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Futures Jump After Biden Says Trump’s China Tariffs Under Consideration

Futures Jump After Biden Says Trump’s China Tariffs Under Consideration

US stock futures advanced for a second day after staging a furious…

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Futures Jump After Biden Says Trump's China Tariffs Under Consideration

US stock futures advanced for a second day after staging a furious rally late on Friday having slumped into a bear market just hours earlier, after President Joe Biden said China tariffs imposed by the Trump administration were under consideration, although concerns about hawkish central banks and record Covid cases in Beijing continued to weigh on the sentiment.  Contracts on the S&P 500 were up 1% by 7:15 a.m. in New York, trimming earlier gains of as much as 1.4% following remarks from Christine Lagarde that the European Central Bank is likely to start raising interest rates in July and exit sub-zero territory by the end of September which sent the euro sharply higher and hit the USD. Meanwhile, Beijing and Tianjin continue to ramp up Covid restrictions as cases climbed. Nasdaq futures also jumped, rising 1.1%. Europe rose 0.6% while Asian stocks closed mostly in the green, with Nikkei +1% and Hang Seng -1.2%. The dollar and Treasuries retreated, while bitcoin jumped to $30,500 as the crypto rout appears over.

Traders interpreted Biden’s comments that he’ll discuss the US tariffs on Chinese imports with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen when he returns from his Asia trip as a signal there could be a reversal of some Trump-imposed measures, sparking a risk-on rally. 

“Today’s appetite for risk has been sparked by the US President’s announcement that trade tariffs imposed on China by the previous Trump administration will be discussed,” said Pierre Veyret, a technical analyst at ActivTrades. “Investors see this as a possible de-escalation of the trade war between the two economic superpowers, and this has revived trading optimism towards riskier assets.”

Among the notable movers in premarket trading, VMware surged 19% after Bloomberg News reported that Broadcom is in talks to acquire cloud-computing company; Broadcom fell 3.5% in premarket trading. Here are some other notable premarket movers:

  • Software stocks, such as Oracle (ORCL US), Splunk (SPLK US), ServiceNow (NOW US), Check Point Software Technologies (CHKP US), are in focus after the report on Broadcom and VMware setting up for a blockbuster tech deal.
  • Antiviral and vaccine stocks rise in US premarket trading amid spreading cases of the monkeypox virus. SIGA Technologies (SIGA US) jumps 39%; Emergent BioSolutions (EBS US) rises 15%, Chimerix (CMRX US) gains 15%, Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO US) +13%
  • Dow (DOW US) shares fall as much as 1.3% premarket after Piper Sandler downgraded the chemicals maker to neutral from overweight, along with peer LyondellBasell (LYB US), amid industry concerns.
  • TG Therapeutics (TGTX US) shares are down 3.3% premarket after falling 11% on Friday, when BofA started coverage on the biotech company with an underperform rating and $5 price target.
  • Upwork (UPWK US) could be in focus as RBC Capital Markets analyst Brad Erickson initiates coverage of the stock with a sector perform recommendation, saying some near-term negatives for the online recruitment services firm are well discounted.

US stocks have been roiled in the past two months by concerns the Fed's tightening will push the economy into a recession. A late-session rebound lifted the market from the session’s lows on Friday, though the S&P 500 still capped a seventh straight week of losses - the longest since 2001 - and briefly dipped into bear market territory, while the Dow dropped for 8 consecutive weeks, the longest stretch since 1923!

“As we have seen time and time again recently, any attempted rallies appear to be short-lived with the backdrop of macroeconomic uncertainty, and any bullish breakouts have failed to endure with overall market sentiment biased toward the bears,” said Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor. The string of weekly losses has seen the S&P 500’s forward price-to-earnings ratio drop to 16.4, near the lowest since April 2020. This is below the average level of 17.04 times seen over the past decade, making the case for bargain hunters to step in.

Separately, Biden said the US military would intervene to defend Taiwan in any attack from China, comments that appeared to break from the longstanding US policy of “strategic ambiguity” before they were walked back by White House officials. Meanwhile, his administration announced that a dozen Indo-Pacific countries will join the US in a sweeping economic initiative designed to counter China’s influence in the region.

Minutes of the most recent Fed rate-setting meeting will give markets insight this week into the central bank’s tightening path. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said the Fed should front-load an aggressive series of rate hikes to push rates to 3.5% at year’s end, which if successful would push down inflation and could lead to easing in 2023 or 2024

In Europe, the Stoxx 50 rose 0.3%. The FTSE 100 outperformed, adding 0.9%, FTSE MIB lags, dropping 1.1%. Energy, miners and travel are the strongest performing sectors. European energy shares vie with the basic resources sector to be the best-performing group in the Stoxx Europe 600 benchmark on Monday as oil stocks rise with crude prices, while Siemens Gamesa rallies after Siemens Energy made a takeover offer. Shell rises 1.7%, BP +2.4%, TotalEnergies +2.1%. Elsewgere, the Stoxx Europe Basic Resources sub-index rallies to the highest level since May 5 to lead gains in the wider regional benchmark on Monday as metals rise amid better demand outlook. Aluminum, copper and iron ore extended rebound after China cut borrowing rates last week, dollar weakened and as investors weighed outlook for lockdown relief in Shanghai. The euro rose to its highest level in four weeks and most of the region’s bonds fell after European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said the ECB is likely to start raising interest rates in July and exit sub-zero territory by the end of September. Here are the most notable European movers:

  • Siemens Gamesa shares gain as much as 6.7% after Siemens Energy made an offer to acquire the shares in the wind-turbine maker it does not own.
  • Kingfisher shares advance as much as 4.9% after the B&Q owner reported 1Q sales that beat estimates and announced plans for a further GBP300m share buyback.
  • Deutsche EuroShop shares jump as much as 44% after Oaktree and CURA offered to acquire the German retail property company in a deal valuing it at around EU1.39b.
  • Moonpig Group gains as much as 14% as Jefferies analysts say its plan to buy Smartbox Group UK is a good use of the online greeting card company’s strong cash generation.
  • Kainos Group shares jump as much as 25%, as Canaccord Genuity raises the stock’s rating to buy from hold following FY results, saying cost-inflation headwinds are priced in.
  • Intertek shares fall as much as 5.3%, with Stifel cutting its rating on the company to hold from buy, saying none of the key elements of its positive thesis are still intact.
  • Leoni shares drop as much as 7.3% after the wiring systems manufacturer said it was in advanced talks on further financing.

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks were mixed as traders assessed Chinese authorities’ efforts to support the economy amid ongoing concerns over its Covid situation. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was up 0.4%, supported by healthcare and industrials, after paring an early gain of as much as 0.7%. Japanese stocks outperformed and US index futures advanced.  Chinese shares slid after Beijing reported a record number of coronavirus cases, reviving concerns about lockdowns. Covid concerns offset any positive impact from last Friday’s greater-than-expected reduction in a key interest rate for long-term loans in an effort to counter weak demand. Investors may be turning more upbeat on Asian stocks, with the regional benchmark beating global peers last week by the most in more the two years, snapping a streak of six weekly losses. Still, the region faces the same worries about inflation and rising US interest rates that have been rattling markets around the world this year. “The energy crisis in the EU and policy tightening in the US, combined with China’s economic soft patch” are potential headwinds for Asian equities and may lead to “weak external demand for more export-oriented economies like Taiwan and Korea,” Soo Hai Lim, head of Asia ex-China equities at Barings, wrote in a note.

Japanese equities climbed as US President Joe Biden’s comments during his visit to the country lifted market sentiment. Biden said a recession in the US isn’t inevitable, and reaffirmed close ties between the two countries. He also said China tariffs imposed by the Trump administration were under consideration, helping to lift regional stocks.  The Topix Index rose 0.9% to 1,894.57 as of market close, while the Nikkei advanced 1% to 27,001.52. Tokio Marine Holdings contributed the most to the Topix Index, increasing 7.6%. Out of 2,171 shares in the index, 1,681 rose and 415 fell, while 75 were unchanged. Defense stocks also got a boost after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said President Biden supports Japan’s plan for an increase in its defense budget

Stocks in India mostly declined after the central bank chief said the Reserve Bank is taking coordinated action with the country’s government to tackle inflation and a few interest rate hikes will be in store in coming months. His comments came soon after the government unveiled measures that will cost the exchequer $26 billion and will probably force the government to issue more debt to bridge the yawning budget deficit. The S&P BSE Sensex ended flat at 54,288.61 in Mumbai after giving up an advance of as much as 1.1%. The NSE Nifty 50 Index dropped 0.3%, its third decline in four sessions. Gauges of mid-sized and small stocks also plunged 0.3% and 0.6%, respectively. Out of the 30 stocks in the Sensex index, 20 advanced while 10 ended lower, with Tata Steel being the biggest drag. Eleven of 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. declined, led by metal stocks. Steel stocks plunged after the new rules imposed tariffs on export of some products. Auto and capital stocks were the best performers.  Investors remain wary of the policy decisions the central bank could take in the near-term to tackle in rising inflation, according to Arafat Saiyed, an analyst with Reliance Securities. “Changes in oil prices and amendments to import and export duties might play a role in assessing the market’s trajectory.”

In rates, Treasuries dropped as investors debate the Federal Reserve’s tightening path amid mounting worries about an economic slowdown. US bonds were cheaper by 3bp-5bp across the curve with belly leading declines, underperforming vs front- and long-end, following weakness in bunds. 10-year yield around 2.83%, higher by ~5bp on day, and keeping pace with most European bond markets; belly-led losses cheapen 2s5s30s fly by ~1.5bp on the day. US IG credit issuance slate empty so far; $20b-$25b is expected this week, concentrated on Monday and Tuesday. European fixed income faded an initial push higher after Lagarde’s comments while money markets up rate-hike bets. Bund futures briefly trade above 154 before reversing, cash curve bear-flattens with the belly cheapening ~6bps. Peripheral spreads tighten to Germany, 10y Bund/BTP spreads holds above 200bps.

In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell as the greenback traded weaker against all of its Group-of-10 peers. The euro jumped to a session high of $1.0635 and bunds reversed an advance after ECB President Christine Lagarde said the central bank is likely to start raising interest rates in July and exit sub-zero territory by the end of September. The EUR was also bolstered by Germany IFO business confidence index rising to 93.0 in May vs estimate 91.4. The Aussie and kiwi were among the pest G-10 performers as they benefitted from Biden’s comments about the tariffs on China. Aussie was also supported after the Labor Party won the weekend election and is increasingly hopeful of gaining enough seats to form a majority government.  The pound advanced against the dollar, touching the highest level since May 5, amid broad-based greenback weakness. While asking prices rose to a new record for the fourth-straight month, there are signs the housing market is slowing, according to Rightmove. Yen steadied after gains last week as traders sought clues on the global economy. Japanese government bonds were mostly higher. The purchasing power of the yen fell to a fresh half-century low last month.

In commodities, WTI rose 1.1% to trade just below $112. Most base metals are in the green; LME aluminum rises 1.4%, outperforming peers. LME nickel lags, dropping 4.2%. Spot gold climbs roughly $18 to trade around $1,865/oz

Looking at today's calendar, at 830am we get the April Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index (est. 0.50, prior 0.44). CB speakers include the Fed's Bostic, ECB's Holzmann, Nagel and Villeroy and BoE's Bailey.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.6% to 3,922.50
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 0.6% to 433.69
  • MXAP up 0.4% to 165.23
  • MXAPJ little changed at 539.33
  • Nikkei up 1.0% to 27,001.52
  • Topix up 0.9% to 1,894.57
  • Hang Seng Index down 1.2% to 20,470.06
  • Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,146.86
  • Sensex up 0.4% to 54,556.08
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 little changed at 7,148.89
  • Kospi up 0.3% to 2,647.38
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 0.97%
  • Euro up 0.5% to $1.0622
  • Brent Futures up 0.9% to $113.61/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.7% to $1,859.91
  • U.S. Dollar Index down 0.63% to 102.50

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • President Joe Biden said the US military would intervene to defend Taiwan in any attack from China, some of his strongest language yet seeking to deter Beijing from an invasion
  • The Biden administration announced that a dozen Indo-Pacific countries will join the US in a sweeping economic initiative designed to counter China’s influence in the region, even as questions remain about its effectiveness
  • The US Treasury Department is expected to tighten sanctions this week on Russia, threatening about $1 billion owed to bondholders for the rest of this year and putting the country once again on the edge of default
  • The ECB is poised to get the power to oversee so-called transition plans by 2025, in which lenders map out their path to a carbon-neutral future. Yet several national officials who sit on the ECB’s supervisory board are skeptical that climate risks merit new rules to address them, and some are wary that the initiative exceeds the central bank’s mandate
  • Russia is considering a plan to ease a key control on capital flows which has helped drive the ruble to the highest levels in four years as the rally is now threatening to hurt budget revenues and exporters
  • Natural gas prices in Europe fell as much as 5.6% to the lowest level since the start of the war in Ukraine, as storage levels across the continent rise to near-normal levels
  • As the biggest selloff in decades shook the world’s bond markets this year, some extraordinarily long-dated debt went into free fall, tumbling even more than Wall Street’s usual models predicted. To Jessica James, a managing director with Commerzbank AG in London, it wasn’t a surprise. In fact, it was validation

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

APAC stocks were mixed as momentum waned due to China's COVID woes and record Beijing infections. ASX 200 was just about kept afloat before ebbing lower after initial strength in mining names and the smooth change of government in Australia. Nikkei 225 advanced at the open with Tokyo said to be planning to revive its travel subsidy plan for residents. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were pressured by ongoing COVID concerns after Beijing extended its halt of dining in services and in-person classes for the whole city, as well as reporting a fresh record of daily COVID infections, while Shanghai restored its cross-district public transport on Sunday but ordered supermarkets and shops in the central Jingan district to shut and for residents to stay home until at least Tuesday

Top Asian News

  • Beijing reported 83 new symptomatic cases and 16 new asymptomatic cases for May 22nd with the city's total new cases at a new record, according to Bloomberg. It was also reported that thousands of Beijing residents were relocated to quarantine hotels due to a handful of infections, according to the BBC.
  • Beijing is mulling easing its hotel quarantine requirement to one week in a hotel and one week at home from a previous hotel requirement of ten days and one week at home for international travellers, according to SCMP.
  • Shanghai reported 570 new asymptomatic cases, 52 asymptomatic cases, 3 new COVID-related deaths and zero cases outside of quarantine, according to Reuters. Shanghai’s central district of Jingan will require all supermarkets and shops to close, while residents will be required to stay at home and conduct mass testing from May 22nd-24th, according to Reuters.
  • China NHC Official says the COVID situation, overall, is showing a steady declining trend.
  • Japanese PM Kishida said it is very disappointing that China is unilaterally developing areas in the East China Sea when borders are not yet set which Japan cannot accept, while it has lodged a complaint against China through diplomatic channels, according to Reuters.
  • Japanese PM Kishida told US President Biden that they must achieve a free and open Indo-Pacific together, while President Biden said the US is fully committed to Japan's defence and that the IPEF will increase cooperation with other nations and deliver benefits to people in the region, according to Reuters.
  • US-South Korea joint statement noted they agreed to discuss widening the scope and scale of joint military exercises and the US reiterated its commitment to defending South Korea with nuclear, conventional and missile defence, as well as reaffirmed its commitment to deploy strategic military assets in a timely and coordinated manner as necessary. The sides also condemned North Korea’s missile tests as a grave threat and agreed to relaunch a high-level extended deterrence strategy and consultation group at the earliest date, while they noted the path to dialogue with North Korea remains open and called for a resumption of negotiations, according to Reuters.
  • US President Biden said the US-South Korea alliance has never been stronger and more vibrant. President Biden added they are ready to strengthen the joint defence posture to counter North Korea and are ready to work toward the complete denuclearisation of North Korea, while he offered vaccines to North Korea and said he would meet with North Korean leader Kim if he is serious, according to Reuters.
  • South Korean President Yoon said North Korea is advancing nuclear capabilities and that US President Biden shares grave concerns regarding North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, while Yoon said they discussed the timing of possible deployment of fighter jets and bombers, according to Reuters.

European bourses are mixed/modestly-firmer, Euro Stoxx 50 +0.3%, as the initial upside momentum waned amid fresh China COVID updates and hawkish ECB commentary. Note, the FTSE MIB is the noted underperformer this morning, -1.0%, amid multiple large-cap names trading ex-divided. Stateside, futures are firmer but similarly off best levels, ES +0.5%, with recent/familiar themes very much in focus ahead of a thin US-specific docket. XPeng (XPEV) Q1 2022 (USD): EPS -0.32 (exp. -0.30), Revenue 1.176bln (exp. 1.16bln); Vehicle Deliveries 34.56k, +159% YY. -2.8% in pre-market JPMorgan (JPM) has reaffirmed its adjusted expenses guidance; credit outlook remains positive; sees FY22 NII USD 56bln (prev. USD 53bln)

Top European News

  • EU’s infectious-disease agency is to recommend member states prepare strategies for possible vaccination programmes to counter increasing monkeypox cases, according to FT. It was also reported that Austria confirmed its first case of monkeypox and that Switzerland also confirmed its first case of monkeypox in the canton of Bern, according to Reuters.
  • EU policymakers are reportedly renewing efforts to push for real-time databases of stock and bond trading information as they believe that a 'consolidated tape' will make EU exchanges more attractive for investors, according to FT.
  • EU Commission has proposed maintaining EU borrowing limits suspension next year amid the war in Ukraine; expects to reinstate limits in 2024; Germany supports the suspension.

Fixed Income

  • Bunds and Eurozone peers underperform as ECB President Lagarde signals end of negative rates by September.
  • 10 year German bond nearer 153.00 having topped 154.00, Gilts around 1/4 point below par after trading flat at best and T-note shy of 120-00 within 120-03+/119-21+ range.
  • EU NG issuance covered 1.38 times and Austria announces leads for 2049 Green syndication.

In FX

  • Euro joins Kiwi at the top of G10 ranks as President Lagarde chimes with end of NIRP by Q3 guidance, EUR/USD sets fresh May peak near 1.0690.
  • Bulk of NZIER shadow board believe RBNZ will deliver another 50bp hike on Wednesday, NZD/USD hovers comfortably above 0.6450 in the run up to NZ Q1 retail sales.
  • DXY in danger of losing 102.000+ status as Euro revival boosts other index components.
  • Aussie up with price of iron ore and extended Yuan recovery gains with change of PM and Government regime taken in stride; AUD/USD probes 0.7100, USD/CNH not far from Fib support sub-6.6500, USD/CNY a tad lower.
  • Sterling eyes 1.2600 awaiting BoE Governor Bailey at a PM panel discussion, Loonie and Nokkie glean traction via firm WTI and Brent, USD/CAD under 1.2800, EUR/NOK beneath 10.3000.
  • Lira languishing after CBRT survey showing higher end 2022 forecasts for Turkish CPI, current account deficit and USD/TRY circa 17.5690 vs just shy of 16.0000 at present.

Commodities

  • WTI and Brent are firmer and in-proximity to session highs amid USD action offsetting the earlier drift with risk sentiment/China's mixed COVID stance.
  • Currently, the benchmarks are just off highs of USD 111.96/bbl and USD 114.34/bbl respectively, vs lows of 109.50 and 111.97 respectively.
  • Saudi Arabia signalled it will stand by Russia as a member of OPEC+ amid mounting pressure from sanctions, according to FT.
  • Iraq’s government aims to set up a new oil company in the Kurdistan region and expects to enter service contracts with local oil firms, according to Reuters.
  • Iran’s Oil Minister agreed to revive the pipeline laying project to pump Iranian gas to Oman which was stalled for nearly two decades, according to IRNA.
  • Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said Iran’s leadership has matters under review regarding “the Iranian nuclear file” and said that pumping additional quantities of Iranian oil to the market will help stabilise crude prices and lower inflation, according to Al Jazeera TV.
  • India cut its excise duty on petrol by INR 8/litre and diesel by INR 6/litre which will result in a revenue loss of about INR 1tln for the government, while Indian Finance Minister Sitharaman announced subsidies on cooking gas cylinders, as well as cuts to custom duties on raw materials and intermediaries for plastic products, according to Reuters.
  • Indian oil minister says oil remaining at USD 110/bbl could lead to bigger threats than inflation, via CNBC TV18.

Central Banks

  • ECB's Lagarde says based on the current outlook, we are likely to be in a position to exit negative interest rates by the end of the third quarter; against the backdrop of the evidence I presented above, I expect net purchases under the APP to end very early in the third quarter. This would allow us a rate lift-off at our meeting in July, in line with our forward guidance. The next stage of normalisation would need to be guided by the evolution of the medium-term inflation outlook. If we see inflation stabilising at 2% over the medium term, a progressive further normalisation of interest rates towards the neutral rate will be appropriate.
  • ECB President Lagarde indicated that July is likely for a rate increase as she noted that they will follow the path of stopping net asset purchases and then hike interest rates sometime after that which could be a few weeks, according to Bloomberg.
  • Bundesbank Monthly Report: German GDP is likely to increase modestly in Q2 from current standpoint. Click here for more detail.
  • RBI Governor Das says, broadly, they want to increase rates in the next few meetings, at least at the next one; cannot give a number on inflation at present, the next MPC may be the time to do so.
  • CBRT Survey (May), end-2022 Forecasts: CPI 57.92% (prev. 46.44%), GDP Growth 3.3% (prev. 3.2%), USD/TRY 17.5682 (prev. 16.8481), Current Account Balance USD -34.34bln (prev. USD -27.5bln).

US Event Calendar

  • 08:30: April Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. 0.50, prior 0.44
  • 12:00: Fed’s Bostic Discusses the Economic Outlook
  • 19:30: Fed’s George Gives Speech at Agricultural Symposium

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

After a stressful couple of hours in front of the football yesterday afternoon, there's not too much the market can throw at me this week to raise the heart rate any higher than it was for the brief moments that I thought Liverpool were going to win the Premier League from a very unlikely set of final day circumstances. However it is the hope that kills you and at least we have the Champions League final on Saturday to look forward to now.

There will be a lot of market water to flow under the bridge before that. This all follows a fascinating end to last week with the S&P 500 in bear market territory as Europe went home for the weekend after the index had fallen -20.6% from its peak going into the last couple of hours of another brutal week. However a sharp late rally sent the index from c.-2.3% on the day to close +0.01%. There was no catalyst but traders clearly didn’t want to go home for the weekend as lightly positioned as they were. Regardless, this was the first time we’ve seen seven successive weekly declines in the index since the fallout from the dotcom bubble bursting in 2001. Watch out for my CoTD on this later. If you’re not on my daily CoTD and want to be, please send an email to jim-reid.thematicresearch@db.com to get added. For what it's worth the Dow saw the first successive 8 weekly decline since 1923 which really brings home the state of the current sell-off.

After having a high conviction recession call all year for 2023, I can't say I have high conviction in the near-term. I don't expect that we will fall into recession imminently in the US or Europe and if that's the case then markets are likely to eventually stabilise and rally back. However if we do see a H2 2022 recession then this sell-off will likely end up at the more severe end of the historical recessionary sell-offs given the very high starting valuations (see Binky Chadha's excellent strategy piece here for more on this). However if I'm right that a 2023 recession is unavoidable then however much we rally back this year we'll be below current levels for equities in 12-18 months' time in my view. Given that my H2 2023 HY credit spread forecast is +850bp then that backs this point up. Longer-term if we do get a recession and inflation proves sticky over that period then equities are going to have a long period of mean reversion of valuations and it will be a difficult few years ahead. So the path of equities in my opinion depends on the recession timing and what inflation does when we hit that recession.

Moving from pontificating about the next few years to now looking at what's coming up this week. The global preliminary PMIs for May tomorrow will be front and centre for investors following the growth concerns that have roiled markets of late. Central banks will also remain in focus as we will get the latest FOMC meeting minutes (Wednesday) and the US April PCE, the Fed's preferred inflation proxy, on Friday. An array of global industrial activity data will be another theme to watch.

Consumer sentiment will be in focus too, with a number of confidence measures from Europe and personal income and spending data from the US (Friday). Corporates reporting results will include spending bellwethers Macy's and Costco. After last week’s retail earnings bloodbath (e.g. Walmart and Target) these will get added attention.

On the Fed, the minutes may be a bit stale now but it’ll still be interesting to see the insight around the biases of 50bps vs 25/75bps hikes after the next couple of meetings. Thoughts on QT will also be devoured.

Staying with the US, for the personal income and spending numbers on Friday, our US economists expect the two indicators to slow to +0.2% and +0.6% in April, respectively. The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, the PCE, will be another important metric released the same day and DB’s economics team expects the April core reading to stay at +0.3%. Other US data will include April new home sales tomorrow and April durable goods orders on Wednesday.

A number of manufacturing and business activity indicators are in store, too. Regional Fed indicators throughout the week will include an April gauge of national activity from the Chicago Fed (today) and May manufacturing indices from the Richmond Fed (tomorrow) and the Kansas City Fed (Thursday). In Europe, the May IFO business climate indicator for Germany will be out today, followed by a manufacturing confidence gauge for France (tomorrow) and Italy (Thursday). China's industrial profits are due on Friday.

This week will also feature a number of important summits. Among them will be the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos that has now started and will run until next Thursday. It'll be the first in-person meeting since the pandemic began and geopolitics will likely be in focus. Meanwhile, President Biden will travel to Asia for the first time as US president and attend a Quad summit in Tokyo tomorrow. Details on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework are expected. Finally, NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s 2022 Spring Session will be held in Vilnius from next Friday to May 30th.

In corporate earnings, investors will be closely watching Macy's, Costco and Dollar General after this week's slump in Walmart and Target. Amid the carnage in tech, several companies that were propelled by the pandemic will be in focus too, with reporters including NVIDIA, Snowflake (Wednesday) and Zoom (today). Other notable corporates releasing earnings will be Lenovo, Alibaba, Baidu (Thursday) and XPeng (Monday).

Overnight in Asia, equity markets are weak but US futures continue to bounce back. The Hang Seng (-1.75%) is the largest underperformer amid a fresh sell-off in Chinese listed tech stocks. Additionally, stocks in mainland China are also weak with the Shanghai Composite (-0.47%) and CSI (-0.99%) lower as Beijing reported record number of fresh Covid-19 cases, renewing concerns about a lockdown. Elsewhere, the Nikkei (+0.50%) is up in early trade while the Kospi (+0.02%) is flat. S&P 500 (+0.80%), NASDAQ 100 (+1.03%) and DAX (+0.96%) futures are all edging higher though and 10yr USTs are around +3.5bps higher.

A quick review of last week’s markets now. Growth fears gripped markets while global central bankers retrenched their expectations for a strong dose of monetary tightening this year to combat inflation.

The headline was the S&P 500 fell for the seventh straight week for the first time since after the tech bubble burst in 2001, tumbling -3.05% (+0.01% Friday), after back-and-forth price action which included an ignominious -4% decline on Wednesday, the worst daily performance in nearly two years. The index is now -18.68% from its YTD highs, narrowly avoiding a -20% bear market after a late rally to end the week, after dipping into intraday on Friday. Without one discreet driver, an amalgamation of worse-than-expected domestic data, fears about global growth prospects, and poor earnings from domestic retail giants that called into question the vitality of the American consumer soured sentiment. Indeed, on the latter point, consumer staples (-8.63%) and discretionary (-7.44%) were by far the largest underperformers on the week. European stocks managed to fare better, with the STOXX 600 falling -0.55% (+0.73% Friday) and the DAX losing just -0.33% (+0.72% Friday).

The growth fears drove longer-dated sovereign bond yields over the week, with 10yr Treasuries falling -13.7bps (-5.6bps Friday). Meanwhile, the front end of the curve was relatively anchored, with 2yr yields basically unchanged over the week (-2.7bps Friday), and the amount of Fed hikes priced in through 2022 edging +3bps higher over the week to 2.75%, bringing 2s10s back below 20bps for the first time since early May. Chair Powell reiterated his commitment to bring inflation back to target, suggesting that getting policy rates to neutral did not constitute a stopping point if the Fed did not have “clear and convincing” evidence that inflation was falling.

In Europe the front end was also weaker than the back end as Dutch central bank Governor Knot became the first General Council member to countenance +50bp hikes. 10yr yields didn't rally as much as in the US, closing the week at -0.4bps (-0.5bps Friday). The spectre of faster ECB tightening and slowing global growth drove 10yr BTPs to underperform, widening +15.2bps (+10.2bps Friday) to 205bps against bund equivalents.

Gilts underperformed other sovereign bonds, with 10yr benchmarks selling off +14.9bps (+2.8bps Friday) and 2yr yields increasing +25.8bps (+1.6bps Friday). This came as UK CPI hit a 40yr high of 9.0% in April even if it slightly missed forecasts for the first time in seven months.

Oil proved resilient to the growth fears rumbling through markets, with both brent crude (+0.90%, +0.46% Friday) and WTI futures (+2.48%, +0.91% Friday) posting modest gains over the week.

Tyler Durden Mon, 05/23/2022 - 07:49

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The pendulum of market sentiment swings dramatically.  It has swung from nearly everyone and their sister complaining that the Federal Reserve was lagging…

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The pendulum of market sentiment swings dramatically.  It has swung from nearly everyone and their sister complaining that the Federal Reserve was lagging behind the surge in prices to fear of a recession.  On June 15, at the conclusion of the last FOMC meeting, the swaps market priced in a 4.60% terminal Fed funds rate.  That seemed like a stretch, given the headwinds the economy faces that include fiscal policy and an energy and food price shock on top of monetary policy tightening. It is now seen closer to 3.5%.  It is lower now than it was on when the FOMC meeting concluded on May 4 with a 50 bp hike.  

In addition to the tightening of monetary policy and the roughly halving of the federal budget deficit, the inventory cycle, we argued was mature and would not be the tailwind it was in Q4. While we recognized that the labor market was strong, with around 2.3 mln jobs created in the first five month, we noted the four-week moving average of weekly jobless claims have been rising for more than two months.  In the week to June 17, the four-week moving average stood at 223k.  It is a 30% increase from the lows seen in April.  It is approaching the four-week average at the end of 2019 (238k), which itself was a two-year high.  In addition, we saw late-cycle behavior with households borrowing from the past (drawing down savings and monetizing their house appreciation) and from the future (record credit card use in March and April).  

The Fed funds futures strip now sees the Fed's rate cycle ending in late Q1 23 or early Q2 23.  A cut is being priced into the last few months of next year.  This has knock-on effects on the dollar.  We suspect it is an important part of the process that forms a dollar peak.  There is still more wood to chop, as they say, and a constructive news stream from Europe and Japan is still lacking.  The sharp decline in Russian gas exports to Europe is purposely precipitating a crisis that Germany's Green Economic Minister, who reluctantly agreed to boost the use of coal (though not yet extend the life of Germany's remaining nuclear plants that are to go offline at the end of the year), warns could spark a Lehman-like event in the gas sector.  

At the low point last week, the US 10-year yield had declined by around 50 bp from the peak the day before the Fed delivered its 75 bp hike.  This eases a key pressure on the yen, and, at the same time, gives the BOJ some breathing space for the 0.25% cap on its 10-year bond.  A former Ministry of Finance official cited the possibility of unilateral interventionWhile we recognize this as another step up the intervention escalation ladder, it may not be credible.  First, it was a former official.  It would be considerably more important if it were a current official.  Second, by raising the possibility, it allowed some short-covering of the yen, which reduces the lopsided positioning and reduces the impact of intervention.  Third, on the margin, it undermines the surprise-value.  

Ultimately, the decline in the yen reflects fundamental considerations.  The widening of the divergence of monetary policy is not just that other G10 countries are tightening, but also that Japan is easing policy.  A couple of weeks ago, to defend its yield-curve-control, the BOJ bought around $80 bln in government bonds.  The odds of a successful intervention, besides the headline impact, is thought to be enhanced if it signals a change in policy and/or if it is coordinated (multilateral).  

There are a few high frequency data points that will grab attention in the coming days, but they are unlikely to shape the contours of the investment and business climate.  The key drivers are the pace that financial conditions are tightening, the extent that China's zero-Covid policy is disrupting its economy and global supply chains, and the uncertainty around where inflation will peak. 

Most of the high frequency data, like China's PMI and Japan's industrial production report and the quarterly Tankan survey results, and May US data are about fine-tuning the understanding of Q2 economic activity and the momentum at going into Q3.  They pose headline risk, perhaps, but may be of little consequence.  It is all about the inflation and inflation expectations: except in Japan. Tokyo's May CPI, released a few weeks before the national figures, is most unlikely to persuade the Bank of Japan that the rise in inflation will not be temporary.  

With fear of recession giving inflation a run for its money in terms of market angst, the dollar may be vulnerable to disappointing real sector data, though the disappointing preliminary PMI likely stole some thunder.  The Atlanta Fed's GDPNow says the US economy has stagnated in Q2, but this is not representative of expectations.  It does not mean it is wrong, but it is notable that the median in Bloomberg's survey is that the US economy is expanding by 3% at an annualized rate.  This seems as optimistic as the Atlanta Fed model is pessimistic.  May consumption and income figures will help fine-tune GDP forecasts, but the deflator may lose some appeal.  Even though the Fed targets the headline PCE deflator, Powell cited the CPI as the switch from 50 to 75 bp hike.  

In that light, the preliminary estimate of the eurozone's June CPI that comes at the end of next week might be the most important economic data point.  It comes ahead of the July 21 ECB meeting for which the first rate hike in 11 years has been all but promised.  Although ECB President Lagarde had seemed to make clear a 25 bp initial move was appropriate, the market thinks the hawks may continue to press and have about a 1-in-3 chance of a 50 bp move.  The risk of inflation is still on the upside and Lagarde has mentioned the higher wage settlements in Q2.  That said, the investors are becoming more concerned about a recession and expectations for the year-end policy rate have fallen by 30 bp (to about 0.90%) since mid-June.  

A couple of days before the CPI release the ECB hosts a conference on central banking in Sintra (June 27-June 29).  The topic of this year's event is "Challenges for monetary policy in a rapidly changing world," which seems apropos for almost any year.  The conventional narrative places much of the responsibility of the high inflation on central banks.  It is not so much the dramatic reaction to the Pandemic as being too slow to pullback.  In the US, some argue that the fiscal stimulus aggravated price pressures. On the face of it, the difference in fiscal policy between the US and the eurozone, for example, may not explain the difference between the US May CPI of 8.6% year-over-year and EMU's 8.1% increase, or Canada's 7.7% rise, or the UK's 9.1% pace.

There is a case to be made that we are still too close to the pandemic to put the experience in a broader context. This may also be true because the effects are still rippling through the economies.  In the big picture, central banks, leaving aside the BOJ, appear to have responded quicker this time than after the Great Financial Crisis in pulling back on the throttle, even if they could have acted sooner.  Some of the price pressures may be a result of some of the changes wrought by the virus.  For example, a recent research paper found that over half of the nearly 24% rise in US house prices since the end of 2019 can be explained by the shift to working remotely, for example. 

The rise in gasoline prices in the US reflect not only the rise in oil prices, but also the loss of refining capacity. The pandemic disruptions saw around 500k barrels a day of refining capacity shutdown.  Another roughly 500k of day of refining capacity shifted to biofuels.  ESG considerations, and pressure on shale producers to boost returns to shareholders after years of disappointment have also discouraged investment into the sector.  The surge in commodity prices from energy and metals to semiconductors to lumber are difficult to link to monetary or fiscal policies.  

Such an explanation would also suggest that contrary to some suggestions, the US is not exporting inflation.  Instead, most countries are wrestling with similar supply-driven challenges and disruptions.  That said, consider that US core CPI has risen 6% in the year through May, while the ECB's core rate is up 3.8%, and rising. The US core rate has fallen for two months after peaking at 6.5%.  The UK's core CPI was up 5.9% in May, its first slowing (from 6.2%) since last September.  Japan's CPI stood at 2.5% in May, but the measure excluding fresh food and energy has risen a benign 0.8% over the past 12 months.  

Consider Sweden.  The Riksbank meets on June 30.  May CPI accelerated to 7.3% year-over-year.  The underlying rate, which uses a fixed interested rate, and is the rate the central bank has targeted for five years is at 7.2%.  The underlying rate excluding energy is still up 5.4% year-over-year, more than doubling since January.  The policy rate sits at 0.25%, having been hiked from zero in April.  The economy is strong.  The May composite PMI was a robust 64.4.  The economy appears to be growing around a 3% year-over-year clip.  Unemployment, however, remains elevated at 8.5%, up from 6.4% at the end of last year.  The swaps market has a 50 bp hike fully discounted and about a 1-in-3 chance of a 75 bp hike.  The next Riksbank meeting is not until September 20, and the market is getting close to pricing in a 100 bp hike.  Year-to-date, the krona has depreciated 11% against the dollar and about 3% against the euro.  

In addition to macroeconomic developments, geopolitics gets the limelight in the coming days.  The G7 summit is June 26-28.  Coordinating sanctions on Russia will likely dominate the agenda and as the low-hanging fruit has been picked, it will be increasingly challenging to extend them to new areas.  

At least two important issues will go unspoken and they arise from domestic US political considerations.  Although President Biden has recommended a three-month gas tax holiday, he needs Congress to do it.  That is unlikely.  Inflation, and in particular gasoline prices are a critical drag on the administration and the Democrats more broadly, who look set to lose both houses.  And the Senate and Congressional Republicans are not inclined to soften the blow.  Talk of renewing an export ban on gasoline and/oil appears to be picking up. The American president has more discretion here. This type of protectionism needs to be resisted because could it be a slippery slope. 

The other issue is the global corporate tax reform.  Although many countries, most recently Poland, have been won over, it looks increasingly likely that the US Senate will not approve it.  Biden and Yellen championed it, but the votes are not there now, and it seems even less likely they will be there in the next two years.  The particulars are new, but the pattern is not.  The US has not ratified the Law of the Seas nor is it a member of the International Court of Justice. Some push back and say that the US acts as if it were.  That argument will be less persuasive on the corporate tax reform.  

NATO meets on June 29-30.  For the first time, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea will be attending.  Clearly, the signal is that Russia's invasion of Ukraine is not distracting from China. Most recently, China pressed its case that the Taiwan Strait is not international waters.  Some in Europe, including France, do not want to dilute NATO's mission by extending its core interest to the Asia Pacific area and distracting from European challenges. NATO is to publish a new long-term strategy paper.  Consider that the last one was in 2010 and did not mention Beijing and said it would seek a strategic partnership with Russia.  Putin's actions broke the logjam in Sweden and Finland, and both now want to join NATO, but Turkey is holding it up.  


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Bonds

HW+ Member Spotlight: Ben Bernstein

This week’s HW+ member spotlight features Ben Bernstein as he shares why it’s an interesting time to be tracking the housing market and all of the…

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This week’s HW+ member spotlight features Ben Bernstein, director at Axonic Capital, an investment firm with a deep focus on the structured credit sector of the financial markets. Prior to that, Bernstein held leadership roles in Odeon Capital Group and JPMorgan Chase.

Below, Bernstein answers questions about the housing industry:

HousingWire: What is your current favorite HW+ article and why?

Ben Bernstein: Logan and Sarah’s Monday podcast is my go to. Logan cuts through all the noise and delivers clear concise opinions rooted in the data. So not only do I get updates on what is going on in the housing market but I learn which data points are relevant and how to analyze them. And Sarah always asks insightful questions. On top of that, it is super entertaining!

HousingWire: What has been your biggest learning opportunity?

Ben Bernstein: My biggest learning opportunity (and weirdest job I ever had) was every job I ever had. I started my career at Bear Stearns on February 23 2008. To say that was an interesting time and place to start a career would be an understatement. Two weeks later I was working for JPMorgan and eventually made it to a desk whose focus was working out of the assets that brought Bear down in the first place.

Think funky bonds linked to housing like subprime RMBS and CDOs. Getting to dig deep into what these bonds were and how the underlying mortgages impacted them was priceless. I started at Axonic, a credit fund focused on investments linked to residential and commercial real estate, in November of 2019.

Another interesting time to join an investment firm! Three months later, I was working remotely and figuring out how to be productive from home. Fourteen years into my career and my biggest learning opportunity is right now.

I’m learning new stuff every single day whether it be about the bond market, housing, trading, macro economics, etc. All I need to do is turn around and ask a question out loud and I’ll learn something new.

HousingWire: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Ben Bernstein: The best piece of advice I’ve ever received was what is important is what you do when no one is looking. Your reputation, work ethic, success, productivity and integrity are all linked to what you do because you know you need to do it as opposed to what you think other people want you to do.

HousingWire: What’s 2-3 trends that you’re closely following?

Ben Bernstein: I don’t think anyone will be surprised by the trends I’m following these days: Inflation, credit spreads, housing prices and how they are all intertwined. Fortunately I have smart people around me (including HousingWire) to give me their opinions on where we are headed. It’s my job to put it all together. The past two years have been some of the most interesting times in markets and from where I sit I don’t think that will change any time soon.

HousingWire: What keeps you up at night and why?

Ben Bernstein: What keeps me up at night is the state of the housing market. 35+% home price appreciation since COVID-19 began. Two months supply of housing. Mortgage rates going up faster than they ever have. There’s a lot going on!

One thing as bond traders that we do is we look down before we look up. In other words we look at risk before we look at upside. An overheated housing market is something we pay close attention to because we don’t want prices to go down precipitously but we don’t want inflation to run away either. So it’s really an interesting time to be tracking the housing market and all of the ancillary markets that are impacted by it.  

To become an HW+ member, click here.

For more information on HW+ benefits, click here.

To view past issues of our HW+ exclusive HousingWire Magazine, go here.

The post HW+ Member Spotlight: Ben Bernstein appeared first on HousingWire.

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Economics

Risk Appetites Improve Ahead of the Weekend

Overview: Equities are higher and bonds lower as the week’s activity winds down. Asia Pacific markets rallied, paced by more than 2% gains in Hong Kong…

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Overview: Equities are higher and bonds lower as the week's activity winds down. Asia Pacific markets rallied, paced by more than 2% gains in Hong Kong and South Korea. Japan's Nikkei rallied more than 1%, as did China's CSI 300. Most of the large markets but South Korea and Taiwan advanced this week, though only China and Hong Kong are up for the month. Europe's Stoxx 600 is up 1.3% through the European morning, its biggest advance of the week and what looks like the first weekly gain in four weeks. US futures are trading around 0.6%-0.8% higher. The NASDAQ is 4% higher and the S&P 500 is 3.3% stronger on the week coming into today. The US 10-year yield is virtually unchanged today and around 3.08%, is off about 14 bp this week. European bonds are mostly 2-4 bp firmer, and peripheral premiums over Germany have edged up. The US dollar is sporting a softer profile against the major currencies but the Japanese yen. Emerging market currencies are also mostly higher. The notable exception is the Philippine peso, off about 0.6% on the day and 2.2% for the week. Gold fell to a five-day low yesterday near $1822 and is trading quietly today and is firmer near $1830. August WTI is consolidating and remains inside Wednesday’s range (~$101.50-$109.70). It settled at almost $108 last week and assuming it does not rise above there today, it will be the first back-to-back weekly loss since March. US natgas is stabilizing after yesterday’s 9% drop. On the week, it is off about 10% after plummeting 21.5% last week. Europe is not as fortunate. Its benchmark is up for the 10th consecutive session. It soared almost 48% last week and rose another 7.7% this week. Iron ore’s 2% loss today brings the weekly hit to 5.1% after last week’s 14% drop. Copper is trying to stabilize after falling 7.5% in the past two sessions. It is at its lowest level since Q1 21. September wheat is up about 1.5% today to pare this week’s decline to around 8%.

 

Asia Pacific

Japan's May CPI was spot on expectations, unchanged from April. That keeps the headline at 2.5% and the core rate, which excludes fresh food, at 2.1%, slightly above the 2% target. However, the bulk of that 2.1% rise is attributable to energy prices. Without fresh food and energy, Japan's inflation remains at a lowly 0.8%.

The BOJ says that Japanese inflation is not sustainable, which is another way to say transitory. In turn, that means no change in policy. The fallout though is increasing disruptive. The yield curve control defense roiled the cash-futures basis and the uncertainty about hedging may have contributed to the soft demand at this week's auction. In addition, interest rates swap rates have risen as if the market is seeking compensation for the added uncertainty. Meanwhile, for the fourth session there were no takers of the BOJ's offer to buy bonds at a fixed rate.

The approaching month-end pressures saw the PBOC step up its liquidity provisions and injected the most in three months today. Still, the seven-day repo rate rose 16 bp to 1.17%. In Hong Kong, three-month HIBIOR rose to 1.68%, the highest since April 2020. Australian rates moved in the opposite direct. Australia's three-year yield fell 14 bp today after falling 10 bp in each of the past two sessions. It has fallen every day this week for a cumulative 43 bp drop to 3.20%. It had risen by slightly more than 50 bp the previous week. There was a dramatic shift in expectations for the year-end policy rate. The bill futures imply a year-end rate of 3.17%, which is about 68 bp lower than a week ago. It had risen by a little more than 150 bp in the previous two weeks.

The dollar traded in a two-yen range yesterday, but today is consolidating in a one-yen range above yesterday's low near JPY134.25. The pullback in US yields has been the key development and the dollar is lower for the third consecutive day. If sustained, this would be the longest losing streak for the greenback in three months. The Australian dollar is straddling the $0.6900 level, where options for A$1 bln expire today. It is mired near this week's low, set yesterday near $0.6870. Australia's two-year yield swung back to a discount to the US this week after trading at a premium for most of last week and the start of this week. The greenback was confined to a tight range against the Chinese yuan below CNY6.70 today but holding above CNY6.6920. The greenback traded with a heavier bias this week and snapped a two-week advance with a loss of around 0.3% this week. The PBOC set the dollar's reference rate at CNY6.7000, a little below the median forecast (Bloomberg survey) of CNY6.7008. It was the fourth time this week that the fix was for as weaker dollar/stronger yuan.

Europe

The week that marked the sixth anniversary of the UK referendum to leave the EU could have hardly gone worse. Consider:  The May budget report showed a 20% increase in interest rate servicing costs. Inflation edged higher. The flash June composite PMI remained pinned at its lowest level since February 2021. The GfK consumer confidence fell to -41, a new record low. Retail sales slumped by 0.5% in May and excluding gasoline were off 0.7%. Separately, as the polls had warned, the Tories lost both byelection contests held yesterday. And perhaps not totally unrelated, the Cabinet Secretary revealed that at the Prime Minister's request a position his wife in the royal charity was discussed. This continues a pattern that had included trying to appoint her as Johnson's chief of staff when he was the foreign minister and plays on the image of crass favoritism.

The risk of a new crisis in Europe is under-appreciated. In retaliation for Europe's actions, which in earlier periods, would have been regarded as acts of war, Russia has dramatically reduced its gas shipments to Europe. Many Americans and European who scoff at Russia's "special military operation" may be too young to recall that America's more than 10-year war in Vietnam was a police action and never officially a war. Now, the critics are incensed that Moscow has weaponized gas, while overlook the extreme weaponizing of finance. Aren't US and European sanctions a bit like weaponizing the dollar and euro?  In any event, Putin has ended the European illusion that it would determine the pace of the decoupling from Russia's energy. Germany's Economic Minister and Vice-Chancellor heralds from the Green Party. The gas "embargo" has forced him to swallow principles and allow an increased use of coal. Habeck increased the gas emergency warning system and drew parallels with the Lehman crisis for the energy sector. 

It is with this backdrop that the Swiss National Bank felt obligated to hike its deposit rate by 50 bp last Thursday (June 17). The euro had been trading comfortable in a CHF1.02 to CHF1.05 trading range since mid-April. Judging from the increase in Swiss sight deposits, the SNB may have intervened in late April and early May. However, in recent weeks there was no "need" to intervene and sight deposits fell for four consecutive weeks through June 17. The euro traded at three-and-a-half week lows against the franc yesterday, trading to CHF1.0070 for the first time since March 8. In fact, the Swiss franc is the strongest of the major currencies this week, rising about 1.15% against the dollar and about 0.75% against the euro.

The German IFO survey of investor confidence weakened again but did not seem to impact the euro. The assessment of the business climate slipped (92.3 from 93.0). This reflected the mild downgrade of existing conditions (99.3 from 99.6) and the sharper drop in expectations (85.8 vs. 86.9). This is the most pessimistic outlook since March, which itself was the poorest since May 2020. The euro remains within the range seen Wednesday (~$1.0470-$1.0605). It closed near $1.05 last week. There are options for almost 1.2 bln euros that expire there today but have likely been neutralized. Assuming the euro holds above there, it will be the first weekly gain since the end of May. Par for the course today, sterling is also trading quietly in a narrow half-cent range above $1.2240. If it closes above there, it too will be the first weekly gain in four weeks. Sterling's range this week has been roughly $1.2160 to $1.2325. The US two-year premium over the UK has risen for the Monday and is now around 110 bp, up from about 88 bp in the first part of the week.

America

Bloomberg's survey of 58 economists produced a median forecast of 3.0% for Q2 US GDP. Only five of them see growth lower than 2%. The median has it remaining above 2% in H2 before slowing to what the Fed sees as long-term non-inflationary growth of 1.8% throughout next year. The market does not share this optimism. The shape of the Fed funds and Eurodollar futures curve suggests investors sees the Fed breaking something sooner. Given where inflation is, it is hard to take seriously talk about the Fed front-loading tightening, what it is doing is catching up. But monetary policy impacts with notorious lag, and as several Fed officials have acknowledged, financial conditions began tightening six months before the first hike was delivered. The Fed funds futures strip has terminal rate around 3.5% by late Q1 23. The first cut priced in for Q4 23.

The US reports May new home sales. There are supply issues that are important here, but it will likely be the fifth consecutive monthly decline. Through April, they were off 30% so far this year. New home sales stood at 591k (saar) in April. At the worst of the pandemic, they were at 582k in April 2020. The University of Michigan survey was specifically mentioned by Fed Chair Powell at his press conference following the FOMC's decision to hike by 75 bp. The final report is rarely significantly different than the preliminary report, but it cannot help by draw attention.

Mexico's central bank unanimously delivered the widely expected 75 bp hike in its overnight rate to take it to 7.75%. It was the ninth hike in the cycle that began last June for a cumulative 375 bp. The move followed slightly firmer than expected inflation in the first half of this month (7.88%) and stronger than expected April retail sales. The key is that it matched the Fed's move. It indicated that it will likely move just as "forcefully" at its next meeting in August. The swaps market has almost another 200 bp more of tightening this year. Banxico also revised its inflation forecast. Previously, it saw inflation peaking in Q2 22 at 7.6% and now it says the peak will be 8.1% in Q3. It has inflation finishing the year at 7.5%, up from 6.4%. Separately, reports suggest the US is escalating complaints that President AMLO's energy policies, favoring the state companies, violates the free-trade agreement.

The US dollar rose a little more than 3.5% against the Canadian dollar in the past two weeks as the S&P 500 tumbled nearly 11%. With today's roughly 0.25% pullback, the greenback doubled its loss to 0.50% this week, and the S&P 500 is up about 3.3% this week coming into today. The macro backdrop for the Canadian dollar looks constructive:  strong jobs market, better than expected April retail sales reported this week and firmer May price pressures. The market 70 bp hike priced in for the July 13 Bank of Canada meeting. The year-end rate is off four basis points this week to 3.41%. In comparison, the US year-end rate is off about 13 bp this week to about 3.44%. The US dollar is off for the sixth consecutive session against the Mexican peso. The peso is the strongest currency in the world this week, leaving aside the machinations of the Russian rouble, with a 1.8% gain, including today's 0.2% advance through the European morning. The greenback frayed support around MXN20.00 yesterday for the first time in nearly two weeks. It is spending more time below there today with a move to MXN19.96. A convincing break of the MXN19.94 area could signal a move toward MXN19.80. There is a $1 bln option expiring at MXN20.00 today, and the related hedging may have weighed on the dollar. 


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