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Futures Fall, Yields Rise Ahead Of Econ Data Onslaught

Futures Fall, Yields Rise Ahead Of Econ Data Onslaught

Extremely illiquid US equity futures (top of book depth is between $1-2MM) dropped…



Futures Fall, Yields Rise Ahead Of Econ Data Onslaught

Extremely illiquid US equity futures (top of book depth is between $1-2MM) dropped after trading flat for much of the overnight session, ahead of a packed data slate today including retail sales, industrial production and capacity utilisation for August, the Empire State manufacturing survey and the Philadelphia Fed business outlook for September, and the weekly initial jobless claims, as Treasury and Bund yield rose after Russian energy supplier Gazprom warned that nearly full EU gas inventories can’t guarantee a safe winter with money markets raise tightening wagers, pricing as much as 193bps of ECB hikes by July versus 186bps on Wednesday (and as much as 210bps of Fed hikes by March). As of 7:15am ET, S&P 500 futures slipped 0.1% after a tumultuous few days of trading following the consumer price index reading; Nasdaq 100 futures fell 0.4%. Both underlying indexes had slumped on Tuesday after the report, nearly erasing a four-day rally, before slightly rebounding on Wednesday. European stocks were flat, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index reversed earlier gains to trade down. The dollar resumed its rise while the yuan dropped below the critically important 7.00 level against the greenback. Ethereum completed the merge and traded around $1600 without any big moves in either direction.

In US premarket trading, Netflix advanced 2.2% after Evercore ISI raised the stock to outperform from in-line, saying that Netflix’s launch of an ad-supported plan is one of the biggest catalysts in the internet sector over the next 12 months. Meanwhile, railway operators Union Pacific Corp and CSX Corp gained after the US government said railroad companies and unions representing more than 100,000 workers reached a tentative agreement in a breakthrough that looks to avert a labor disruption that risked adding supply-chain strains to the world’s largest economy. Here are some other notable premarket movers

  • Danaher (DHR US) shares rise 4.2% in premarket trading after the company says it will spin off environmental and applied solutions unit. Analysts responded positively to the news, saying a more streamlined Danaher has potential to unlock value.
  • Union Pacific (UNP US) shares rise 4.7% in premarket trading as US railroad companies and unions representing more than 100,000 workers reached a tentative agreement, the government said, a breakthrough that looks to avert a labor disruption.
  • Yum China Holdings (YUMC US) shares advance 3.2% in US premarket trading after the Chinese megacity of Chengdu said it had controlled the spread of Covid-19 and would start easing the lockdown.
  • Devon Energy (DVN US) declines 1% in premarket trading as the stock was cut to neutral at JPMorgan in note titled ‘E&P Fall Playbook,’ while EOG Resources (EOG US), Permian Resources (PR US) and Vermilion Energy (VET CN) shares were upgraded.
  • Watch US cryptocurrency-exposed stocks as digital tokens traded in tight ranges Thursday while Ethereum completed the crypto world’s biggest and most ambitious software upgrade to date. Keep an eye on shares including Coinbase (COIN US), Marathon Digital (MARA US), Riot Blockchain (RIOT US), Ebang (EBON US).
  • Watch department store shares as Jefferies says there are still selective opportunities within the sector, upgrading Nordstrom (JWN US) to buy and downgrading Kohl’s (KSS US) to hold.
  • Keep an eye on hotel operators as Berenberg upgraded Marriott (MAR US), Hyatt (H US) and Hilton Worldwide (HLT US) shares to buy, saying the accelerating recovery in lodging performance hasn’t yet been reflected in share prices of these companies.
  • Watch Phillips 66 (PSX US) stock as it was cut to peer perform at Wolfe, which said that competitors are better positioned to deliver catalysts for shareholder returns.

Traders have been extremely focused on US economic data, with a decline in producer prices providing some relief after Tuesday’s consumer inflation jolt saw wagers for rate increases ratchet higher and stocks slump the most in two years. Investors are now bracing for the Fed’s meeting next week, with some concerned that the central bank can hike rates by as much as 100 basis points. Meanwhile, all eyes will be on fresh jobs, manufacturing and retail numbers later Thursday for further clues on the path of monetary policy.

“It still seems unlikely the Fed will go by more than 75 basis points at this point despite the collective freakout of the past couple of days,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK. Retail sales figures “could reinforce this hawkish narrative if we get another strong number.”

Swaps traders are pricing in a 75 basis point hike when the Fed meets next week, with odd for a full-point move dropping to 20% from almost 50% two days ago, after JPM said that it is unlikely that the Fed will rise a full percent. The continued rise in rate-sensitive Treasuries deepened the curve inversion to a level unseen this century.

Meanwhile, Bridgewater's Ray Dalio came out with a gloomy prediction for stocks and the economy. A mere increase in rates to about 4.5% would lead to a nearly 20% plunge in equity prices, he wrote in a LinkedIn article dated Tuesday, which is odd since the market is already pricing in rates rising to well over 4%. But then again "cash is trash" or something...

“Markets seem torn between a bearish sentiment on one hand, supported by lingering macro threats in a tighter liquidity environment, and dip buyers on the other who continue to bet on the inflation peak,” said Pierre Veyret, an analyst at ActivTrades. “Most benchmarks aren’t registering strong and significant bullish corrections following Tuesday’s sell-off, but continue to trade sideways in a volatile manner, which highlights the ‘wait and see’ situation ahead of today’s new batch of US data, tomorrow’s EU CPI report and next week’s Fed decision on rates.”

In Europe, the Stoxx 50 index rose 0.2%. FTSE 100 outperforms peers, adding 0.5%, CAC 40 underperforms. Banks, miners and health care are the strongest-performing sectors. European banks rose to a three-month high on Thursday, with Spanish banks among the best performers after a local website said the government is open to modifying the tax it plans to impose on windfall profits. Also boosting sentiment on the sector, Morgan Stanley upgraded its view on European banks to attractive

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks extended their recent weakness as investors remained cautious over tighter Federal Reserve policy, with losses in China weighing on the regional benchmark. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index erased earlier gains to fall as much as 0.4%, on track to fall for a third day. Financials and energy shares advanced the most, while technology stocks were the biggest drag.  Chinese stocks led declines in the region as a meeting between President Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin nears, an event that traders say raises geopolitical risks. Meanwhile, the People’s Bank of China’s kept its key rate unchanged while draining liquidity from the banking system. An easing of lockdown in the Chinese megacity of Chengdu was insufficient to provide reassurance. Asian markets were jittery ahead of the Fed’s policy decision next week, though a month-on-month decline in US producer prices offered some relief. Traders are expecting an outsized interest rate increase by the Fed to curb persistent inflation.

“Overall risk sentiments will continue to carry a cautious tone,” Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia Pte, wrote in a note. “The absence of any clear resolution in China’s Covid-19 policy and uncertainty on further moderation in economic conditions ahead remain a weighing block for risk sentiments.”  Markets in Japan, Australia and Hong Kong were among those in the green.

Japanese equities edged higher as investors assess the Fed’s hawkish stance and await further data that would provide clearer signals on the direction of the global economy.  The Topix Index rose 0.2% to close at 1,950.43, while the Nikkei advanced 0.2% to 27,875.91. Sony Group Corp. contributed the most to the Topix Index gain, increasing 0.9%. Out of 2,169 stocks in the index, 1,100 rose and 926 fell, while 143 were unchanged. “US stocks have calmed down and there is a sense of relief buying,” said Masayuki Otani, a chief market strategist at Securities Japan. “But there is still a wait-and-see mood ahead of next week’s FOMC meeting and US retail sales to be announced tonight, Japan time.”

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.2% to close at 6,842.90, boosted by gains in energy shares and banks.  Australian unemployment unexpectedly rose in August, the first increase in 10 months, a result that supports the Reserve Bank’s signal of a potential shift to smaller interest-rate increases. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index was little changed at 11,658.94. Shares of Wellington-listed Pushpay fell 11%, after a report that a pending buyout of the digital payments firm may be nearing collapse.

In Fx, the Bloomberg dollar spot index is flat. NOK and JPY are the weakest performers in G-10 FX, as CHF and EUR outperform. Asian currencies remained at risk from a strong greenback. The offshore yuan weakened above 7 per dollar for the first time since July 2020. The yen declined to trade around 143.6 per dollar after it rallied away from just under the closely-watched 145 level Wednesday on signs the Bank of Japan was preparing an intervention. Ominously, despite the plunge in the yen, Japan’s trade hit a record deficit in August.

  • The euro traded little changed, slightly below parity against the dollar.
  • The pound led G-10 losses, with focus turning to next week’s Bank of England decision. Demand for one- week sterling-dollar downside protection covering the BOE meeting is around the least since before the Feb. decision, perhaps reflecting the drop in spot. Cable one-week implied volatility touches 14.5%, a level unseen since Sept. 9, when the meeting was delayed
  • The yen fell as wariness over potential FX intervention from Japan receded, undermined by Japan’s trade deficits and expectations the US Fed will retain its hawkish stance. The government bond yield curve steepened after a weak 20-year auction
  • Japan’s unadjusted trade deficit expanded to 2.82 trillion yen ($19.7 billion) last month, the finance ministry reported Thursday. The gap was far larger than economists’ estimates and extends the sequence of red ink to 13 months, the longest stretch since 2015
  • Australia’s sovereign bonds extended opening declines after a government report showed employers added workers last month, even as the jobless rate rose. The Aussie traded in a tight range

In rates, Treasury futures traded near session lows after grinding lower during Asia session and European morning, leaving yields cheaper by about 5bp across long-end of the curve. US 10-year yields trade around 3.45%, cheaper by nearly 5bp vs Wednesday’s close; front-end outperforms slightly; 2-year German yields cheaper by 8bp on the day following hawkish remarks by ECB policy makers Holzmann and Kazaks late Wednesday. US session features packed economic data slate headed by retail sales. Corporate bond sales may go forward after some issuers stood down over past two days.

European bonds slipped: Bunds, Italian bonds fell as money markets wagered on a faster ECB tightening pace following hawkish remarks from policy makers Holzmann and Kazaks late Wednesday. Bund yields rise between 4-2bps across the curve. Gilts outperform bunds and USTs. Treasury 10-year yield up 3.8bps to 3.44%.

In commodities, oil fluctuated as traders grappled with concerns about global demand and assessed comments from the US on refilling strategic reserves. WTI trades within Wednesday’s range, falling 0.2% to near $88.33. Natural gas increased as traders assessed Europe’s steps to contain the energy crisis, with governments making plans to shut down power in some places to avoid a total collapse of the system this winter. Spot gold falls roughly $10 to trade near $1,687/oz. Spot silver loses 1.1% to around $19.

Bitcoin meanders around USD 20k and Ethereum fell under USD 1.6k after completing the Ethereum Merge.

To the day ahead now, and data releases from the US include retail sales, industrial production and capacity utilisation for August, the Empire State manufacturing survey and the Philadelphia Fed business outlook for September, and the weekly initial jobless claims. From central banks, we’ll hear from ECB Vice President de Guindos and the ECB’s Centeno. Lastly, earnings releases include Adobe.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures little changed at 3,949.25
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 0.2% to 418.54
  • MXAP down 0.3% to 152.10
  • MXAPJ down 0.2% to 499.22
  • Nikkei up 0.2% to 27,875.91
  • Topix up 0.2% to 1,950.43
  • Hang Seng Index up 0.4% to 18,930.38
  • Shanghai Composite down 1.2% to 3,199.92
  • Sensex down 0.5% to 60,020.39
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.2% to 6,842.89
  • Kospi down 0.4% to 2,401.83
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 1.75%
  • Euro little changed at $0.9980
  • Gold spot down 0.5% to $1,688.07
  • U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 109.73

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • Shortly before invading Ukraine in February, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping declared a “no limits” friendship. Yet even as Russian forces suffer humiliating losses on the battlefield, Putin shouldn’t expect much help from Xi at their first meeting since the invasion
  • China is considering allowing its oil refiners to export more fuel in an attempt to revive its economy, in what would be a reversal from a focus on minimizing emissions
  • Investors in high-risk emerging-market debt are finally seeing positive returns as fears of an economic meltdown ease. In a reversal of fortunes from the first half of the year, junk- rated emerging corporate and sovereign bonds in dollars have returned 7.2% in the past two months, according to Bloomberg indices. That follows a brutal 18% slide until June, marking the worst year since the 2008 credit crisis
  • Germany will likely face “waves” of gas shortages this winter, Klaus Mueller, president of the country’s energy regulator, told Handelsblatt in an interview published on Thursday
  • Swedish long-term inflation expectations staying put in July offered a rare piece of good news for the country’s central bank, which looks set to step up interest-rate hikes after a string of higher-than-expected inflation outcomes
  • Swedish right-wing opposition parties are intensifying negotiations on forming a new government, after Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson announced her resignation on Wednesday

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia stocks mostly traded with mild gains after the slight reprieve on Wall Street where inline PPI data provided some solace from inflationary woes, although mixed data and hawkish central bank expectations scuppered a broad recovery. ASX 200 was led higher by outperformance in energy and financials but with upside capped after the miss on jobs data. Nikkei 225 eked mild gains as expectations of looming stimulus and looser border controls offset the mixed trade data. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were mixed despite the latest policy support pledges by China including an extension of tax reliefs for small firms and a CNY 200bln relending facility by the PBoC, while the easing of lockdown restrictions in some cities also failed to spur risk appetite as participants digest the PBoC MLF announcement in which it partially rolled over maturing loans and maintained the rate at 2.75%, as expected.

Top Asian News

  • PBoC injected CNY 400bln vs CNY 600bln maturing via 1-year MLF with the rate kept at 2.75%.
  • PBoC set USD/CNY mid-point at 6.9101 vs exp. 6.9153 (prev. 6.9116).
  • Singapore to Create Up to 20,000 Finance Jobs in Five Years
  • Iron Ore Steadies as Easing of Chengdu Curbs Spurs Optimism
  • China Holds Key Rate, Withdraws Liquidity Amid Yuan Defense
  • Aluminum Leads Metals Up With China Energy Woes Hitting Supplies
  • Korea’s Housing Market Falls Most Since Global Financial Crisis
  • South Korea FX authorities were reportedly seen selling USD to curb the KRW's fall, according to multiple dealers cited by Reuters.
  • China Securities Journal said the domestic economy is poised for a rebound in Q3.
  • Japan will drop a ban on individual tourist visits and remove a cap on daily arrivals with PM Kishida expected to announce changes in the coming days, according to Nikkei.

European bourses modestly extended on the gains seen at the open despite a lack of fresh fundamental catalysts, but ahead of Q3 quad-witching tomorrow. European sectors are mostly firmer but with no defensive/cyclical bias. Stateside, US equity futures trade sideways with a mild upside bias and a relatively broad-based performance seen across the major contracts.

Top European News

  • Europe Gas Surges as Traders Weigh Efficacy of EU’s Intervention
  • Stellantis May Make Own Energy as Europe Braces for ‘Chaos’
  • Eni CEO Says Italy Can Make It Through Winter Without Russia Gas
  • Ericsson Drops on Credit Suisse Double Downgrade; Nokia Raised
  • Iron Ore Steadies as Easing of Chengdu Curbs Spurs Optimism


  • DXY has been waning off its 109.92 best towards 109.50, but the Buck extended gains against some EM currencies.
  • Divergence is seen between the traditional havens, with CHF gaining and JPY among the laggards.
  • The rest of the G10s are trading relatively flat against the USD.

Fixed Income

  • Choppy and erratic price action is seen in the complex.
  • The short end of the UK rate curve stages a more emphatic and impressive recovery to the extent that the ripples are reaching Gilts
  • Bunds sit midway between 143.63-142.83 parameters, OATs and Bonos have recouped some pre-French and Spanish auction downside
  • T-note is lagging within a 114-20+/115-01 range ahead of a very busy US agenda.


  • WTI and Brent are choppy after settling higher yesterday,
  • Spot gold meanders just above its YTD low (USD 1,680.25/oz) and the 2021 trough at 1,676.10.
  • Base metals are flat/mixed in directionless trade, with 3M LME Copper in a tight range under USD 8,000/t.
  • Russia's Gazprom says demand rises for long-term Russian gas export contracts including from Europe, via Al Jazeera

US Event Calendar

  • 08:30: Sept. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 227,000, prior 222,000
    • Continuing Claims, est. 1.48m, prior 1.47m
  • 08:30: Aug. Import Price Index MoM, est. -1.3%, prior -1.4%; YoY, est. 7.7%, prior 8.8%
    • Export Price Index MoM, est. -1.1%, prior -3.3%; YoY, est. 12.4%, prior 13.1%
  • 08:30: Aug. Retail Sales Advance MoM, est. -0.1%, prior 0%
    • Retail Sales Ex Auto MoM, est. 0%, prior 0.4%
    • Retail Sales Ex Auto and Gas, est. 0.5%, prior 0.7%
    • Retail Sales Control Group, est. 0.5%, prior 0.8%
  • 08:30: Sept. Philadelphia Fed Business Outl, est. 2.2, prior 6.2
  • 08:30: Sept. Empire Manufacturing, est. -12.9, prior -31.3
  • 09:15: Aug. Industrial Production MoM, est. 0%, prior 0.6%
    • Capacity Utilization, est. 80.2%, prior 80.3%
    • Manufacturing (SIC) Production, est. -0.1%, prior 0.7%
  • 10:00: July Business Inventories, est. 0.6%, prior 1.4%

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Following Tuesday’s dramatic slump after the US CPI release, global markets have shown signs of stabilising over the last 24 hours. It was hardly a great performance and was more driven by the absence of bad news rather than any actively good news, but the S&P 500 did manage to recover +0.34% on the day after its worst session in over two years. Treasuries also steadied to an extent, with some support from the fact that the PPI release yesterday wasn’t as bad as some had feared. Nevertheless, there are still a number of headwinds as markets turn their attention towards next week’s all-important FOMC meeting, and investors are continuing to price in an increasingly hawkish response from central banks across the world.

When it comes to that FOMC meeting next week, futures are still fully pricing in a third consecutive 75bps hike, but equities were supported by the fact that a bumper 100bps move is now perceived as less likely than it was shortly after the CPI release. In fact, looking at Fed funds futures, the peak pricing for next week’s meeting has come down from an intraday high of 87.0bps on Tuesday to 81.3bps by yesterday’s close. But while a 100bps hike next week is being seen as less likely, if you look beyond next week, it’s clear that markets are still expecting the Fed to remain hawkish, with the peak rate priced in for March 2023 actually rising by +7.3bps on the day to 4.39%, which implies more than 200bps of further tightening on top of where we already are.

Those diminishing expectations of a 100bps move were in part thanks to a somewhat weaker-than-expected PPI print from the US. Unlike the CPI, the headline monthly reading was in line with expectations and showed a -0.1% decline in prices, with the year-on-year measure falling back to +8.7% (vs. +8.8% expected). Against that backdrop, yields on 10yr Treasuries fell by -0.4bps to 3.41%, moving off from their intraday peak of 3.47% at one point, and yields have only seen a modest rise of +1.7bps again this morning. The decline was driven by lower real yields, with the 10yr yield down -3.4bps on the day to 0.93%, coming off its post-2019 closing peak from the previous session.

That decline in Treasury yields echoed what we saw in Europe yesterday, where those on 10yr bunds (-1.4bps) and OATs (-1.0bps) both moved lower. We did have some ECB speakers yesterday, including France’s Villeroy, who said that for the Euro Area “R* can be estimated as being as below or close to 2% in nominal terms, and we could be there by the end of the year”. Meanwhile, ECB chief economist Lane said that “it was appropriate to take a major step that frontloads the transition from the prevailing highly-accommodative level of policy rates towards levels that will support a timely return of inflation to our target.” As with the Fed, markets were pricing an increasingly hawkish profile of rate hikes, and by yesterday’s close a further 135bps rate hikes were expected at the two remaining meetings this year.

Staying on Europe, we heard more on the EU’s energy plans for the winter ahead in Commission President Von der Leyen’s State of the Union address yesterday. The measures proposed included a temporary revenue cap on “inframarginal” electricity producers, which would be set at €180 per megawatt-hour, with surplus revenues above the cap used to support energy consumers. In addition, there was a windfall tax proposal on other activities in the oil, gas, coal and refinery sectors which would be applied on 2022 profits that are more than 20% above the average profits over the most recent 3 years. In the meantime, we heard that France would be capping the increase in energy prices for households to 15% from January, and the country’s power-grid operator said that they may have to issue alerts to encourage a reduction in energy consumption over the next six months. European natural gas futures continued to rebound from their one-month low on Monday, gaining +9.70% to €218 per megawatt-hour.

With oil and gas prices putting in a strong performance yesterday, that meant that the energy sector outperformed other equities on both sides of the Atlantic, supporting the S&P 500 to make its +0.34% gain on the day. Otherwise, tech stocks were another outperformer as they recovered some of their Tuesday losses, with the NASDAQ advancing +0.74%. Over in Europe, equities caught up with the late US losses from the previous session, and the STOXX 600 (-0.87%) and the DAX (-1.23%) lost ground for a second day running.

Here in the UK, gilts outperformed after the latest CPI release for August came in slightly below expectations. That marked a contrast with the upside surprise from the US the previous day, since year-on-year CPI fell to +9.9% (vs. +10.0% expected). However, there were similarities to the US in that some of the details were much less positive, with core CPI rising to +6.3% (vs. +6.2% expected). However, that didn’t stop gilts outperforming their counterparts elsewhere, with 10yr yields down -3.8bps on the day.

Overnight in Asia, the major equity indices have also stabilised for the most part, with the Hang Seng (+0.46%) and the Nikkei (+0.17%) advancing after their sharp losses during the previous session, although the Kospi (-0.25%) has moved lower once again. The biggest underperformer are equities in mainland China this morning, where the Shanghai Composite (-1.01%) and the CSI 300 (-0.71%) have built on the previous day’s losses after the People’s Bank of China kept its one-year medium-term lending facility rate unchanged at 2.75% after being lowered by 10bps in August. Furthermore, they withdrew a net 200bn yuan via the MLF from the banking system as expected.The PBOC’s announcement to squeeze liquidity indicates their concern over capital outflows as the central bank is trying to reduce pressure on the yuan emanating from a divergent monetary policy with the Fed.

Otherwise in overnight trading, US stock futures are slightly higher with those on the S&P 500 (+0.06%) and NASDAQ 100 (+0.05%) both advancing ahead of numerous economic indicators coming out today, including retail sales and industrial production for August. Speaking of data, Japan recorded a record trade deficit of 2.82tn yen in August (vs. 2.39tn yen expected) after higher energy prices and the weaker yen pushed up import costs.

Elsewhere, our colleagues in the European Leveraged Finance Research team have just published their quarterly top trade ideas. You can find the report here.

To the day ahead now, and data releases from the US include retail sales, industrial production and capacity utilisation for August, the Empire State manufacturing survey and the Philadelphia Fed business outlook for September, and the weekly initial jobless claims. From central banks, we’ll hear from ECB Vice President de Guindos and the ECB’s Centeno. Lastly, earnings releases include Adobe.

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/15/2022 - 07:54

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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….



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. 


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.


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.



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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…



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.

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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…



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

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