazon, Apple and Microsoft all rose in premarket trading. Tech shares also boosted indexes in Europe and Asia. Treasuries slipped, pushing the rate on the US 10-year note to 3.17%. Yields have retreated from June highs on growth worries, but whether that marks the end of the Treasury bear market is a live debate. The dollar fluctuated while oil and bitcoin rose.

In the US premarket, major US technology and internet stocks were higher, poised to extend gains. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 closed up 7.5% last week, its best week since March. Among notable movers: Apple +0.6%, Microsoft +0.6%, Amazon.com +1%, Meta +0.8%, Nvidia +1.6% in premarket trading. Other notable premarket movers include:

  • JD.com (JD US) is among the top performers in US-listed Chinese stocks, rising 5% in premarket trading, after tech investor Prosus disposed of its stake in JD.com for about $3.67 billion.
  • Coinbase (COIN US) shares fall 4% in premarket trading as the stock was downgraded to sell from neutral, with a joint Street-low price target of $45 at Goldman Sachs, which cited the “continued downdraft” in crypto prices and drop in industry activity levels.
  • Robinhood (HOOD US) shares rise 3.9% in premarket trading as Goldman Sachs analyst William Nance raised the recommendation on the stock to neutral from sell
  • Epizyme (EPZM US) jumps 64% to $1.56 in US premarket trading after Ipsen announced the acquisition of the US biotech firm for $1.45/share in cash plus a contingent value right of $1/share.
  • Selective Insurance Group (SIGI US) shares may be in focus after Morgan Stanley initiated an overweight rating on the stock, citing a favorable business model that will help the company’s margin to outperform peers.
  • Keep an eye on WEC Energy Group (WEC US) as KeyBanc Capital Markets raised the recommendation on the stock to overweight from sector weight, citing “valuation dislocations” triggered by the recent industry volatility.

As Goldman traders speculated over the weekend, Friday's massive Russell rebalance may have helped flush out any leftover liquidation trades, while the upcoming month- and quarter-end portfolio rebalancing by pensions could boost stocks by as much as 7% this week according to JPM's Marko Kolanovic. Further boosting bullish sentiment - if only temporarily - one of Wall Street’s biggest bears sees the rally in US stocks extending, prior to the selloff recommencing. Morgan Stanley's Michael Wilson say the S&P 500 Index may climb another 5% to 7%, before resuming losses.

Meanwhile, investors are also parsing incoming data to work out if the highest inflation in a generation is close to topping out as that will give the Fed latitude to ease up on sharp interest-rate hikes, something the market last week aggressively repriced. A more troubling scenario is of lasting price pressures and tighter policy even as the global economy falters.

“There’s a feeling that things aren’t as bad as we thought they were going to be,” Carol Pepper, founder of Pepper International, said on Bloomberg Radio. She added “there’s a hope that perhaps we’ve oversold, perhaps there’s not going to be a recession.”

Traders are also monitoring a summit of the Group of Seven leaders, who plan to commit to indefinite support for Ukraine in its defense against Russia’s invasion. The G-7 in addition is weighing a price cap on Russian oil. As reported yesterday, the US, UK, Japan and Canada also plan to announce a ban on new gold imports from Russia during the G-7 summit. Prices for the precious metal naturally rose.

European equities trade off session highs as an earlier rally in Asian tech stocks buoys sentiment. Miners, tech and autos are the strongest performing sectors in Europe. Euro Stoxx 50 rallies 1%. DAX outperforms peers, adding 1.2%, FTSE MIB lags, dropping 0.2%.  Among notable European stock moves, Prosus NV soared on plans to sell more of its $134 billion stake in Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. to finance a buyback program. Mediobanca SpA fell after the death of Italian entrepreneur Leonardo Del Vecchio, the single largest investor in the bank.  Here are some of the biggest European movers today:

  • Prosus shares surge as much as 17% in Amsterdam after the tech investor said it will sell down its holding in Tencent to finance an open-ended share buyback program, which could help close the gap between the firm’s market value and the value of the Tencent stake, according to analysts.
  • Mining stocks lead gains in the Stoxx 600 Index on Monday as iron ore and base metals recover ground amid signs of improvement in China’s economy. Rio Tinto shares rise as much as 4.4%, Anglo American +4.6%, Glencore +4.2%
  • Nordex shares jump as much as 12% after the firm announced a EU139.2m cash injection from Acciona in a bid to increase liquidity and strengthen its balance sheet to shield itself against the risks of short term headwinds in the industry.
  • Kion shares rise as much as 7.7% after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to overweight from underweight, saying that the structural case for warehouse and forklift companies remains intact even amid a de-rating for the stocks.
  • Lundbeck soars as much as 15% after the Danish pharmaceutical company reported positive data in a clinical study of agitation in patients with Alzheimer’s dementia.
  • Ocado shares fall as much as 3.1% after the stock was cut to neutral from outperform and PT slashed to 960p from 1,600p at Credit Suisse, with the broker saying new disclosures from the online grocer indicate that its prior assumptions were “too optimistic.”
  • Ipsen shares drop as much as 5.1% after the pharmaceutical company announced the acquisition of US biotech Epizyme for $1.45/share in cash plus a contingent value right of $1/share. Analyst had mixed reactions to the deal.
  • Mediobanca shares fall as much as 4.4% in Milan after news that Italian entrepreneur Leonardo Del Vecchio, the single largest investor in the bank with a stake of about 19.4%, has died.
  • Wise shares drop as much as 5.3% after the money transfer firm said its CEO is facing a probe by UK regulators.
  • Tecnicas Reunidas shares tumble as much as 17% after the company said it began arbitrage to recover excess costs in a dispute with the Sonatrach-Neptune Energy consortium over a contract for the Touat Gaz Plant in Algeria.

Elsewhere, Russia defaulted on its foreign-currency sovereign debt for the first time in a century, the culmination of ever-tougher Western sanctions that shut down payment routes.

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks advanced after battered technology shares rebounded as easing recession fears underpinned investor sentiment.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 2.1%, its biggest intraday gain this month, as chip and internet companies including TSMC and Alibaba climbed. Tech-heavy markets such as Taiwan and South Korea extended gains made Friday, while an index of Asian tech stocks rallied for a second straight session after dropping to the lowest since September 2020.  Asian equities are bouncing back from a two-year low, as US Treasury yields retreat. Almost all markets in the region rose, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index leading gains and China’s benchmark coming closer to a bull market as Shanghai’s leader declared victory in defending the financial hub against Covid.

A Chinese tech index in Hong Kong advanced 4.7%. Still, the rally in technology shares may be short-lived, as global demand for consumer electronics remains fragile.  “Korea and Taiwan have high leverage to tech products, and we’ve seen a lot of that come under pressure so the end demand has slowed down,” Ray Sharma-Ong, investment director at Abrdn Asia, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “We expect continued outflows post this relief rally.”

Japanese equities climbed as the latest comments from Federal Reserve officials buoyed sentiment on the economy and a reading on US inflation expectations eased.  The Topix Index rose 1.1% to 1,887.42 as of market close Tokyo time, while the Nikkei advanced 1.4% to 26,871.27. Sony Group Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s gain, increasing 2.3%. Out of 2,170 shares in the index, 1,490 rose and 568 fell, while 112 were unchanged.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index rose 1.9% to close at 6,706, the benchmark’s biggest daily gain since Jan. 28, as investors in Asia assessed whether inflation is bottoming and recession can be averted. The index’s biggest gains were seen in the financial, energy and tech sectors. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index closed 1.7% higher at 10,997.92, the benchmark’s best day since March 1

Emerging-market stocks climbed to the highest in more than a week as China’s recovery from its virus-induced slump propels the Asian nation’s equities toward a bull market. Technology stocks led emerging-market equity gains, with China’s economy showing some improvement in June amid a further easing of pandemic curbs in Shanghai. Chinese shares look to be the best home for fresh money in Asia amid a tough investment environment, according to abrdn plc’s regional chairman Hugh Young. China plans to extend the yuan’s trading hours as it seeks to increase global investor participation in onshore currency trading as part of its internationalization push.

In FX, the Bloomberg dollar spot index fell 0.2% as the greenback weakened against all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the Australian dollar.  AUD and CHF are the weakest performers in G-10 FX, SEK and GBP outperform. The volatility term structures for the Group-of-4 currencies focus on the upcoming central bank meetings as there is little demand for long gamma in the front-end. The euro advanced, nearing $1.06 and European bonds fell broadly, with the exeption of Greece and Sweden, as focus turns to ECB President Christine Lagarde’s speech. Sterling rose for a second day, supported by a rally in global stocks that is limiting demand for the dollar. Gilts extended their slide across the curve, while money markets raised BOE tightening bets as haven- buying was unwound amid equity advances.

In rates, Treasuries are weaker amid a selloff in core European rates, which extended losses after EU’s sale of EU2.5b four-year bonds. US yields are cheaper by nearly 4bp at long end, steepening 2s10s by ~2.4bp, 5s30s by ~1bp on the day; 10-year is up 3.6bp at ~3.17% with bunds and gilts lagging by additional 8bp and 5bp in the sector.  As Bloomberg notes, the broad risk-asset rally puts added cheapening pressure on Treasury yields with S&P 500 futures and Estoxx50 rising led by big gains for Asia stocks. Two coupon auctions slated for Monday may also weigh: Monday’s auctions include $46b 2- year at 11:30am ET and $47b 5-year notes at 1pm. The WI 2-year yield near 3.07% (vs 2.519% last month) is above auction stops since 2007; WI 5Y near 3.22% (vs 2.736% in May) exceeds results since 2008. IG dollar issuance expectations for the week are around $15b, although remain highly dependent on market conditions. The long- end of the curve may benefit this week from anticipated month- end demand; Bloomberg Indices estimated a 0.07yr Treasury index duration extension for July 1, slightly below 12-month average. In Europe, Gilts underperform Treasuries and bunds, cheaper by about 5-6bps at the long end.

In commodities, industrial metals rebounded, while oil rose. Copper steadied and most other base metals rebounded after their worst week in a year as China’s economy showed signs of recovering and Goldman Sachs said global supplies were still constrained. Oil fluctuated near $107 a barrel in New York as investors monitored developments from the gathering of Group of Seven leaders; G7 leaders met to decide on a Russian oil price cap ahead of Iranian nuclear talks and on the week of the OPEC+ meeting. French CGT unions will participate in strikes at LNG terminals and gas storage facilities this week; strike in the energy sector on June 28th. Most base metals trade in the green; LME tin rises 6.8%, outperforming peers. LME zinc lags, dropping 0.9%. Spot gold maintains gains, adding ~$13 to trade near $1,840/oz. as some G-7 nations plan to announce ban on new gold imports from Russia

Looking at today's US calendar, we get the May durable goods orders, capital goods orders, pending home sales, and June Dallas Fed manufacturing index.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.7% to 3,944.50
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 1.2% to 417.68
  • MXAP up 1.6% to 161.83
  • MXAPJ up 1.8% to 538.51
  • Nikkei up 1.4% to 26,871.27
  • Topix up 1.1% to 1,887.42
  • Hang Seng Index up 2.4% to 22,229.52
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.9% to 3,379.19
  • Sensex up 1.2% to 53,368.36
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.9% to 6,705.95
  • Kospi up 1.5% to 2,401.92
  • Brent Futures up 0.2% to $113.31/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.7% to $1,840.40
  • U.S. Dollar Index down 0.29% to 103.88
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 1.49%
  • Euro up 0.3% to $1.0580

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • ECB policy makers gather on a Portuguese hillside on Monday with the sinking feeling that their rush to tackle the inflation shock they failed to forecast risks both a recession and echoes of the euro area’s sovereign debt crisis
  • It was while sitting apparently alone in a London hotel basement that Christine Lagarde engineered a fix to the euro zone’s most alarming debt turmoil since the pandemic struck
  • The ECB is pushing back its policy decisions and the timing of the subsequent press conferences by 30 minutes as of July
  • The US, UK, Japan and Canada plan to announce a ban on new gold imports from Russia during a summit of Group of Seven leaders that’s getting underway Sunday. Prices of the precious metal climbed Monday
  • President Joe Biden rebooted his effort to counter China’s flagship trade-and- infrastructure initiative after an earlier campaign faltered, enlisting the support of Group of Seven leaders at their summit in Germany
  • China’s economy showed some improvement in June as Covid restrictions were gradually eased, although the recovery remains muted
  • China plans to extend the yuan’s trading hours as it seeks to increase global investor participation in onshore currency trading as part of its internationalization push
  • Russia defaulted on its foreign-currency sovereign debt for the first time in a century, the culmination of ever-tougher Western sanctions that shut down payment routes to overseas creditors
  • The world economy risks entering a new era of high inflation which central banks need to keep in check, the Bank for International Settlements said
  • Signs of distress flashing in bond markets suggest the world’s poorest nations are set to see a wave of debt restructurings. But a growing cohort of investors say that’s a buying opportunity

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia-Pac stocks were higher across the board as the region took impetus from last Friday's firm gains on Wall St heading closer into month-end. ASX 200 enjoyed broad gains across its sectors although gold miners lagged as Evolution Mining shares dropped by more than 20% due to a cut in its FY output guidance. Nikkei 225 was lifted after the BoJ’s Summary of Opinions reiterated that they must maintain easy policy and with Tepco among the biggest gainers on tight electricity supply amid the hot weather. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. conformed to the upbeat mood as Hong Kong benefitted from a rampant tech sector and with the mainland encouraged by further easing of restrictions in Shanghai and Beijing, while the PBoC also upped its liquidity efforts with a CNY 100bln injection.

Top Asian News

  • Beijing will permit schools to resume in-class teaching as soon as Monday, ending one of the last major curbs in the capital, according to Bloomberg.
  • Shanghai is to gradually resume dining-in at restaurants from June 29th, according to an official cited by Reuters.
  • PBoC injected CNY 100bln via 7-day reverse repos with the rate at 2.10% for a CNY 90bln net injection, according to Reuters.
  • China requested that banks make preparations for longer trading hours for the CNY, with trading in the onshore CNY potentially to extend until 03:00 local time the following day (20:00BST/15:00CDT), according to Bloomberg.
  • BoJ Summary of Opinions from the June meeting stated the BoJ must maintain easy policy and keep a close eye out on the market and FX impact on the economy and prices. It also noted the number of goods seeing prices rise is increasing due to higher raw material costs and a weak yen but it is appropriate to keep easy policy as inflation is not driven by a positive economic cycle. Furthermore, it said maintaining ultra-easy policy is effective in sustaining a rise in wages and that a sharp fall in Yen would hurt the economy and heighten uncertainty.
  • Japanese government issued power shortage warnings for Tuesday, for a second straight day, according to Reuters.
  • Japan has proposed removing reference to the goal of 50% zero-emission vehicles by 2030; wants less concrete target, according to a draft cited by Reuters.
  • BoJ's holding of JGBs has reportedly topped 50% of its total, according to Nikkei.

European bourses are kicking off the week on the front-foot as global equities see tailwinds from Wall Street’s bounce on Friday. Sectors in Europe are mostly positive – but Utilities and Insurance are subdued, with the overall picture being a cyclical one. Stateside, US equity futures track sentiment higher – with the NQ the current outperformer vs the ES, YM, and RTY.

Top European News

  • ECB says as of the July meeting, the policy decisions will be released at 14:15CET and presser at 14:45CET, according to Reuters.
  • ECB’s Pivot Toward Rate Hikes Feeds Fears of New Bond Crisis; ECB to Announce Rate Decisions 30 Minutes Later From July
  • EU Confronts Low Gas Storage Risk in Test of Unity on Russia
  • Gas Jumps as Europe Struggles to Fill Russian Gap
  • UK’s Battered Economy Is Sliding Toward a Breaking Point

FX

  • Greenback continues to gravitate as risk sentiment improves, but could get a month end boost given models indicating broad rebalancing requirement - DXY pivots 104.000 within 104.120-103.790 range just shy of last week's low.
  • Yen benefits from all round fix buying ahead of final trading day of June and Q2 on Thursday - Usd/Jpy not far from 134.50 at one stage overnight alongside declined in Yen crosses.
  • Pound perks up as IMM spec accounts trim short positions again and Euro tests technical resistance ahead of 1.0600 vs Buck amidst firmer rebound in EGB yields - Cable probes 1.2300 at best, Eur/Usd touches 21 DMA at 1.0591.
  • Aussie lags on Aud/Nzd headwinds, but Loonie pares losses in tandem with oil - Aud/Usd sub-0.6950, cross under 1.1000, Nzd/Usd hovering over 0.6300 and Usd/Cad back below 1.2900.
  • Yuan underpinned by net PBoC liquidity injection and easing of Covid restrictions in China - Usd/Cnh and Usd/Cny both beneath 6.6900.
  • Lira knee jerks higher after Turkey cuts credit to firms with more than Try 15 mn FX cash assets - Usd/Try down to 16.1040 or so before rebound towards 16.8900.

Fixed Income

  • Debt futures unwind more recovery gains with EGBs leading the way.
  • Bunds retreat towards 146.50 vs 149.00 at one stage last Friday.
  • Gilts closer to 113.00 than 114.00 and 10 year T-note near the base of 116-31/117-13 overnight range.
  • US durable goods data ahead and a double dose of issuance comprising Usd 46 bn 2 year and Usd 47 bn 5 year auctions.

Commodities

  • WTI and Brent futures consolidate with modest intraday losses as G7 leaders meet to decide on a Russian oil price cap ahead of Iranian nuclear talks and on the week of the OPEC+ meeting.
  • French CGT unions will participate in strikes at LNG terminals and gas storage facilities this week; strike in the energy sector on June 28th.
  • Spot gold piggy-backs off the softer Dollar – with the yellow metal currently eyeing its 21 DMA (1,841.60/oz) and 200 DMA (1,845.20/oz) to the upside
  • Base metals are largely rebounding following the recent rout – also aided by the Buck.

US Event Calendar

  • 08:30: May Durable Goods Orders, est. 0.2%, prior 0.5%; -Less Transportation, est. 0.3%, prior 0.4%
  • 08:30: May Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.1%, prior 0.4%
  • 08:30: May Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.2%, prior 0.8%
  • 10:00: May Pending Home Sales YoY, prior -11.5%
  • 10:00: May Pending Home Sales (MoM), est. -3.9%, prior -3.9%
  • 10:30: June Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, est. -6.5, prior -7.3

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

This morning we are launching our monthly survey which hopefully comes at an opportune time to assess what you all think about recession risk, whether the next big move in markets will be up or down, whether the BoJ will be able to hold the line on YCC, whether your market view includes the risk of Russian gas being cut off from Europe, and whether you think negative rates will be seen again in the next decade after the ECB likely moves away from it by September. There are a couple of other repeat questions to answer. It should take 2-3 minutes, is all anonymous, with answers likely Thursday morning. The link is here and all help gratefully received.

A reminder that my chart book was out last week with lots of charts on one of the worst H1s in history, recession risks and lots more. See here for more.

Without having a blockbuster event to look forward to this week there are plenty of things to keep us occupied in what are highly uncertain times. Perhaps the ECB's Forum on Central Banking in Sintra will be the key event to watch, with a policy panel on Wednesday which will bring together Chair Powell, President Lagarde and Governor Bailey together the likely highlight.

Staying in Europe, all eyes will be on the June CPI numbers released for Germany (Wednesday), France (Thursday) and Italy and the Eurozone on Friday. Consensus expectations don’t suggest we’re yet at peak headline inflation with CPI expected to pick up a few tenths YoY this week. With commodity prices fading sharply in June the hope is that we will be near the top soon. In fact, our US economists put out an inflationary chart book last week that suggested that the peak will be in September (9.1% headline and 6.3% core).

The problem is that even if headline dips because of energy, core won’t necessarily fall as quickly with wages and second round effects in full force. We had a small indicator of that last week as our economists also pointed out that the recent acceleration in US hospital workers’ wage growth from around 2.5% to almost 5% should serve to add an additional 50bps to core PCE inflation next year (link here). On Thursday, we’ll get the latest reading of the US core PCE deflator within the personal income and spending data. Core PCE is the Fed's preferred inflation measure so this and the healthcare news is important.

Staying with US data, we have a fair amount to look forward to with the all important ISM on Friday (53.2 expected vs 56.1 last month). We'll also see the Chicago PMI on Thursday and regional Fed's manufacturing indices throughout the week. Durable goods orders (today) and wholesale and retail inventories (tomorrow) will be key to assessing inventory pressures flagged by several firms in recent weeks as well as corporate behaviour amid some easing in supply-chain backlogs.

How the consumer is faring under rising rates and stubborn inflation will be another key theme, with the Conference Board’s June consumer confidence index out tomorrow (99.9 expected vs 106.4 last month). Elsewhere, China's industrial data and PMIs (Thursday), as well as key economic indicators from Japan, will be in focus.

Even though we at the very back end of Q2 earnings, this week will see some bellwether consumer spending companies such as Nike (Monday), H&M and General Mills (Wednesday) report. Other corporates releasing results will include Prosus (Monday), Micron and Walgreens Boots Alliance (Thursday).

Overnight in Asia, equity markets are continuing last week’s rally with the Hang Seng (+2.72%) leading gains thanks to a strong performance in Chinese tech firms. The Kospi (+2.08%), Nikkei (+1.04%), Shanghai Composite (+0.89%) and CSI (+1.24%) are all also up.

Outside of Asia, DM equity futures point to further gains with contracts on the S&P 500 (+0.19%), NASDAQ 100 (+0.44%) and DAX (+0.79%) moving higher. Bitcoin is above $21,000 after falling to as low as $17,600 last week for the first time since December 2020, while 10yr US yields are up around +2.5bps.

Earlier today, data released showed that China’s industrial profits (-6.5% y/y) contracted at a slower pace in May following a big fall of -8.5% in April as companies resumed their activity in major manufacturing hubs amid easing Covid restrictions.

In other overnight news, Russia has defaulted on its foreign-currency sovereign debt ($100 million) for the first time in more than 100 years, after the grace period for the payment deadline expired on Sunday.

Recapping last week now, markets grew increasingly concerned about a recession as the week went on, thanks to weak economic data, hawkish central bank rhetoric, and the threat of a Russian gas cut-off in Europe. That led to a significant rally in sovereign bonds as investors sought out safe havens and cast doubt on whether central banks could keep hiking into a downturn. Indeed, yields on 10yr bunds came down by -21.9bps over the week as a whole (+1.0bps Friday), which is their 3rd biggest weekly decline in the last decade. Yields on 10yr Treasuries also saw a similar, albeit less marked decline, with yields down -9.6bps (+4.3bps Friday).

That decline in yields came in spite of continued hawkish central bank commentary, and on Friday we saw San Francisco Fed President Daly say that a 75bps hike in July was “where I’m starting”, thus joining a growing number of officials who’ve openly backed a 75bps move again. Bear in mind if the Fed did move by 75bps in July, that would mean the hiking cycle since March would now be at 225bps, which matches the entire hiking cycle we saw in 3 years between 2015 and 2018. Nevertheless, when it came to monetary policy expectations, the growing fears of a recession led investors to take out the probability of more aggressive tightening, with the fed funds rate priced in by December’s meeting down by -16.0bps over the week (-5.0bps Friday). And looking at the entire profile of meetings ahead, futures are now expecting the peak Federal funds rate to come as soon as March 2023, before pricing in cuts after that.

With investors expecting somewhat more dovish central banks, global equities rallied strongly last week as they recovered from their worst weekly performance since the pandemic began. The S&P 500 gained +6.45% on the week, and its Friday advance of +3.06% was the best daily performance for the index since May 2020. Europe’s STOXX 600 put in a weaker +2.40% advance (+2.62% Friday), but matters weren’t helped by German equities, with the DAX losing -0.06% (+1.59% Friday) as concerns grew about a potential cut-off in Russian gas. That’s sent natural gas futures in Europe to a 3-month high, with last week seeing a further +9.14% gain (-3.63% Friday).

Lastly, after the poor mid-week data including the flash PMIs for June, Friday’s releases did bring some modest respite. First, the final reading of the University of Michigan’s long-term inflation expectations was revised down to 3.1% (vs. 3.3% previously). The unexpected jump in that measure before the Fed’s meeting was said to be a factor in their move to 75bps, as they’re very concerned about the prospect that longer-term inflation expectations could become unanchored, making inflation much harder to control. Furthermore, new home sales for the US in May rose to an annualised rate of 696k (vs. 590k expected), whilst the previous month also saw upward revisions. To be fair though, it wasn’t all positive on Friday, and Germany’s Ifo business climate indicator fell to 92.3 in June (vs. 92.8 expected), which marks an end to two successive monthly increases in April and May.

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/27/2022 - 08:06

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