Connect with us

Bonds

Futures Crater As Fedex Ushers In The Global Recession On $3.2 Trillion Triple Witch Day

Futures Crater As Fedex Ushers In The Global Recession On $3.2 Trillion Triple Witch Day

Another day, another selloff, this time one driven…

Published

on

Futures Crater As Fedex Ushers In The Global Recession On $3.2 Trillion Triple Witch Day

Another day, another selloff, this time one driven by a catastrophic repricing by Fedex, which has plunged by the most ever this morning, down 20% and losing over $11BN in market cap...

... after pulling guidance and effectively warning that the entire world - and especially China - is in a recession. The fact that it is a $3.2 trillion opex today which guarantees even more volatility in the coming weeks...

... or that buyback blackout period begins today probably isn't helping, and sure enough, we end the week in a mirror image to how we started it, with equities extending declines with an index of global stocks on track for the worst week since June, while the dollar continued its relentless ascent, trading back to all time highs. S&P futures were down 0.8% at 730am, dropping to the lowest level in 2 months, while Nasdaq 100 lost more than 1%, as Europe  headed for a fourth day of losses, and Asian was a sea of red led by China.

In premarket trading, besides the implosion in Fedex, Uber shares slid 5.3% in US premarket trading after the ride-hailing company said it has shut down internal Slack messaging as it investigates a cybersecurity breach. Bank stocks are also lower alongside S&P 500 futures, while the US 10-year Treasury yield advances. In corporate news, Credit Suisse’s securitized products group has drawn interest from Apollo Global Management and BNP Paribas, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Here are some other big premarket movers:

  • FedEx (FDX US) shares plunged 20% in US premarket trading after the package delivery giant pulled its fiscal 2023 earnings forecast, triggering a raft of downgrades from analysts, including at KeyBanc and JPMorgan. Amazon (AMZN US) and UPS (UPS US) also fell.
  • Adobe (ADBE US) shares fall another 2.3% in premarket trading, one day after its market value shrunk by $29.5 billion on an announcement to buy software design startup Figma. More analysts slashed ratings and price targets.
  • Cryptocurrency- exposed stocks are likely to be active on Friday with Bitcoin dropping below $19,800 after SEC Chair Gary Gensler signaled that a feature of the network’s software could lead to tokens being considered securities by the commission.
  • In the US premarket trading hours, Marathon Digital (MARA US) -3.2%, Coinbase (COIN US) -2.0%, Riot Blockchain (RIOT US) -3.4%
  • Watch Alcoa (AA US) as Morgan Stanley upgrades the stock and several peers, noting that value begins to show within Americas metals and mining shares, but cautioning that uncertainty remains.
  • International Paper (IP US) slides 5.6% in US premarket trading after Jefferies downgraded the stock as well as shares in Packaging Corp of America (PKG US) to underperform in reflection of the “massive inventory glut in containerboard.” The broker stays at hold for Westrock (WRK US), noting that valuation is already depressed.

Policy-sensitive two-year Treasury yields extended a rise to the highest since 2007, deepening the curve inversion that’s seen as a recession signal. The latest US economic data painted a mixed picture for the economy that backed the view for hawkish monetary policy. Swaps traders are pricing in a 75 basis-point hike when the Federal Reserve meets next week, with some wagers appearing for a full-point move.

“Everything points to another 75 basis-point rate hike by the Fed when it meets next week. The likelihood that it will have to go ‘big’ again in November is elevated, too,” said Raphael Olszyna-Marzys, an economist at Bank J Safra Sarasin. “What’s more, its new projections should indicate that the fight against inflation will be more painful than previously acknowledged.”

Market participants will face additional volatility on Friday from the quarterly expiry event known as triple witching, with contracts for stock index futures, stock index options and stock options all expiring, while re-balancing of major equity indexes also takes place.

In Europe, the Stoxx 50 slumped 1.4%, headed for a 4th day of losses. The FTSE 100 is flat but outperforms peers, DAX lags, dropping 1.7%. Industrials, construction and autos are the worst-performing sectors as are mining stocks which as iron ore slid amid concerns over demand in China, while aluminum fell on the back of record Chinese output.  European mail and parcel delivery companies took a hit in the aftermath of the Fedex warning, led by Deutsche Post AG, down as much as 7.6%. The UK’s benchmark outperformed as the British pound sank to its weakest level against the dollar since 1985.

All industry groups are in the red. Here are the biggest European movers:

  • Jupiter Fund Management jumps as much as 4.2% after being upgraded to neutral at UBS. Separately, the FT reported that the new CEO will restructure the company after an operational review
  • Krones rises as much as 1.6% on Friday, with Baader Helvea saying the company showed “huge confidence” during recent capital markets day at the Drinktec trade fair in Munich
  • Ariston shares soar as much as 11%, the most intraday since March 14, after the company agreed to buy 100% of Centrotec Climate Systems for EU703m in cash and ~41.42m Ariston shares
  • Capita shares rise as much as 9.3% amid a contract extension with Barnet Council and the sale of subsidiary Pay360 for GBP150 million to Access PaySuite
  • UK and EU real estate shares slip after both Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan published bearish reviews of the sector. Land Securities falls as much as 5.1% in London after being cut to sell at Goldman
  • European mail and parcel delivery companies take a hit, led by Deutsche Post, down to July 2020 lows, after US peer FedEx withdrew its earnings forecast on worsening business conditions
  • Mining stocks are among the biggest underperformers in Europe on Friday as iron ore slid amid concerns over demand in China, while aluminum fell on the back of record Chinese output
  • Telecom Italia shares drop to a record low after Barclays cut the carrier to underweight from equal-weight, citing a more complex investment case amid political uncertainties in Italy
  • Uniper plunges to its lowest level on record, with shares down as much as 16%, after people familiar with the matter said Germany is in advanced talks to take it over
  • Virbac falls as much as 10% after the French veterinary-products company reported 1H results that showed inflation is weighing on profit margins

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks headed for a fifth-straight weekly decline as markets remained volatile ahead of the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate decision next week, with the Xi-Putin meeting adding renewed geopolitical concerns. Stocks slumped in Japan, Hong Kong and mainland China, with little impact on sentiment from Chinese industrial-production and retail-sales data that beat expectations. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell as much as 1.3% on Friday, following weakness in US shares, led by technology and consumer discretionary stocks. China’s CSI 300 Index slumped the most in more than four months as the yuan weakened past 7 per dollar, offsetting upbeat August economic data, with the government ramping up stimulus to counter a slowdown.  Russia’s President Vladimir Putin met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping for the first time since the war in Ukraine began, underscoring increasing risks as Beijing continues to show support for Moscow.

The Covid-Zero policy in China, a property crisis and the outcome of a US audit inspection will “keep the market in a relatively volatile state,” Laura Wang, chief China equity strategist at Morgan Stanley, said in a Bloomberg TV interview. The brokerage expects earnings growth for mainland companies “to decline to around mid-single digit” from Covid resurgence and lockdowns. India and Australia were among the region’s worst performers. Losses accelerated in afternoon trading as the dollar strengthened. Asian equities suffered a tumultuous week, falling more than 2% as risk assets took a hit from faster-than-expected US inflation, which fueled expectations for more aggressive monetary tightening by the Fed. A strong dollar and higher Treasury yields added to the headwinds. The regional stock benchmark is edging toward its lowest close since May 2020.

Japanese stocks declined as concerns of a potential global economic slowdown and higher US interest rates damped demand for risk.  The Topix fell 0.6% to 1,938.56 as of the market close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 declined 1.1% to 27,567.65. Keyence Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s loss, decreasing 3.8%. Out of 2,169 stocks in the index, 589 rose and 1,501 fell, while 79 were unchanged. “The US interest rate hike will probably be 0.75 point, but there is still a strong sense of uncertainty about future hikes,” said Takeru Ogihara, a chief strategist at Asset Management One.  Summers Expects Fed to Raise Rates Above 4.3% to Curb Inflation

The index for developing-nation equities fell to its lowest level in more than two years on Friday. A three-day slide has shaved $422 billion off MSCI’s EM stock index. The gauge fell as much as 1.5%, led by health care stocks. The EM equity gauge is down 5.5% this quarter, on track for a fifth consecutive drop, a record since Bloomberg began monitoring the data.

In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose as the greenback strengthened against all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen which is marginally up, trading at the 143/USD level. Pound at 1.13/USD, the lowest since 1985, underperforming G-10 peers.

  • The euro fell a first day in three, trading once again below parity against the dollar. Bunds, Italian bonds slid, putting their 10-year yields on course to climb for a seventh week as traders continued to amp up ECB tightening bets, pricing as much as 200bps of rate hikes by July.  The euro volatility skew shifts higher this week and especially on longer tenors, suggesting that bearish sentiment wanes. This seems to be down to demand for topside strikes and not unwinding of shorts given move in the tails
  • The pound was the worst G-10 performer and fell below $1.14 for the first time since 1985. UK retail sales fell at the sharpest pace in eight months in August as a worsening cost-of-living crisis and plunging confidence forced consumers to cut back on spending. The 1.6% drop was more than three times the decline predicted by economists. Monday is a national bank holiday in the UK
  • The Australian dollar tumbled to the lowest level since the early days of the Covid pandemic as risk aversion swept across markets. Three-year yield touched as high as 3.44% after National Bank of Australia raised its forecast to a 50bps hike in October. Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe said a few hikes would be needed to tame inflation, though the case for outsized interest-rate increases has “diminished” now that the cash rate is approaching “more normal settings”
  • Japan’s longer-maturity bonds extended declines after Thursday’s weak 20-year auction. Japanese markets will be shut Monday and Friday next week for national holidays

Meanwhile, the offshore yuan remained on the weaker side of 7 to the dollar, even as the People’s Bank of China set the reference rate for the currency stronger-than-forecast for a 17th straight day. “While China activity showed some improvement this morning, equity investors really want to see substantial easing in China’s policies related to Covid to turn a bit more constructive,” said Chetan Seth, Asia-Pacific equity strategist at Nomura Holdings Inc. in Singapore. “That has not happened.”

In rates, the 10Y Treasury yield up 3bps to around 3.47%, gilts 10-year yield is flat at 3.16%, while bunds 10-year is also up 0.2bps at 1.79%. Treasuries remained lower after a bund-led selloff during European morning, with losses led by front-end of the curve as 2-year yields exceed Thursday’s highs, peaking near 3.92%. Further out, 5s30s breached Thursday’s low (reaching -21.1bp) to reach most inverted level since 2000. Yields are cheaper by more than 3bp across front-end of the curve with 2s10s spread flatter by ~2bp on the day; 10-year yields around 3.47%, trading broadly in line with bunds while gilts outperform by 2.5bp in the sector. US curve flattening persists as Fed rate expectations continue to grind higher; OIS markets price in a peak policy rate of around 4.5% for March 2023

In commodities, WTI and Brent are oscillating around the unchanged mark with the complex initially under pressure from the overall risk aversion. Kazakhstan energy ministry expects to stick to its oil production plans of 85.5mln tonnes this year; says Kashagan oilfield will resume output "in October at best." Spot gold is flat after the yellow metal took out the 2021 low (USD 1,676/oz) yesterday with clean air seen below until the COVID low of USD 1,450/oz.

Bitcoin is flat around USD 19,750 whilst Ethereum remains pressured under USD 1,500.

To the day ahead now, and data releases from the US include the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for September, as well as UK retail sales for August. Meanwhile from central banks, we’ll hear from ECB’s President Lagarde, as well as the ECB’s Rehn and Villeroy.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 1.0% to 3,863.75
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 1.2% to 409.92
  • MXAP down 1.3% to 150.15
  • MXAPJ down 1.6% to 490.96
  • Nikkei down 1.1% to 27,567.65
  • Topix down 0.6% to 1,938.56
  • Hang Seng Index down 0.9% to 18,761.69
  • Shanghai Composite down 2.3% to 3,126.40
  • Sensex down 1.8% to 58,881.76
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.5% to 6,739.08
  • Kospi down 0.8% to 2,382.78
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 1.78%
  • Euro down 0.4% to $0.9961
  • Gold spot down 0.5% to $1,656.63
  • U.S. Dollar Index up 0.34% to 110.11

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • A surging dollar is now the only possible hedge for what’s turning into the biggest destruction of shareholder value since the global financial crisis
  • “The growing risk of recession in the euro area and the steadily increasing labor participation rate might also be factors that have kept wages in check,” European Central Bank Governing Council member Olli Rehn said in Helsinki
  • “The slowdown of the economy is not going to ‘take care’ of inflation on its own,” European Central Bank Vice President Luis de Guindos tells Expresso newspaper in an interview. “We need to continue the normalization of monetary policy”
  • The French inflation rate will peak between now and the beginning of next year near the current level, “around 6% or a little more,” Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau said
  • A shortage of high-quality assets in the euro area is keeping a lid on short- term borrowing costs, a development that could endanger the ECB’s effort to tighten financial conditions
  • Global equity funds saw inflows driven by US stocks in the week to Sept. 14, according to a Bank of America note, citing EPFR Global data
  • China has ample monetary policy room and abundant policy tools, PBOC’s monetary policy department writes in an article that reviews the country’s monetary policies in the past five years
  • China’s economy showed signs of recovery in August. Industrial production, retail sales and fixed-asset investment all grew faster than economists expected last month. The urban jobless rate slid to 5.3%, while the youth unemployment rate fell from a record high
  • Japan’s increasingly incongruous policy stance aimed at securing both stable growth and inflation is adding to the likelihood of further yen losses, even as officials warn of possible intervention
  • India’s sovereign bonds are defying a worldwide rout, as banks and foreign funds rushed to buy the high-yielding debt in anticipation that they will be included in global indexes
  • Germany is taking control of Russian oil major Rosneft PJSC’s German oil refineries and is nearing a decision to take over Uniper SE and two other large gas importers as it tries to avoid a collapse of its energy industry

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia stocks fell despite better-than-expected Chinese activity data as the region took its cue from the losses in the US after mixed data and as markets continued to adjust to a more aggressive Fed rate path. ASX 200 was pressured as energy and miners led the broad retreat after recent losses in commodity prices. Nikkei 225 suffered from the downbeat mood and with the 10yr JGB yield stuck at the top of the BoJ’s target. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp conformed to the risk aversion with the latest Industrial Production and Retail Sales data failing to spur risk appetite despite both surpassing estimates.

Top Asian News

  • Chinese NBS said China is to coordinate economic development and COVID control, while it added that the economy continued a recovery trend in August and some factors exceeded expectations but also noted that the recovery in domestic demand still lags behind the recovery in production and that the property market faces downward pressure despite some positive changes. China's stats bureau also commented that the economy was affected by COVID flare-ups in August but the flare-ups impact was limited and that policies to stabilise growth are gaining traction although noted that China's economy faces more difficulties this year than in 2020.
  • Chinese President Xi says China's economy remains resilient and full of potential
  • Japanese Finance Minister Suzuki reiterated it is important for FX to move stably reflecting economic fundamentals and that sharp FX moves are undesirable, while he is concerned about sharp, one-sided JPY weakening and they will take necessary action without ruling out any options if sharp yen moves persist.
  • Japan is to use JPY 3.5tln in reserve funds for economic measures, according to Kyodo News
  • RBA Governor Lowe said the RBA is committed to returning inflation to the 2-3% target range over time and is seeking to do this in a way that keeps the economy on an even keel, while the Board expects further increases will be required to bring inflation back to target but they are not on a pre-set path. Lowe stated that with inflation as high as it is, they need to make sure that inflation returns to target in a reasonable time and will do what is necessary to make sure that higher inflation does not become entrenched. Furthermore, Lowe said at some point will not need to hike by 50bps and they are getting closer to that point, while they will consider hiking by 25bps or 50bps at the next meeting but also stated that rates are still too low right now.
  • South Korean President Yoon and US President Biden are expected to discuss currency swap during a summit, according to Yonhap.
  • South Korean Parliament Speaker Kim says need to promptly advance South Korean and Chinese trade negotiations

Euro-bourses see the deepest losses whilst the FTSE 100 is cushioned by the slide in the Pound. European sectors are all lower and portray a clear defensive bias, with Healthcare at the top of the bunch. Stateside, US equity futures have been trundling lower with the NQ underperforming vs the ES, YM and RTY.

Top European News

  • No Movies. No McDonald’s. Britain Shuts for Queen’s Funeral
  • WHO Panel Advises Against GSK, Regeneron Drugs for Covid
  • AstraZeneca Gets Nod From EU for Evusheld and Respiratory Drug
  • Telecom Italia Falls to Record Low Amid Barclays Downgrade
  • Uniper Plunges to Lowest Level Ever on Nationalization Reports
  • Cold War Relic Threatens Plans to Ditch Russian Oil

FX

  • GBP extended losses in wake of significantly weaker than forecast ONS retail sales data, with Cable sliding to the lowest level since 1985.
  • DXY reclaimed 110.00-status as Sterling continued sliding, and now oscillates around the round figure.
  • JPY stands as the outperformer, as USD/JPY hold within yesterday’s extremes amid the risk aversion and recent verbal jawboning.
  • Chinese FX regulator says it is hard to predict short-term volatility in exchange rate, and urges companies not to bet on the exchange rate, according to state media
  • South Korean Authorities are reportedly suspected of "smoothing operations" in USD/KRW trading, according to Reuters citing South Korean FX dealers.

Fixed Income

  • Bunds have staved off pressure on 142.00 within a 142.15-143.04 range.
  • Gilts traded above par briefly between 104.93-105.50 extremes (+17 ticks at one stage).
  • 10yr T-note is almost flat ahead of preliminary Michigan sentiment which will be watched closely for inflation expectations.

Commodities

  • WTI and Brent are oscillating around the unchanged mark with the complex initially under pressure from the overall risk aversion.
  • Kazakhstan energy ministry expects to stick to its oil production plans of 85.5mln tonnes this year; says Kashagan oilfield will resume output "in October at best"
  • Spot gold is flat after the yellow metal took out the 2021 low (USD 1,676/oz) yesterday with clean air seen below until the COVID low of USD 1,450/oz.
  • Base metals meanwhile are softer across the board as the Dollar remains firm, but LME nickel bucks the trend with reports via Bloomberg also suggesting LME is being sued by hedge funds, including AQR, in the London High Court

US Event Calendar

  • 10:00: Sept. U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 60.0, prior 58.2
  • 10:00: Sept. U. of Mich. Current Conditions, est. 59.4, prior 58.6
  • 10:00: Sept. U. of Mich. Expectations, est. 59.0, prior 58.0
  • 10:00: Sept. U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, est. 4.6%, prior 4.8%
  • 10:00: Sept. U. of Mich. 5-10 Yr Inflation, est. 2.8%, prior 2.9%
  • 16:00: July Total Net TIC Flows, prior $22.1b
  • 16:00: July Net Foreign Security Purchases, prior $121.8b

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Two weeks after coping with a manic birthday party for two manic 5 year old twins, we repeat the whole thing this weekend as my daughter Maisie turns 7 today and has a OTT Harry Potter themed party tomorrow at our house. I have a costume which I'm hoping will be cooler than the 10ft giant inflatable diplodocus outfit I had for the twins’ party. If you don’t believe me photos are available. Many people have kindly asked how Maisie is after being diagnosed with a rare hip disease called Perthes over 12 months ago. The answer is she is coping well but still needs to be in a wheelchair until the doctors see any sign that the hip ball is regrowing. We’re crossing our fingers that there might be signs at the next scan in December. At the moment it’s still slowly disintegrating. She’s had great news this week as she’s got accepted at a very young age into a prestigious artistic swimming club. Because of her regular rehab in the pool, and a natural talent even before her condition became apparent, she is phenomenal in the water. She is a stage 7 swimmer which on average is for around 10/11 year olds and used to love gymnastics before her incapacitation. So for a sport that I’ve perhaps always previously seen as one of my least favourite, I’m now a synchronised swimming convert ahead of her first session this Sunday. I suspect I'll stick to golf for myself though and won't be buying the nose peg.

It was another synchronised sell off for both bonds and equities yesterday as investors moved to price in yet more rate hikes from central banks, raising market fears about a hard landing ahead. Those moves were prompted by a decent batch of US employment data, which added to the sense that the Fed could afford to keep hiking rates for the time being. But the prospect of more aggressive rate hikes proved bad news for equities, with the S&P 500 (-1.13%), its lowest level since July, more than reversing the previous day’s partial rebound that followed its worst daily performance for two years on Tuesday. In the meantime, sovereign bonds embarked on a further selloff and multiple recessionary indicators were flashing with increasing alarm, including the 2s30s Treasury yield curve that by the close was more inverted than at any time since 2000.

Before we get onto the details however, we should point out that DB’s US economists, led by Matt Luzzetti, have also revised their expectations for the Fed funds rate following the latest inflation data, and now see the terminal rate some way beyond market pricing at 4.9% in Q1 2023 (link here). Matt has been consistently the highest on the street for economists in recent months and this upgrade is now closer to the 5-6% range that David Folkerts-Landau, Peter Hooper and I said was necessary to tame inflation in our “What’s in the tails?” note (link here) back in April. Today’s UoM inflation expectations series is going to be the last important release before next week’s FOMC, especially after this week’s messy CPI data. Year-ahead inflation expectations have been edging down of late but the upside surprise in June a few hours after a blockbuster CPI beat cemented the last minute 75bps hike. With +80.5bps priced in next week, it will be interesting to see if the expectations data move pricing any closer to 75 or 100bps, and if not, whether the Fed tries to influence pricing with a leak so the meeting isn't as “live”, or if they feel comfortable heading into the meeting with some split probability priced. While we're on the revision path, a reminder that our 10yr Bund forecast was upgraded to 2.25% late on Wednesday. See here for more.

Against this rates higher backdrop, markets were revising their expectations in a hawkish direction following strong labour market data. In particular, the US weekly initial jobless claims for the week ending September 10 fell for a 5th consecutive week to 213k (vs. 227k expected), and the previous week was also revised down by -4k. The release added to the sense that the recent economic resilience over the late summer was proving to be more than just one data point, and it’s worth noting that the 213k reading was the lowest since May. Piling on, retail sales MoM increased 0.3% versus -0.1% expectations. As with most things macro related lately, there is a flipside, however. The core retail sales figure fell -0.3% versus expectations it would be flat, while the control group, which has outsize influence in GDP consumption tabulations, was flat MoM, versus expectations of a 0.5% expansion. Indeed, the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow tracker downgraded 3Q GDP estimates to 0.5% from 1.3% following the print. Recession talk will only bubble up with more with revisions like that. But overall a messy set of data yesterday.

The recent inflation surprises has proven bad news for risk assets since it’s seen as giving the Fed the green light for faster rate hikes. In response, the terminal rate priced in for March 2023 rose +7.8bps yesterday to 4.46%, and that in turn led to another selloff for Treasuries. By the close, the 2yr yield was up +7.7bps to its highest level since the GFC, whilst the 10yr yield rose +4.5bps to 3.45%. In Asia the 2yr yield is up another couple of bps, with 10yr yields flat, further inverting the 2s10s curve to -44.5 bps as we go to press. Higher real yields were behind the latest moves, with the 10yr real yield crossing 1.0%, hitting a post-2018 high. And in Europe it was much the same story, with yields on 10yr bunds (+5.3bps), OATs (+3.6bps) and BTPs (+5.7bps) all moving higher as well.

Yesterday’s losses were spread across multiple asset classes, and equities took a tumble given those fears about faster rate hikes. The S&P 500 shed -1.13% as part of a broad-based decline, and the impact of higher interest rates was evident from the sectoral breakdowns, as tech stocks including the NASDAQ (-1.43%) struggled, whereas the banks in the S&P 500 advanced +1.54%. Europe experienced a similar pattern, with the STOXX 600 (-0.56%) losing ground for a third day running, in contrast to the STOXX Banks index (+1.98%) which hit a three-month high.

One more positive piece of news on the inflation side was that a deal was reached to avert an upcoming US rail strike, which would have had a significant impact on supply chains had that gone ahead. A sign of its potential impact was that even the White House was involved, with President Biden joining the meeting virtually on Wednesday evening. The news helped a number of key commodities to fall back in price, including US natural gas futures which ended the day -8.67% lower, whilst WTI oil was also down -3.82% at $85.10/bbl.

Asian equity markets are weaker again this morning, heading for a fifth consecutive weekly drop amid further weakness in US equities overnight. As I type, the CSI (-1.13%) and the Shanghai Composite (-0.97%) are trading in negative territory with stronger than expected economic data failing to boost risk sentiment. Elsewhere, the Nikkei (-1.08%), Kospi (-1.03%) and the Hang Seng (-0.55%) are also sliding. Looking ahead, stock futures in the DM world are pointing to additional losses with contracts on the S&P 500 (-0.71%), NASDAQ 100 (-0.88%) and DAX (-0.70%) all moving lower.

We have early morning data from China with retail sales standing out as it jumped +5.4% y/y in August (v/s +3.3% expected), up from +2.7% in July. The uptick in retail sales was primarily visible in the restaurant/catering sectors, an industry typically sensitive to lockdowns. Other activity series showed that industrial production grew +4.2% y/y in August, which is an improvement from July’s +3.8% increase. Also, fixed asset investment for the first eight months of the year rose by +5.8%, above the +5.5% increase forecast. However, there were some disappointing signs elsewhere as new home prices slid for the 12th consecutive month, falling -0.29% m/m in August against a -0.11% decline previously, indicating that the recently rolled-out measures failed to revive demand.

Staying on China, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) continued its currency defense after the yuan weakened past the key level of 7 per US dollar for the first time in two years amid the relentless dollar rally. The central bank for the 17th straight day intervened while fixing the yuan 456 pips stronger than the average Bloomberg estimate to help prevent the currency’s slide.

Back to wrapping up the rest of yesterday’s data, US industrial production was down -0.2% in August (vs. unch expected), and the Philadelphia Fed’s business outlook for September fell to -9.9 (vs. 2.3 expected). However, the Empire State manufacturing survey for September rose to -1.5 (vs. -12.9 expected), rebounding from its worst month since the Covid pandemic.

To the day ahead now, and data releases from the US include the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for September, as well as UK retail sales for August. Meanwhile from central banks, we’ll hear from ECB’s President Lagarde, as well as the ECB’s Rehn and Villeroy.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/16/2022 - 08:03

Read More

Continue Reading

Economics

Dollar Slump Halted as Stocks and Bonds Retreat

Overview: Hopes that the global tightening cycle is entering its last phase supplied the fodder for a continued dramatic rally in equities and bonds….

Published

on

Overview: Hopes that the global tightening cycle is entering its last phase supplied the fodder for a continued dramatic rally in equities and bonds. The euro traded at par for the first time in two weeks, while sterling reached almost $1.1490, its highest since September 15. The US 10-year yield has fallen by 45 bp in the past five sessions. Yet, the scar tissue from the last bear market rally is still fresh and US equity futures are lower after the S&P 500 had its best two days since 2020. Europe’s Stoxx 600, which has gained more than 5% its three-day rally is more around 0.9% lower in late morning turnover. The large Asia-Pacific bourses advanced, led by a nearly 6% rally in Hong Kong as it returned from holiday. Similarly, the bond market, which rallied with stocks, has sold off. The US 10-year yield is up around seven basis points to 3.70%, while European yields are 7-14 bp higher. Peripheral premiums are also widening. The dollar is firmer against most G10 currencies, with the New Zealand dollar holding its own after the central bank delivered was seems to be a hawkish 50 bp hike. Emerging market currencies are mostly lower, including Poland where the central bank is expected to deliver a 25 bp hike shortly. After rising to $1730 yesterday, gold is offered and could ease back toward $1700 near-term. December WTI is consolidating after rallying around 8.5% earlier this week as the OPEC+ decision is awaited. Speculation over a large nominal cut helped lift prices. US and European natural gas prices are softer today. Iron ore is extended yesterday’s gains, while December copper is paring yesterday’s 2.35% gain. December wheat is off for a third session, and if sustained, would be the longest losing streak since mid-August.  

Asia Pacific

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand quickly laid to rest ideas that the Reserve Bank of Australia's decision to hike only a quarter of a point yesterday instead of a half-point was representative of a broader development. It told us nothing about anything outside of Australia. The RBNZ delivered the expected 50 bp increase and acknowledged it had considered a 75 bp move. In addition, it signaled further tightening would be delivered. It meets next on November 23, and the market has more than an 85% chance of another 50 bp hike discounted.

Both Australia and Japan's final service and composite PMI were revised higher in the final reading. Japan's service PMI was tweaked to 52.2 from 51.9. It was 49.5 in August. Similarly, the composite is at 51.0, up from 50.9 flash reading and 49.4 in August. In Australia, the service and composite PMI were at 50.2 in August. The flash estimate put it at 50.4 and 50.8, respectively. The final reading is 50.6 and 50.9 for the service and composite PMI.

Softer US yields weighed on the dollar against the yen. On Monday, it briefly traded above JPY145. Today, it traded at a seven-day low, slightly above JPY143.50. US yields are firmer, and the greenback has recovered and traded above JPY144.50 in early European turnover. The intraday momentum indicators are getting stretched, and the JPY144.75 area may cap it today. The Australian dollar traded to almost $.06550 yesterday but has struggled to sustain upticks over $0.6520 today. Initial support is seen in the $0.6450-60 area. Trade figures are out tomorrow. The New Zealand dollar initially rose to slightly through $0.5800 on the back of the hike but has succumbed to the greenback's strength. It returned little changed levels around $0.5730 before finding a bid in Europe. The US dollar reached CNH7.2675 last week and finished last week near CNH7.1420. It fell to almost CNH7.01 today and bounced smartly. A near-term low look to be in place, a modest dollar recovery seems likely. 

Europe

UK Prime Minister Truss will speak at the Tory Party Conference as the North American session gets under way. We argued that calling retaining the 45% highest marginal tax rate a "U-turn" was an exaggeration and misreading of the new government. It was the most controversial part of the mini budget apparently among the Tory MPs. This was a strategic retreat and a small price to pay for the other 98% of Kwarteng's announcement. Bringing forward the November 23 "medium-term fiscal plan" (still to be confirmed with specifics) is more about process than substance. The fact that she seems to be considering not making good her Tory predecessor pledge to link welfare payments to inflation suggests she has not been chastened by the cold bath reception to her government's first actions. However, on another front, Truss is changing her stance. As Foreign Secretary she drafted legislation that overrode the Northern Ireland Protocol unilaterally. In a more profound shift, she has abandoned the legislation and UK-EU talks resumed this week Truss is hopeful for a deal in the spring. Lastly, we note that the UK service and composite PMI were revised to show smaller deterioration from August. The service PMI is at 50 not 49.2 as the flash estimate had it. It was at 50.9 previously. The composite remains below 50 at 49.1, but the preliminary estimate had it at 48.4 from 49.6 in August. 

Germany's announcement of the weekend of a 200 bln euro off-budget "defensive shield" has spurred more rancor in Europe. Not all countries have the fiscal space of Germany. Two EC Commissioners called for an EU budget response. They seem to look at the 1.8 trillion-euro joint debt program (Next Generation fund) as precedent. This is, of course, the issue. During the pandemic, some suggested this was a key breakthrough for fiscal union, a congenital birth defect of EMU. However, this is exactly what the fight is about. If there is no joint action, the net result will likely be more fragmentation of the internal markets. Still, the creditor nations will resist, and Germany's Finance Minister Linder was first out of the shoot. While claiming to be open to other measures, Linder argued that challenge now is from supply shock, not demand. On the other hand, the European Parliament mandated that all mobile phones, tablets, and cameras are equipped with USB-C charge by the end of 2024. The costs savings is estimated to be around 250 mln euros a year. No fiscal union, partial banking, and monetary union, but a charger union.

The final PMI disappointed in the eurozone. The Big 4 preliminary readings were revised lower, suggesting conditions deteriorated further since the flash estimates. It was small change, but the direction was uniform. On the aggregate level, the service PMI was revised lower to 48.8 from 48.9 and 49.8 in August. The composite reading eased to 48.1 from 48.2 preliminary estimate and 48.9 in August. Italy and Spain, for which there is no flash report, were both weaker than expected, further below the 50 boom/bust level. France was the only one of these four that had a composite reading above 50 and improved from August. Separately, France reported a dramatic 2.4% rise in the August industrial output. The median forecast in Bloomberg's survey was for an unchanged report. Lastly, we note that Germany's August trade surplus was a quarter of the size that economists (median in the Bloomberg survey) expected at 1.2 bln euros instead of 4.7 bln. Adding insult to injury, the July balance was revised to 3.4 bln euros from 5.4 bln.

The euro stalled near $1.00 yesterday, the highest level since September 20. However, it has come back better offered today and fell slightly below $0.9925 in early European activity. Initial support is seen around $0.9900 and then $0.9840-50. The euro finished last week slightly above $0.9800. We suspect that market may consolidate broadly now ahead of Friday's US jobs report. The euro's gains seem more a function of short covering than bottom picking. Sterling edged a little closer to $1.15 but could not push through and has been setback to about $1.1380. The intraday momentum indicators allow for a bit more slippage and the next support area is around $1.1350.

America

Fed Chair Powell has explained that for inflation, one number, the PCE deflator best captures the price pressures. However, he says, the labor market has many dimensions and no one number does it justice. Weekly initial jobless claims fell to five-month lows in late September. On the other hand, the ISM manufacturing employment index fell below the 50 boom/bust level for the fourth month in the past five. The JOLTS report showed the labor market easing, with job openings falling by nearly a million to its lowest level in 14 months. Yet, despite the talk about the Reserve Bank of Australia's smaller cut as some kind of tell of Fed policy (eye roll) and the drop in JOLTS, the fact of the matter is that the market view of the trajectory of Fed policy has not changed. Specifically, the probability of a 75 bp hike is almost 77% at yesterday's settlement, which is the most since last Monday. The terminal rate is still seen in 

Attention may turn to the ADP report due today but recall that they have changed their model and explicitly said that it is not meant to forecast the national figures. Those are due Friday. Also, along with the ADP data, the US reports the August trade figures today. We are concerned that the US trade deficit will deteriorate again and note that dollar is at extreme levels of valuation on the OECD's purchasing power parity model. That may be a 2023 story. What counts for GDP, of course, is the real trade balance, and in July it was at its lowest level since last October. Despite the strong dollar, US goods exports reached a record in July. Imports fell to a five-month low, which, at least in part, seems to reflect the difficult in many consumer businesses in managing inventories. The final PMI reading is unlikely to draw much attention. The preliminary reading had the composite rising for the first time in six months but still below the 50 at 49.3. The ISM services offer new information. The risk seems to be on the downside of the median forecast for 56.0 from 56.9.

Yesterday, we mistakenly said that would report is August building permits and trade figure, but they are out today. Permits, which likely fell for the third straight month, as the tighter monetary policy bits. The combination of slowing world growth and softer commodity prices warns the best of the positive terms-of-trade shock is behind it. The trade surplus is expected to fall for the second consecutive month. Even before the RBA delivered the 25 bp rate hike, the market had been downgrading the probability of a half-point move from the Bank of Canada. Last Thursday, the swaps market had it as a 92% chance. At the close Monday, it had been downgraded to a little less 72%. Yesterday, it slipped slightly below 65%. Further softening appears to be taking place today, even after the RBNZ's 50 bp hike. The odds have slipped below 50% in the swaps market.

After finishing last week slightly above CAD1.38, the US dollar has been sold to nearly CAD1.35 yesterday. No follow-through selling has been seen and the greenback was bid back to CAD1.3585. The Canadian dollar has fallen out of favor today as US equity index futures are paring gains after two strong advances. There may be scope for CAD1.3630 today if the sale of US equities resumes. The greenback has found a base around MXN19.95. The risk-off mod can lift it back toward MXN20.10-15. Look for the dollar to also recover more against the Brazilian real after bouncing off the BRL5.11 area yesterday.

 


Disclaimer

Read More

Continue Reading

Spread & Containment

Plunging pound and crumbling confidence: How the new UK government stumbled into a political and financial crisis of its own making

Liz Truss took over as prime minister with an ambitious plan to cut taxes by the most since 1972 – investors balked after it wasn’t clear how she would…

Published

on

The hard hats likely came in handy recently for Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng. Stefan Rousseau/Pool Photo via AP

The new British government is off to a very rocky start – after stumbling through an economic and financial crisis of its own making.

Just a few weeks into its term on Sept. 23, 2022, Prime Minister Liz Truss’ government released a so-called mini-budget that proposed £161 billion – about US$184 billion at today’s rate – in new spending and the biggest tax cuts in half a century, with the benefits mainly going to Britain’s top earners. The aim was to jump-start growth in an economy on the verge of recession, but the government didn’t indicate how it would pay for it – or provide evidence that the spending and tax cuts would actually work.

Financial markets reacted badly, prompting interest rates to soar and the pound to plunge to the lowest level against the dollar since 1985. The Bank of England was forced to gobble up government bonds to avoid a financial crisis.

After days of defending the plan, the government did a U-turn of sorts on Oct. 3 by scrapping the most controversial component of the budget – elimination of its top 45% tax rate on high earners. This calmed markets, leading to a rally in the pound and government bonds.

As a finance professor who tracks markets closely, I believe at the heart of this mini-crisis over the mini-budget was a lack of confidence – and now a lack of credibility.

A looming recession

Truss’ government inherited a troubled economy.

Growth has been sluggish, with the latest quarterly figure at 0.2%. The Bank of England predicts the U.K. will soon enter a recession that could last until 2024. The latest data on U.K. manufacturing shows the sector is contracting.

Consumer confidence is at its lowest level ever as soaring inflation – currently at an annualized pace of 9.9% – drives up the cost of living, especially for food and fuel. At the same time, real, inflation-adjusted wages are falling by a record amount, or around 3%.

It’s important to note that many countries in the world, including the U.S. and in mainland Europe, are experiencing the same problems of low growth and high inflation. But rumblings in the background in the U.K. are also other weaknesses.

Since the financial crisis of 2008, the U.K. has suffered from lower productivity compared with other major economies. Business investment plateaued after Brexit in 2016 – when a slim majority of voters chose to leave the European Union – and remains significantly below pre-COVID-19 levels. And the U.K. also consistently runs a balance of payments deficit, which means the country imports a lot more goods and services than it exports, with a trade deficit of over 5% of gross domestic product.

In other words, investors were already predisposed to view the long-term trajectory of the U.K. economy and the British pound in a negative light.

An ambitious agenda

Truss, who became prime minister on Sept. 6, 2022, also didn’t have a strong start politically.

The government of Boris Johnson lost the confidence of his party and the electorate after a series of scandals, including accusations he mishandled sexual abuse allegations and revelations about parties being held in government offices while the country was in lockdown.

Truss was not the preferred candidate of lawmakers in her own Conservative Party, who had the task of submitting two choices for the wider party membership to vote on. The rest of the party – dues-paying members of the general public – chose Truss. The lack of support from Conservative members of Parliament meant she wasn’t in a position of strength coming into the job.

Nonetheless, the new cabinet had an ambitious agenda of cutting taxes and deregulating energy and business.

Some of the decisions, laid out in the mini-budget, were expected, such as subsidies limiting higher energy prices, reversing an increase in social security taxes and a planned increase in the corporate tax rate.

But others, notably a plan to abolish the 45% tax rate on incomes over £150,000, were not anticipated by markets. Since there were no explicit spending cuts cited, funding for the £161 billion package was expected to come from selling more debt. There was also the threat that this would be paid for, in part, by lower welfare payments at a time when poorer Britons are suffering from the soaring cost of living. The fear of welfare cuts is putting more pressure on the Truss government.

a man in a brown stocking hat inspects souvenirs near a bunch of UK flags and other trinkets
The cost of living crisis in the U.K. has everyone looking for deals where they can. AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

A collapse in confidence

Even as the new U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng was presenting the mini-budget on Sept. 23, the British pound was already getting hammered. It sank from $1.13 the day before the proposal to as low as $1.03 in intraday trading on Sept. 26. Yields on 10-year government bonds, known as gilts, jumped from about 3.5% to 4.5% – the highest level since 2008 – in the same period.

The jump in rates prompted mortgage lenders to suspend deals with new customers, eventually offering them again at significantly higher borrowing costs. There were fears that this would lead to a crash in the housing market.

In addition, the drop in gilt prices led to a crisis in pension funds, putting them at risk of insolvency.

Many members of Truss’ party voiced opposition to the high levels of borrowing likely necessary to finance the tax cuts and spending and said they would vote against the package.

The International Monetary Fund, which bailed out the U.K. in 1976, even offered its figurative two cents on the tax cuts, urging the government to “reevaluate” the plan. The comments further spooked investors.

To prevent a broader crisis in financial markets, the Bank of England stepped in and pledged to purchase up to £65 billion in government bonds.

Besides causing investors to lose faith, the crisis also severely dented the public’s confidence in the U.K. government. The latest polls showed the opposition Labour Party enjoying a 24-point lead, on average, over the Conservatives.

So the government likely had little choice but to reverse course and drop the most controversial part of the plan, the abolition of the 45% tax rate. The pound recovered its losses. The recovery in gilts was more modest, with bonds still trading at elevated levels.

Putting this all together, less than a month into the job, Truss has lost confidence – and credibility – with international investors, voters and her own party. And all this over a “mini-budget” – the full budget isn’t due until November 2022. It suggests the U.K.‘s troubles are far from over, a view echoed by credit rating agencies.

David McMillan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Read More

Continue Reading

Economics

Roubini: The Stagflationary Debt Crisis Is Here

Roubini: The Stagflationary Debt Crisis Is Here

Authored by Nouriel Roubini via Project Syndicate,

The Great Moderation has given way to…

Published

on

Roubini: The Stagflationary Debt Crisis Is Here

Authored by Nouriel Roubini via Project Syndicate,

The Great Moderation has given way to the Great Stagflation, which will be characterized by instability and a confluence of slow-motion negative supply shocks. US and global equities are already back in a bear market, and the scale of the crisis that awaits has not even been fully priced in yet.

For a year now, I have argued that the increase in inflation would be persistent, that its causes include not only bad policies but also negative supply shocks, and that central banks’ attempt to fight it would cause a hard economic landing. When the recession comes, I warned, it will be severe and protracted, with widespread financial distress and debt crises. Notwithstanding their hawkish talk, central bankers, caught in a debt trap, may still wimp out and settle for above-target inflation. Any portfolio of risky equities and less risky fixed-income bonds will lose money on the bonds, owing to higher inflation and inflation expectations.

How do these predictions stack up? First, Team Transitory clearly lost to Team Persistent in the inflation debate. On top of excessively loose monetary, fiscal, and credit policies, negative supply shocks caused price growth to surge. COVID-19 lockdowns led to supply bottlenecks, including for labor. China’s “zero-COVID” policy created even more problems for global supply chains. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent shockwaves through energy and other commodity markets. And the broader sanctions regime – not least the weaponization of the US dollar and other currencies – has further balkanized the global economy, with “friend-shoring” and trade and immigration restrictions accelerating the trend toward deglobalization.

Everyone now recognizes that these persistent negative supply shocks have contributed to inflation, and the European Central Bank, the Bank of England, and the US Federal Reserve have begun to acknowledge that a soft landing will be exceedingly difficult to pull off. Fed Chair Jerome Powell now speaks of a “softish landing” with at least “some pain.” Meanwhile, a hard-landing scenario is becoming the consensus among market analysts, economists, and investors.

It is much harder to achieve a soft landing under conditions of stagflationary negative supply shocks than it is when the economy is overheating because of excessive demand. Since World War II, there has never been a case where the Fed achieved a soft landing with inflation above 5% (it is currently above 8%) and unemployment below 5% (it is currently 3.7%). And if a hard landing is the baseline for the United States, it is even more likely in Europe, owing to the Russian energy shock, China’s slowdown, and the ECB falling even further behind the curve relative to the Fed.

Are we already in a recession? Not yet, but the US did report negative growth in the first half of the year, and most forward-looking indicators of economic activity in advanced economies point to a sharp slowdown that will grow even worse with monetary-policy tightening. A hard landing by year’s end should be regarded as the baseline scenario.

While many other analysts now agree, they seem to think that the coming recession will be short and shallow, whereas I have cautioned against such relative optimism, stressing the risk of a severe and protracted stagflationary debt crisis. And now, the latest distress in financial markets – including bond and credit markets – has reinforced my view that central banks’ efforts to bring inflation back down to target will cause both an economic and a financial crash.

I have also long argued that central banks, regardless of their tough talk, will feel immense pressure to reverse their tightening once the scenario of a hard economic landing and a financial crash materializes. Early signs of wimping out are already discernible in the United Kingdom. Faced with the market reaction to the new government’s reckless fiscal stimulus, the BOE has launched an emergency quantitative-easing (QE) program to buy up government bonds (the yields on which have spiked).

Monetary policy is increasingly subject to fiscal capture. Recall that a similar turnaround occurred in the first quarter of 2019, when the Fed stopped its quantitative-tightening (QT) program and started pursuing a mix of backdoor QE and policy-rate cuts – after previously signaling continued rate hikes and QT – at the first sign of mild financial pressures and a growth slowdown. Central banks will talk tough; but there is good reason to doubt their willingness to do “whatever it takes” to return inflation to its target rate in a world of excessive debt with risks of an economic and financial crash.

Moreover, there are early signs that the Great Moderation has given way to the Great Stagflation, which will be characterized by instability and a confluence of slow-motion negative supply shocks. In addition to the disruptions mentioned above, these shocks could include societal aging in many key economies (a problem made worse by immigration restrictions); Sino-American decoupling; a “geopolitical depression” and breakdown of multilateralism; new variants of COVID-19 and new outbreaks, such as monkeypox; the increasingly damaging consequences of climate change; cyberwarfare; and fiscal policies to boost wages and workers’ power.

Where does that leave the traditional 60/40 portfolio? I previously argued that the negative correlation between bond and equity prices would break down as inflation rises, and indeed it has. Between January and June of this year, US (and global) equity indices fell by over 20% while long-term bond yields rose from 1.5% to 3.5%, leading to massive losses on both equities and bonds (positive price correlation).

Moreover, bond yields fell during the market rally between July and mid-August (which I correctly predicted would be a dead-cat bounce), thus maintaining the positive price correlation; and since mid-August, equities have continued their sharp fall while bond yields have gone much higher. As higher inflation has led to tighter monetary policy, a balanced bear market for both equities and bonds has emerged.

But US and global equities have not yet fully priced in even a mild and short hard landing. Equities will fall by about 30% in a mild recession, and by 40% or more in the severe stagflationary debt crisis that I have predicted for the global economy. Signs of strain in debt markets are mounting: sovereign spreads and long-term bond rates are rising, and high-yield spreads are increasing sharply; leveraged-loan and collateralized-loan-obligation markets are shutting down; highly indebted firms, shadow banks, households, governments, and countries are entering debt distress.

The crisis is here.

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/04/2022 - 17:25

Read More

Continue Reading

Trending