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US Futures On Edge Ahead Of “Extraordinarily Elevated” CPI Print

US Futures On Edge Ahead Of "Extraordinarily Elevated" CPI Print

US index futures were flat on Tuesday, rebounding off overnight session lows…

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US Futures On Edge Ahead Of "Extraordinarily Elevated" CPI Print

US index futures were flat on Tuesday, rebounding off overnight session lows as investors braced for red hot inflation data which the White House yesterday called "extraordinarily elevated" and which will likely boost the argument for aggressive monetary tightening - perhaps even a 75bps or intermeeting rate hike - despite a looming economic slowdown. Nasdaq futures were 0.2% higher, while S&P futures were flat after dropping as much as 0.5%.

China’s Premier Li Keqiang issued a third warning about economic growth risks in less than a week but Chinese stocks bounced back over bets that policy makers will take measures to support the economy. The rate on 10-year Treasuries rose to the highest since 2018 as the global bond rout continued, rising for an 8th straight day as high as 2.83% before easing. The Bloomberg dollar index was set to extend its longest winning streak since 2020, rising for a ninth day. Both trends reflect expectations that the Fed will implement its fastest monetary tightening since 1994. The euro weakened. Oil staged a partial recovery after a tumble that saw crude erase most of the gains sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. China’s virus outbreaks and mobility curbs, in pursuit of a controversial Covid-zero strategy, are imperiling demand.

“What we’re faced with this year is stagflation,” Kathryn Rooney Vera, head of global macro research at Bulltick LLC, said on Bloomberg Television. “It’s a very complicated environment that the Fed has found itself in” and the market is pricing in potentially 50 basis points of hikes at each of the next two policy meetings, she added. Meanwhile, the Peterson Institute for International Economics expects a global recession by the end of the year due to Covid-related shutdowns in China and the Russia-Ukraine war

In premarket trading, Apple was flat after Citi said that it was likely to announce an incremental stock buyback of $80b-$90b and raise its dividend by 5-10% when it reports 2Q results later this month, according to Citi. Hewlett Packard Enterprise fell 3.6% after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to underweight and lowered its industry view for telecom and networking equipment to cautious from in-line, citing demand data. Other notable premarket movers include:

  • Cisco (CSCO US) drop as much as 2.1% in premarket after Citi cuts rating to sell from neutral, citing competition and more difficult year-over-year comparisons for quarters ahead.
  • Biodesix (BDSX US) surges 79% premarket after its chairman, board members revealed they had bought shares in the biotechnology firm.
  • Coinbase (COIN US) price target cut by Mizuho Securities for a second straight week, this time citing analysis which suggests the cryptocurrency exchange is losing market share to other platforms. Shares up 0.8% premarket.
  • Aeglea BioTherapeutics (AGLE US) shared added data from the PEACE Phase 3 study of pegzilarginase for the treatment of arginase 1 deficiency, with shares gaining 31% premarket.

Global growth optimism sank to a fresh all-time low, with recession fears surging in the world’s investment community, according to the latest monthly Bank of America survey of fund managers. The next major test for markets looms later Tuesday, when the U.S. is expected to unveil an inflation print for March of more than 8%, the highest since early 1982 (see our CPI preview here). 

One of the more dangerous scenarios for markets “is that we have to raise rates at such a pace that it will clamp down on growth,” Kathryn Kaminski, chief research strategist at AlphaSimplex Group, said on Bloomberg Television. “That’s the scenario that most people are worried about.”

“These concerns over inflation are likely to remain in focus over the next two days,” said Michael Hewson, chief analyst at CMC Markets in London. “Today’s CPI numbers look set to seal the deal on a 50 basis-point rate move at the Federal Reserve’s May meeting, a move that bond markets are already discounting with the prospect of more to come.”

In Europe, stocks pared some losses as energy benefits from oil’s rally, while global yields slightly cool their ascent. Declines in the personal care and healthcare industries outweighed gains for energy and mining companies, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index down 0.5% and the Euro Stoxx 50 falling 0.9%. IBEX outperformed, dropping 0.3%, DAX lags, dropping 1.1%. Health care, banks and financial services are the worst performing sectors. Energy is the best performing sector of Stoxx 600. Banking stocks were among the biggest decliners in Europe as concern over the impact of war in Ukraine and the possibility of recession started to impact profit estimates. Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG led the drop after stake sales worth a combined 1.75 billion euros ($1.9 billion) in Germany’s two largest listed banks. Russian stocks fell for a third day. Dubai Electricity & Water Authority jumped in its trading debut after raising $6.1 billion in the world’s second-biggest initial public offering this year. In the U.K., living standards fell at the fastest pace in more than eight years in February as wages lagged further behind the rate of inflation.

Earlier in the session, Asia’s stock benchmark pared much of its early drop on Tuesday, with Chinese shares bouncing back on speculation that policy makers will step in to support the economy. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was down 0.6% as of 6:00 p.m. in Singapore after falling as much as 1%. The CSI 300 Index advanced by the most this month as traders bet that authorities may step up monetary-policy easing or relax some of the most severe Covid-19 restrictions. The broader risk-off sentiment remained, however, as lockdowns in China and higher U.S. interest rates dim the region’s growth prospects. Industrial firms were among the biggest drags on the MSCI measure, while chipmakers and electronic-hardware stocks followed U.S. tech peers lower as the 10-year Treasury yield climbed above 2.8%. “Investors globally are looking to hold defensive stocks and sell cyclical stocks that may be affected economically, and machinery-related stocks are one of the more economically sensitive ones,” said Shogo Maekawa, a strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management. Key gauges in Japan, the Philippines and South Korea led equity declines. Chinese tech stocks edged higher after a volatile trading day, as investors tipped toward optimism after Beijing’s approval of new video game licenses. China’s Covid-Zero policy remains a concern for international investors and is expected to continue to weigh on Asian shares, with the regional benchmark trading at its lowest since March 16.

Sri Lanka warned of an unprecedented default and halted payments on foreign debt, an extraordinary step taken to preserve its dwindling dollar stockpile for essential food and fuel imports.

Japanese equities dropped, dragged by technology shares for a second day amid ongoing concerns over inflation and Federal Reserve monetary policy. Electronics and machinery makers were the biggest drags on the Topix, which fell 1.4%. Fast Retailing and Tokyo Electron were the largest contributors to a 1.8% loss in the Nikkei 225. The yen slightly extended losses to around 125.5 per dollar after weakening 0.8% Monday. “Earnings will start coming out now, and I think it will still take some time before the uncertainty clears up and people start to buy back,” said said Shogo Maekawa, a strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management. “Investors globally are looking to hold defensive stocks and sell cyclical stocks that may be affected economically, and machinery-related stocks are one of the more economically sensitive ones.”

Australian stocks fell, led by the healthcare sector: the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.4% to close at 7,454.00, with the health sector falling most.  Imugene was the biggest decliner on the benchmark gauge. Mining company Regis rose for a fourth day to the highest since Oct. 25, leading gains in the materials sector. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.4% to 11,889.17

In rates, treasuries remained cheaper across the curve after paring declines that were led by bunds as ECB and BOE policy-tightening premium increased further. U.S. yields cheaper by up to 2bp across front-end of the curve which underperforms slightly; 10-year yields around 2.79%, higher by ~1bp, with German 10-year cheaper by an additional 1bp. Focal points for U.S. session include March CPI data -- with 5-year TIPS breakeven rate ~25bp off its March peak -- and $34b 10-year note reopening. Monday’s 3-year auction was solid; cycle concludes Wednesday with $20b 30-year bond reopening. Gilts and bunds extended their drop as the market set pre-CPI positioning. U.K.’s 10-year debt sale had a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.64. Germany’s 2-year notes sale ahead, while U.S. 10-year sale is due after inflation data later Tuesday.

In FX, the greenback traded mixed against its Group-of-10 peers and the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index edged up 0.1%, advancing for a ninth consecutive session - its longest winning stretch since 2020 - as traders bet on the Federal Reserve hiking rates to counter heated price growth, with the Australian dollar outperforming while the Swiss franc lagged. Hedge funds faded the euro move below 1.0860, while trimming dollar-yen longs above 125.50, two Europe-based traders say.

  • The euro neared $1.0850 before paring losses; the bund curve bear steepens Germany’s ZEW investor expectations fell to to -41.0 (estimate -48.5) in April from -39.3 in March
  • The pound fell below 1.30 per dollar, while gilts inched lower, led by the long end of the curve. U.K. jobs data showed a strong labor market, although average earnings excluding bonuses adjusted for prices dropped the most since late 2013 year-on-year. U.K. retailers warned that inflation is curbing demand, recording a sharp slowdown in sales in March.
  • The Australian and New Zealand dollars erased an Asia session loss against the U.S. dollar. Australian sovereign bonds followed Treasuries lower and in view of a bounce in crude oil and iron ore, the latter of which arrested a five-day slide. Australian business sentiment surged as firms passed on increasing costs to consumers, reflecting strong underlying demand that highlights both economic momentum and gathering inflationary pressures
  • The yen weakened for an eighth day before U.S. CPI numbers that are expected to reinforce the economic and monetary policy divergence between America and Japan. Five-year bonds outperformed after a solid auction. The yen’s implied and historical volatility may not be in the driver’s seat for the Group-of-10, but traders are betting it’s the currency that can move the most over the next month

Bitcoin is firmer and is holding onto the USD 40k mark after pronounced pressure in yesterday's session saw a breach of the level and a subsequent fall to a USD 39.21k overnight low. Bitcoin has dropped for seven days out of the past eight.

In commodities, crude futures advanced with WTI trading within Monday’s range, adding 3.2% to around $97. Brent rises 3.4% above $101. Spot gold falls roughly $2 to trade around $1,950/oz. Base metals are mixed; LME tin falls 0.6% while LME nickel gains 1.5%.

Looking at the day ahead, today brings the ever-important US CPI release. Consensus expects the monthly gain in headline CPI of +1.2% will push the year-on-year rate to +8.4%, the highest since 1981. However, many economists also think that March is the peak in the year-on-year rates for both headline and core. Elsewhere in the US, there’s the March NFIB small business optimism index. We’ll also get February UK unemployment and the April German ZEW survey. Finally, central bank speakers today include the Fed’s Brainard and Barkin.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.2% to 4,402.00
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 0.8% to 454.78
  • MXAP down 0.5% to 172.46
  • MXAPJ little changed at 573.96
  • Nikkei down 1.8% to 26,334.98
  • Topix down 1.4% to 1,863.63
  • Hang Seng Index up 0.5% to 21,319.13
  • Shanghai Composite up 1.5% to 3,213.33
  • Sensex down 0.7% to 58,579.23
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.4% to 7,453.98
  • Kospi down 1.0% to 2,666.76
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 0.86%
  • Euro down 0.2% to $1.0862
  • Brent Futures up 2.2% to $100.65/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,954.10
  • U.S. Dollar Index up 0.24% to 100.17

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • Global growth optimism has sunk to an all-time low, with recession fears surging in the world’s investment community, according to the latest Bank of America Corp. fund manager survey
  • Some Russian exporters face difficulties selling foreign currency proceeds in the market, newspaper Vedomosti reports, citing unidentified people close to the government, Bank of Russia and some exporters
  • Global crude markets have swung from chaos to calm in just a few weeks as frenzied trading and a run- up in prices triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine gives way to a return to more normal conditions
  • U.K. living standards fell at the fastest pace in more than eight years in February as wages lagged further behind the rate of inflation. Average earnings excluding bonuses rose 4.1% from a year earlier, the Office for National Statistics said Tuesday. Adjusted for prices over the same period, however, they dropped 1.3%, the most since late 2013

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia-Pac stocks followed suit to the losses across global counterparts amid higher yields and inflationary concerns. ASX 200 was dragged lower by weakness across defensives and tech but with losses in the broader market somewhat contained amid the improvement in NAB Business Confidence and Conditions. Nikkei 225 declined despite recent currency depreciation and the ruling LDP seeking to provide cash handouts. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were indecisive with early support in the former as gaming and internet stocks were boosted by China’s resumption of videogame approvals following a 9-month suspension. However, the gains for the Hong Kong benchmark were later pared and the mainland bourse was also cautious amid ongoing COVID woes.

Top Asian News

  • China Tech Stocks Slide as Risks Outweigh Game Approval Uplift
  • Tencent Soars After China Ends Eight-Month Gaming Freeze
  • Macau Premium Mass Operators to Outperform Peers: Citi
  • Australia Minister To Make Rare Solomon Islands Trip, ABC says

European bourses are subdued, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.7%, but off lows as participants await the US CPI metrics for fresh insight into the inflation narrative and for any read across to ongoing yield upside. The breakdown features relatively broad-based losses as the CAC 40 is in-line after Monday's election inspired outperformance while Banking names lag initially in a pullback from that session’s strength while Energy & Tech fare better. Stateside, futures are attempting to move into positive territory, ES Unch., but are yet to find a robust foothold.

Top European News

  • German Investor Mood Sours Further Amid War-Driven Inflation
  • U.K. Workers See Biggest Fall in Living Standards in Eight Years
  • U.K. Labor Market Missing Almost 600,000 People Since Covid Hit
  • EasyJet Sees Summer Flight Capacity Approaching 2019 Levels

Fixed Income

  • Bonds bounce after sliding once more and setting fresh yield highs; 10 year T-note, Bunds and Gilts off new 119-10+, 154.27 and 118.42 cycle lows.
  • UK and German debt may be gleaning some comfort from solid covers at Schatz and 2032 DMO auctions.
  • Treasuries await US CPI and 10 year supply.

FX:

  • Greenback grinds higher before US CPI with White House officials upping the ante for a hot set of inflation data, DXY eclipses last Friday's peak within a firmer 100.230-99.923 range.
  • Aussie resilient after increases in NAB business sentiment and conditions and Kiwi underpinned awaiting 25bp or 50bp from the RBNZ, overnight; AUD/USD bounces off 0.7400 and NZD/USD keeps grip of 0.6800 handle.
  • Euro holds above recent low and 2022 trough with some traction from Germany’s ZEW survey showing not as bad as feared economic sentiment and current conditions, EUR/USD above 1.0850 vs 1.0836 last Friday and 1.0806 y-t-d base.
  • Sterling treading water around 1.3000 after mixed UK jobs and earnings, Loonie looking for support via decent option expiry interest at 1.2650 or chart levels after dropping through 200 DMA before BoC on Wednesday.
  • Yen and Franc yield to divergent dynamics; USD/JPY poised below 2015 peak and USD/CHF rebounds from low 0.9300 zone.
  • Japanese Finance Minister Suzuki said FX stability is important but did not comment on FX levels, while he added they are watching closely with vigilance how FX moves could impact Japan's economy. Suzuki also noted that excess FX volatility and disorderly FX moves could have an adverse effect on Japan's economy, while they will respond to FX as appropriate while communicating with the US and other countries.

Commodities:

  • Crude benchmarks are continuing to regain composure after Monday's pressure, with WTI and Brent in proximity to highs of USD 97.72/bbl and USD 102.15/bbl respectively.
  • European Commission official said the EU repeated its call during a meeting with OPEC for oil producers to look at whether they can increase deliveries, according to Reuters.
  • US President Biden will on Tuesday lay out plans to extend the availability of higher biofuels-blended gasoline during the summer in a bit to control fuel costs, according to Reuters sources.
  • Spot gold and silver are contained, particularly in the context of yesterday's price action, ahead of the key US events on the schedule.

US Event Calendar

  • 06:00: March SMALL BUSINESS OPTIMISM dropped to 93.2, est. 95.0, prior 95.7
  • 08:30: March CPI YoY, est. 8.4%, prior 7.9%; CPI MoM, est. 1.2%, prior 0.8%
    • 08:30: March CPI Ex Food and Energy YoY, est. 6.6%, prior 6.4%; CPI Ex Food and Energy MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.5%
    • 08:30: March Real Avg Hourly Earning YoY, prior -2.6%, revised -2.5%
    • 08:30: March Real Avg Weekly Earnings YoY, prior -2.3%, revised -2.2%
  • 14:00: March Monthly Budget Statement, est. -$190b, prior -$659.6b

 

 

 

DB's Tim Wessel concludes the overnight wrap

Yesterday was painted with a panoply of senior-level gatherings. The EU foreign ministers met in Luxembourg, where they weighed whether to sanction Russia’s energy sector. Those closer to Russia’s border were quicker to advocate for a ban on oil imports. The idea was not ruled out, with several EU countries seeking more time to transition energy supplies before signing up for an outright ban. This, as Russia posted its biggest current account surplus in nearly three decades on the back of strong energy export revenues. Germany is also ready to send weapons to Ukraine according to Chancellor Scholz. Austrian Chancellor Nehammer, meanwhile, became the first European head of state to meet with President Putin in person since his invasion. Nehammer expressed pessimism on peace prospects following the discussion.

Farther afield, President Biden met with Indian Prime Minister Modi. Biden pledged to help India diversify its energy sources in an attempt to persuade India from increasing purchases of Russian energy exports.

Finally, as we go to press this morning, the Pentagon is monitoring claims that Russia used a chemical agent in Mariupol. A number of news agencies have reported the accusation, but as of yet, none have been able to verify the original claim. If true, that would mark a much-feared escalation in tactics as Ukraine braces for a renewed assault on its territory in the east. After starting the week off on a weak foot, S&P 500 futures are down another -0.41% this morning.

Back to yesterday, Treasury yields continued their blistering selloff and curve re-steepening. Chicago Fed President Evans, owner of an inimitable dovish CV, thought that a +50bp hike in May was not only possible, but likely. He went on to say that policy should get to neutral by December, a range he pegged between 2.25% and 2.5%, which implies at least two +50bp hikes this year. The implied probability of a +50bp hike in May edged to a cycle high of 91.2%, with the amount of anticipated 2022 policy rate tightening hitting its own high at +255bps. 10yr Treasury yields gained another +8.0bps to 2.78%, their highest levels since January 2019, with breakevens (+4.3bps) and real yields (+3.7bps) each contributing. 2s10s steepened another +9.6bps to +27.4bps, its highest level in a month.

Much like how the Fed’s rhetoric has shaded ever more restrictive over the last few months, so too has their recent handicapping of a soft landing turned more pessimistic. Once a widely-accepted base case, yesterday Governor Waller was much more blunt, if not fatalistic, noting that interest rates are a “brute-force tool” and that there will be some “collateral damage” when they are used to slow inflation.

US equities took some collateral damage yesterday, with the S&P 500 down -1.69% to start the week, with every sector in the red, bringing YTD performance down to -7.42%. Energy (-3.11%) led the declines on the fall in oil prices, with brent crude futures down -4.18% to close below $100 for the first time in a month. Mega-cap tech names underperformed, with FANG+ falling -3.03%, given the discount rate hit to valuations, capping off five straight days of declines that has brought the FANG+ -11.73% lower. The index is now down -17.69% on the year.

It was a similar story in Europe, with year-end OIS rates increasing +5.4bps to +67.6bps, a cycle high, suggesting some probability that the deposit rate could end the year in positive territory. 10yr bund yields climbed +10.9bps to 0.82%, the highest level since 2015, while 10yr gilts gained +9.7bps to 1.85%, their highest since 2016. European stocks were a touch more resilient, with the STOXX 600 falling -0.59%.

In Europe, markets were also reacting to the first round of the French election. French assets outperformed as President Macron’s lead over Marine Le Pen was slightly wider than the final polls had implied. In particular, the spread of French 10yr yields over bunds narrowed by -5.2bps, coming down from its 2-year high last Friday. Furthermore, the CAC 40 (+0.12%) outperformed all the other major European equity indices.

The second round is set for later this month, and polls over the last 24 hours were a bit more favorable to Macron than the readings from late last week. Macron leads Le Pen by 55%-45% in Opinionway’s poll, and then 54.5%-45.5% in Odoxa’s. Ifop was somewhat narrower, at 52.5%-47.5%, but even that was wider than the 51%-49% margin they reported Sunday night. Harris had a 53-47% margin, also wider than its previous reading. For those after further information on the election, Marc de-Muizon from DB’s European economics team has published his takeaways following the first round (link here).

The other major thematic story is the continued Covid spread in China, their strict lockdown response, and the downstream impacts on supply chains and markets. Asian equities are broadly in the red to start trading this morning, with tech shares also lagging on the increase in long-dated sovereign yields. The Nikkei (-1.44%) is leading losses, which comes as Japanese PPI rose to +9.5% in March, while the February figure was revised to a four-decade high of +9.7%.

Oil prices have partially retraced yesterday’s big decline, with Brent futures rising +1.33% to $99.79/bbl. 10yr Treasury yields continue to forge a path higher, increasing +4.2bps to a three-year high of 2.82% this morning. The yield curve has shifted higher in parallel, with 2yr yields not far behind at +3.7bps.

There wasn’t a massive amount of data yesterday, but we did get the monthly GDP reading for February from the UK. That showed the economy grew by just +0.1% that month (vs. +0.2% expected). Consumers increased their inflation expectations for the year ahead to +6.6%, while three-year inflation dropped to +3.7%, according to the New York Fed’s survey.

To the day ahead, today brings the ever-important US CPI release. Our US econ and rates team put our their joint-preview, here. They’re expecting the monthly gain in headline CPI of +1.3% will push the year-on-year rate to +8.6%, the highest since 1981. However, they think that March is the peak in the year-on-year rates for both headline and core.

Elsewhere in the US, there’s the March NFIB small business optimism index. We’ll also get February UK unemployment and the April German ZEW survey. Finally, central bank speakers today include the Fed’s Brainard and Barkin.

Tyler Durden Tue, 04/12/2022 - 08:02

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Eurodollar Futures Interpretation Is Everywhere

Consumer confidence in Germany never really picked up all that much last year. Conflating CPIs with economic condition, this divergence proved too big…

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Consumer confidence in Germany never really picked up all that much last year. Conflating CPIs with economic condition, this divergence proved too big of a mystery. When the German GfK, for example, perked up only a tiny bit around September and October 2021, the color of consumer prices clouded judgement and interpretation of what had always been a damning situation.

From GfK back then:

The growing consumer optimism signals that consumers here consider the German economy on course for recovery, although the momentum is somewhat more moderate than expected a few months ago. A stable labor market also contributes significantly to the high level of economic expectations.

The words just don’t match the data; when the quote above was written and released, the headline estimate for consumer sentiment in Germany had just ticked above zero for the first time since the coronavirus debacle in 2020.

Sounds terrific, but that wasn’t really meaningful, just another technically-correct phrase which only agreed with the inflation narrative on its narrowest surface. The index remained well below each and every pre-2020 estimate.


It has been (widely) assumed this was only temporary, that Germany’s then-accelerating consumer price indices represented a true picture of recovery, if only too much of one. From that, you’d presume normality just a few more months ahead.

On the contrary, it’s been downhill – way downhill – ever since. And the downslope began months before Russia went foraging for Ukrainian luster. In other words, as consumer (and producer) prices in Germany started their current climb, consumer confidence reversed into what is today an epic collapse – not only the GfK.

Like Americans, Germans have never been more pessimistic. As of today’s forecast for the month of July, GfK has it a record low.

What happened to “high level of economic expectations?” Complete and total mirage, mainstream pundits and the like convincing themselves that “stimulus” works, that CPIs are a result of economic activity rather than gross imbalances, ultimately the failure to see the world as it had truly been.

The entire global economy never recovered, not even close, and then the full weight of the worldwide supply shock (because it wasn’t American “money printing”) slammed down before Putin went full-on stupid.


Just as the hapless ECB begins to grow hawkish wings (I am very close to retracting my apology to Ms. Lagarde, though not entirely surprising), Europe’s economy falls apart. That region’s “inflation” was always going to be “transitory”, too, even if most people don’t have the patience to wait more than a year for it to be fulfilled.

The day’s other “shocking” news was Germany’s HICP advance for June 2022. It fell month-over-month; dropped, declined. The headline CPI, which is calculated a little differently from the harmonized HICP, gained only 0.1% month-over-month.

This could be nothing more than short-term noise, just as the situation had been last November the last time the CPI gained so little on a monthly basis. But that’s the thing; there’s a vast difference between now and last November, as German consumers will attest.

When consumer prices rebounded December and after, consumers weren’t yet so downtrodden. They are now, and then some.


And not just consumers, business expectations are falling fast, too, which only threatens the labor market Europe-wide; planet-wide.

To that end, Germany’s deStatis put the preliminary June year-over-year CPI gain at 7.6% compared to 7.9% during May. That was the other “shock”, an actual decelerating annual rate which had been widely expected (consensus was 8.0%) to further rise. This despite a god-awful, economy-crushing 38% year-over-year increase and contribution from energy (and 12.7% y/y for food).

Services prices were the primary reason, a huge macro uh-oh for all those inflation hawks to now digest. Except maybe the ECB which is following Jay Powell’s path toward yet another embarrassing turnaround.

Time will tell whether or not Europe or Germany’s June price reading proves temporary, or it actually does represent the start of the other side of supply shock transitory.

We know which way markets are currently betting globally. All those out there who said you couldn’t rely on especially the Treasury market because the Fed bought bonds during its QE’s, somehow spoiling and tainting good, relevant, validated information. Now these disbelievers are seeing their flippant (frankly irrational) dismissals of the curve thrown right back at them by the current flood of uniformly gross data.

Add the growing prospect for falling CPIs Europe and beyond, no rate hikes ever required.

But it had never been just USTs, had it? That’s what the Fed (Lagarde) Cult would also attempt, to limit their scope to just Treasuries while leaving unexplained how and why Treasuries were thoroughly corroborated up and down the market spectrum. Even by what were not too long ago the darlings of “store of value” “inflation” protection, crypto and real estate.

Digital currency prices started downward around October and November, too. Random coincidence? Not a chance.

I mean, that’s also exactly when eurodollar futures flattened into inversion.


The whole thing has been corroborated from one side to the next, from top to bottom, across geographical boundaries and from one market to another. This data is just confirming what has been increasingly priced in for over a year.

That’s the thing now, though. Markets have moved on from “if” and “when” to now “how bad.” Eurodollar futures, much more difficult to try to impeach (especially given history, recent history), inverted in whites at the December 2022 contract says Jay Powell is nearing certainty to get embarrassed this year. We can easily infer what that would mean for the ECB and Christine Lagarde (maybe just maybe, depending on timing, sparing her the same humiliation).

What would it take across the global system to turn Jay Powell from ultra-hawk (ostrich) to rate cutting dove? And do it in a matter of months!

The data we see here would be a start. But it’s not just here, it is everywhere.

Irony of irony, GfK stands for Growth from Knowledge. Here now, neither.

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Futures Slide Amid Renewed Recession Fears After China Doubles Down On “Covid Zero”

Futures Slide Amid Renewed Recession Fears After China Doubles Down On "Covid Zero"

One day after futures ramped overnight (if only to crater…

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Futures Slide Amid Renewed Recession Fears After China Doubles Down On "Covid Zero"

One day after futures ramped overnight (if only to crater during the regular session) on hopes China was easing its highly politicized  Zero Covid policy after it cut the time of quarantine lockdowns, this morning futures slumped early on after China's President Xi Jinping made clear that Covid Zero isn't going anywhere and remains the most “economic and effective” policy for China during a symbolic visit to the virus ground zero in Wuhan, in which he cast the strategy as proof of the superiority of the country’s political system. That coupled with renewed recession worries (market is again pricing in a rate cut in Q1 2023) even as monetary policy tightens in much of the world to fight supply-side inflation, sent US futures and global markets lower. S&P futures dropped 0.2% and Nasdaq 100 futures were down 0.4% after the underlying index slumped on 3.1% on Tuesday. The dollar was steady after rising the most in over a week while WTI crude climbed above $112 a barrel, set for a fourth session of gains. In cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin dipped below the closely watched $20,000 level on news crypto hedge fund 3 Arrows Capital was ordered to liquidate.

The Nasdaq's Tuesday’s slump added to what was already one of the worst years in terms of big daily selloffs in US stocks. The S&P 500 Index has fallen 2% or more on 14 occasions, putting 2022 in the top 10 list, according to Bloomberg data.

Not helping the tech sector, on Wednesday morning JPMorgan cut its earnings estimates across the sector, especially for companies exposed to online advertising, citing macroeconomic pressures, forex and company-specific dynamics.

One of the chief drivers for overnight weakness, China's Xi said during a trip Tuesday to Wuhan where the virus first emerged in late 2019 that relaxing Covid controls would risk too many lives in the world’s most populous country. China would rather endure some temporary impact on economic development than let the virus hurt people’s safety and health, he said, in remarks reported Wednesday by state media. As a result, China’s CSI 300 Index extended loss to 1.4% after the headline, while the yuan drops as much as 0.2% to trade 6.7132 against the dollar in the offshore market.

Among key premarket movers, Tesla slipped in US premarket trading. The electric-vehicle maker laid off hundreds of workers on its Autopilot team as it shuttered a California facility, according to people familiar with the matter. Carnival slumped as Morgan Stanley analysts warned that the London and New York-listed cruise vacation company’s shares could lose all their value in the event of another demand shock. Pinterest gained 3.7% as the company’s co- founder and CEO Ben Silbermann quit and handed the reins to Google and PayPal veteran Bill Ready in a sign the social-media company will focus more on e-commerce. Also, despite the pervasive weakness, the Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund ETF (XLE) rebounded off key support (50% Fibonacci) relative to the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY). That said, energy was alone and most other notable movers were down in the premarket:

  • Carnival (CCL US) shares fall 8% premarket as Morgan Stanley analysts warned that the cruise vacation firm’s shares could lose all their value in the event of another demand shock.
  • Nio (NIO US) shares drop 8.2% after short-seller Grizzly Research published a report on Tuesday alleging that the electric carmaker used battery sales to a related party to inflate revenue and boost net income margins. The company rejected the claims.
  • Upstart Holdings (UPST US) shares slump about 9% after Morgan Stanley downgraded the consumer finance company to underweight from equal-weight amid rising cyclical headwinds.
  • Ormat Technologies (ORA US) rallies as much as 5% after the renewable energy company is set to be included in the S&P Midcap 400 Index.
  • 2U (TWOU US) shares rise 16% premarket. Indian online-education provider Byju’s has offered to buy the company in a cash deal that values the US-listed edtech firm at more than $1 billion, a person familiar with the matter said.
  • Watch Amazon (AMZN US) shares as Redburn initiated coverage of the stock with a buy recommendation and set a Street-high price target, saying “there is a clear path toward a $3 trillion value for AWS alone.”
  • Shares in data center REITs could be active later in the trading session after short-seller Jim Chanos said in an FT interview that he’s betting against “legacy” data centers. Watch Digital Realty (DLR US) and Equinix (EQIX US), as well as data center operators Cyxtera Technologies (CYXT US) and Iron Mountain (IRM US)

Investors are growing increasingly skeptical that the Fed can avoid a bruising economic downturn amid sharp interest-rate hikes. Evaporating consumer confidence is feeding into concerns that the US might tip into a recession. Naturally, Fed officials sought to play down recession risk. New York Fed President John Williams and San Francisco’s Mary Daly both acknowledged they had to cool inflation, but insisted that a soft landing was still possible.

“It seems the market is in this tug of war between on the one hand the hope that we are close to the peak in inflation and rates, and on the other hand the challenge of a slowing economy and potential recession,” Emmanuel Cau, head of European equity strategy at Barclays Bank Plc, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “Central banks are walking a very tight line and to a certain extent dictate the mood in the markets.”

European equities snapped three days of gains, trading poorly but off worst levels with sentiment also hurt by China remaining committed to its zero-Covid approach. Spanish inflation unexpectedly surged to a record, dashing hopes that inflation in the euro zone’s fourth-biggest economy had peaked, and emboldening European Central Bank policy makers pushing for big increases in interest rates. The ECB should consider raising interest rates by twice the planned amount next month if the inflation outlook deteriorates, according to Governing Council member Gediminas Simkus, as calls not to exclude an outsized initial move grow. German benchmark bonds rose, while 10-year Treasury yields slipped to 3.16%. DAX lags, dropping as much as 1.8%. Real estate, autos and miners are the worst performing sectors.

In notable moves in European stocks, Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) gained after the Swedish low-cost retailer’s earnings beat analyst estimates. Just Eat Takeaway.com NV tumbled to a record low after Berenberg analysts rated the stock sell, saying the food delivery firm’s UK business will remain under pressure. Here are some of the biggest European movers today:

  • Just Eat Takeaway shares plunge as much as 21% after Berenberg initiated coverage with a sell rating, saying the firm’s UK business will remain under pressure and a sale of its Grubhub unit is unlikely to satisfy the bulls.
  • Carnival stocks slumped over 12% in London as Morgan Stanley analysts warned that the cruise vacation firm’s shares could lose all their value in the event of another demand shock.
  • Pearson drops as much as 6.1% after the education company was cut to sell at UBS, which reduced forecasts to reflect a weak outlook for 2022 college enrollments.
  • Grifols shares plunge as much as 13% on a media report the Spanish plasma firm is weighing a capital raise of as much as EU2b to cut its debt.
  • Diageo shares fall after downgrades for the spirits group from Deutsche Bank and Kepler Cheuvreux, while Pernod Ricard also dips on a rating cut from the latter.
  • Diageo declines as much as 4.2%, Pernod Ricard -3.7%
  • Fluidra shares fall as much as 8.4% after Santander cut its rating on the Spanish swimming pools company. The bank’s analyst Alejandro Conde cut the recommendation to neutral from outperform.
  • H&M shares rise as much as 6.8% after the Swedish apparel retailer reported 2Q earnings that beat estimates. Jefferies said the margin beat in particular was reassuring, while Morgan Stanley said it was a “positive surprise” overall.
  • Ipsen shares rise as much as 3.1% after UBS analyst Michael Leuchten said that accepting palovarotene refiling priority review should be a net present value and confidence boost.

Asian stocks fell, halting a four-day gain, as renewed angst over the outlook for global economic growth and inflation help drive a selloff across most of the region’s equity markets. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped as much as 1.5%, led by consumer discretionary and information sectors. Chinese equities in particular took a hit, as the CSI 300 Index fell 1.5% Wednesday after Xi Jinping reiterated his firm stance on Covid zero. Tech-heavy indexes in markets such as South Korea and Taiwan took the brunt of Wednesday’s drop amid lingering concerns that monetary tightening in much of the world to fight inflation will cause an economic slowdown. While Federal Reserve members have played down the risk of a US recession, gloomy data such as US consumer confidence have damped investor sentiment.

“Volatility is going to be the enduring feature of the market, I suspect, for the next couple of quarters at least until we get a firm sense that peak inflation has passed,” John Woods, Credit Suisse Group AG’s Asia-Pacific chief investment officer, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “Markets, I think, have aggressively priced in quite a serious or steep recession.”  China’s four-day winning streak came to a halt, putting its advance toward a bull market on hold.  “We will continue to see a risk of targeted lockdowns, and that spoils the initial euphoria seen in the markets from the announcement on relaxation of quarantine requirements,” said Charu Chanana, market strategist at Saxo Capital Markets. “Still, economic growth will likely be prioritized as this is a politically important year for China.” 

Japanese equities decline as investors digested data that showed a drop in US consumer confidence over inflation worries and increased concerns of an economic downturn.  The Topix Index fell 0.7% to 1,893.57 in Tokyo on Wednesday, while the Nikkei declined 0.9% to 26,804.60. Toyota Motor Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s decline, decreasing 1.8%. Out of 2,170 shares in the index, 1,114 fell, 984 rose and 72 were unchanged. “There are concerns about stagflation,” said Hideyuki Suzuki a general manager at SBI Securities. “The consumer sentiment from the University of Michigan, which provides one of the fastest data points, has already shown poor figures.”

Stocks in India tracked their Asian peers lower as brent rose to the highest level in two weeks, while high inflation and slowing global growth continued to dampen risk-appetite for global equities. The S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.3% to 53,026.97 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index declined by an equal measure. Both gauges have lost more than 4% in June and are set for their third consecutive month of declines. The main indexes have dropped for all but one month this year. Twelve of the 19 sub-sector gauges compiled by BSE Ltd. eased, led by banking companies while power producers were the top performers.   Investors will also be watching the expiry of monthly derivative contracts on Thursday, which may lead to some volatility in the markets.  Hindustan Unilever was the biggest contributor to the Sensex’s decline, decreasing 3.5%. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex, 10 rose and 20 fell.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index inched up modestly as the greenback traded mixed against its Group-of-10 peers; the Swiss franc led gains while Antipodean currencies were the worst performers and the euro traded in a narrow range around $1.05. The relative cost to own optionality in the euro heading into the July meetings of the ECB and the Federal Reserve was too low for investors to ignore and has become less and less underpriced. The yen strengthened and US and Japanese bond yields fell.

In rates, fixed income has a choppy start. Bund futures initially surged just shy of 200 ticks on a soft regional German CPI print before fading the entire move over the course of the morning as Spanish data hit the tape, delivering a surprise record 10% reading for June and more hawkish ECB comments crossed the wires. Treasuries and gilts followed with curves eventually fading a bull-steepening move. Long-end gilts underperform, cheapening ~4bps near 2.75%. Peripheral spreads are tighter to core. 

Treasuries are slightly higher as US trading day begins, off the session lows reached as bund futures jumped after the first monthly drop since November in a German regional CPI gauge. Yields are lower across the curve, by 1bp-2bp for tenors out to the 10-year with long-end yields little changed; 10-year declined as much as 5.3bp vs as much as 8.2bp for German 10- year, which remains lower by ~3bp. Focal points for the US session include a final revision of 1Q GDP, comments by Fed Chair Powell, and anticipation of quarter-end flows favoring bonds. Quarter-end is anticipated to cause rebalancing flows into bonds; Wells Fargo estimated that $5b will be added to bonds, with most of the flows occurring Wednesday and Thursday.

In commodities, crude futures advance. WTI drifts 0.3% higher to trade near $112.13. Base metals are mixed; LME tin falls 5.6% while LME zinc gains 0.4%. Spot gold falls roughly $5 to trade near $1,815/oz

Looking ahead, the highlight will be the panel at the ECB Forum that includes Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde and BoE Governor Bailey. We’ll also be hearing from ECB Vice President de Guindos, the ECB’s Schnabel, the Fed’s Mester and Bullard, and the BoE’s Dhingra. On the data side, releases include German CPI for June, Euro Area money supply for May, and the final Euro Area consumer confidence reading for June. From the US, we’ll also get the third reading of Q1 GDP.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures little changed at 3,829.00
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 0.8% to 412.69
  • MXAP down 1.3% to 159.96
  • MXAPJ down 1.6% to 531.04
  • Nikkei down 0.9% to 26,804.60
  • Topix down 0.7% to 1,893.57
  • Hang Seng Index down 1.9% to 21,996.89
  • Shanghai Composite down 1.4% to 3,361.52
  • Sensex little changed at 53,204.17
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.9% to 6,700.23
  • Kospi down 1.8% to 2,377.99
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 1.59%
  • Euro little changed at $1.0510
  • Brent Futures down 0.4% to $117.46/bbl
  • Gold spot down 0.2% to $1,816.09
  • U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 104.55

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • The Fed’s Loretta Mester said she wants to see the benchmark lending rate reach 3% to 3.5% this year and “a little bit above 4% next year” to rein in price pressures even if that tips the economy into a recession
  • The ECB should consider raising interest rates by twice the planned amount next month if the inflation outlook deteriorates, according to Governing Council member Gediminas Simkus, as calls not to exclude an outsized initial move grow
  • ECB has “ample room” to hike in 25bps-50bps steps to “whatever rate we think, we consider reasonable,” Governing Council member Robert Holzmann said in interview with CNBC
  • Swedish consumers are gloomier than they have been since the mid-1990s, as prices surge on everything from fuel to food and furniture
  • China’s President Xi Jinping declared Covid Zero the most “economic and effective” policy for the nation, during a symbolic visit to Wuhan in which he cast the strategy as proof of the superiority of the country’s political system
  • NATO moved one step closer to bolstering its eastern front with Russia after Turkey dropped its opposition to Swedish and Finnish bids to join the military alliance

A more detailed look at markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia-Pac stocks were pressured amid headwinds from the US where disappointing Consumer Confidence data added to the growth concerns. ASX 200 failed to benefit from better than expected Retail Sales and was dragged lower by weakness in miners and tech. Nikkei 225 fell beneath the 27,000 level as industries remained pressured by the ongoing power crunch. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. conformed to the negative picture in the region although losses in the mainland were initially stemmed after China cut its quarantine requirements which the National Health Commission caveated was not a relaxation but an optimization to make it more scientific and precise.

Top Asian News

  • Chinese President Xi said China's COVID prevention control and strategy is correct and effective and must stick with it, via state media. Shanghai will gradually reopen museums and scenic sports from July 1st, state media reports.
  • US Deputy Commerce Secretary Graves said the US will take a balanced approach on Chinese tariffs and that a clear response on China tariffs is coming soon, according to Bloomberg.
  • China State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office said it firmly opposes the US signing any agreement that has sovereign connotations with Taiwan, according to Global Times.
  • BoJ Governor Kuroda said Japanese Core CPI reached 2.1% in April and May which is almost fully due to international energy prices and Japan's economy has not been affected much by the global inflationary trend so monetary policy will stay accommodative, according to Reuters.
  • Japanese govt to issue power supply shortage warning for a fourth consecutive day on Thursday, according to a statement.

European bourses are on the backfoot as the region plays catch-up to the losses on Wall Street yesterday. Sectors are mostly lower (ex-Energy) with a defensive tilt as Healthcare, Consumer Products, Food & Beverages, and Utilities are more cushioned than their cyclical peers. Stateside, US equity futures trade on either side of the unchanged mark with no stand-out performers thus far, with the contracts awaiting the next catalyst.

Top European News

  • UK expects defence spending to reach 2.3% of GDP and said PM Johnson will announce new military commitments to NATO, according to Reuters.
  • UK Weighs Capping Maximum Stake in Online Casinos at £5
  • Europe Is the Only Region Where Earnings Estimates Are Rising
  • European Gas Prices Rise as Supply Risks Add to Storage Concerns
  • Gold Steady as Traders Weigh Fed Comments on US Recession Risks
  • Choppy Start for Euro-Area Bonds on Mixed Inflation

FX

  • Dollar mostly bid otherwise as rebalancing demand underpins - DXY pivots 104.500 within 104.700-350 confines.
  • Franc outperforms on rate and risk considerations - Usd/Chf breaches 0.9550 and Eur/Chf approaches parity.
  • Euro erratic in line with conflicting inflation data - Eur/Usd rotates around 1.0500.
  • Aussie and Kiwi undermined by downturn in sentiment - Aud/Usd loses 0.6900+ status, Nzd/Usd wanes from just over 0.6250.
  • Yen rangy following firmer than forecast Japanese retail sales and BoJ Governor Kuroda reaffirming intent to remain accommodative - Usd/Jpy straddles 136.00.
  • Nokkie welcomes oil worker wage agreement with unions to avert strike action, but Sekkie hampered by softer Swedish macro releases pre-Riksbank policy call tomorrow - Eur/Nok probes 10.3000, Eur/Sek hovers around 10.6800.
  • Rand rattled by decline in Gold and ongoing SA power supply problems, but Rouble rallies irrespective of CBR and Russian Economy Ministry divergence over deflation.

Central Banks

  • ECB's Lane said there are two-way inflation risks: "on the one side, there could be forces that keep inflation higher than expected for longer. On the other side, we do have the risk of a slowdown in the economy, which would reduce inflationary pressure", via ECB.
  • ECB's Holzmann said "We will have to make an assessment where the economic development is going and where inflation stands and afterwards there’s ample room to hike in 0.25 and 0.5 levels to whatever rate we think, we consider reasonable" via CNBC.
  • ECB's Simkus said if data worsens, then he wants a 50bps July hike as an option, 50bps hike is very likely in September; ECB's fragmentation tool should serve as a deterrent, via Bloomberg.
  • ECB's Herodotou said EZ inflation will peak this year, via CNBC.
  • ECB's Wunsch said government aid may spell more rate hikes, via Bloomberg; 150bps of hikes by March 2023 is reasonable
  • ECB is said to be weighting whether or not they should announce the size and duration of their upcoming bond-buying scheme, according to Reuters sources.
  • Fed's Mester (2022, 2024 voter) said on a path towards restrictive interest rates; July debate between 50bps and 75bps hike, via CNBC. Mester said if inflation expectations become unanchored, monetary policy would have to act more forcefully; current inflation situation is a very challenging one, via Reuters.
  • SARB Governor said a 50bps hike is "not off the table", Via Bloomberg
  • CBR Governor said she does not see risks of deflation; sees room to cut rates; sticking to policy of floating RUB exchange rate.
  • PBoC will step up implementation of prudent monetary policy, will keep liquidity reasonably ample.

Fixed Income

  • Bunds unwind all and a bit more of their hefty post-NRW CPI gains as other German states show smaller inflation slowdowns and Spanish HICP soars.
  • Gilts suffer more pronounced fall from grace in relative terms and US Treasuries slip from overnight peaks in sympathy.
  • UK debt and STIRs also await testimony from MPC member elect to see if newbie leans dovish, hawkish or middle of the road
  • 10 year benchmarks settle off worst levels within 147.37-145.14, 112.66-11.85 and 117-12+/116-27 respective ranges awaiting comments from ECB, Fed and BoE heads at Sintra Forum.

Commodities

  • WTI and Brent front-month futures traded with no firm direction in early European hours before picking up modestly in recent trade.
  • US Private Inventory (bbls): Crude -3.8mln (exp. -0.6mln), Cushing -0.7mln, Distillate +2.6mln (exp. -0.2mln) and Gasoline +2.9mln (exp. -0.1mln).
  • Norway's Industri Energi and SAFE labour unions agreed a wage deal for oil drilling workers and will not go on strike, according to Reuters.
  • OPEC to start today at 12:00BST/07:00EDT; JMMC on Thursday at 12:00BST/07:00EDT followed by OPEC+ at 12:30BST/07:30EDT, via EnergyIntel.
  • Libya's NOC suspends oil exports from Es Sider port.
  • Spot gold is under some mild pressure as the Buck and Bond yields picked up, with the yellow metal back to near-two-week lows
  • Base metals are mixed but off best levels after President Xi reaffirmed China's COVID stance – LME copper fell back under USD 8,500/t

US Event Calendar

  • 07:00: June MBA Mortgage Applications, prior 4.2%
  • 08:30: 1Q PCE Core QoQ, est. 5.1%, prior 5.1%
  • 08:30: 1Q GDP Price Index, est. 8.1%, prior 8.1%
  • 08:30: 1Q Personal Consumption, est. 3.1%, prior 3.1%
  • 08:30: 1Q GDP Annualized QoQ, est. -1.5%, prior -1.5%

Central Banks

  • 09:00: Powell Takes Part in Panel Discussion at ECB Forum in Sintra
  • 09:00: Lagarde, Powell, Bailey, Carstens Speak in Sintra
  • 11:30: Fed’s Mester Speaks on Panel at ECB Forum in Sintra
  • 13:05: Fed’s Bullard Makes Introductory Remarks

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap


I'm finishing this off in a taxi on the way to the Eurostar this morning and I made the mistake of telling the driver I was slightly pressed for time. He seems to be taking the racing line everywhere and my motion sickness is kicking in.

A little like this car journey, it's been another volatile 24 hours in markets, with a succession of weak data releases raising further questions about how close the US and Europe might be to a recession. That saw equities give up their initial gains to post a decent decline on the day, whilst there was little respite from central bankers either, with sovereign bonds selling off further as multiple speakers doubled down on their hawkish rhetoric. That comes ahead of another eventful day ahead on the calendar, with investors primarily focused on a panel featuring Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde and BoE Governor Bailey, as well as the flash German CPI print for June, who are the first G7 economy to release their inflation print for the month, which will provide some further clues on how fast central banks will need to move on rate hikes. Just as we go to print the NRW region of Germany has seen CPI print at 7.5% YoY, way below last month's 8.1%. This region is around a quarter of GDP so it could imply the national numbers will be notably softer when we get them later. The energy tax cuts were always going to come through in June so some respite was always possible but at first glance this seems materially below what might have been expected.

This comes after a significant sovereign bond selloff in Europe once again yesterday as President Lagarde reiterated the central bank’s determination to bring down inflation, and described inflation pressures that were “broadening and intensifying”. And although Lagarde stuck to the existing script about the ECB raising rates by 25bps at the next meeting, we also heard from Latvia’s Kazaks who said that “front-loading the increase would be a reasonable choice” in the event that the situation with inflation or inflation expectations deteriorates. Lagarde did nod to this in part, saying that if the ECB was “to see higher inflation threatening to de-anchor inflation expectations, or signs of a more permanent loss of economic potential that limits resources availability, we would need to withdraw accommodation more promptly to stamp out the risk of a self-fulfilling spiral.” Separately on fragmentation, Lagarde said that they could “use flexibility in reinvesting redemptions” from PEPP starting July 1 in order to deal with the issue.

For now, overnight index swaps are only pricing in a +31.3bps move in July from the ECB, so still closer to 25 than 50 for the time being. Meanwhile the rate priced in by year-end rose also by +7.9bps as investors interpreted the comments in a hawkish light. That supported a further rise in yields, with those on 10yr bunds up another +8.1bps yesterday, following on from their +10.7bps move in the previous session. That’s now almost reversed the -21.9ps move over the previous week, which itself was the third-largest weekly decline in bund yields for a decade, and brought the 10yr yield back up to 1.63%, so not far off its multi-year high of 1.77% seen last week. A similar pattern was seen elsewhere, with 10yr yields on 10yr OATs (+9.6bps), BTPs (+4.2bps) and gilts (+7.2bps) all moving higher too.

Things turned near the European close with some poor US data releases piling on to some lacklustre confidence figures in Europe. Earlier in the day the GfK consumer confidence reading from Germany fell to -27.4 (vs. -27.3 expected), taking it to another record low. Separately in France, consumer confidence fell to 82 on the INSEE’s measure (vs. 84 expected), which we haven’t seen since 2013. Then in the US, the Conference Board’s measure fell to 98.7 (vs. 100.0 expected), which is the lowest since February 2021. The Conference Board’s one-year ahead inflation expectations hit a record high of 8.0%, surpassing the June 2008 record of 7.7%, adding to the pessimism. Along with waning confidence, the Richmond Fed’s Manufacturing Index registered a -19, its lowest since the peak onset of the pandemic, versus expectations of -7 and a prior of -9, showing that production data has weakened as well. This put a serious damper on risk sentiment which drove Treasury yields and equities lower intraday during the New York session.

10yr Treasury yields ended down -2.8bps after trading as much as +5.5bps higher during the European session. They are down another -4bps this morning. Concerningly as well, there was a fresh flattening in the Fed’s preferred yield curve indicator (which is 18m3m – 3m), which came down another -9.1bps to 165bps, which is the flattest its been since early March.

With that succession of bad news helping to dampen risk appetite, US equities gave up their opening gains to leave the S&P 500 down -2.01% on the day. Tech stocks saw the worst losses, with the NASDAQ (-2.98%) and the FANG+ (-3.74%) seeing even larger declines. And whilst there was a stronger performance in Europe, the STOXX 600 ended the day up just +0.27%, having been as high as +0.95% in the couple of hours before the close.

We didn’t hear so much from the Fed ahead of Chair Powell’s appearance today, although New York Fed President Williams said that at the upcoming July meeting “I think 50 to 75 is clearly going to be the debate”. Markets are continuing to price something in between the two, although since the last Fed meeting futures have been consistently closer to 75 than 50, with 69.0 bps right now.

Those sharp losses in US equities are echoing across Asia this morning. The Hang Seng (-1.86%) is leading the losses followed by the Kospi (-1.82%), the Nikkei (-1.07%) and the ASX 200 (-1.06%). Over in mainland China, the Shanghai Composite (-0.77%) and the CSI (-0.80%) are slightly out-performing after yesterday’s surprise move by China to slash the quarantine period for inbound travellers (more on this below). Looking ahead, US stock index futures point to a positive opening with contracts on the S&P 500 (+0.18%) and NASDAQ 100 (+0.19%) mildly higher.

Earlier today, data released showed that Japan’s retail sales advanced for the third consecutive month in May (+3.6% y/y) but lower than the consensus of +4.0%, but with the previous month's data revised up to +3.1% (vs +2.9% preliminary). Meanwhile, South Korea’s consumer sentiment index (CSI) fell sharply to 96.4 in June (vs 102.6 in May), sliding below the long-term average of 100 for the first time since Feb 2021. Separately, Australia’s retail sales put in another strong performance as it climbed +0.9% m/m in May, surpassing analyst estimates of a +0.4% increase.

Oil has fallen back slightly overnight after three sessions of gains with Brent futures down -0.84% at $116.99 and WTI futures (-0.64%) at $111.04/bbl as I type.

Just after we went to press yesterday, it was also announced that China would be shortening the required quarantine period for inbound travellers to one week from two. So although China is still very-much committed to a Covid-zero strategy for the time being, this step towards loosening rather than tightening restrictions is an interesting development that helped support Chinese equities in yesterday’s session towards the close which filtered through into early northern hemisphere risk performance.

In terms of other data yesterday, there were signs that US house price growth might finally be slowing somewhat, with the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index up by +20.4% in April, which is down slightly from the +20.6% gain in March. So still a long way from an absolute decline, but that marks a reversal in the trend after the previous 4 months of rises in the year-on-year measure.

To the day ahead now, and the highlight will likely be the panel at the ECB Forum that includes Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde and BoE Governor Bailey. We’ll also be hearing from ECB Vice President de Guindos, the ECB’s Schnabel, the Fed’s Mester and Bullard, and the BoE’s Dhingra. On the data side, releases include German CPI for June, Euro Area money supply for May, and the final Euro Area consumer confidence reading for June. From the US, we’ll also get the third reading of Q1 GDP.

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/29/2022 - 08:00

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ECB To Launch “First Line” Of Bond Crash Defense On Friday, Same Day QE Ends

ECB To Launch "First Line" Of Bond Crash Defense On Friday, Same Day QE Ends

For all those curious what the ECB’s "anti-spread tool", meant…

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ECB To Launch "First Line" Of Bond Crash Defense On Friday, Same Day QE Ends

For all those curious what the ECB's "anti-spread tool", meant to bring soaring Italian yields tighter in a time of rising rates and QT even as Europe scrambles to offset record inflation by tightening financial conditions (as discussed most recently in "The ECB Has A Huge Dilemma: Price Stability Or Bail Out Nations"), we got a small update earlier today when ECB President Christine Lagarde said that the central bank will activate one part of the bond-purchasing firepower it’s earmarked as "a first line of defense" against a possible debt-market crisis this coming Friday... which just "coincidentally" happens to be the day the ECB's QE ends!

“We have decided to apply this flexibility in reinvesting redemptions coming due in the PEPP portfolio as of 1 July,” Lagarde said Tuesday in a speech in Sintra, Portugal, where the ECB is holding its annual retreat.

“We will ensure that the orderly transmission of our policy stance throughout the euro area is preserved,” she said. “We will address every obstacle that may pose a threat to our price-stability mandate.”

As Bloomberg notes, the availability of pandemic reinvestments has been touted as an initial crisis-fighting tool since December, though the ECB didn’t choose to resort to that option until an emergency meeting on June 15 that followed a surge in Italian yields.

Unfortunately, that's as much detail as we are going to get, because once again there was generous use of the word flexibility”, this time in the context to how reinvestments from the ECB’s €1.7 trillion ($1.8 trillion) pandemic bond-buying portfolio are allocated, and which will be aimed at curbing unwarranted turmoil in government bonds as interest rates are lifted from record lows to curb unprecedented inflation.

In other words, just as we jokingly suggested some time ago, the ECB will do QT on even days, QE on odd ones.

Meanwhile, adding to the QE now, QT tomorrow confusion, net buying under the ECB's original asset-purchase program is also set to end on Friday, exposing the euro zone’s more-indebted nations to speculative attacks by investors, similar to the blowout in Italian yields already observed at the start of June.

But wait, there's more, because while Europe is desperate for deflationary gale force winds to blow away the runaway inflation that has put an end to the ECB's various easing deus ex machinas, many are convinced that the ECB is hiking into yet another recession which will be triggered by Russia which continues to cut off energy supplies, while there are also doubts in the ECB’s ability to avoid investor panic as it raises rates for the first time in a decade.

Following Lagarde's statement, Italian bonds trimmed declines, narrowing the 10-year yield premium over its German counterpart -- a key gauge of risk in the region -- by six basis points to 192 basis points, the lowest since Thursday.

The ECB is also working on a new bond-buying instrument to tackle the same issue -- known as fragmentation -- and is expected to announce something in the coming weeks. Lagarde said the tool will allow rates to rise “as far as necessary,” complementing efforts to stabilize inflation at the 2% target -- a quarter of the current level.

Of course, that will never happen and instead the moment the details of the "anti-fragmentation" mechanism are revealed and the market realizes just how powerless the ECB is, yields and spreads will blow out to multi-year highs.

Addressing the same event in Portugal, Governing Council member Martins Kazaks said he thinks “sterilization” to nullify the stimulative effect of bond purchases “should be part of the instrument.” The tool “should be a backstop,” used only when urgently needed, he said.

However, since there is no such thing as a deus ex machina, the moment the ECB unveils the specifics and details is when the next crisis begins, and the ECB knows that very well.

Separately, while describing the risk of a recession in the 19-member euro area as “non-trivial,” Kazaks said rates can be raised “quite quickly” and called front-loading hikes -- including a possible July move beyond the planned quarter-point -- “reasonable.”Lagarde backed the ECB’s base case for next month, but stressed the path for steady rate increases could be accelerated if price pressures worsen.

What the ECB should be worried about is how fast it will cut rates after its rate hikes spark the next recession and whether rates will hit a new record negative yield one year from today/

Tyler Durden Tue, 06/28/2022 - 12:00

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