Week Ahead – Between a rock and a hard place
Inflation is a growing concern For years central banks have been operating under the assumption that inflation will eventually return to target while having the flexibility to wait until the economy is fully ready for higher rates. That luxury is a thing.
Inflation is a growing concern
For years central banks have been operating under the assumption that inflation will eventually return to target while having the flexibility to wait until the economy is fully ready for higher rates. That luxury is a thing of the past and many now feel stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Most are hoping that a modest tightening of monetary policy will begin the address the problem and buy them enough time for inflation to show itself to be as transitory as they believe. Some are taking more drastic action with larger rate hikes to quickly bring inflation under control. And then there’s the CBRT.
Next week it’s the ECB’s turn to shed some light on how it will deal with inflation which is running well above target, an unusual problem for the central bank after a decade in which the threat of deflation has been a much greater risk.
Earnings season keeps investors positive
ECB prepares for the end of PEPP
Lira slides as CBRT loses credibility
The calm before the November 3rd Fed storm should have investors focus on the advance reading of third-quarter GDP, mega-cap tech earnings, and the final version of President Biden’s economic package. The economy was dealt a blow from the delta variant but most of the lost growth appears to be pushed back to next year. On Thursday, analysts expect the economy in the third quarter to slow from 6.7% to 3.0%, which is a reflection of current supply chain issues and not falling demand.
Risk appetite has remained intact as Wall Street continues to overlook supply chain issues, surging commodity prices, and rising transportation costs, but that could change if inflationary pressures intensify. The next round of mega-cap tech earnings from Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook could change Wall Street’s expectation on how much pricing pressures are persisting.
Optimism is growing that after some large concessions, Democrats will get Senators Manchin and Sinema on board with President Biden’s economic package. The US economic outlook next year is still looking bright as pent up demand and more stimulus will spur growth.
The ECB meeting next week is the obvious standout event as markets look for clues on how the PEPP program will be replaced when it expires in March and whether it will be tempted to follow other central banks in tightening monetary policy. Headline inflation may be above target but there appears to be a firmer belief than elsewhere that this is temporary and they’ll be back below before long. With that in mind, investors will be keen to know whether other stimulus measures will be introduced in March. They may have to wait until December though when new economic projections will be prepared.
UK businesses and households are facing a squeeze over the next year from higher energy prices, taxes, prices and interest rates as the BoE prepares to raise interest rates to counter high supply-side driven inflation.
That makes the Chancellors Autumn budget on Wednesday all the more important. While the governments focus in the coming years will have to be on paying for the pandemic, they won’t want to act too fast and turn an already sluggish recovery into something worse.
The ruble rallied strongly after the Bank of Russia raised interest rates by 0.75% on Friday, surpassing expectations of a 0.25% or 0.5% hike. Clearly, unlike their Turkish counterparts, the CBR is taking the threat of inflation serious and is prepared to raise them further as it raised its inflation forecast at the end of the year to 7.4-7.9%, almost double its 4% target.
The announcement saw the dollar fall briefly back below 70 against the ruble for the first time since June last year. Higher rates and soaring energy prices have supported the currency in recent months and with more hikes and a possible winter crisis in the pipeline, it could remain in favour for some time.
The unemployment rate on Friday is the only notable release.
PPI and trade balance releases are the only releases of note next week.
The lira fell more than 3% to a record low on Thursday and has continued to slide on Friday after the CBRT cut rates by 2%, at least twice as much as markets expected. The move ends the debate, if there was one, that the central bank is being influenced by President Erdogan, whose long-held views that high-interest rates spur inflation are well known.
The central banks’ credibility under Şahap Kavcıoğlu is ruined and its only hope of avoiding further troubles down the road is inflation falling significantly and very soon. Even then, central bank credibility is important, as is the divide between politics and monetary policy and they are both irreversibly damaged under Kavcıoğlu. The lira could remain under severe pressure for some time.
Evergrande has paid an offshore bond coupon today, one day before the grace period expiry. That has removed the immediate financial contagion threat from Mainland markets and reduced weekend risk. It faces another coupon payment deadline on the 29th though and this story is probably not going away soon.
China has no significant data this coming week, but with the central committee meeting due on the 8th of November, authorities will be doing their utmost to ensure that markets remain “serene” until then.
PBOC officials have expressed comfort that the Yuan is fairly priced at these levels, so strength may continue. With China needing to source energy stocks “at any cost” a strong Yuan is probably their favoured position.
The Indian rupee recovery continues, but the story is more a weak US dollar one than a strong rupee one. A strong US earnings season is causing dollar weakness and this story means the rupee rally may have more life in it.
India is entering the holiday season over the next two weeks and market volumes are likely to decrease, potentially amplifying short-term moves. No significant data releases this week.
Australia & New Zealand
The Aussie and New Zealand dollars rallied strongly as global risk sentiment improved thanks to a strong US earnings season so far. Melbourne and Sydney’s reopening will also lift sentiment and the huge New Zealand inflation number leaves the RBNZ 0.50% hike trade, pencilled in for next month, in full swing. Going forward both will continue to be buffeted by swinging sentiment shifts in overseas markets.
Australia has inflation data this Monday and PPI and Retail Sales on Friday. The RBA had to intervene in the 3-year bond market to cap rate hikes as markets locally started pricing in a change in RBA guidance from ultra-dovish.
New Zealand markets continue ignoring rising delta cases and are myopically focused on pricing in a large RBNZ hike next month. Although the trade is now crowded, kiwi outperformance will continue as long as global risk sentiment remains positive.
The Bank of Japan announces its latest policy decision next week on Thursday. However, there is little chance of any change before November’s FOMC and ahead of the Lower House election on October 31st. Electioneering will dominate the headlines in Japan next week, but despite the noise, the Nikkei is following the Nasdaq closely. It would take a huge shift in polling away from the ruling LDP to shift the narrative negatively into domestic markets.
USD/JPY remains near 114.00 and continues to be a purely US/Japan rate differential play. With rates firming in the US, and Japan low forever, USD/JPY’s path of least resistance continues to be higher.
Key Economic Events
Sunday, Oct. 24
By-elections will be held for upper house seats in Japan’s Shizuoka and Yamaguchi prefectures
Bank of England policymaker Mann speaks at the 3rd Bund Summit, China Finance Forum 40 on a panel about “Asset prices, inflation expectation and exit from economic stimulus.”
Monday, Oct. 25
The ASEAN Business and Investment Summit speakers include US President Biden and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
EU energy ministers hold an extraordinary council in Luxembourg to discuss rising energy prices in the bloc.
Germany IFO business climate
Japan leading index
Switzerland domestic sight deposits
Turkey real sector confidence
BOE policymaker Tenreyro speaks at an event hosted by CEPR and the central bank.
Tuesday, Oct. 26
FDA advisory panel meeting may decide on whether children ages 5 to 11 could get a COVID vaccine
Bank of France Governor Villeroy de Galhau speaks at a sustainable finance event in Paris.
Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau may announce the new cabinet
Australia ANZ consumer confidence
China Bloomberg economic survey
Hong Kong trade
PPI: Spain, Sweden, Japan
South Korea GDP
Mexico international reserves
Japan bond purchases
Singapore industrial production
U.S. new home sales, U.S. Conf. Board consumer confidence
South Africa leading indicator
Wednesday, Oct. 27
UK Chancellor of Exchequer Rishi Sunak to unveil the government’s autumn budget including new forecasts from the Office of Budget Responsibility.
US wholesale inventories, U.S. durable goods
Bank of Canada (BOC) rate decision: Expected to keep interest rate steady at 0.25%
New Zealand trade, ANZ business confidence
China industrial profits
Germany GfK consumer confidence
Thailand manufacturing production index, capacity utilization
Russia industrial production, CPI (weekly)
Turkey trade, economic confidence
EIA Crude Oil Inventory Report
Thursday, Oct. 28
US Q3 Advance GDP Q/Q: 3.0%e v 6.7% prior, initial jobless claims
BOJ rate decision: No change in policy expected, could lower growth forecast for this year and raise 2022 forecast
Japan retail sales
ECB rate decision: No change to policy, possibly setting up December as pivotal meeting for a decision on APP; President Lagarde holds a post-rate decision press conference
Eurozone economic confidence, consumer confidence
Germany CPI, unemployment
Australia export and import price indexes
Russia forex and gold reserves
Sweden GDP, retail sales
South Africa PPI
Apple and Amazon report earnings after the bell
Turkey central bank Governor Kavcioglu discusses inflation
EU economy and finance ministers meet online to talk about the implementation of the recovery and resilience facility.
Friday, Oct. 29
G-20 joint finance and health ministers meet before the weekend leaders’ summit
US consumer income, University of Michigan consumer sentiment
Eurozone GDP, CPI
UK mortgage approvals, money supply, consumer credit
Czech Republic GDP
France GDP, CPI
Italy GDP, CPI
South Africa trade balance, private credit, money supply, budget balance
Japan unemployment, Tokyo CPI, industrial production, housing starts
Australia retail sales, private sector credit, PPI
Singapore money supply
India fiscal deficit, eight infrastructure industries
Hong Kong money supply, budget balance
New Zealand ANC consumer confidence
Thailand trade, BoP, trade, foreign reserves, forward contracts
Russia consumer data
Sovereign Rating Updates
– Germany (Fitch)
– Czech Republic (S&P)
– Poland (Moody’s)
– Norway (Moody’s)
– Italy (DBRS)unemployment consumer sentiment pandemic stimulus reopening nasdaq stocks monetary policy fomc fed home sales us dollar yuan governor vaccine fda gdp recovery interest rates unemployment stimulus gold oil south korea singapore africa india mexico japan hong kong canada uk france spain italy germany sweden poland czech russia eu china
“We Are Headed For Another Train Wreck”: Bill Ackman Blames Janet Yellen For Restarting The Bank Run
"We Are Headed For Another Train Wreck": Bill Ackman Blames Janet Yellen For Restarting The Bank Run
Yesterday morning we joked that every…
Yesterday morning we joked that every time Janet Yellen opens her mouth, stocks dump.
Yellen opens mouth and stocks dump— zerohedge (@zerohedge) March 21, 2023
Well, it wasn't a joke, and as we repeatedly noted today, while Jerome Powell was busting his ass to prevent a violent market reaction - in either direction - to his "most important Fed decision and presser of 2023", the Treasury Secretary, with all the grace of a senile 76-year-old elephant in a China market, uttered the phrase...
- YELLEN: NOT CONSIDERING BROAD INCREASE IN DEPOSIT INSURANCE
... and the rest was silence... or rather selling.
Commenting on our chart, Bloomberg's Mark Cudmore noted it was Yellen who was "to blame for the stock slump", pointing out that "the pessimistic turn in US stocks began within a minute of Janet Yellen starting to speak."
The S&P 500 rose almost 1% in the first 47 minutes after the Fed decision. Powell wasn’t the problem either: the index was 0.6% higher in the first 17 minutes after his press conference started.
Why am I picking that exact timing of 2:47pm NY time? Because that is the minute Yellen started speaking at the Senate panel hearing. The high for the S&P 500 was 2:48pm NY time and it fell more than 2.5% over the subsequent 72 minutes. Good effort.
Picking up on this, Bloomberg's Mark Cranfield writes that banking stocks globally are set to underperform for longer after Janet Yellen pushed back against giving deposit insurance without working with lawmakers. He adds that "to an aggressive trader this sounds like an invitation to keep shorting bank stocks -- at least until the tone changes into broader support and is less focused on specific bank situations." Earlier, we addressed that too:
*YELLEN: NOT CONSIDERING BROAD INCREASE IN DEPOSIT INSURANCE— zerohedge (@zerohedge) March 22, 2023
At least until spoos drop below 4K again
Looking ahead, Cranfield warns that US financials are likely to be the most vulnerable as they are the epicenter of the debate. Although European or Asian banking names may outperform US peers, that won’t be much consolation for investors as most financial sector indexes may be on a downward path.
The KBW bank index has tumbled from its highs seen in early February, but still has a way to go before it reaches the pandemic-nadir in 2020. Traders smell an opening for a big trade and that will fuel more downside. Probably until Yellen blinks.
And if Bill Ackman is right, she will be doing a whole lot of blinking in days if not hours.
While we generally make fun of Ackman's self-serving hot takes on twitter, today he was right when he accused Yellen of effectively restarting the small bank depositor run which according to JPMorgan has already seen $1.1 trillion in assets withdrawn from "vulnerable" banks. This is what Ackman tweeted:
Yesterday, @SecYellen made reassuring comments that led the market and depositors to believe that all deposits were now implicitly guaranteed. That coupled with a leak suggesting that @USTreasury, @FDICgov and @SecYellen were looking for a way to guarantee all deposits reassured the banking sector and depositors.
This afternoon, @SecYellen walked back yesterday’s implicit support for small banks and depositors, while making it explicit that systemwide deposit guarantees were not being considered.
We have gone from implicit support for depositors to @SecYellen explicit statement today that no guarantee is being considered with rates now being raised to 5%. 5% is a threshold that makes bank deposits that much less attractive. I would be surprised if deposit outflows don’t accelerate effective immediately.
Ackman concluded by repeating his ask: a comprehensive deposit guarantee on America's $18 trillion in assets...
A temporary systemwide deposit guarantee is needed to stop the bleeding. The longer the uncertainty continues, the more permanent the damage is to the smaller banks, and the more difficult it will be to bring their customers back.
... but as we noted previously pointing out, you know, the math...
Math: $18 trillion in deposits, $125 billion in the deposit insurance fund. https://t.co/Zsu2RsJk41 pic.twitter.com/nb3Ypnt1gd— zerohedge (@zerohedge) March 21, 2023
... absent bipartisan Congressional intervention - which is very much unlikely until the bank crisis gets much, much worse - this won't happen and instead the Fed will continue putting out bank fire after bank fire - even as it keeps hiking to overcompensate for its "transitory inflation" idiocy from 2021, until the entire system burns down, something which Ackman's follow-up tweet was also right about:
Consider recent events impact on the long-term cost of equity capital for non-systemically important banks where you can wake up one day as a shareholder or bondholder and your investment instantly goes to zero. When combined with the higher cost of debt and deposits due to rising rates, consider what the impact will be on lending rates and our economy.
The longer this banking crisis is allowed to continue, the greater the damage to smaller banks and their ability to access low-cost capital.
Trust and confidence are earned over many years, but can be wiped out in a few days. I fear we are heading for another a train wreck. Hopefully, our regulators will get this right.
Narrator: no, they won't.
China’s Auto Industry Association Urges “Cooling” Of Price War, As Major Manufacturers Slash Prices
China’s Auto Industry Association Urges "Cooling" Of Price War, As Major Manufacturers Slash Prices
Just hours after we wrote about maniacal…
Just hours after we wrote about maniacal price cutting in the automotive industry in China, China's auto industry association is urging automakers to "cool" the hype behind price cuts.
The statement was made in order to "ensure the stable development of the industry", Automotive News Europe reported on Tuesday.
The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers even went so far as to put out a message on its official WeChat account, stating that "A price war is not a long-term solution". Instead "automakers should work harder on technology and branding," it said.
The consumer disagrees...
Recall we wrote earlier this week that most major automakers were slashing prices in China. The move is coming after lifting pandemic controls failed to spur significant demand in China, the Wall Street Journal reported this week. Ford and GM will be joined by BMW and Volkswagen in offering the discounts and promotions on EVs, the report says.
Retail auto sales plunged the first two months of the year and automakers are facing additional challenges in trying to transition their business models to prioritize EVs over conventional internal combustion engine vehicles.
Ford is offering $6,000 off its Mustang Mach-E, putting the standard version of its EV at just $31,000. Last month, only 84 of the vehicles were sold, compared to 1,500 sales in December. There was some pulling forward of demand due to the phasing out of subsidies heading into the new year, and Ford had also cut prices by about 9% in December.
A spokesperson for Ford called it a "stock clearance".
Discounts at Volkswagen are ranging from around $2,200 to $7,300 a car. The cuts will affect 20 gas powered and electric models. Its electric ID series is seeing price cuts of almost $6,000. The company called the cuts "temporary promotions due to general reluctance among car buyers, the new emissions rule and discounts offered by competitors."
Even more shocking is Citroën-maker Dongfeng Motor Group, who is offering a 40% discount on its C6 gas-powered sedan, now priced at $18,000.
Kelvin Lau, an analyst at Daiwa Capital Markets, told the Journal that automakers are also trying to get rid of 500,000 vehicles collectively stored in their inventory, most of which are older vehicles that won't meet new emissions standards.
David Zhang, a Shanghai-based independent automobile analyst, added: “Some car makers have been seeing very few sales. At this rate, the manufacturers’ production and dealership networks will collapse.”
COVID origins debate: what to make of new findings linking the virus to raccoon dogs
New reports suggest the pandemic’s origins may be linked to raccoon dogs sold at Wuhan’s Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market. A virologist explains.
The origin of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID, has long been a topic of heated debate. While many believe SARS-CoV-2 spread to humans from an animal at Wuhan’s Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market, others have argued the virus was accidentally leaked from a lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Over the past week there has been intense activity surrounding the emergence of new data relevant to this question. In particular, reports emerged that the pandemic’s origins may be linked to raccoon dogs which were being sold illegally at the market.
The excitement stemmed from a re-analysis of raw data generated as part of official investigations into the role of the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market in the outbreak.
The team of international scientists working on this re-analysis (from North America, Europe and Australia) alerted the World Health Organization and discussed the topic in an article published in The Atlantic. And the scientists themselves have now released a report on the issue, providing greater detail.
So what can we make of their findings? Will this development shift the course of the ongoing debate? Let’s take a look.
The Huanan market
In January 2020, writing about the emergence of what we now call SARS-CoV-2, I stated the importance of understanding how this pandemic began. It remains important to determine the virus’s origins because this knowledge may help us stop the next pandemic occurring.
Even very early in 2020, it was clear that the central Chinese city of Wuhan (a major metropolis and travel hub) was the epicentre of the outbreak. Within Wuhan, the Huanan seafood market stood out as it was associated with many – but not all – of the earliest cases. Indeed, the market was closed on January 1 2020, animals were culled, and the site was disinfected.
Suspicions arose given the role that animal trade and markets had played in the emergence of the closely related SARS-CoV-1 virus (which caused SARS, a widespread outbreak of viral respiratory disease) nearly two decades earlier. Evidence emerged that the Huanan seafood market also sold live mammals, including a fox-like mammal known as a raccoon dog, that we now know are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2.
Later epidemiological and genetic analyses further focused in on the market, and even specific stalls within it, as being the origin of the pandemic.
Read more: The original Sars virus disappeared – here's why coronavirus won’t do the same
The new data
As part of the official investigations into the market, swabs were collected from various parts of the market in the two months after it shut down at the start of 2020. The scientists who undertook this research, from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, posted their analysis as a pre-print (a study yet to be peer-reviewed) in February 2022.
In this, the team concluded that the market likely played a significant role in SARS-CoV-2’s early spread, but that they couldn’t detect the virus in samples taken directly from animals. They reported that all the virus evidence found was associated with humans, and it was therefore likely the virus had been brought into the market by humans, not animals, and so perhaps the pandemic began elsewhere.
However, prior to any official peer-reviewed publication, the raw data from this work was released on an open scientific database called Gisaid. And the group of scientists who re-analysed this data did actually find an association between SARS-CoV-2 and animals, in particular raccoon dogs in the market.
They found DNA from animals mixed in with SARS-CoV-2 in a number of samples from the market. Some positive samples contained no human DNA and mostly raccoon dog DNA. This mix of virus and animal material is consistent with an infected animal – not a human – shedding virus, which is what you might expect if SARS-CoV-2 originated from animals brought into the market. Unfortunately, samples from a living raccoon dog were either not taken or not reported, and the official investigation makes no mention of raccoon dogs.
Where to from here?
While this latest data is one additional piece of the puzzle that supports an origin of the pandemic linked to Wuhan’s animal trade, it is unlikely to provide irrefutable evidence. It’s important to note it’s also a pre-print.
Ideally, we would like animal samples from early December 2019, and to compare animal virus genomes with human ones. It will also be crucial to follow events backwards through the animal trade and farming systems to work out where the animals got the virus from in the first instance.
Further, we must bear in mind that the virus could have easily been given to a raccoon dog by an infected human, or that the association between raccoon dog DNA and SARS-CoV-2 may be coincidental.
Read more: We want to know where COVID came from. But it’s too soon to expect miracles
However, evidence is accumulating that official investigations have left a gap in their research – particularly around the role that animals like raccoon dogs and the wildlife trade played in the origins of the pandemic.
While it may be unlikely that we will ever get concrete evidence as to how SARS-CoV-2 entered the human population, we can still think pragmatically and seek to alter behaviour and practices to reduce the chance of a new pandemic. One immediate target would be food systems (encompassing farm to fork), and how to make farming and the wildlife trade safer for all, potentially by enhancing virus surveillance in animals.
Connor Bamford receives funding from Wellcome Trust, UKRI, SFI and BMA Foundation.disease control center for disease control pandemic coronavirus genetic dna spread wuhan europe world health organization
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