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Bond Meltdown’s Next Driver Is BOJ Policy Implosion

Bond Meltdown’s Next Driver Is BOJ Policy Implosion

By Garfield Reynolds, Bloomberg Markets Live Commentator and Reporter

The pace of this…

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Bond Meltdown's Next Driver Is BOJ Policy Implosion

By Garfield Reynolds, Bloomberg Markets Live Commentator and Reporter

The pace of this week's Treasuries rout - and post-FOMC relief - has focused most eyes squarely on US markets, but the real action going forward is just as likely to be in Tokyo. The Bank of Japan’s massive debt purchases to cap yields may have already passed their use-by date, and that threatens to unleash fresh storms on global bond markets that are about as stressed as they have ever been.

While the Fed’s 75-basis-point hike came with mild-enough forward guidance to soothe panicked markets, the BOJ still faces pressure from a widening policy gap to at least acknowledge it’s time to tweak its own settings when it concludes its own meeting on Friday.

BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda is nothing if not determined, and he has been sticking to his line that the recent pickup in Japanese inflation will be transitory -- a word that has fallen out of favor with his peers -- meaning that he considers it premature to adjust the world’s loosest policy.

The central bank is doubling and tripling down on buying up ever-greater chunks of what is left of the Japanese bond market to cap 10-year yields at 0.25% and maintain curve control. This week has seen cries that this can’t go on for much longer reach a crescendo.

The yen tumbled through 135 per dollar this week to a 24-year low, which adds to the stickiness for inflation as well as taking the currency down so far that the real-world impacts counteract much of the benefits of easier policy, including by crippling consumer confidence.

The currency’s plunge also spreads turmoil because it means Japan’s deep- pocketed investors -- long a key player in Treasuries and other major developed bond markets -- need to hedge investments abroad at a time when BOJ-Fed policy divergence is so stark that 10- year US yields are actually negative for yen-based investors.

Expect to see the unexpected “buyers’ strike” from Japanese investors -- the largest foreign holders of Treasuries -- to go on, exacerbating the unprecedented rout in US sovereign securities and other notes.

As for Japan’s bond market, foreigners are fleeing, except for a few managers willing to take on the BOJ in a classic widow-maker trade and short JGBs. Liquidity deteriorated to the worst since Kuroda took office in March 2013, and JGB futures recently tanked by the most since that year.

Source: Zero Hedge

There may be no good choices left for Japan’s central bank. If it sticks to its guns it risks further yen declines, adding to rampant dollar strength that is a key pain point for numerous currencies, markets and economies worldwide. The BOJ would also likely end up holding more than half of all JGBs to make dysfunction the norm in one of the developed world’s second- largest bond markets.

But a shift away from curve control would bring its own dangers by turning JGBs from an island of stable returns into yet another bond meltdown. That would be especially cruel for private holders of the debt after curve control saw JGBs miss out on the massive gains Treasuries experienced amid pandemic stimulus.

Japan’s insurers hold about 20% of the country’s 1.2 quadrillion yen ($9 trillion) government bond market, so the potential for severe value-at-risk shocks is massive -- this in a market that still shudders at the memories of the 2003 VaR meltdown.

The last thing bruised global markets need is for some of the managers holding Japan’s $1.2 trillion of Treasuries to need to liquidate some of their assets to cover losses.

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/16/2022 - 13:25

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Economics

What Future Volatility Could Look Like for Eurozone Rates

Repo Funds Rate Indices reveal that the UK repo market may provide insight into what to expect once ECB rates increase.

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Repo Funds Rate Indices reveal that the UK repo market may provide insight into what to expect once ECB rates increase.

As inflation readings around the world come in well above targets, many central banks have sped up their plans to tighten monetary policy after years of historically low-interest rates and bond purchase programs.

Graphic: EU, US, and UK Monthly CPI (trailing 5 years)

However, the European Central Bank (ECB) is notably absent from the list of central banks that have implemented rate increases. Unlike its counterparts in the United States (Federal Reserve) and the United Kingdom (Bank of England), the ECB has not yet made a move against inflation; its deposit facility rate is currently at -0.5% and its main refinancing rate is at 0%. The ECB did not lower interest rates in response to the covid-19 pandemic that began in the first quarter of 2020 as its deposit facility rate was already at -0.5% at the time – meaning the ECB has held rates persistently at negative or zero since 2014.

Graphic: Key Interest Rates – ECB, Fed, and Bank of England (trailing 5 years)

In addition, the ECB has only committed to raising interest rates after it stops purchasing bonds in the third quarter of 2022. The ECB has added over €3.8 trillion to euro area balance sheets since March 2020.

Graphic: Euro Area Central Bank Assets (millions of Euros, trailing 5 years)

Two bond-buying programs facilitated sovereign debt purchases during this time – the Public Sector Purchase Program (PSPP) and the Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program (PEPP). These two programs bought a total of €1.95 trillion of sovereign bonds between March 2020 and April 2022. Three countries – Germany, France, and Italy – accounted for 66% of all sovereign purchases by the ECB.

Graphic: Cumulative ECB Public Sector Bond Purchases, March 2020 to April 2022 (thousands of Euros)

Insights From Repo Funds Rate Indices

The Repo Funds Rate (RFR) Indices, compiled by CME Group, looks at daily overnight lending rates in ten sovereign bond markets across the eurozone in addition to an overarching rate for the EU. The indices provide data on two subcomponents – general collateral and specific collateral – of the repo market:

General collateral (GC) are repo transactions where the underlying asset consists of a set of similar-but-unspecified securities.

Special collateral (SC) are transactions where specified securities (such as a certain bond issue) are exchanged and thus are often in high demand. 

Graphic: Insights From Repo Funds Rate Indices

These rates offer key insights into European money market participants and there are two recent and notable themes, which are worth highlighting.

Key Theme No. 1: Repo Rates are Becoming More Negative

Many EU countries’ RFR rates trade more negatively now than at the beginning of 2021 despite an unchanged short-term interest rate policy. German, Italian, and French repo reached highs in the first quarter of 2021. All three countries have lower average rates in 2022 than in 2021. Lower rates are multifaceted; however, data suggests that collateral is becoming scarcer over time. 

Graphic: RFR Rates  – DE, IT, FR 
Graphic: RFR Spreads (GC - SC) – Germany

Key Theme No. 2: UK Repo Market may Give Insight into Future of the Eurozone

Relative to the ECB, the BoE has taken significant action to curb inflation with four interest rate increases since Dec 2021. The subsequent changes that have occurred in the Sterling repo market may provide eurozone participants with some insight into what they can expect once ECB rates increase.

UK GC rates have closely followed the bank rate since the beginning of a series of rate increases in Dec 2021.

Read More about Repo Funds Rates

Graphic: RFR Rates – UK

However, during this time, GC-SC spreads have widened and increased in volatility. This suggests that while GC rates may change alongside the bank rate, SC rates may be “sticky” or subject to technical factors beyond BoE short-term interest rate policy.

Graphic: UK Bank Rate – RFR Collateral Type Spreads

ECB monetary policy and market conditions will likely experience significant uncertainty in the short- and mid-term. RFR Indices are a rich source of data for any market participant looking to navigate uncertain markets.

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Bonds

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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Battery giant Anker backs programmable robot maker Keyi

The promise of STEAM robots, which are billed to increase children’s interest in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM), has…

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The promise of STEAM robots, which are billed to increase children’s interest in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM), has been around for years. The market is teeming with products from hardcore robotics scientists and their copycats. Many have faded away, but investor interest hasn’t died down, at least for one company coming from China.

Keyi Technology, which is known for its modular, cycloptic robot Clicbot, just raised “tens of millions of dollars” in a new funding round. Powered by Blockly, Google’s visual drag-and-drop programming language, Clicbot claims it can be designed in thousands of different ways.

The lead investor of the funding round was Anker, the China- and US-based battery pack and charging giant with a current market cap of 27 billion yuan ($4 billion). Other investors included Xiaomi, Xiaomi founder Lei Jun’s Shunwei Capital, and BlueRun Ventures China, the Silicon Valley early-stage investor that entered China in the 2000s.

When asked about details of its investment portfolio, Anker declined to comment. It also didn’t answer a question about potential collaborations between Keyi and itself.

Keyi’s new funding comes at a time when inflation in the U.S. and Europe is hitting consumers’ appetite for tech devices and other goods. But Keyi, which derives 60% of its revenues from outside of China, sees “significant growth” in the global smart toys market thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted millions of children to learn from home. And like its peers, Keyi is enjoying a growing demand for its educational robots.

Image Credits: Keyi’s programmable robot Clicbot

The company shipped over 10,000 parcels of Clicbot last year, growing over 300% year-over-year, though it hasn’t turned profitable, its marketing chief Chen Peng tells TechCrunch. It’s expected to launch a new product in September.

The pandemic also brings challenges to Keyi as covid lockdowns and a rebound in global trade put the global shipping system under stress. “Inflation and COVID-19 have definitely had some impact on our shipping rates and there is no doubt that we are facing the risk of a decrease in profit margin — especially because we are an international e-commerce company,” Peng tells TechCrunch.

In the meantime, export-oriented Chinese consumer startups like Keyi are coping with the consequences of Apple’s privacy policy change. “Re-target marketing becomes limited as now we are unable to obtain data from iOS users” and “the attribution analysis model becomes ineffective as well,” Peng admits. The company’s strategy is to place more resources into content marketing, which “has always been seen as an important way for us to let more people get to know Clicbot and an incentive for us to develop a better product,” says the executive.

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