US futures were little changed on Thursday one day after the highest CPI print since 1982 and just minutes before another red hot PPI print is expected (9.8%, up from 9.6%), as investors tried to gauge the timing and pace of monetary tightening. S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.1% as investors waited for the next trading signal. 10Y yields were flat around 1.74%, and the dollar edged lower as a growing tide of investors bet the world’s reserve currency has reached a peak with rate hikes largely priced-in to the market with Fed tightening likely to lead to an economic slowdown.
“Markets in 2022 have been volatile as the reality of inflation set in, and this reaction mainly reflects relief that the print did not exceed already lofty expectations,” Geir Lode, head of global equities at the international business of Federated Hermes, said in an email.
Inflation hitting 7% could force a quicker move by the Federal Reserve, with the market now pricing four rate hikes this year starting no later than March, according to technical analyst Pierre Veyret at ActivTrades in London. “Investors still struggle with one crucial question: how will the Fed manage to tackle rising price pressure without derailing the fragile post-pandemic economic recovery?”
Sure enough, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly and her Philadelphia peer Patrick Harker added their voices to the chorus in interviews published yesterday evening and this morning, calling for a rate hike as soon as March when odds of a rate hike have hit a new high of 90%. Attention today will be on the confirmation hearing of Lael Brainard in the Senate. The vice-chair nominee, who last publicly commented on the economic outlook in September, said in prepared remarks that tackling inflation is the bank’s “most important task.”
In premarket trading, shares in Delta Air Lines rose more than 2% even though the carrier missed revenue and EPS expectations, after the company said the omicron variant won’t derail its expectation to remain profitable for the rest of the year, as it released fourth-quarter financial results. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today:
- U.S. chip stocks are mixed in premarket trading after sector bellwether TSMC gave a 1Q sales outlook that beat estimates and raised its projected annual capex versus last year. Equipment stock Applied Materials (AMAT US) +2% premarket, while TSMC customers are mixed with Apple (AAPL US) -0.1%, Nvidia (NVDA US) +0.7% and AMD (AMD US) +0.6%.
- Puma Biotechnology (PBYI US) shares surge 13% in U.S. premarket trading, after the company said that its Nerlynx treatment was included in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s (NCCN) clinical practice guidelines in oncology for the treatment of breast cancer.
- KB Home (KBH US) shares rise 6.2% in premarket trading after the homebuilder’s 4Q EPS beat estimates, with Wells Fargo calling the results and guidance “solid.”
- Planet Labs (PL US) shares rise 1.6% in U.S. premarket trading, after the satellite data provider said that it plans to launch 44 SuperDove satellites on Thursday on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.
- Adagio Therapeutics (ADGI US) said ADG20 has neutralization activity against omicron and cites recent findings from three publications on ADG20. Shares jumped 30% in post-market trading.
Discussing yesterday's scorching CPI print, DB's Jim Reid writes that "if you did an MRI scan of US inflation yesterday you’d find things to support both sides of the debate which is surprising when it hit 7% YoY and the highest since 1982 when Fed Funds were more than 13% rather than close to zero as they are today. So a slightly different real rate to back then. In fact the real rate is through any level seen in the 1970s and is only comparable to WWII levels. Back to CPI and the YoY number was in line with expectations, but core and MoM figures were all a bit firmer than expected. However, the beats were small enough that the data didn’t significantly change the outlook for monetary policy, with Fed funds futures still pricing in an 89% chance of a March hike, which is roughly around where it’d been over the preceding days."
In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index paused after a two-day advance, erasing early declines of as much as 0.3% to trade little changed, with technology and automotive shares offsetting losses in consumer products and health care. CAC 40 underperforms, dropping as much as 0.6%. The Stoxx Europe 600 Technology sub-index is up 1.1%, getting a boost from chip stocks which gained after sector bellwether TSMC gave a 1Q sales outlook that beat estimates and raised its projected annual capex versus last year. Geberit dropped as much as 4.5% to a seven-month low after the Swiss producer of sanitary installations reported fourth-quarter sales.
Bloomberg Dollar Spot dips into the red pushing most majors to best levels of the session. NZD, AUD and GBP are the best G-10 performers. Crude futures maintain a relatively narrow range. WTI is flat near $82.70, Brent stalls near $84.84. Spot gold dips before finding support near $1,820/oz. Most base metals are in the red with LME zinc lagging peers.
Asian stocks were little changed after capping their biggest rally in a year, with health-care and software-technology names retreating while financials advanced. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fluctuated between a drop of 0.3% and a gain of 0.2% on Thursday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Tech Index lost 1.8% after rising the most in three months in the previous session. Benchmarks in China and Japan were the day’s worst performers, while the Philippines and Australia outperformed. “The market rose a bit too much yesterday,” said Mamoru Shimode, chief strategist at Resona Asset Management in Tokyo. “Investors keep shifting back and forth from value stocks to growth names and vise versa. It’s because we don’t know yet where U.S. long-term yields will end up settling around.” The Asian stock measure jumped 1.9% Wednesday on views that the Federal Reserve’s anticipated rate hikes will help curb inflation and allow the global recovery to chug along. U.S. inflation readings overnight, at an almost four-decade high, were in line with expectations and helped investors keep previous bets
Japanese stocks fell after Tokyo raised its Covid-19 alert to the second-highest level on a four-tier system. The Topix dropped 0.7% to 2,005.58 at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 declined 1% to 28,489.13. Recruit Holdings Co. contributed the most to the Topix’s decline, decreasing 4%. Out of 2,181 shares in the index, 500 rose and 1,604 fell, while 77 were unchanged. HIS, Japan Airlines and other travel shares fell. Tokyo’s daily cases jumped more than fivefold on Wednesday to 2,198 compared with 390 a week earlier.
India’s benchmark equity index eeked out gains to complete its longest string of advances since mid-October, buoyed by the nation’s top two IT firms after their earnings reports. The S&P BSE Sensex rose for a fifth day, adding 0.1% to close at 61,235.30 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index climbed 0.3%. Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services were among the biggest boosts to both measures. Of the 30 shares in the Sensex index, 19 rose and 11 fell. Thirteen of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. advanced, led by a gauge of metal companies. Infosys’ quarterly earnings beat and bellwether Tata Consultancy Services’s better-than-expected sales offer some hope that the rally in India’s technology sector has further room to run, according to analysts. Still, Wipro sank the most in a year after its profit missed estimates
Fixed income is relatively quiet, with changes across major curves limited to less than a basis point so far. The 10-year yield stalled around 1.75%, slightly cheaper on the day, and broadly in line with bunds and gilts. Eurodollar futures bear steepen a touch after a round of hawkish Fedspeak during Asian hours. Treasuries were steady with yields broadly within a basis point of Wednesday’s close. Eurodollars are slightly lower across green- and blue-pack contracts after Fed’s Daly and Harker sounded hawkish tones during Asia hours. Across front-end, eurodollar strip steepens out to blue-pack contracts (Mar25-Dec25), which are lower by up to 4bp. 30-year bond reopening at 1pm ET concludes this week’s coupon auction cycle.$22b 30-year reopening at 1pm ET follows 0.3bp tail in Wednesday’s 10-year auction, and large tails in last two 30-year sales. The WI 30-year yield at ~2.095% is above auction stops since June and ~20bp cheaper than last month’s, which tailed the WI by 3.2bp.
In FX, the pound advanced to its highest level since Oct. 29 amid calls for U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign over a “bring your own bottle” party at the height of a lockdown meant to stem the first wave of coronavirus infections in 2020. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index held a two-month low as the greenback weakened against all of its Group-of-10 peers, and the euro rallied a third day as it approached the $1.15 handle. Implied volatility in the major currencies over the two- week tenor, that now captures the next Fed meeting, comes in line with the roll yet investors are choosing sides. The Australian dollar extended its overnight gain as the greenback declined following as-expected U.S. inflation. Iron ore supply concern also supported the currency. The yen hovered near a two-week high as long dollar positions were unwound. Japanese government bonds traded in narrow ranges.
In commodities, cude futures maintain a relatively narrow range. WTI is flat near $82.70, Brent stalls near $84.50. Spot gold dips before finding support near $1,820/oz. Most base metals are in the red with LME zinc lagging peers. Bitcoin traded around $44,000 as the inflation numbers rekindled the debate about whether the cryptocurrency is a hedge against rising consumer prices.
Expected data on Thursday include producer prices, an early indicator of inflationary trends, and unemployment claims.
- S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,715.50
- STOXX Europe 600 down 0.1% to 485.67
- MXAP little changed at 196.79
- MXAPJ up 0.1% to 643.93
- Nikkei down 1.0% to 28,489.13
- Topix down 0.7% to 2,005.58
- Hang Seng Index up 0.1% to 24,429.77
- Shanghai Composite down 1.2% to 3,555.26
- Sensex up 0.1% to 61,220.38
- Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.5% to 7,474.36
- Kospi down 0.3% to 2,962.09
- German 10Y yield little changed at -0.04%
- Euro up 0.2% to $1.1465
- Brent Futures down 0.1% to $84.58/bbl
- Gold spot down 0.3% to $1,820.68
- U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.83
Top Overnight News from Bloomberg
- Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President Mary Daly and her Philadelphia Fed peer Patrick Harker joined the ranks of officials publicly discussing an interest-rate increase as early as March as the central bank seeks to combat the hottest inflation in a generation
- Global central banks will diverge on the way they respond to inflation this year, creating risks to economies everywhere, Bank of England policy maker Catherine Mann said
- Norway’s race to appoint a new central bank governor is reaching a finale mired in controversy at the prospect of a political ally and friend of Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store getting the job
- Italy’s government is working on a spending package that won’t require revising its budget to expand the deficit, people familiar with the matter said
- Several of China’s largest banks have become more selective about funding real estate projects by local government financing vehicles, concerned that some are taking on too much risk after they replaced private developers as key buyers of land, people familiar with the matter said
A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk
Asia-Pac stocks traded mixed following the choppy session in the US where major indices eked mild gains as markets digested CPI data in which headline annual inflation printed at 7.0%. ASX 200 (+0.5%) was underpinned as the energy and mining related sectors continued to benefit from the recent upside in underlying commodity prices, while Crown Resorts shares outperformed after Blackstone raised its cash proposal for Crown Resorts following due diligence inquiries. Nikkei 225 (-1.0%) declined with the index hampered by unfavourable currency flows and with Tokyo raising its COVID-19 alert to the second-highest level. Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (-1.1%) were initially subdued, but did diverge later, after the slight miss on loans and aggregate financing data, while there is a slew of upcoming key releases from China in the days ahead including trade figures tomorrow, as well as GDP and activity data on Monday. In addition, the biggest movers were headline driven including developer Sunac China which dropped by a double-digit percentage after it priced a 452mln-share sale at a 15% discount to repay loans and cruise operator Genting Hong Kong wiped out around half its value on resumption of trade after it warned of defaults due to insolvency of its German shipbuilding business. Finally, 10yr JGBs traded rangebound and were stuck near the 151.00 level following the indecisive mood in T-notes which was not helped by an uninspiring 10yr auction stateside, while the lack of BoJ purchases in the market also added to the humdrum tone.
Top Asian News
- Asia Stocks Steady After Best Rally in a Year; Financials Gain
- Country Garden Selloff Shows Chinese Developer Worries Spreading
- China Banks Curb Property Loans to Local Government Firms
- China’s True Unemployment Pain Masked by Official Data
Bourses in Europe now see a mixed picture with the breadth of the price action also narrow (Euro Stoxx 50 Unch; Stoxx 600 -0.10%). The region initially opened with a modest downside bias following on from a mostly negative APAC handover after Wall Street eked mild gains. US equity futures have since been choppy within a tight range and exhibit a relatively broad-based performance with no real standout performers. Back in Europe, sectors are mixed and lack an overarching theme. Tech remains the outperformer since the morning with some follow-through seen from contract-chip manufacturer TSMC (ADR +4.3% pre-market), who beat on net and revenue whilst upping its 2022 Capex to USD 40bln-44bln from around USD 30bln the prior year, whilst the CEO expects capacity to remain tight throughout 2022. Tech is closely followed by Autos and Parts and Travel & Leisure, whilst the other end of the spectrum sees Healthcare, Oil & Gas, Retail and Personal & Household goods among the straddlers – with Tesco (-1.5%) and Marks & Spencer (-5.3%) weighing on the latter two following trading updates. In terms of other individual movers, BT (+0.5%) trades in the green amid reports DAZN is nearing a deal to buy BT Sport for around USD 800mln, a could be reached as soon as this month but has not been finalized. Turning to analyst commentary: Morgan Stanley’s clients have aligned themselves to the view that European equities will likely perform better than US counterparts. 45% of respondents see Financials as the top-performing sector this year, 14% preferred Tech which would be the lowest score in over six years.
Top European News
- Johnson Buys Time With Apology But U.K. Tory Rage Simmers
- U.K. Retailers Slide as Updates Show Lingering Impact of Virus
- Wood Group Plans Sale of Built Environment Unit Next Quarter
- Just Eat Advisers Pitching Grubhub Sale or Take-Private: Sources
In FX, the Dollar has weakened further in wake of Wednesday’s US inflation data as ‘buy rumour sell fact’ dynamics are compounded by more position paring and increasingly bearish technical impulses to outweigh fundamental factors that seem supportive, on paper or in theory. Indeed, the index only mustered enough recovery momentum to reach 95.022 on the back of hawkish Fed commentary and some short covering before retreating through the psychological level, then yesterday’s 94.903 low and another trough from late 2021 at 94.824 (November 11 base) to 94.710, thus far and leaving little bar the 100 DMA, at 94.675 today, in terms of support ahead of 94.500. However, the flagging Greenback could get a fillip via PPI and/or IJC, if not the next round of Fed speakers and final leg of this week’s auction remit in the form of Usd 22 bn long bonds.
- NZD/AUD - A change in the running order down under where the Kiwi has overtaken the Aussie irrespective of bullish calls on the Aud/Nzd cross from MS, with Nzd/Usd breaching the 50 DMA around 0.6860 on the way to 0.6884 and Aud/Usd scaling the 100 DMA at 0.7288 then 0.7300 before fading at 0.7314.
- GBP/EUR/CHF/CAD/JPY - Also extracting more impetus at the expense of the Buck, but to varying degrees as Sterling continues to shrug aside ongoing Tory party turmoil to attain 1.3700+ status and surpass the 200 DMA that stands at 1.3737, while the Euro has overcome Fib resistance around 1.1440, plus any semi-psychological reticence at 1.1450 to reach 1.1478 and the Franc is now closer to 0.9100 than 0.9150. Elsewhere, crude is still providing the Loonie with an incentive to climb and Usd/Cad has recoiled even further from early 2022 peaks beneath 1.2500 as a result, and the Yen is around 114.50 with scope for a stronger retracement to test the 55 DMA, at 114.22.
- SCANDI/EM - Some signs of fatigue as the Nok stalls on the edge of 9.9000 against the Eur in tandem with Brent just a few cents over Usd 85/brl, but the Czk has recorded fresh decade-plus highs vs the single currency following remarks from CNB chief Rusnok on the need to keep tightening and acknowledging that this may culminate in Koruna appreciation. The Cnh and Cny are firmer vs the Usd pre-Chinese trade and GDP data either side of the weekend, but the Rub is lagging again as the Kremlin concludes that there was no progress in talks between Russia and the West, but the Try is underperforming again with headwinds from elevated oil prices and regardless of a marked pick up in Turkish ip.
In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month contracts have conformed to the indecisive mood across the markets, although the benchmarks received a mild uplift as the Dollar receded in early European hours. As it stands, the WTI Feb and Brent Mar contract both reside within USD 0.80/bbl ranges near USD 82.50/bbl and USD 84.50/bbl respectively. News flow for the complex has been quiet and participants are on the lookout for the next catalyst, potentially in the form of US jobless claims/PPI amid multiple speakers, although the rise in APAC COVID cases remains a continuous headwind on demand for now – particularly in China. On the geopolitical front, Russian-backed troops have reportedly begun pulling out of the 1.6mln BPD Kazakh territory, but Moscow’s tensions with the West do not seem to abate. Russia's Kremlin suggested talks with the West were "unsuccessful" – which comes after NATO’s Secretary-General yesterday suggested there is a real risk of a new armed conflict in Europe. Elsewhere, spot gold has drifted off best levels as the DXY found a floor, for now – with the closest support yesterday’s USD 1,813/oz low ahead of the 50 and 21 DMAs at USD 1,807/oz and USD 1,806.50/oz respectively. LME copper has also pulled back from yesterday’s best levels to levels under USD 10,000/t as the mood remains cautious, although, copper prices in Shanghai rose to over a two-month high as it played catch-up to LME yesterday.
US Event Calendar
- 8:30am: Dec. PPI Final Demand YoY, est. 9.8%, prior 9.6%; MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.8%
- 8:30am: Dec. PPI Ex Food and Energy YoY, est. 8.0%, prior 7.7%; MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.7%
- 8:30am: Jan. Continuing Claims, est. 1.73m, prior 1.75m
- 8:30am: Jan. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 200,000, prior 207,000
DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap
Today I have a first. I have two MRI scans. A fresh one on my back and one on my right knee which gave way as I was rehabbing (squats and lunges) the left knee after recent surgery. In my fifth decade of playing sport averagely, but vigorously, it’s all catching up with me very quickly. I’ve exhausted all strengthening exercise routines and injections on my back and the pain gets worse. My surgeon does not want to operate but we will see if he changes his mind after today. If he says play less golf I will walk out mid-meeting even if he may be medically correct. In contrast my knee surgeon is an avid skier and he keeps on doing things to prolong my skiing career even though I’ve said to him that I just really care about golf. So I’ll soon be looking for an avid golfer who just happens to be a back surgeon.
Talking of confirmation bias, if you did an MRI scan of US inflation yesterday you’d find things to support both sides of the debate which is surprising when it hit 7% YoY and the highest since 1982 when Fed Funds were more than 13% rather than close to zero as they are today. So a slightly different real rate to back then. In fact the real rate is through any level seen in the 1970s and is only comparable to WWII levels. Back to CPI and the YoY number was in line with expectations, but core and MoM figures were all a bit firmer than expected. However, the beats were small enough that the data didn’t significantly change the outlook for monetary policy, with Fed funds futures still pricing in an 89% chance of a March hike, which is roughly around where it’d been over the preceding days.
Looking at the details of the release, (our US econ team’s full wrap here) headline month-on-month number came in at +0.5% in December (vs. +0.4% expected), which is the 8thtime in the last 10 months that the print has come in above the consensus expectations on Bloomberg. However, that does still mark a deceleration from the +0.9% and +0.8% monthly growth in October and November respectively. The core CPI reading was also a touch stronger than anticipated, with the monthly print at +0.6% (vs. +0.5% expected), thus sending the annual core CPI measure up to +5.5% (vs. +5.4% expected) and its highest since 1991. Diving into some of the key sub-components, Covid-era favorite used cars and trucks grew +3.5% MoM. More concerning for policymakers, is the continued growth in persistent measures such as shelter, with primary and owners’ equivalent rent both increasing +0.4% MoM. If you were expecting Omicron to slow down American holiday travel, think again, lodging away from home and airfares both posted large increases, +1.2% and +2.7%, respectively. Most forecasters think the peak for inflation is sometime soon, but the pace of the glide path is open to debate. This is a topic we covered in yesterday’s CoTD, found here.
Even though Treasuries had rallied strongly in the immediate aftermath of the report, with the 10yr yield falling back to 1.709% at the intraday low, yields pared back those losses to end the session basically unchanged at 1.74% (+0.7bps). CPI was expected to be bad and therefore the ability to shock was relatively low.
However this tame overall move masked a divergence between a sharp bounceback in the 10yr real yield (+7.5bps) and a decline in inflation breakevens (-7.5bps) as the worst fears from the report weren’t realised. Over in Europe however, there was a more sustained rally, with yields on 10yr bunds down -3.2bps to -0.06%, having come very close in recent days to moving back into positive territory for the first time since May 2019. Furthermore, there was a continued divergence between the two regions at the front end of the curve, with the gap between 2yr yields on Treasuries and bunds widening to 153bps yesterday, which is the biggest since the pandemic began.
Staying with bonds, our US econ and Rates strategy team published a joint piece last night outlining their early expectations for QT, here.
For equities, the lack of an inflation surprise meant that they got a continued reprieve following last week’s selloff, with the S&P 500 (+0.28%) advancing for a 2nd day running for the first time this year, whilst in Europe the STOXX 600 (+0.65%) posted an even stronger advance. Megacap tech stocks were a noticeable outperformer, with the FANG+ index gaining +1.25%, whilst in Europe the STOXX Banks index (+1.22%) hit a fresh 3-year high.
On the topic of inflationary pressures, one asset that continued its upward march was oil yesterday, with Brent Crude (+1.13%), just missing its first close above $85/bbl since October yesterday. Bear in mind it was only 6 weeks earlier that Brent hit its post-Omicron closing low, just beneath $69/bbl, so it’s now up by more than $16/bbl over that period. WTI (+1.75%) saw a similar increase yesterday, which won’t be welcome news to those who’d hoped the recent decline in energy prices late last year would offer some relief on the inflation front. That said, WTI oil is making a great case to be the top-performing major asset for a second year running at the minute, having advanced by over +10% since the start of the year..
This morning, Asian markets are mostly trading lower. The Nikkei (-0.91%) is leading losses in the region, followed by the CSI (-0.55%), Shanghai Composite (-0.31% ) and Kospi (-0.19%). Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index (+0.07%) is swinging between gains and losses. In stock news, Cruise operator Genting Hong Kong Ltd nosedived by a record 56%, after it resumed trading today following last week's suspension as the company indicated the possibility of default. Looking forward, US equity futures are indicating a weak start with the S&P 500 (-0.15%), Nasdaq (-0.26%) and Dow Jones (-0.11%) contracts trading in the red.
On the Covid front, there was further good news from the UK as the latest wave showed further signs of ebbing. For the UK as a whole, the total number of reported cases over the last 7 days is now down -19% compared with the previous 7 day period, whilst in England the number of Covid patients in a mechanical ventilation bed has dropped to its lowest in almost 3 months, before we’d even heard of the Omicron variant.
For those following credit, our colleagues in the European Leveraged Finance Research team have just published their quarterly top trade ideas. You can find the report here.
Looking at yesterday’s other data, Euro Area industrial production grew by +2.3% in November (vs. +0.3% expected), although the October reading was revised down to show a -1.3% contraction.
To the day ahead now, and one of the highlights will be Fed Governor Brainard’s nomination hearing at the Senate Banking committee to become Fed Vice Chair. Other central bank speakers include the Fed’s Barkin and Evans, ECB Vice President de Guindos and the ECB’s Elderson, along with the BoE’s Mann. Separately, data releases from the US include December’s PPI and the weekly initial jobless claims, whilst there’s also Italy’s industrial production for November.
Loonie Slides After Bank Of Canada Keeps Rate Unchanged, Says “Economic Slack Now Absorbed”
Loonie Slides After Bank Of Canada Keeps Rate Unchanged, Says "Economic Slack Now Absorbed"
For once, the majority of forecasters was correct, and moments ago the Bank of Canada kept rates unchanged at 0.25, in line with that 24 of 31 analyst
For once, the majority of forecasters was correct, and moments ago the Bank of Canada kept rates unchanged at 0.25, in line with that 24 of 31 analysts expected. The bank also said that while it is keeping holdings on its balance sheet constant, once it begins rising interest rates, it "will consider exiting the reinvestment phase and reducing the size of its balance sheet by allowing roll-off of maturing Government of Canada bonds."
In its statement, the Bank of Canada said that with overall economic slack now absorbed, "the Bank has removed its exceptional forward guidance on its policy interest rate" but the Bank is continuing its reinvestment phase, keeping its overall holdings of Government of Canada bonds roughly constant
Looking ahead, the Governing Council expects interest rates will need to increase, with the timing and pace of those increases guided by the Bank’s commitment to achieving the 2% inflation target.
Some more from the BoC:
The global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is strong but uneven. The US economy is growing robustly while growth in some other regions appears more moderate, especially in China due to current weakness in its property sector. Strong global demand for goods combined with supply bottlenecks that hinder production and transportation are pushing up inflation in most regions. As well, oil prices have rebounded to well above pre-pandemic levels following a decline at the onset of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Financial conditions remain broadly accommodative but have tightened with growing expectations that monetary policy will normalize sooner than was anticipated, and with rising geopolitical tensions. Overall, the Bank projects global GDP growth to moderate from 6¾ % in 2021 to about 3½ % in 2022 and 2023.
On inflation, the BoC said that "CPI inflation remains well above the target range and core measures of inflation have edged up since October. Persistent supply constraints are feeding through to a broader range of goods prices and, combined with higher food and energy prices, are expected to keep CPI inflation close to 5% in the first half of 2022. As supply shortages diminish, inflation is expected to decline reasonably quickly to about 3% by the end of this year and then gradually ease towards the target over the projection period. Near-term inflation expectations have moved up, but longer-run expectations remain anchored on the 2% target. The Bank will use its monetary policy tools to ensure that higher near-term inflation expectations do not become embedded in ongoing inflation."
The central bank also said that it will keep its holdings of Government of Canada bonds on its balance sheet roughly constant at least until it begins to raise the policy interest rate. At that time, the Governing Council will consider exiting the reinvestment phase and reducing the size of its balance sheet by allowing roll-off of maturing Government of Canada bonds.
A redline comparison of the BoC statement:
Commenting on the move, Bloomberg's Ven Ram writes that this is a lot more dovish outcome from the Bank of Canada than one might have imagined. Not only did the central bank hold its rate, but it didn’t paint itself into a corner on when it may push the button: “Looking ahead, the Governing Council expects interest rates will need to increase, with the timing and pace of those increases guided by the Bank’s commitment to achieving the 2% inflation target.”
Add to that this guidance on balance-sheet runoff: “The Bank will keep its holdings of Government of Canada bonds on its balance sheet roughly constant at least until it begins to raise the policy interest rate. At that time, the Governing Council will consider exiting the reinvestment phase and reducing the size of its balance sheet by allowing roll-off of maturing Government of Canada bonds.”
Net-net this isn’t screaming, “Buy the loonie” and sure enough, in immediate reaction, the canada 2Y yields declined and the loonie weakened, dropping from 1.2560 before the BOC to 1.2640 before paring some of the losses, amid some trader disappointment that the bank did not hike.
* * * Earlier:
In what may be a teaser of what to expect from the Fed later today, the Bank of Canada rate decision is due at 10:00am EST followed by Governor Macklem press conference at 11:00am EST. While the bank is expected to leave rates unchanged, there is the risk of a surprise rate hike. Indeed, about a quarter, or 7/31 analysts, surveyed by Reuters expect a hike. If left unchanged, attention turns to guidance.
Below is a recap of what to expect from the BOC courtesy of Newsquawk
- The Bank of Canada is expected to leave rates unchanged at 0.25% although there is the risk for a hike with 7/31 surveyed analysts expecting a 25bp hike to 0.50% at the January meeting, ahead of the current BoC guidance for the middle quarters of 2022.
- If the rate is left unchanged, attention turns to guidance to see whether this is bought forward to the end of Q1 (ie March).
- Market pricing looks for rates to be left unchanged, although this has unwound heavily from last week which saw up to a 90% chance of a 25bp hike in January after the BoC survey and CPI data.
- The MPR will also be released, analysts at TD securities see 2022 growth being revised lower, while inflation is expected to be revised 0.1% higher for 2022 but revised down by 0.1% in 2023.
LIFT-OFF: The latest Reuters survey saw analysts generally believe the BoC will leave rates unchanged in January, although 7 of 31 surveyed expect a hike will occur. Therefore, the expectation for January is for rates to be left unchanged, although the risk of a hike is there. If the rate is left unchanged, attention will turn to its forward guidance, which currently looks for lift-off “sometime in the middle quarters of 2022”. If it is bought forward to the end of Q1, it will signal a March lift-off is coming. Analysts are currently split on whether the BoC will hike in March with 16/31 calling for rates to be left unchanged again, while the other 15 expect it will rise to 0.50% or more, however, all analysts noted the risk to the pace of rate hikes this year is that they come faster than expected. The median forecast is for the BoC to raise rates to 0.75% by the end of Q2 2022.
SURVEYS: The Business Outlook Survey sounded the alarm on inflation with 67% of firms expecting inflation to be above 3% over the next two years, although most predict it will return to target within one to three years. It also noted that demand and supply bottlenecks are expected to keep upward pressure on prices over the year ahead. However, the overall survey saw a continued improvement in business sentiment to see the indicator hit a record high, although it was held back by labour shortages and supply chain issues. Note, the Canadian labour market is back at pre-pandemic levels and has been for a while. A separate BoC survey showed consumer inflation expectations hitting a record high of 4.89% over the next year, noting most people are more concerned about inflation post-COVID than before, where consumers believe it is more difficult to control. Analysts at ING highlight that the latest survey saw respondents note they expect supply disruptions through H2 this year and that labour shortages are constraining output. ING write “where the economic outlook is robust, the jobs market is red hot and inflation is at generational highs, we see little reason for the BoC to delay tightening monetary policy.” Meanwhile, ING adds that Ontario has announced a three-step plan to allow a full reopening from COVID restrictions from the end of January “which should be the final green light for the central bank to hike rates 25bps”.
INFLATION: The latest CPI report saw the headline M/M and Y/Y metrics in line with expectations, although the core Y /Y measure saw a sharp rise to 4.0%, while the BoC eyed measures rose to 2.93% from 2.73%. Analysts at RBC, who expect the Bank to leave rates unchanged at this meeting, say “Inflation trends have evolved largely in line with the BoC’ s forecasts from the October Monetary Policy Report (4.8% vs actual 4.7% for Q4)”. However, this still shows price growth above the 2% target rate and RBC’s own tracking suggests not all that pressure can be explained by pandemicrelated distortions. As such, RBC expects rates to rise soon and believe the BoC will use this meeting to signal the start of lift-off.
MPR: The MPR will also be released, analysts at TD securities see 2022 growth being revised lower, while inflation is expected to be revised higher for 2022, before being revised marginally lower in 2023. In October, the MPR saw 2021 growth at 5.1%, 2022 at 4.3%, and 2023 at 3.7%. CPI was seen at 3.4% for 2021, while 2022 is expected to be revised higher to 3.5% (prev. 3.4%), and 2023 CPI is expected to be revised down to 2.2% from 2.3%. In the October MPR, the output gap was estimated at about -2.25% to -1.25% and is expected to close sometime in the middle quarters of 2022
Mainstream Suddenly Realizes Raising Interest Rates In A World Buried In Debt Might Be A Problem
Mainstream Suddenly Realizes Raising Interest Rates In A World Buried In Debt Might Be A Problem
Authored by Michael Maharrey via SchiffGold.com,
The Federal Reserve is talking about raising interest rates. But the US economy is buried under
The Federal Reserve is talking about raising interest rates. But the US economy is buried under piles of debt. I’ve been asking how this is going to work for months. Apparently, the question has finally occurred to the mainstream.
A CNBC article declared, “Fed rate hikes will intensify a global debt crisis, research warns.”
Well, yeah. Duh.
According to the study came from a UK non-profit the Jubilee Debt Campaign, debt payments rose in developing countries by 120% between 2010 and 2021. They are currently at their highest levels since 2001.
The sharp increase in debt payments is hindering countries’ economic recovery from the pandemic, the report suggested, and rising US and global interest rates in 2022 could exacerbate the problem for many lower income countries.”
The study and the CNBC article are really a pitch for debt cancellation, but their narrative swerves into an unpleasant truth for US policymakers. Raising interest rates in a world awash in red ink is going to be a problem. And not just for “developing countries.”
In December alone, the federal government spent $508 billion. The was the highest December spending level ever. Through the first three months of fiscal 2022, the federal government has already spent $1.43 trillion. That’s a record for the first quarter of any fiscal year.
Raising interest rates will drastically increase the cost of servicing all of that debt. And it will increase the cost of borrowing more money for the Biden spending coming down the pike.
In the fiscal year 2020, Uncle Sam spent $345 billion in net interest payments alone, despite near-zero interest rates. The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found that even a 2% increase in interest rates would cause net interest payments to rise to a whopping $750 billion. And this estimate was calculated before the passage of the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. That was followed up with a big surge in interest rates on US Treasuries. In other words, $750 billion underestimates the cost.
On top of that, American consumers are buried under debt. Consumer debt jumped 11% year-on-year in November. It was the biggest single-month jump in consumer debt in 20 years. Total consumer debt now stands at over $4.41 trillion. And that doesn’t include mortgages.
Revolving debt – primarily credit card balances – grew by a staggering 23.4% year-on-year in November. That was the biggest increase since 1998.
And that’s not all. Businesses and corporations are also leveraged to the hilt.
The year 2020 set a record for corporate debt issuance with $2.28 trillion of bonds and loans, comprising both new bonds and bonds issued to refinance existing debt.
All of this debt is a feature of the Fed’s loose monetary policy - not a bug.
The Federal Reserve and the US government have built a post-pandemic “economic recovery” on stimulus and debt. It is predicated on consumers spending stimulus money borrowed and handed out by the federal government or running up their own credit cards.
Now, the Fed is threatening to turn off that easy money spigot. How is that going to work? How will consumers buried under more than $1 trillion in credit card debt pay those balances down with interest rates rising? With rising rates, minimum payments will rise. It will cost more just to pay the interest on the outstanding balances.
Overleveraged companies have the same problem.
And so does the US government.
This does not bode well for an economy that depends on borrowing and spending to sustain itself.
The only reason Americans can borrow money is because the Fed is enabling them. It holds interest rates artificially low. That’s how the economy works. And that’s why I think the Fed will ultimately relent on any move it makes toward tighter monetary policy. As Peter Schiff put it, the Fed can’t do what it’s claiming it will do.
Futures Surge After Microsoft Reversal With All Eyes On Fed
Futures Surge After Microsoft Reversal With All Eyes On Fed
Yesterday, after Microsoft stock initially slumped despite beating across the board as the skeptical market latched on to even the smallest weakness to hammer the stock, dragging…
Yesterday, after Microsoft stock initially slumped despite beating across the board as the skeptical market latched on to even the smallest weakness to hammer the stock, dragging down both the Nasdaq and S&P futures close to session lows, we said that the reaction was premature and would reverse, as the earnings release did not include guidance and would promptly reverse once the company revealed its cloud guidance in its conference call a little over an hour later. Well, that's precisely what happened and after first tumbling as much as 5% after hours, the 2nd largest US company (MSFT has $2.2 trillion in market cap) reversed all losses and is now trading solidly in the green, sparking broader tech momentum, lifting the Nasdaq as much as 2.1% this morning and (briefly) helping traders forget that today at 2pm the Fed is expected to unveil a March rate hike and balance sheet runoff a few months later.
Indeed, contracts on the Nasdaq 100 led broad-based gains - which would have been gaping losses had MSFT failed to reverse late on Tuesday - as U.S. stock futures rallied, with investors bracing for the Federal Reserve’s decision and preparing for a slew of earnings from companies including Tesla, Intel and Boeing. Nasdaq 100 futures jumped as much as 2.1% while S&P 500 and Dow Jones futures also rallied. The VIX fell from a one-year high, snapping six days of gains. Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 rose 2% in the biggest jump in seven weeks. 10Y TSY yields rose to 1.79% with the Fed’s policy announcement in the limelight; the dollar was slightly higher, as was Bitcoin while Brent oil traded just shy of $90 on its way to triple digits.
Of course, the big event today is the Fed policy statement at 2pm ET and press conference 2:30pm, which are expected to ratify expectations for rate increases beginning in March
- Short-term interest rate futures price in just 1bp of rate-hike premium for January meeting but fully price in 25bp for March
- Commentary on shrinking the central bank’s balance sheet is also anticipated
We will have a detailed post on what to expect from the Fed shortly.
“We expect inflation to remain high and interest rates to rise more than investors are expecting today,” said Norbert Frey, head of portfolio management at Fuerst Fugger Privatbank. “A rising interest rate environment is leading to a revaluation of all business models and we think 2022 can be a year of value stocks.”
While equities have had had a rocky start to 2022 as bond yields rose with investors anticipate tighter policy from the Fed, while Russia-U.S. tension added to investor concerns. Now, strategists from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to Citigroup Inc. are saying it’s time to buy the dip.
“Any further significant weakness at the index level should be seen as a buying opportunity, in our view,” Goldman strategists including Peter Oppenheimer wrote in a note on Wednesday.
In U.S. premarket trading, Microsoft Corp rose, with analysts positive on the software maker’s outlook for growth for its Azure cloud-computing services. Shares gained 4.1% in U.S. premarket trading after initially tumbling before the market heard the company's strong cloud guidance, with analysts positive on the software maker’s outlook for growth for its Azure cloud-computing services. Analysts also highlighted the company’s commercial bookings and a supportive IT spending backdrop. Texas Instruments shares also rose 4% after the chipmaker gave a first-quarter forecast that was stronger than expected, with analysts noting the company’s conservatism amid a still supportive demand backdrop. Texas Instruments also reported its fourth-quarter results. Other notable premarket movers:
- Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks in Europe and the U.S. are trading higher as Bitcoin kept regaining ground ahead of the Federal Reserve decision. Marathon Digital (MARA US) +6%, (RIOT US) Riot Blockchain +5%, (COIN US) Coinbase +3.4%.
- Electric vehicle stocks climb in U.S. premarket trading ahead of Tesla’s fourth-quarter results due Wednesday after the market close. Rivian (RIVN US) +3.5%; Tesla (TSLA US) +4.4%; Nikola (NKLA US) +3.6%.
- Moderna’s (MRNA US) stock valuation “makes a lot more sense” after more than halving since Deutsche Bank initiated in October, prompting the broker to upgrade the vaccine maker to hold from sell. Shares gain 4.6% premarket.
- Capital One (COF US) reported adjusted earnings per share for the fourth quarter that beat the average analyst estimate. Shares dropped postmarket, with higher expenses “the only wrinkle” in the bank’s quarter, according to Vital Knowledge.
- Stride (LRN US) shares gained 7% postmarket Tuesday after the technology-based education company boosted its revenue forecast for the full year. The guidance beat the average
Global stocks have shed about 7% in January, on track for the worst month since the pandemic roiled markets back in 2020. Some strategists are optimistic about the outlook following the declines.
“The growth-policy trade-off may be less favourable, yet we think a lot of bad news is now priced in,” Emmanuel Cau, head of European equity strategy at Barclays Plc, wrote in a note. “Starts of policy normalisation typically bring higher volatility but rarely terminate bull markets, although higher-than-usual P/E multiples mean equities are more rates-sensitive this time.”
In the latest developments involving Russia and Ukraine, president Joe Biden said he would consider personally sanctioning Vladimir Putin if he orders an invasion of Ukraine, escalating efforts to deter the Russian leader from war. In response, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov signaled that Moscow will respond to any “aggressive” action by the U.S. and its European allies as Germany and France pursue efforts to broker a peaceful resolution to the tensions over Ukraine.
European equities rally, brushing off geopolitical tensions, with most indexes clawing back roughly 3/4 of Monday’s sharp sell off to rise over 2%. Europe’s Stoxx 600 adds as much as 2% with travel, energy, miners and autos leading what is broad sectoral support. Here are some of the biggest European movers today:
- Vestas Wind Systems shares rise as much as 6%, reversing an earlier decline, after guidance for 2022 was met with relief. Handelsbanken analysts said the guidance miss was unsurprising, and the market likely feared it would be worse.
- Other European renewables stocks -- which have been hit hard in the recent selloff -- gain after Vestas’ update, rebounding after declines triggered by Siemens Gamesa’s profit warning last week.
- Travel and leisure is the best-performing sector among Stoxx 600 groups on Wednesday. Airlines including Lufthansa and IAG lead gains, with the German carrier upgraded to buy at Stifel.
- AutoStore advances after being raised to buy at Citi. The upgrade follows a slump of more than 50% amid uncertainty regarding patent litigation and a broader sell-off in tech stocks.
- De Longhi rises as much as 8.9%, the most intraday since March 2021, after Equita upgrades to buy from hold, citing recent underperformance and more confidence in the company’s coffee business.
- Essity falls the most since Oct. 2020 after the Swedish hygiene products manufacturer reported weaker-than-expected earnings and announced further price hikes in 2022.
- Orpea shares continued their descent after its CEO was summoned to the French minister for elderly policy. The French nursing home operator also denied reports it had offered a journalist money to not publish a book critical of the company.
- Barry Callebaut shares fell, reversing earlier gains, after reporting 1Q sales. Citi noted “some more caution” on commodities amid waning supply of cocoa beans.
Earlier in the session, stocks in Asia were mixed after slumping across the board in the previous session, as investors awaited the Federal Reserve’s policy decision. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was down 0.1%, on track to fall for a fourth day, with advances in communication services and financials offsetting losses in technology shares. Benchmarks in China, Hong Kong and Singapore were among the gainers, while Japan’s Topix Index fell deeper into correction territory. Asian equities have tumbled this month amid heightened volatility on the prospect of U.S. monetary-policy tightening, with the Fed expected to telegraph a March interest-rate hike on Wednesday. Worries over rising rates sent a gauge of the region’s tech hardware stocks to its lowest in months on Wednesday, with chipmakers TSMC and Samsung Electronics among the biggest drags. “There’s a lot of noise in the market right now, and I don’t think anyone’s confident that this is the bottom, because we aren’t sure about Fed policy yet,” said Kyle Rodda, analyst at IG Markets. Despite the broader drop in tech shares, Tencent advanced on dip-buying, helping to boost the Hang Seng Tech Index. The CSI 300 Index whipsawed to narrowly avoid entering a bear market
Fixed income takes a back seat. Curves adopt a modest bear steepening theme with gilts underperforming both bunds and USTs by 1-2bps. Eurodollars bear flatten a touch ahead of today’s FOMC meeting. Peripheral and semi-core spreads narrow with Italy, Belgium and France outperforming.
Treasuries are under pressure in early U.S. trade with U.S. stock index futures higher by 1%-2%, European benchmarks by 2%-3%, with travel, energy, miners and autos leading a broad advance. Front-end yields cheaper by more than 2bp with most curve spreads within 1bp of Tuesday’s close; 10-year yields around 1.785%, outperforming gilts by ~1bp. Focal point of U.S. day is Fed policy decision and Chair Powell news conference. Auction cycle pauses for Fed, concluding with 7-year notes Thursday. The stellar 2Y & 5Y auctions are underwater after stopping through (the 5Y produced record-low dealer award), There is no Fed POMO today. IG dollar issuance slate empty so far and expected to remain slim; Treasury auctions resume with $53b 7-year note sale on Thursday, following strong demand for 2- and 5-year notes earlier this week.
In FX, Bloomberg Dollar Spot is little changed but mixed price action across much of G-10. USD/JPY rises through 114, EUR/USD dips back onto a 1.12-handle. Commodity currencies trade well as crude futures drift back toward Monday’s highs.
Bitcoin extended its gains for the week, trading near $38,000.
In commodities, WTI adds 0.6%, regaining a $86-handle after the latest APIR report showed a draw in U.S. stockpiles and investors tracked tensions over Ukraine for signs the conflict may disrupt supplies. Brent climbs to about $89. Spot gold trades a tight range near $1,846/oz. Most base metals are well bid, lead by LME copper and tin; aluminum underperforms.
Looking at the day ahead now, the main highlight will be the aforementioned Federal Reserve decision and Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference, whilst there’s also a policy decision from the Bank of Canada. On the data side, we’ve got US new home sales for December, along with the preliminary December reading of wholesale inventories. Meanwhile earnings releases include Tesla, Abbott Laboratories, Intel, AT&T and Boeing.
- S&P 500 futures up 1.2% to 4,399.50
- STOXX Europe 600 up 1.8% to 467.79
- MXAP down 0.1% to 186.79
- MXAPJ little changed at 612.28
- Nikkei down 0.4% to 27,011.33
- Topix down 0.3% to 1,891.85
- Hang Seng Index up 0.2% to 24,289.90
- Shanghai Composite up 0.7% to 3,455.67
- Sensex up 0.6% to 57,858.15
- Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 2.5% to 6,961.63
- Kospi down 0.4% to 2,709.24
- German 10Y yield little changed at -0.08%
- Euro down 0.2% to $1.1284
- Brent Futures up 0.8% to $88.92/bbl
- Gold spot down 0.1% to $1,846.69
- U.S. Dollar Index up 0.15% to 96.09
Top Overnight News from Bloomberg
- Federal Reserve policy makers are poised to signal plans for their first interest rate hike since 2018 and discuss shrinking their bloated balance sheet as they seek to restrain the hottest inflation in nearly 40 years
- The Treasury market appears more likely to respond in a logical way to Wednesday’s Federal Reserve communications because of indications that the past week’s U.S. stock-market bloodbath cleared out a crowded camp of bets on higher yields
- The employment cost index, which Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell cited in December as a key reason for the central bank’s pivot to a more aggressive stance on inflation, is seen registering a fourth-quarter gain nearly on par with the record increase in the prior three months
- Lithuanian Central Bank Governor Gediminas Simkus warned that Europe’s economy would suffer a significant blow if tensions escalate further between Russia and Ukraine, urging politicians to step up efforts to deter hostilities
- OPEC and its allies are expected by delegates to stick to their plan and ratify another modest production increase next week as they try to satisfy rebounding oil demand
A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk
In Asian trading, APAC markets were subdued ahead of the FOMC and holiday-quietened conditions. Nikkei 225 (-0.4%) oscillated around the 27k level after record daily COVID-19 cases. KOSPI (-0.4%) faded opening gains with attention on earnings. Hang Seng (+0.2%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.7%) were mixed as PBoC liquidity efforts and government support signals were offset as Evergrande default woes resurfaced.
Top Asian News
- Foreigners Cash Out of Key Asian Emerging Markets Before Fed
- China to Start Three-Year Crackdown on Money Laundering
- China Criticizes U.S. Diplomats Seeking Exit Over Covid Rules
- China South City Bonds Rally as Consent Given to Extend 2022s
European bourses are firmer in an extension of yesterday's upside, with the Stoxx 600 +2.0% on the session but still lower on the week. US futures are firmer across the board with the NQ, +2.0%, outpacing and benefitting from MSFT post earnings, +4.0% in pre-market. European sectors are all in the green with Travel & Leisure outperforming amid broker action while Oil & Gas is a relatively close second given crude action. EU antitrust decision against Intel (INTC) has been annulled in part by the EU General Court. Microsoft (MSFT) Q2 2022 (USD): EPS 2.48 (exp. 2.31), Revenue 51.73bln (exp. 50.88bln). Co. sees Q3 product revenue between USD 15.6bln-15.8bln and expects Azure revenue growth to increase significantly, while it guides Q3 rev. USD 48.5bln-49.3bln (implied) vs exp. USD 47.7bln. +4.0% in the pre-market.
Top European News
- Inflation Outlook No Reason for ECB to Change Track: Simkus
- Italy Asks Firms Not to Meet With Putin Amid Ukraine Crisis
- Finland ‘Wise’ to Sell Long-Maturity Debt Ahead of ECB Tapering
- Europe Travel Stocks Gain on Airlines Boost; Lufthansa Upgraded
In FX, Loonie loving risk recovery and WTI revival in run up to likely BoC hike. Aussie rebounds in absence of those away for a national holiday. Greenback stands firm awaiting something hawkish from the Fed. Kiwi hovering ahead of NZ CPI. -Pound pensive before Partygate findings are published. Rouble unable to benefit from Brent bounce as Russia begins big drills in Black Sea to keep geopolitical tensions elevated.
In commodities, WTI and Brent March futures have continued grinding higher despite quiet news flow as focus remains on geopolitics and the benchmarks also benefit from equity action. At best, WTI and Brent have surpassed USD 86.00/bbl and USD 89.00/bbl respectively thus far. Spot Gold remains contained amid relatively rangebound USD action while Silver is buoyed ahead of USD 24.00 /oz and touted resistance marks. US Private Energy Inventory Data (bbls): Crude -0.9mln (exp. -0.7mln), Gasoline +2.4mln (exp. +2.5mln),
Distillates -2.2mln (exp. -1.3mln), Cushing -1.0mln. Qatar's Emir is to meet US President Biden on Monday to discuss Afghanistan and contingency plans to supply natural gas to Europe in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Qatar Emir and US President Biden are to discuss additional Qatari gas supplies to Europe in the case of a Russian-Ukraine conflict at next week's discussions, via Reuters sources; Qatar has little spare gas for Europe as most gas is pre-sold.
- US State Department said the US hasn't seen the de-escalation that is necessary if diplomacy and dialogue with Russia is to prove successful, while US Department of Defense Spokesman Kirby said the US will not rule out adding further troops to the already 8,500 on alert.
- Ukraine Foreign Ministers says the proposals the US will send to Russia do not raise Ukraine's objections; subsequently, Moscow says received some answers to security guarantee proposals, but not in written form - awaiting further details.
- Ukrainian President Zelensky said the situation in the east is under control and they are working to establish that the meeting of Presidents of Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France takes place as soon as possible.
- Russian navy has commenced large-scale training in the Black Sea, according to Ifax.
- UK Foreign Minister Truss, when question if they would sanction Russia's Putin, says they are not ruling anything out.
- Ukraine envoy to Japan said that they are fully committed to a diplomatic solution to the current tensions with Russia, while the envoy also stated that a full-scale war is very difficult to expect although they may see more localised conflict.
US Event Calendar
- 7am: Jan. MBA Mortgage Applications, prior 2.3%
- 8:30am: Dec. Advance Goods Trade Balance, est. -$96b, prior -$97.8b, revised -$98b
- 8:30am: Dec. Retail Inventories MoM, est. 1.5%, prior 2.0%; Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 1.2%, prior 1.4%
- 10am: Dec. New Home Sales MoM, est. 2.1%, prior 12.4%; New Home Sales, est. 760,000, prior 744,000
- 2pm: FOMC Rate Decision
DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap
With markets awaiting today’s policy decision from the Federal Reserve, yesterday marked another volatile session that saw the resumption of the equity selloff as investor jitters remained at the prospect of monetary policy tightening alongside burgeoning geopolitical tensions. Indeed, in many ways it was a repetition of Monday’s session with a further bout of wild intraday swings. At the start, the S&P 500 sold off heavily after the US open to hit an intraday low of -2.79%, with the index back in correction territory. Then it recovered to actually move back into the green for a few minutes, before selling off in the last hour to finish the day down -1.22%, closing -9.18% off its all-time highs reached at the start of the year. With Fed policy so acutely driving risk assets in recent weeks, it sets up an interesting day of communications ahead for the FOMC.
On that front, the Fed are expected to telegraph the start of their latest hiking cycle today, and our US economists write in their preview (link here) that the meeting statement and Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference should confirm that lift-off in the policy rate is likely at the following meeting in March. It comes as the unemployment has now fallen back beneath 4% for the first time since the pandemic began, while CPI in December hit +7.0% year-on-year for the first time since 1982. Our economists’ baseline is for that March hike to be the first of 4 this year, although as they’ve written recently (link here) there is the tail risk of a more aggressive pace still. The market agrees: pricing liftoff for March and 3.96 total hikes through the rest of the year. Balance sheet policy will be of particular focus. Our US econ team believes the Fed will begin QT in Q3. The year-to-date selloff of real rates and equity markets began with the Fed surprising markets by how much they were already considering an early and aggressive use of QT to augment their tightening of policy, so any incremental information will be devoured. While it’s likely too early for the Fed to deliver specific QT details today, our economists believe it’s possible Chair Powell begins to socialise a range of potential QT outcomes to start the give-and-take involved with guiding market expectations. Also of interest will be whether Powell is asked about the possibility of a larger +50bps increase in rates at some point, which had been the topic of some speculation before the latest selloff should the Fed need to tighten financial conditions quickly.
Back to the equity selloff, and there wasn’t a consistent sectoral revival story to tell yesterday, with the volatility sending the VIX higher for a 6th consecutive session to 31.16pts, the longest run of gains in over a year. Tech ended the day as the worst performer, down -2.34%, after rallying in the middle of the session, and the NASDAQ finished the day down -2.28%. Energy (+3.96%) was the key outperformer on the other hand, followed by financials (+0.47%) as the only other sector that managed to finish the day higher. Those moves came as oil rebounded from Monday’s losses, with Brent crude (+2.24%) and WTI (+2.75%) both advancing. After the close we also got earnings from Microsoft, which beat analyst sales and earnings expectations. The stock was slightly higher in after-hours trading on the growth prospects of the company’s cloud computing services. Later today we’ll get Tesla’s earnings and Apple’s tomorrow.
Amidst the equity volatility, sovereign bonds were comparatively subdued again yesterday, with yields on 10yr Treasuries down a paltry -0.2bps to 1.77%. The yield curve managed to flatten, with the 2s10s slope down -4.8bps yesterday to 74.8bps, its lowest closing level in almost a month. This is one of a number of classic late-cycle indicators Jim mentions in the chartbook, and it’s worth noting that on average the 2s10s curve has flattened by around 80bps following the first year of a hiking cycle, so if the Fed does hike in March and the curve follows that historic playbook, we could be looking at an inversion within the next 12-18 months.
Overnight in Asia, equities are putting in a more mixed performance, with the Nikkei (-0.21%), the Kospi (-0.33%) and the Hang Seng (-0.14%) seeing modest falls, whilst the Shanghai Comp is up +0.14%. Futures are pointing to a more positive session in the US and Europe today however, with those on the S&P 50 (+0.20%) and the DAX (+0.49%) both moving higher.
Back in Europe, markets followed a very different playbook yesterday. Having not been open at the time of the late US recovery on Monday, European equities advanced across the board following their rout at the start of the week, and the STOXX 600 rose +0.71%. Meanwhile, with the ECB’s Governing Council not meeting until next week, sovereign bonds also diverged from the US, with yields on 10yr bunds (+2.7bps), OATs (+2.7bps) and gilts (+3.8bps) all moving higher on the day.
With tensions remaining high between Russia and the West over Ukraine, President Biden said in response to a question that the US would consider personal sanctions against President Putin in the event of a Russia invasion. Sanctions against heads of state are an extremely rare step, but the US and others have already threatened severe sanctions if an invasion took place.
On the data side, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index for January fell a bit less than expected to 113.8 (vs. 112.2 expected). It came as the present situation reading rose to 148.2, but the expectations measure fell to 90.8. Separately in Germany, the Ifo’s business climate indicator in January rose to 95.7 (vs. 94.5 expected), marking the first increase in the indicator after a run of 6 consecutive monthly declines.
Finally, the IMF released their World Economic Outlook update yesterday, in which they downgraded their global growth forecast for 2022 to +4.4% (vs. +4.9% in October). That included cuts to the projections for both the advanced and emerging market economies, with the US and China among those seeing the biggest downgrades. Indeed, the US forecast for this year was cut to +4.0% (vs. +5.2% in October), and China’s was cut to +4.8% (vs. +5.6% in October). One marginal respite was that 2023 did see a modest upgrade, with global growth now projected at +3.8% (vs. +3.6% in October).
To the day ahead now, and the main highlight will be the aforementioned Federal Reserve decision and Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference, whilst there’s also a policy decision from the Bank of Canada. On the data side, we’ve got US new home sales for December, along with the preliminary December reading of wholesale inventories. Meanwhile earnings releases include Tesla, Abbott Laboratories, Intel, AT&T and Boeing.
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