Connect with us

Week Ahead – Dollar vulnerability on overwhelming central bank action and virus optimism

Week Ahead – Dollar vulnerability on overwhelming central bank action and virus optimism



The upcoming week will look to see if risk appetite can still be supported on optimism that the coronavirus curve shows signs of flattening and after the Fed’s unveiling of $2.3 trillion in programs to help businesses and governments.  With the Fed going above and beyond with stimulus expectations, the dollar could continue to weaken on easing virus fears.

The big banks will kick off earnings season this week, and everyone is bracing for some ugly results.  Despite all the uncertainty that persists regarding the coronavirus, optimism is growing that the virus may be peaking in major global hot spots and that the Fed and Capitol Hill have delivered enough stimulus to provide a safety-net for corporate America.

On the data front, regional surveys will draw some attention, but most of the focus will remain on jobless claims.  The last three-weeks have seen the coronavirus-induced economic shutdown total 16.7 million jobless claims, which will send the unemployment rate soaring towards the 13% area.  Job losses are expected to continue to be steep and it seems at one point that may have to tilt the risk scales.


US Politics

Now that Bernie Sanders has dropped out of the race, Joe Biden is the de facto 2020 Democratic presidential nominee.  The focus will now fall on Biden’s strategy for the economy and who will be his running mate.  Biden has pledged to pick a woman as his VP at the last Democratic debate and the vetting process is underway.


The UK is in for a difficult couple of weeks but there have been some early signs this week that the number of coronavirus cases is giving cause for optimism. It’s too early to say that with any confidence and I fear that the long bank holiday weekend may be a setback. The warmer weather has drawn more towards the parks and this weekend is expected to be very nice indeed. If parts of the public ignore pleas to stay at home and social distance this weekend, it could lead to stricter measures and prolonged quarantine.

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, was released from intensive care but it is still too early for a timetable for him to resume his prime minister duties. The message from Downing Street is that he is stable and improving.


Italy still has the most fatalities as a result of coronavirus, although that’s likely to change this weekend as it continues on a more positive trajectory. The country has seen a prolonged period of deceleration which suggests its well along the latter half of the bell curve and, barring any major setbacks, can look forward to a brighter few months. The numbers are still horrible but progress will be welcomed by those likely becoming restless in their own homes.


Spain is experiencing a little bit of a setback, with the number of coronavirus cases and fatalities having risen over the last couple of days but the broader trend is promising. As ever, this is not a straightforward process and there are likely to be setbacks along the way but what we’re seeing is encouraging across the continent. It could be a pivotal week.


Euro-area finance ministers continue to work towards a solution to deal with the coronavirus crisis that’s wreaked havoc across the bloc. As we’ve seen before, southern countries are pushing for shared responsibility – and by extension debt, or coronabonds – in order to help those most in need while the northern countries led by Germany and the Netherlands are rejecting the notion. They prefer an alternative solution, possibly involving the ESM which was created during the last crisis to bail out countries. Naturally, no one that needs the cash most wants to turn to this.

This is highly political and something that is destined to hold the bloc back for years to come. It may also add to hostility between the members, with Italy again at the forefront of those pushing for shared debt and again feeling betrayed. This can only fuel further resentment in a country that has seen a significant rise in populist leaders with a mistrust of and resentment towards Brussels. If they get this wrong, it could end very badly.


China releases the Balance of Trade on Tuesday and GDP on Friday. Markets will look for a continuation in the improvement of China data as it emerges from the COVID-19 lockdown.

Otherwise, attention will remain focused on whether the opening of Wuhan results in a secondary COVID-19 outbreak, which will have implications for its management globally. Also, markets will look for more data on the possibility that previously recovered cases can spontaneously have COVID-19, in much the same way that malaria reoccurs.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong unemployment on Monday is likely to remain officially stable at 3.70%, although the situation on the ground is likely to be at odds with official data. No other significant data.

Hong Kong remains under tighter restrictions following a recurrence in COVID-19 cases. Progress on this front will be the centre of markets attention.


No significant data. Tightened COVID-19 “circuit-breaker” restrictions continue for 2nd week, most of the economy that can is working from home. Singapore faces a moment of truth in the coming week, with COVID-19 breaking out in worker dormitories, Singapore’s unacknowledged soft underbelly. A rapid increase in cases here could see restriction extended and pressure Singapore’s health system. That would be very negative for an economy deep in recession already despite government stimulus efforts.


No significant data this week. Attention remains focused on the number of COVID-19 cases and a timetable for the easing of lockdown restrictions. India’s economy is poorly placed to cope with either the outbreak or an extended lockdown. The worst is yet to come for India in all likelihood.


Employment data on Thursday expected to reveal the full extent of the COVID-19 shutdown on Australian employment with the country facing its first official recession in 30 years. A fall of 40,0000 officially probably hides the full extent of the fall in employment, which is being softened by government fiscal measures to pay salaries to keep employees in jobs. The country remains in lockdown with State borders closed internally as well.

The AUD has risen 6.50% this week and the ASX by 4.50% this week as markets price in “peak-virus” and recovery by China. That leaves both the currency and the stock market vulnerable to more bad news.

New Zealand

No significant data with the country entering week three of the four-week national lockdown. Virus cases are expected to peak this weekend or early next week. A failure on this part could see the lockdown extended and renewed pressure on the stock market and currency.

Like AUD, NZD has rallied 4.1% in the last week on “peak-virus” and a China recovery. Disapointenmnts on either front leave the NZD vulnerable to an aggressive downward reversal.


Japan Tanken Survey expected to fall to -28 on Thursday, its worst result. Japan has entered a partial voluntary lockdown of parts of the country to control COVID-19. The Government also announced a $1 trillion stimulus package that has been met with an underwhelming response as the headline figure exaggerates the actual money involved.

Japan’s government has been found wanting in its COVID-19 response and is perceived as putting business and the Olympics first. The possibility exists for a large spike in cases now that will undermine confidence in the stock market.

The Nikkei225 has rallied 8.50% in the past week on global recovery hopes. To say this is premature is an understatement, and any bad news next week leave Japan stocks vulnerable to an aggressive sell-off.



The Fed’s new loan program sent the dollar tumbling.  The $2.3 trillion injection into businesses and struggling governments was another a positively received action that will continue to support the reeling economy.  The Fed along with Capitol Hill have delivered massive stimulus that for the time being has provided a safety net for risky assets.  Significant dollar declines, however, are not a certainty as the flight-to-safety trade could reassert itself if the coronavirus outlook takes a turn for the worse.


Oil price volatility will remain in place, but a complete crash toward single digits seems to have been averted.  A historic production cut agreement between OPEC and its allies was almost derailed by Mexico.  Mexico appears to have the US making up for their shortfall in production cuts.

The OPEC ++ production cuts should help prices tentatively stabilize in the short-term, but prices should remain heavy as the market will still be oversupplied. Energy traders will shift their focus back to the demand side and try to figure out when Europe and the US will reopen their economies.


Gold continues to rally as central banks keep finding news ways to pump stimulus into the economy.  The latest actions by the Fed have reinvigorated gold bulls.  The Fed is now buying riskier debt and that should alleviate concerns for a scramble for cash in the short-term.  If major global hot spots show further signs that the curve is flattening, traders could see a weaker dollar support higher gold prices.

Right now, a lot seems to be going right for gold, except for the gold market is not showing any signs that the spreads between New York and London will narrow back to normal.  Gold refineries are opening up and over the coming weeks, the spread should narrow between the spot and futures market.


Bitcoin continues to be the top coin in the crypto market.  Bitcoin’s last month of huge gains benefitted the from broader risky asset market rally.  Bitcoin has rebounded strongly from the March 13th low of $3,914.70 and has found massive resistance from the $7,500 level.  The longer-term outlook remains cloudy for Bitcoin as investors might prefer to hold more-established assets now that everything seems to still be at heavy discount.

Bitcoin will likely be one of the first risky assets that gets sold if we see another scramble for cash.


Key Economic Releases and Events:


Monday, April 13th

Easter Monday is a public holiday for much of EMEA, including the UK, Western Europe, the Nordics and sub-Saharan Africa. Australia and Canada will also observe the holiday.

President Macron will update the nation on possibly extending the country’s lockdown.


Tuesday, April 14th

China Mar Trade Balance Data: Exports to decline 14% and imports to fall by 9.8%

Earnings Season is here.  JP Morgan and Wells Fargo report before the open.

Texas Railroad Commission reviews output cut proposals

IMF publishes 2020 Global Financial Stability Report


Wednesday, Apr 15th

South Korea holds parliamentary elections

Next round of bank earnings come from Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup

8:30am USD March Retail Sales Advance M/M: -7.5%e v -0.5% prior (worst ever drop since records started in 1992).

10:00am CAD Bank of Canada Interest Rate Decision

9:30pm AUD Australia March Unemployment Change: -30.0Ke v +26.7K prior


Thursday, Apr 16th

8:30am USD Jobless Claims

10:00pm CNY China Q1 GDP Q/Q: -9.8%e v +1.5% prior; Y/Y: -6.0%e v +6.0% prior

10:00pm CNY China Mar Industrial Production: -5.4%e v no prior; Retail Sales: -10.0%e v no prior


Friday, April 17th

10:00am USD Mar Leading Index: -7.0% v +0.1% prior

Read More

Continue Reading


Comments on February Employment Report

The headline jobs number in the February employment report was above expectations; however, December and January payrolls were revised down by 167,000 combined.   The participation rate was unchanged, the employment population ratio decreased, and the …



The headline jobs number in the February employment report was above expectations; however, December and January payrolls were revised down by 167,000 combined.   The participation rate was unchanged, the employment population ratio decreased, and the unemployment rate was increased to 3.9%.

Leisure and hospitality gained 58 thousand jobs in February.  At the beginning of the pandemic, in March and April of 2020, leisure and hospitality lost 8.2 million jobs, and are now down 17 thousand jobs since February 2020.  So, leisure and hospitality has now essentially added back all of the jobs lost in March and April 2020. 

Construction employment increased 23 thousand and is now 547 thousand above the pre-pandemic level. 

Manufacturing employment decreased 4 thousand jobs and is now 184 thousand above the pre-pandemic level.

Prime (25 to 54 Years Old) Participation

Since the overall participation rate is impacted by both cyclical (recession) and demographic (aging population, younger people staying in school) reasons, here is the employment-population ratio for the key working age group: 25 to 54 years old.

The 25 to 54 years old participation rate increased in February to 83.5% from 83.3% in January, and the 25 to 54 employment population ratio increased to 80.7% from 80.6% the previous month.

Both are above pre-pandemic levels.

Average Hourly Wages

WagesThe graph shows the nominal year-over-year change in "Average Hourly Earnings" for all private employees from the Current Employment Statistics (CES).  

There was a huge increase at the beginning of the pandemic as lower paid employees were let go, and then the pandemic related spike reversed a year later.

Wage growth has trended down after peaking at 5.9% YoY in March 2022 and was at 4.3% YoY in February.   

Part Time for Economic Reasons

Part Time WorkersFrom the BLS report:
"The number of people employed part time for economic reasons, at 4.4 million, changed little in February. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs."
The number of persons working part time for economic reasons decreased in February to 4.36 million from 4.42 million in February. This is slightly above pre-pandemic levels.

These workers are included in the alternate measure of labor underutilization (U-6) that increased to 7.3% from 7.2% in the previous month. This is down from the record high in April 2020 of 23.0% and up from the lowest level on record (seasonally adjusted) in December 2022 (6.5%). (This series started in 1994). This measure is above the 7.0% level in February 2020 (pre-pandemic).

Unemployed over 26 Weeks

Unemployed Over 26 WeeksThis graph shows the number of workers unemployed for 27 weeks or more.

According to the BLS, there are 1.203 million workers who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks and still want a job, down from 1.277 million the previous month.

This is down from post-pandemic high of 4.174 million, and up from the recent low of 1.050 million.

This is close to pre-pandemic levels.

Job Streak

Through February 2024, the employment report indicated positive job growth for 38 consecutive months, putting the current streak in 5th place of the longest job streaks in US history (since 1939).

Headline Jobs, Top 10 Streaks
Year EndedStreak, Months
6 tie194333
6 tie198633
6 tie200033
1Currrent Streak


The headline monthly jobs number was above consensus expectations; however, December and January payrolls were revised down by 167,000 combined.  The participation rate was unchanged, the employment population ratio decreased, and the unemployment rate was increased to 3.9%.  Another solid report.

Read More

Continue Reading


Immune cells can adapt to invading pathogens, deciding whether to fight now or prepare for the next battle

When faced with a threat, T cells have the decision-making flexibility to both clear out the pathogen now and ready themselves for a future encounter.

Understanding the flexibility of T cell memory can lead to improved vaccines and immunotherapies. Juan Gaertner/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

How does your immune system decide between fighting invading pathogens now or preparing to fight them in the future? Turns out, it can change its mind.

Every person has 10 million to 100 million unique T cells that have a critical job in the immune system: patrolling the body for invading pathogens or cancerous cells to eliminate. Each of these T cells has a unique receptor that allows it to recognize foreign proteins on the surface of infected or cancerous cells. When the right T cell encounters the right protein, it rapidly forms many copies of itself to destroy the offending pathogen.

Diagram depicting a helper T cell differentiating into either a memory T cell or an effector T cell after exposure to an antigen
T cells can differentiate into different subtypes of cells after coming into contact with an antigen. Anatomy & Physiology/SBCCOE, CC BY-NC-SA

Importantly, this process of proliferation gives rise to both short-lived effector T cells that shut down the immediate pathogen attack and long-lived memory T cells that provide protection against future attacks. But how do T cells decide whether to form cells that kill pathogens now or protect against future infections?

We are a team of bioengineers studying how immune cells mature. In our recently published research, we found that having multiple pathways to decide whether to kill pathogens now or prepare for future invaders boosts the immune system’s ability to effectively respond to different types of challenges.

Fight or remember?

To understand when and how T cells decide to become effector cells that kill pathogens or memory cells that prepare for future infections, we took movies of T cells dividing in response to a stimulus mimicking an encounter with a pathogen.

Specifically, we tracked the activity of a gene called T cell factor 1, or TCF1. This gene is essential for the longevity of memory cells. We found that stochastic, or probabilistic, silencing of the TCF1 gene when cells confront invading pathogens and inflammation drives an early decision between whether T cells become effector or memory cells. Exposure to higher levels of pathogens or inflammation increases the probability of forming effector cells.

Surprisingly, though, we found that some effector cells that had turned off TCF1 early on were able to turn it back on after clearing the pathogen, later becoming memory cells.

Through mathematical modeling, we determined that this flexibility in decision making among memory T cells is critical to generating the right number of cells that respond immediately and cells that prepare for the future, appropriate to the severity of the infection.

Understanding immune memory

The proper formation of persistent, long-lived T cell memory is critical to a person’s ability to fend off diseases ranging from the common cold to COVID-19 to cancer.

From a social and cognitive science perspective, flexibility allows people to adapt and respond optimally to uncertain and dynamic environments. Similarly, for immune cells responding to a pathogen, flexibility in decision making around whether to become memory cells may enable greater responsiveness to an evolving immune challenge.

Memory cells can be subclassified into different types with distinct features and roles in protective immunity. It’s possible that the pathway where memory cells diverge from effector cells early on and the pathway where memory cells form from effector cells later on give rise to particular subtypes of memory cells.

Our study focuses on T cell memory in the context of acute infections the immune system can successfully clear in days, such as cold, the flu or food poisoning. In contrast, chronic conditions such as HIV and cancer require persistent immune responses; long-lived, memory-like cells are critical for this persistence. Our team is investigating whether flexible memory decision making also applies to chronic conditions and whether we can leverage that flexibility to improve cancer immunotherapy.

Resolving uncertainty surrounding how and when memory cells form could help improve vaccine design and therapies that boost the immune system’s ability to provide long-term protection against diverse infectious diseases.

Kathleen Abadie was funded by a NSF (National Science Foundation) Graduate Research Fellowships. She performed this research in affiliation with the University of Washington Department of Bioengineering.

Elisa Clark performed her research in affiliation with the University of Washington (UW) Department of Bioengineering and was funded by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF-GRFP) and by a predoctoral fellowship through the UW Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (ISCRM).

Hao Yuan Kueh receives funding from the National Institutes of Health.

Read More

Continue Reading


President Biden Delivers The “Darkest, Most Un-American Speech Given By A President”

President Biden Delivers The "Darkest, Most Un-American Speech Given By A President"

Having successfully raged, ranted, lied, and yelled through…



President Biden Delivers The "Darkest, Most Un-American Speech Given By A President"

Having successfully raged, ranted, lied, and yelled through the State of The Union, President Biden can go back to his crypt now.

Whatever 'they' gave Biden, every American man, woman, and the other should be allowed to take it - though it seems the cocktail brings out 'dark Brandon'?

Tl;dw: Biden's Speech tonight ...

  • Fund Ukraine.

  • Trump is threat to democracy and America itself.

  • Abortion is good.

  • American Economy is stronger than ever.

  • Inflation wasn't Biden's fault.

  • Illegals are Americans too.

  • Republicans are responsible for the border crisis.

  • Trump is bad.

  • Biden stands with trans-children.

  • J6 was the worst insurrection since the Civil War.

(h/t @TCDMS99)

Tucker Carlson's response sums it all up perfectly:

"that was possibly the darkest, most un-American speech given by an American president. It wasn't a speech, it was a rant..."

Carlson continued: "The true measure of a nation's greatness lies within its capacity to control borders, yet Bid refuses to do it."

"In a fair election, Joe Biden cannot win"

And concluded:

“There was not a meaningful word for the entire duration about the things that actually matter to people who live here.”

Victor Davis Hanson added some excellent color, but this was probably the best line on Biden:

"he doesn't care... he lives in an alternative reality."

*  *  *

Watch SOTU Live here...

*   *   *

Mises' Connor O'Keeffe, warns: "Be on the Lookout for These Lies in Biden's State of the Union Address." 

On Thursday evening, President Joe Biden is set to give his third State of the Union address. The political press has been buzzing with speculation over what the president will say. That speculation, however, is focused more on how Biden will perform, and which issues he will prioritize. Much of the speech is expected to be familiar.

The story Biden will tell about what he has done as president and where the country finds itself as a result will be the same dishonest story he's been telling since at least the summer.

He'll cite government statistics to say the economy is growing, unemployment is low, and inflation is down.

Something that has been frustrating Biden, his team, and his allies in the media is that the American people do not feel as economically well off as the official data says they are. Despite what the White House and establishment-friendly journalists say, the problem lies with the data, not the American people's ability to perceive their own well-being.

As I wrote back in January, the reason for the discrepancy is the lack of distinction made between private economic activity and government spending in the most frequently cited economic indicators. There is an important difference between the two:

  • Government, unlike any other entity in the economy, can simply take money and resources from others to spend on things and hire people. Whether or not the spending brings people value is irrelevant

  • It's the private sector that's responsible for producing goods and services that actually meet people's needs and wants. So, the private components of the economy have the most significant effect on people's economic well-being.

Recently, government spending and hiring has accounted for a larger than normal share of both economic activity and employment. This means the government is propping up these traditional measures, making the economy appear better than it actually is. Also, many of the jobs Biden and his allies take credit for creating will quickly go away once it becomes clear that consumers don't actually want whatever the government encouraged these companies to produce.

On top of all that, the administration is dealing with the consequences of their chosen inflation rhetoric.

Since its peak in the summer of 2022, the president's team has talked about inflation "coming back down," which can easily give the impression that it's prices that will eventually come back down.

But that's not what that phrase means. It would be more honest to say that price increases are slowing down.

Americans are finally waking up to the fact that the cost of living will not return to prepandemic levels, and they're not happy about it.

The president has made some clumsy attempts at damage control, such as a Super Bowl Sunday video attacking food companies for "shrinkflation"—selling smaller portions at the same price instead of simply raising prices.

In his speech Thursday, Biden is expected to play up his desire to crack down on the "corporate greed" he's blaming for high prices.

In the name of "bringing down costs for Americans," the administration wants to implement targeted price ceilings - something anyone who has taken even a single economics class could tell you does more harm than good. Biden would never place the blame for the dramatic price increases we've experienced during his term where it actually belongs—on all the government spending that he and President Donald Trump oversaw during the pandemic, funded by the creation of $6 trillion out of thin air - because that kind of spending is precisely what he hopes to kick back up in a second term.

If reelected, the president wants to "revive" parts of his so-called Build Back Better agenda, which he tried and failed to pass in his first year. That would bring a significant expansion of domestic spending. And Biden remains committed to the idea that Americans must be forced to continue funding the war in Ukraine. That's another topic Biden is expected to highlight in the State of the Union, likely accompanied by the lie that Ukraine spending is good for the American economy. It isn't.

It's not possible to predict all the ways President Biden will exaggerate, mislead, and outright lie in his speech on Thursday. But we can be sure of two things. The "state of the Union" is not as strong as Biden will say it is. And his policy ambitions risk making it much worse.

*  *  *

The American people will be tuning in on their smartphones, laptops, and televisions on Thursday evening to see if 'sloppy joe' 81-year-old President Joe Biden can coherently put together more than two sentences (even with a teleprompter) as he gives his third State of the Union in front of a divided Congress. 

President Biden will speak on various topics to convince voters why he shouldn't be sent to a retirement home.

According to CNN sources, here are some of the topics Biden will discuss tonight:

  • Economic issues: Biden and his team have been drafting a speech heavy on economic populism, aides said, with calls for higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy – an attempt to draw a sharp contrast with Republicans and their likely presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

  • Health care expenses: Biden will also push for lowering health care costs and discuss his efforts to go after drug manufacturers to lower the cost of prescription medications — all issues his advisers believe can help buoy what have been sagging economic approval ratings.

  • Israel's war with Hamas: Also looming large over Biden's primetime address is the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, which has consumed much of the president's time and attention over the past few months. The president's top national security advisers have been working around the clock to try to finalize a ceasefire-hostages release deal by Ramadan, the Muslim holy month that begins next week.

  • An argument for reelection: Aides view Thursday's speech as a critical opportunity for the president to tout his accomplishments in office and lay out his plans for another four years in the nation's top job. Even though viewership has declined over the years, the yearly speech reliably draws tens of millions of households.

Sources provided more color on Biden's SOTU address: 

The speech is expected to be heavy on economic populism. The president will talk about raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy. He'll highlight efforts to cut costs for the American people, including pushing Congress to help make prescription drugs more affordable.

Biden will talk about the need to preserve democracy and freedom, a cornerstone of his re-election bid. That includes protecting and bolstering reproductive rights, an issue Democrats believe will energize voters in November. Biden is also expected to promote his unity agenda, a key feature of each of his addresses to Congress while in office.

Biden is also expected to give remarks on border security while the invasion of illegals has become one of the most heated topics among American voters. A majority of voters are frustrated with radical progressives in the White House facilitating the illegal migrant invasion. 

It is probable that the president will attribute the failure of the Senate border bill to the Republicans, a claim many voters view as unfounded. This is because the White House has the option to issue an executive order to restore border security, yet opts not to do so

Maybe this is why? 

While Biden addresses the nation, the Biden administration will be armed with a social media team to pump propaganda to at least 100 million Americans. 

"The White House hosted about 70 creators, digital publishers, and influencers across three separate events" on Wednesday and Thursday, a White House official told CNN. 

Not a very capable social media team... 

The administration's move to ramp up social media operations comes as users on X are mostly free from government censorship with Elon Musk at the helm. This infuriates Democrats, who can no longer censor their political enemies on X. 

Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers tell Axios that the president's SOTU performance will be critical as he tries to dispel voter concerns about his elderly age. The address reached as many as 27 million people in 2023. 

"We are all nervous," said one House Democrat, citing concerns about the president's "ability to speak without blowing things."

The SOTU address comes as Biden's polling data is in the dumps

BetOnline has created several money-making opportunities for gamblers tonight, such as betting on what word Biden mentions the most. 

As well as...

We will update you when Tucker Carlson's live feed of SOTU is published. 

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/08/2024 - 07:44

Read More

Continue Reading