Next week’s spotlight falls on the USD and the RMB complex.

Well, that was dramatic, but some significant levels on equity markets held on a closing basis, while the DXY rallied into the close. But in the end, it was all about cleaning the slate while living to fight another day.

Next week spotlight falls on the USD and the RMB complex, and following the likely publishing of the much talked about US Treasury FX report, it’s going to be another packed week on the economic front for these currencies.

China a Currency Manipulator: Yes or No

Whit the odds at 50-50 chance that the US will go so far as to outright name China a “manipulator.”, For no other reason than the usual chorus of mixed signals from the US administration, with the worrywarts leading the way. White House Economic Advisor Kudlow opined on CNBC that China’s response to US requests is “unsatisfactory.” In contrast, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said he’d had a “very productive” conversation with the PBoC but expressed his concerns about “the weakness in the currency.”

It all suggested that, while siding with no currency manipulator camp, the uncertainty around the report warranted at minimum a passive reduction in specific currency exposure, especially when risk off lead  to unwinds last week  of critical consensus short positions where  the “funders” tended to outperform And at maximum, cleaning the slate entirely including trimming AUD shorts and USDCNH longs.

Last week the EUR, JPY and CHF all went bid against the USD as equities took a plunge and the rally accelerated when Trump reminded everyone that no one is safe from the wrath of Trump, even his nominated Fed Chairman Jay Powell.

Europe Risk

In Europe, there will be more political intrigue. Italy will present it budget draft to the EU, keeping in mind the EU Commission already said last week in a letter to the Italian government that its latest fiscal plans point to “a significant deviation” from the path recommended for Italy by the EU Council. And headline risk is massive as the UK and EU are due to discuss Brexit at the EU Summit. But flying under the radar is the first major electoral test for any new government – this vote is in Bavaria. on Sunday

Oil Market 

Headwinds remain.

The S &P stabilised well and continued to roll with the punches, but Oil markets were not so eager to snap back. Oil prices were struggling to follow the equity market lead, after the International Energy Agency monthly Market Report adjusted demand lower by 110,000 bpd for both 2018 and 2019, reported an increase of 100,000 bpd in September OPEC production while pointing out OECD data suggests oil stocks are at the highest level since February. While advising that markets are adequately supplied,  which again highlights uncertainty over supply once the US sanctions on Iran take effect. Lordy Lordy, it’s a noisy market.

Reuters

Drillers added eight oil rigs in the week to Oct. 12 according to Baker Hughes. This is ahead of the Plains All American Pipeline Project which is set to start flowing on Nov 1 and should ease pipeline bottlenecks that have lower crude prices in the Permian Basin. The Sunrise Pipeline has a reported capacity of about 500,000 barrels per day.

Gold Markets

The current landscape remains exceptionally shaky if both stocks and US rates markets continue to recover significantly in the days ahead. As well there a plethora of tier one US economic data out next week, and given strength in the recent run of US economic data it has anchored the USD to fundamentals where the dollar has shown a tendency to appreciate. Without a significant break of the critical $1225 level its far to early to jump on the bullish gold bandwagon.

China Trade Data

Speaking of China data, I’m still perplexed why North American markets analysts were so enamoured about Beijing’s export data. Sure, it was surprisingly hardy versus market expectation, but it was impossible to factor in with any high degree accuracy ,the front-loading impact, which was more than evident to the local Singapore traders who were buying the USDCNH dip. Local’s tend to focus on electrical machinery exports which are Chinas biggest export, and given the surge in that sector, the data was not all that significant as exporters were fulfilling longer-term commitment before implementation of the latest tariffs on US$200 billion in Chinese exports. Even the so-called ‘ hoarding effect” on the commodity imports components was evident given the newly announced 10 % trade tariffs in mid-September impacted the data.

Asia market update

Oil update
After hitting a massive speedbump over the past 48 hours or so, Oil investors are dipping their toes back into the no less certain waters as risk has tentatively stabilised. But prices remain very firm even after DOE reported a larger-than-expected build suggesting a bit of discount in the numbers as refinery maintenance work continued to limit demand. Regardless it’s hard to sugar coat this week’s inventory report, and tumultuous week, traders are more apt to pare rather than increase risk. So, in the absence of significant headlines, we could see consolidating into the week, but with oil prices holding firm above$ 80.00, the bulls haven’t completely lost the plot just yet

Excellent trade data from China for September.
The trade balance has come at USD31.7bn versus 19.2bn expected. Exports are substantial at 14.5% YoY versus 8.2% expected, and imports have done well coming at 14.3% versus 15.3% expected. but I wouldn’t get too excited as dealers will buy this dip below 6.90 based on today fix view

Risk

There’s a semblance of sanity returning to the markets, but we are no nearer a significant recovery, but the Politico article which stated the internal report to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin did not recommend that Beijing is labelled a currency manipulator has eased tension although we are not out of the weeds just yet. On the flipside, the Pboc continues to offer up confusing smoke signals as its yet another day when USDCNY and USDCNH see a big move higher. Mixed messages are confusing the landscape as again today we got another higher than expect fix which is greenlighting CNH bears to jump into the position with more belief after last night sell-off. And with the unpredictable nature of commander and chief, Donald Trump does raise the level of uncertainty; there is nothing inevitable about an escalation of his long-standing China is currency manipulator themes.

This market is exhausted from all after the most significant sell-off in global equities since Feb. Its large shake out the landscape remains no less uncertain and while the current narrative is likely to rage on until Novembers G20 summit at least, prudence suggesting keeping one’s powder dry on the recovering Friday and live to fight another day after yesterday most unpleasant experiences.

Gold Comes Alive In Biggest Jump Since ‘16 After Equities Roiled Bloomberg

Gold gains most in more than two years

Daily Markets Broadcast 2018-10-12

Not quite Goldilocks

Not quite Goldilocks

Not to state the apparent but markets are finding themselves in a total state of discombobulation as we mercifully head towards the weekend. There have been multiple train wrecks over the past 24 hours, and the continuous wall of worry around US yields and US-China tension still weighs on equity sentiment.

Goldilocks? Yes and No

Not quite the Goldilocks narrative that we are so accustomed to after a weaker than expected inflation print (CPI) as those three bears are not so good-natured or harmless and are forever prowling looking for the opportunity to drive risk lower. The more moderate inflation prints only provided a modicum of repose and far from the antacid “plop- plop fizz-fizz ” oh what a relief it is, the market so desperately needed. Wall Street recorded its second day of steep declines. But there is one positive, however, as the overnight session came to a gruelling finale, New York traders could finally catch their breath. !!

However, some of my colleagues are suggesting EM FX rallied in response to the CPI data – implying that at least for some, the read on the data did that confirm markets are in the so-called Goldilocks zone where the US economy is – not too hot or cold, and just right. But I think the improving EM sentiment has more to do with the RMB complex.

Chinese Yuan
USDCNH sprung a leak through 6.88 overnight triggered by a Politico article which stated the internal report to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin did not recommend that Beijing is labelled a currency manipulator and continued to place China on a monitoring list.

But adding to the momentum f China’s Ministry of Commerce issuing some comments regarding the arrest a technology spy, reports that China-US trade talks will resume and chatter that Xi and Trump will indeed be meeting at the G-20 sidelines next month. Trump is willing to meet with Chinese President Xi, but Beijing needs to show openness to compromise.

The moves lower on USDCNH have eased some anxiety, especially for EM Asia FX that that had been building in worst case scenarios that China could let the Yuan fall. But even more significantly for global markets is that the US Treasury Department’s staff has advised Secretary Steven Mnuchin that China isn’t manipulating the yuan as the Trump administration prepares to issue a closely watched report on foreign currencies, according to two people familiar with the matter. So, if Trump and Munichin accept these finding at face value, which the market agrees with, it could avert an EM Asia currency meltdown and would forestall an escalation of the U.S.-China trade war.

Positioning was heavy long USDCNH in Asia yesterday, and a cascade of stops losses have triggered on the move lower. At least this should offer a glint of relief for Asian capital markets.

USD Asia was under intense focus overnight Overall FX interbank volumes were approximately 45% higher across spot G10 & EM, as the upshot of US CPI, CNH headlines and continued cross-asset volatility and vital focal points USDJPY, EURJPY USDCNH and HKD experienced a two-fold increase in trading volumes. But none the less US-China relations remain to be the focal point for markets. There is some nervousness about the US Treasury Currency Report due to be released the week, but sentiment has thankfully improved for regional investors.

A Bullish Glint?
The overnight chatter does suggest that at a minimum there will be a softer tone on the currency manipulator theme, although the unpredictable nature of commander and chief Donald Trump does raise the level of uncertainty, and there could be more risk-reduction into the weekend as investors position more defensively. But this does offer a significant window of opportunity for the not so meek of heart.

Oil Markets
In the near term, crude oil traders will likely focus on global equity markets looking for any signs stability to conceivably mount a recovery for the current headwinds.

But oil markets are indeed going through an inflexion point of their own. OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report has followed the DOE Short-Term Energy Outlook reporting supplementary non-OPEC production growth, with a 200,000 bpd increase from a month ago which lessens demand for OPEC barrels.

The oil markets are sagging as more bullish bets performed a ” cut and run ” after Energy Information Administration showed Crude inventories rose by 6 million barrels in the week to Oct. 5, as analysts again wholly missed the dartboard expecting a build 2.6 million barrels. The EIA data came in lower than the eye-watering API build but its still a larger-than-expected increase for last week as refinery runs continue to fall due to seasonal maintenance work as another increase in Cushing WTI NYMEX delivery hub just added to the negativity.

With supply worries now gripping markets after this bearish EIA report, supply-side anguish has slinked into the equation as oil traders remain on the defence. Indeed, it’s hard to sugar coat this week’s inventory data, but for perpetual bulls like my self, if risk stabilises around improving US-China tension, there are some very cheap entry points on offer. And given positions are much cleaner after the latest ” Porthole” effect, there should be good support near and around $80 prompt Brent.

Gold Markets
This global market tumult was the opportunity that gold Bulls had been waiting for since last Wednesday when nascent sings of and impending equity market meltdown started to ferment as both US -Yields and US-China trade tensions were creating some significant headwinds. As the playbook suggested Gold markets finally showed some of life, but it took an absolute pummeling on equity markets to trigger demand as market lolloped towards critical l $1200 level. But on the break, buying accelerated as near-term stop-loss triggers came into play once the 50-day moving average gave way. But it was the softer than expected CPI print and with risk aversion remaining front and centre, it provided the catalyst to test the significant resistance level at $1225.

Currency Markets

Granted there’s always that initial shock factor when the Presidents preaches Tumpanomics especially when his views challenge the world’s most powerful central bank. But these types of outlandish remarks tend to have few lasting effects from my seat.

The Euro

The EURUSD has been driven by USD sentiment more than EUR itself. Both of Italy’s houses of parliament have voted in favour of the government’s fiscal outline, so it is only a matter of time before it goes to the EU. Political uncertainty and Italian politics that usually runs at a heightened emotional state, there enough uncertainty around this Budget that should keep the Euro lower view attractive.

The Malaysia Ringgit

Weaker oil prices will be offset by lower USDCNH. However, traders remain incredibly defensive on the MYR due to the escalating budget noise. While the could be some topside USD reprieve, the next big hurdle for regional currencies is the US Treasury report regarding currency manipulation on Monday as everyone is focusing on the US treasury view about China.

Oil update : Batten down the hatches

Oil traded above $74 a barrel on concerns Hurricane Michael in the U.S. may exacerbate a supply crunch, while the International Energy Agency warned higher prices may put the world economy at risk.

Futures were little changed in New York after gaining 0.9 percent on Tuesday. OPEC and other key producers need to boost output as the oil market is entering a “red zone,” and high prices are inflicting damage on the global economy, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in an interview. Adding to supply risks is Hurricane Michael, which curtailed oil production in the Gulf of Mexico by 40 percent as it heads to Florida.

“The oil market remains overly bullish on the dwindling spare capacity argument,” said Stephen Innes, Singapore-based head of Asia Pacific trading at Oanda Corp. Still, the IEA’s comment suggests “prices are peaking at the most opportunistic time given the waning global growth narrative.”

Crude has climbed more than 15 percent since mid-August as uncertainties remain on whether the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries can replace shrinking supplies from Venezuela to Iran. The rally has prompted President Donald Trump to continue his attack against the group for letting prices surge, while Russia says the U.S. sanctions on the Persian Gulf state is to blame for the gains.

West Texas Intermediate for November delivery was at $74.77 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 9:37 a.m. in Seoul, down 19 cents. The contract rose 67 cents to $74.96 a barrel on Tuesday. Total volume traded was about 48 percent below the 100-day average.

Brent for December settlement was 5 cents lower at $84.95 on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract climbed 1.3 percent to $85 on Tuesday. The global benchmark crude traded at a $10.30 premium to WTI for the same month.

Mixed signals for oil in early Asia trade

TOKYO, Oct 10 (Reuters) – Oil prices edged lower on Wednesday after the IMF lowered its global growth forecasts but prices were supported as Hurricane Michael churned towards Florida, causing the shutdown of nearly 40 percent of U.S. Gulf of Mexico crude output.

Brent crude futures were down 2 cents at $84.98 a barrel by 0049 GMT, after a 1.3 percent gain on Tuesday.

US. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down by 16 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $74.8 a barrel, after rising nearly 1 percent in the previous session.

The International Monetary Fund downgraded its global economic growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019 on Tuesday, potentially tempering demand for oil and its products.

Trade tensions and rising import tariffs were taking a toll on commerce while emerging markets struggle with tighter financial conditions and capital outflows, the IMF said. “Prices are peaking at the most opportunistic time given waning global growth narrative,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading APAC at OANDA in Singapore.

In the United States, nearly 40 percent of daily crude oil production was lost from offshore U.S. Gulf of Mexico wells on Tuesday because of platform evacuations and shut-ins ahead of Hurricane Michael.

Oil producers evacuated personnel from 75 platforms as the storm made its way through the central Gulf on the way to landfall on Wednesday on the Florida Panhandle.

Reuters

 

Noisy Markets

Noisy Markets

The headline noise has been deafening and showing few signs of abating. In Asia focus will be squarely on equity sentiment even more with the Yuan under pressure as US/China tensions are set to escalate this week. US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo cited “fundamental disagreement” with China’s foreign minister after meetings, while a senior Treasury official suggested that the US is concerned about the recent depreciation in China’s currency and is monitoring developments. This should provide enough noise to wake the dead. But I think the real focus will fall on how US Treasuries Yields carry through in the context of the broader risk environment. But the market remains understandably brittle with US/China tension in the fore, EU stress over the budget and fiscal targets; and soaring US treasury yields that have caught the market complete flatfooted and have forced a repricing of the markets overly pessimistic view of Fed policy for 2019 through 2020.

However, Treasury markets reopen on Tuesday and after a tumultuous start to the month, it’s not going to get much more comfortable for bond investors as there is a significant amount of supply this week: USD230bn of Treasuries will be up for auction. Give the sizable number of bonds on sale, its unlikely bond trader had the stomach to go into this week’s auction owning to much inventory, so this too could have contributed to the recent Treasury sell-off

Asia Equity Markets

Equity markets have been trading poorly since US yields breached multi-year levels of resistance last Wednesday and continue to do so despite stimulus efforts by the Pboc, as China returned from its Golden Week holiday and played catch up to last week’s global equity weakness.  The massive near-term tail risk is that traders are back on US-China watch. A possible train wreck on the negotiation front could completely derail global markets. We should not underestimate the potentially destabilizing effect from a weaker Yuan will have on regional markets if not global markets. Indeed a path no one wants to go down.

Oil markets

Oil initially traded heavy by the prospect of the US potentially permitting waivers to countries who are seeking to continue the purchase of Iranian crude after the November 4 deadline.

But looking at last weeks data net longs in both crude benchmarks were slashed as investors’ confidence sagged not to untypically after printing multi-year highs as last weeks Inventory reports, and the ratification of NAFTA suggest supply-side risks dropped slightly.

Investors were clearly in profit-taking mode, and with the US potentially permitting waivers to countries who are seeking to continue the purchase of Iranian crude after the November 4 compounded by Saudi Arabia repeatedly stating that they had indeed boosted their output to offset the loss of Iranian barrels. They provided more than sufficient inputs to trigger a sell-off especially when the market was leaning in that direction.

However, prices reversed in the morning NY session after Canada’s biggest oil refinery, Saint John, was hit by an explosion and fire early Monday. The refinery processes about 300k barrels per day.

Traders remain on hurricane watch as some O & G platform in the Gulf of Mexico have shuttered as Tropical Storm Michael, which is expected to morph into a category 2 or 3 hurricane rips through the Gulf and will smash into the Florida panhandle midweek. Gulf oil insiders are reporting that 19% of Gulf oil production and about 11% of the natural-gas output have gone offline.

While St Johns and Gulf supply disruptions will provide a near-term fillip to prompt WTI, however, based on the dwindling global spare capacity narrative this rally could continue. And we don’t have to look much further than China ‘s policy efforts to bolster that view. Over the medium to long-term, it’s not too much of a stretch to assume more policy easing measures and increased infrastructure spending after China economy expanded at the slowest pace on record last month. So, for oil markets and commodities in general, the positive effects of China’s monetary and fiscal ambition could be significant.

But this brings us full circle to this week’s US inventory reports, while the markets were not overly sensitive to last weeks increases, given the focus is shifting to a more buoyant near-term supply narrative, there will be highted market fucus.

Gold Markets

The markets again found themselves neck deep on oversold territory and with more chatter this morning about central bank purchases, the market is mulling. However, we’re still looking for confirmation on that Central Bank storyline. Update later but please call for any comments.

Currencies

Japanese Yen

With US yields providing a modicum of support but the sagging global equity markets have all but drained the life out the USDJPY battery. JPY traders were getting antsy as the 114 level was an immovable force given the sour equity market sentiment. When you start factoring in the negative implication of a move to 3.5-3.75 in UST’s its difficult to make a positive case for equity valuations. But the prospect of US-China discussion likely to deteriorate further in coming weeks, the 113.50 support gave way like a hot knife through butter,and with the markets on risk alert mode, no one is overly eager to get back on the USDJPY bullish bus.

Malaysian Ringgit 

China and US Treasuries remain the primary focus for EM FX, and with US-China negotiation going nowhere, we should see more upside pressure on the regional currencies.

No stopping the US dollar runaway train at the moment

No stopping the US dollar runaway train at the moment

US Markets 

The US dollar is on a rampage as awe-inspiring beat on both the ADP and ISM services index combined with very supportive  Fed speak sent the US dollar soaring.

Just another risk on the day for US market’s despite US bond yields surging. But look no further than the  September ISM non-manufacturing report which massively surprised to the upside, confirming that the US economy is indeed  ” firing on all cylinders “.  And triggering hugely bullish signal for both the  USD and a myriad of other US assets like  US equities with the S&P rising to fresh session highs and   US bond yields touching multi-year high water marks with the 10-year UST holding just above 3.16 %. To put things in perspective, the ISM just printed a 21-year high beating consensus expectation 61.6 vs 58!

Doubtlessly, nothing more bullish than the Dow printing record highs as US  interest rates hit multi-year peaks. !!

No, if and or buts investors remain unambiguously bullish on the S&P 500. And with positive signs gradually showing up for the Shanghai Composite and the  Nikkei, Asia equities, while still pulling up the rear, should make leaps and bounds this quarter even more if US-China resolves their trade issues. But at this stage, it looks like US markets don’t give a toss about China trade.

Oil Markets 

The DOE data for last week showed a much more significant than expected 8.0 million barrels per day build in US commercial crude which generally suggests that oil prices should tumble. Given the market is doing the exact opposite with Brent touching $86 per barrel, it indicates the markets remain singularly focused on Iran sanction and the questionableness of OPEC’s amplitude to increase production quickly enough to offset any Iran supply loss. In other words, the market is focusing on spare production capacity and the US sanctions effectively drying up the physical markets.

So if you were waiting for a bullish catalyst; when OIL markets rally after a significant and highly unexpected DOE inventory build, price action can’t be any more telling than that. Absolutely, the stage is set for a test of Brent $90 per barrel which should provide clear sailing to the opulent $100 per barrel mark

All this on top of the other big news of the day from Riyadh that indeed Saudi Arabia and Russia will boost its output in October and November.Reuters

However, after dissecting the article, it was merely an affirmation of something that we had suspected all along, but now its confirmed that Saudi Arabia and Russia are working closely together in coordinating their response to the oil market.  The headline confirms Saudi Arabia and Russia sideline discussion at a St. Petersburg conference back on May 25, subsequently ratified by OPEC

And yes, Saudi Arabia and Russia are both supplying additions barrels, but I genuinely believe both parties are as equally price sensitive as they are about making concessionary overtones. So, if the markets remain fluid and accept the additional barrels at or near current levels, triggering tears of joy to all oil producers, including those in Texas and Oklahoma Indeed the Saudi -Russia led mega oil cartel will be more than happy to add supply.

“The Russians and the Saudis agreed to add barrels to the market quietly with a view not to look like they are acting on Trump’s order to pump more,”

One quote in the article, however, reminded me of one of my long-held theories that we are on the cusp of a new axis of oil price control that would involve the wolds three mega-producers Saudi Arabia -Russia and the US. While I still think this locus of control will happen eventually, although the US inclusion will likely ruffle some middle east feather. But frankly, without offering US Shale producers a seat at the negotiating table, any coordinated efforts to stabilise prices over the long run could be difficult without their participation.

Gold Markets

Gold prices slid lower on Wednesday, triggered by a significant beat on the ISM resulting in higher US Bond Yields and a very strong USD. But with bond traders effortlessly taking out key interest rate levels, which are falling like ninepins, it does suggest the dollar rally has much more room to run. After waffling its way through September, the greenback is starting to reassert itself supported by a significant fair wind from the US rates markets with 10-Year UST holding north of 3.15 %. It is difficult to envision gold tracking any which way but down. Yesterday’s Italy inspired safe -haven rally is starting to look more and more like a massive missed opportunity, that’s if you didn’t sell, as, on a strong NFP print, gold could flop towards the mid $1180’s in a heartbeat.

Currency Markets

It’s not only the Aussie moving down under, but so is the Euro. And with the US10 Year Yields sliding through crucial resistance level like greased lightning, the Euro is folding like a cheap suit. But it was the constructive tone from Fed chair Powell that lit a fire under the dollar after he suggested that the Fed is a long way from neutral rates. So, assuming the US data supports I guess we can count on the Fed to roll out quarterly rate hike for the foreseeable future, or at least until there’s a downturn in US data Given the moves on USDJPY, it does indicate the EURUSD could fall further as the market aims at the next critical pivot level of 1.1420.

 

EM Asia

A tale of 2 barrels of oil 

The Indian Rupee

With  Brent test, $86 per barrel and the USD  reassert itself across G-10 the Indian Rupee got hammered overnight. This trade was the equivalent of taking candy from a baby after yesterday’s comments from the RBI who are unwilling to react to what they believe is a knee-jerk reaction on INR and Oil, and utterly unwilling to a supporting a separate USD window for Oil companies.

We knew the Rupee was going to be in for a rough ride, but the voracity of the move is what frightening But with intervention proving futile due to India’s heavy reliance on imported oil and gas the import bill is going to be eye-watering and humungous and will continue to provide ammunition for currency speculators to target the Rupee.

But deferring to the Oxford Economics matrix, In India’s case ” A 10 per cent increase in oil prices can lower the real GDP level by 0.2 per cent four quarters later”, so this oil move is going to have lingering effects.

Malaysian Ringgit 

On the other hand, the Malaysia Ringgit will be relatively insulated from the stronger dollar, and surging US yields as Malaysia pumps about 666 K barrels per day which generate a tidy some for the country and not to mention the downstream effect which is an absolute boon to Malaysia’s expansive oil and gas industry. While USDASIA will trade with a defensive posture, today the Ringgit should be viewed in a much better light than the regional peers, but demand will remain muted

US markets rescue global risk sentiment yet again.

US Markets 

It seems we can rely on the US markets to bail out souring Global risk sentiment again and again.  But the question should be, how long can we expect this to continue.

Almost like clockwork, The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a record high on Tuesday feeding of investors optimism around global trade as the USMCA framework does remove at least one massive tariff related risk from the global financial market. I wouldn’t’ go as far as saying the markets are any less worried about China trade issues, however, but investors are breathing on a big sigh of relief that a significant barrier to global free trade has fallen. And indeed, just as significantly it allows the US administration to now focus exclusively on its escalating economic dispute with China.

Oil Markets 

Oil traders came up for air ahead of today API inventory report and while analysing production data for September, including Russian output that increased 150,000 bpd last month to a record 11.36 million barrels per day.

However, prices remain near four-year highs supported by the plethora of bullish narratives, Iran sanctions, Saudi Arabi capacity concerns and China refinery Iranian compliance.

The API inventory data has triggered a muted reaction of sorts. The American Petroleum Institute figures for the week ended September 28 included a slightly smaller 0.9 mmbls build in US commercial crude stocks, but a larger-than-expected 2.0 mmbls increase at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery point for NYMEX WTI crude oil futures. A bit of a saw off indeed but would probably be interpreted as a touch bearish if not for the dominant bullish narrative.

NOPEC

Also given the markets are thinking that OPEC or more specifically Saudi Arabia is powerless to stop oil from hitting $100 per barrel m there has been increasing focus on NOPEC.
Reuters

It’s apparent that, next to China trade, OPEC is the president’s biggest bugbear based on his frequent criticism of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

US Lawmakers have already introduced a version of the “No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act,” or NOPEC, in May to address what US Congress believes is OPEC price rigging.

Various iterations of the of the bill have been tabled since 2000, but both George W. Bush and Barack Obama threatened to use their veto power to halt it from becoming law given the stratic important of Saudia Arabia in maintaining peace in the middle east. However, the considerable tail risk for oil prices is that President Trump could break with this president to deflect the knock-on effect of his administration’s foreign policy, ahead of midterm elections, which has effectively resulted in higher oil prices.

Regardless, oil traders are writing this off as idle banter given Saudi Arabia strategic importance in the middle east. But just as significantly using the US judicial system as an aggressive form of market intervention, sends off horrible signals to investors, not to mention the massive US oil and gas industry.

Gold Markets

Gold prices have been aggressively rallying overnight. Rather odd that the USD is not leading this move that has triggered a significant and very convincing short squeeze. Remember that according to CFTC data GOLD speculative net positioning increased to its highest since December 2001 as prices declined for a sixth straight month in September. Accounts sold an additional 6,804 contracts in the week to September 25, according to the latest CFTC data published last Friday, bringing total net short positions to 17,648, the most since the week of December 11 2001.

Gold has moved higher overnight primarily driven by the return of safe-haven appeal, keeping Italy risks in mind. Interesting I was discussing that fact yesterday, that in the past when we were not dealing with a strong USD narrative, Gold would pop $15-20 higher in a heartbeat on EU contagion fears. Sometimes, it’s easy to be blind to the facts, especially when getting so accustomed to positioning gold off the US dollar moves. But with l tightness in Copper markets influencing the base metal complex higher. There’s likely some knock-on effect from that correlation as well; indeed, shorts are being caught out on this one, and weaker near-term stops above $1200 level are probably contributing the flow. But for a specific technical trigger, commodity traders were focusing a Gold cross currency relationship, and it was the break of Gold vs EUR 1030 that triggered the short position carnage.

Currency Markets

The Euro
Claudio Borghi is the head of the budget committee in Italy’s lower house and unsettled markets by saying Italy would have solved fiscal problems with its currency. Indeed “Italexit” concerns have triggered a massive wave of risk aversion, but one would think the EURO should be trading much lower. Sometimes trader psychology can win over logic near-term, as traders get antsy about the risk-reward of selling EURUSD below 1.1500. I think the NFP along with US market absorbing the waves of risk aversion is causing some traders to profit take on shorts. However, is we do break the 1.1500, on full blow Italy risk, all hell could break loose, and the EURUSD could easily topple to the 1.1300 handles.

The Japanese Yen
The yen is strengthening on risk aversion but comfortable holding above secondary support levels buffeted  by US interest rate differentials

The Malaysian Ringgit

Asia risk sentiment trades poorly in Asia as a toxic elixir of weaker China PMI, stronger USD and escalating geopolitical tension in the South China Sea. And factoring in the Italy risk, and slightly lower oil prices, we should expect the Ringgit to trade with a defensive posture today.

Media

Join me live from the studio on 938Now at 6:50 AM SGT  Oct 3, discussing overnight price action 938 Now Singapore

Join me live in studio on Channel News Asia at 7:30 AM SGT Oct 3 discussing  ASEAN currencies and oil prices Channel News Asia

Join me via remote  on  Sky Biz Australia  at 2:30 PM SGT Oct 3  discussing currencies and commodities  Sky Biz your money

OANDA Trading Asia market update : HSI,OIL ,XAU,JPY,EUR,CAD,GBP

Hong Kong

HSI is trading with a negative bias playing catch up from yesterday holiday in reaction to the weaker China PMI data. But at least for today, it’s more than apparent HK investors are in no mood to join the revamped NAFTA festivities.

Oil

Oil markets are holding onto the astonishing overnight gains ahead tomorrows API inventory data. But, oil traders are biding time and waiting for another cause and effect to buy more barrels.

Gold

Gold has been nudging higher as risk has been trading a bit unsettled in Asia as expressed by the HSI mini melt, and Italian EU risk. The  USD is consolidating recent gains vs the Yen but looking to bully the EURO lower on early London flow.

G-10 currencies

Japanese Yen 

While the USDJPY is following the more hawkish FOMC playbook, but the lack of follow-through above 114.00 suggesting positions are getting a bit crowded  and  USD bulls are  in need of some absolute “risk on” to breakout topside

The Euro.

The EURUSD is getting squashed by a toxic combination of higher US interest rates and Italy risk, look  for more downside momentum on this trade

The Canadian Dollar

The USDCAD is merely biding time, but eventually, 1.2800 give way. Perhaps Asia  CAD traders are waiting for Bay Street to run with the baton given RM chatter around 1.2800. Short EURCAD continues to be the favourable  expression on a bullish CAD view

The Pound

The Pound, on the other hand, should continue trading like an old beach roller coaster, getting moved by the latest BREXIT iteration

RBA
In the battle for the most dovish G-10 central banker award, as expected the RBA held rates in check. With nothing explicitly standing out in the statement, I think the Aussie trade is on hold till Fridays NFP

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