Numerous crosscurrents in play

Numerous crosscurrents in play

US equities 

On Friday the Dow and S&P opened and closed again at fresh highs on massive volumes due to options expirations, and while headlines over the weekend suggested that trade talks between both US and China will be shelved until after the US midterm elections, markets will not view this in too much of a negative light. It’s not so unexpected, and frankly, the US administration would be just as happy to keep trade wars out of the headlines ahead of the politically charge midterms where the Whitehouse will need to expend much political energy righting their political ship. But more importantly, the markets were viewing the November G-20 summit as a critical focal point where it’s expected both Ji and Trump will take to the sidelines with the intentions agreeing on a roadmap to settle this trade dispute. Not to mention, backchannels will most likely be open. But make no mistake, this will be a bumpy ride and don’t underestimate the possibility of the US announcing reviews of further China tariffs at some point in time given the Trump administration “modus operandi” of applying non-stop pressure.

Regardless, the astounding closing price action in equities last week, particularly the Shanghai composite and the US Indices suggest the markets are incredibly confident on a US-China trade deal by year-end, more Chinese stimulus to come, and hopefully a stable Yuan.

NAFTA 
On the no less political contentious NAFTA 2 trade talks. Canada is expected to join a NAFTA 2.0 agreement. But the Quebec election falls on Oct 1, and with the Provincial Liberals pulling ahead in the polls every so slightly, it’s debatable how much of a rush the Federal Liberals will be to ink a deal before month end. Especially given the political fallout from any concessions around the dairy industry, as the bulk of Canada’s Milk industry is based in Quebec.

Focus 

Traders will continue to monitor Chinese equities, DXY and copper.

Copper is fantastic leading indicators of risk and the economic cycle. Shanghai copper rose smartly on Friday bolstered by China’s fiscal efforts to bump up demand.

US Yields 

The US 10 yields finished the week above 3.05 % and could be setting the stage for a push higher. Rate differentials are still very much in favour of the USD story. But unlike when US yields rocketed higher in May, the UK and Canadian yields are breaking higher, while Japan is staying the top end of YCCC But more significantly Bunds are trading in the 50 bp region so there’s a bit more yield competition for the dollar to contend.

The US dollar 

Speaking of which, the USD could trade defensively ahead of this weeks FOMC as USD Bulls erring on the side of caution. With 2 US rates hikes priced into the balance 2018 and in the absence of inflation, it’s almost impossible for the Feds to bump up the 2019 curve. So, the markets will end up focusing on shifts in the longball forecast into 2020 which is not the best or brightest of signals for currency traders who tend to view markets in much nearer time horizons. Even if the Feds prod 2020 curve higher, its unclear how much of a USD fillip that shift could deliver given that Chair Jay Powell has contiued to de-emphasise 2020 dots. Unless we get an unexpected shift in the Feds terminal policy range of 2.75-3.00%, not sure the dollar ( X -JPY) goes anywhere but trades within well-worn ranges.

Oil Markets 

Last week oil prices were trading buoyantly on reports Saudis are more than happy with a Brent price above $80 or that OPEC, more generally, is not considering raising output. That was until President Trump castigated OPEC ahead of this weekends Algiers meeting.

However, Saudi Arabia and Russia ruled out any expeditious supply increases at the Algeria meeting while decidedly ignoring U.S. President Trump’s call to increase supplies and easing price pressures. Not wholly unexpected mind you as the markets have been leaning toward December 3 OPEC summit for more formal decisions

WTI is trading the weekend news very favourably, up over 1 % at the NYMEX open and additionally spirited on by reports  of inventories at the Cushing Oklahoma delivery point may have declined further in the week ended September 21.

But bullish sentiment could be tempered somewhat by several reports suggest ing OPEC producers generally agree that oil prices above Brent $80 a barrel would be too high. Which plays into the long-held market axiom that OPEC is looking to stabilise prices within the $70-80 $ sweet spot

Gold Markets 

With risk sentiment soaring there has been very little demand for Gold and when you factor in the fact that Gold traditionally trades poorly ahead of anticipated Fed hike, the USD will have up ground to entice buyer back to the market.

G-10

Japanese Yen

The Yen continues to consolidate but with the BoJ continuing to float the idea of shiting policy for no other reason than to support the beleaguered banking sector after years of 0 % interest rates. These trial balloons could contiued to weight on the top side despite USDJPY getting massive support from the favourable interest rate differentials.

The Euro 

I still think Italy risk is way underpriced and the Eurozone economic recovery is so uneven that the EURUSD could move lower given the US robust US economic story.

EM Asia

Hard to envision anything other the current account ( ca)deficit currencies remain vulnerable while ca surplus countries will contiued fare well.

The Chinese Yuan

China will move towards current account deficit and with interest rates likely to move lower to stimulate the economy the RMB will either trade weaker or remain stable at the at the CNY weakest levels of the current range.

The Malaysian Ringgit

The song remains the same. Positive updraft from global risk sentiment coupled with rising oil prices. But offset by increasing global yields, especially those in the US which lessens the appeal for local bonds.

The Rupee and Rupiah 

As for the regional whipping boys IDR and INR, this a very complicated landscape and surging oil prices will continue to be an outsized problem for both currencies, And despite pledges to fix deficits, there has been no proof in that pudding. Instead, BI and RBI are coming up with creative yet very patchy methods of different interventions like the mandatory conversion for export proceeds in Indonesia, for example, or taking oil demand off the market in India.

Which brings us full circle, to this weeks FOMC, where it’s expected both BI and RBI will raise interest rates to match next week Fed hike. So, their ongoing currency struggles will continue to make headlines. However, without addressing the real underlying problems around deficits, hiking interest rates to prop up currency is like putting a band-aid on a broken leg as speculators will continue to target deficit currencies at every opportunity.

Friday Rupee sell-off was directly related to the impact of the RBI raising interest rates which have reportedly caused a massive corporate default for a shadow lender in the housing sector and triggered a significant sell-off in local equity markets.

Ultimately the consumer pays the piper in any rate hike scenario.

Bring on the FOMC !

FOMC 

The FOMC meeting next week has a hike fully priced in so the focus will be on the dot plots and the follow-up presser which has dollar bulls questioning their near-term positions.

The meeting will be overly scrutinised to see if there are any changes in the projections, with new Vice-chair Clarida voting for the first time. Also, Chair Powell will likely be quizzed on Fed Governor Lael Brainard view that US interest will probably need to be made more restrictive in the sense that at some point in the future if the unemployment rate remains low, policy rates should move above neutral and into the restrictive territory.

Dovish tail risk

And herein lies the dovish tail risk which has  USD Bulls erring on the side of caution. With 2 US rates hikes priced into  the rest of 2018 and in the absence of inflation, it’s almost impossible for the  Feds to bump up the 2019 curve. So, the markets will end up focusing on shifts in the longball forecast into 2020 which is not the best or brightest of signals for currency traders who tend to view markets in much nearer time horizons. Even if the Feds prod 2020 curve higher, its unclear how much of a USD fillip that shift could deliver given that Chair Jay Powell has contiued to de-emphasise 2020 dots. Unless we get an unexpected shift in the Feds terminal policy range of 2.75-3.00%, not sure the dollar ( X -JPY) goes anywhere but trades within well-worn ranges.

What else in G-10?

AS for the rest of G10, there will be no shift from RBNZ, but in the wake of the surprisingly strong data of late especially the monster GDP beat, we could see a subtle less dovish change in guidance.

It’s not a busy calendar next week per say but dotted by US PCE and EUR sentiment surveys. Canada delivers a GDP report, but NAFTA talks will continue to overshadow data as yet another NAFTA month-end deadline looms.

Brexit Blues 

It’s back to the Brexit drawing board after EU leaders “Chequers mated “and utterly humiliated May at the Salzburg meeting which sent the Pound tumbling below the 1.3100 before finding some composure. Of course, most believe a deal in some form or another will eventually happen. But in the nub of all this Brexit bluster, UK data has been surging with both CPI and Retail Sales beating expectations, but indeed  Brexit uncertainty has overshadowed.  Next week’s UK GDP data could be another strong point, however, with little to no breakthrough on Brexit likely to happen any time soon, The Bank of England will remain unwavering until clarity on Brexit it offered up so the market will likely look past next weeks UK data.

Great insights from our Senior Markets Analyst in London, Craig Erlam  

Sterling Down on May Brexit Warnings

OANDA Market Insights podcast (episode 32)

Craig reviews the week’s business and market news with Jazz FM Business Breakfast presenter Jonny Hart.

This week’s big stories: Sterling wobbles on Brexit fears, US/China tariffs tit for tat, Inflation hike against expectations.

China 

China PMI which will be closely monitored. Also, we should expect more trade headlines to come into play as both US and China tease with the idea of resurrecting trade talks.

USD Price Action 

Gauging this weeks price action in the wake of Trump tariff announcement, the markets overwhelming viewed the 10 % on 200 billion tariff levy and the measured responses from China as a smoke signal for further negotiation shortly. So the unwind of global USD hedges ensued as the market just found themselves far too long USD at not such grand levels. But the robust fundamental storyline in the US economy coupled with weak PMI data in Eurozone this week, I don’t think we’ve heard the last from the dollar bulls just yet.

Currencies in focus next week

EUR: a huge disappointment to the bulls with a close below 1.1750. While Fed forward guidance will drive the bus next week, the negative  EU PMI lean could hang like an anvil around the EURO neck.

CNH: It has to be on everyone’s radar especially after this weeks exodus of long USD hedge position on a combination of Trade war de-escalation, comments that mainland will not weaponise the Yuan as a tool in the trade war and offshore funding squeeze on the back Pboc to sell bills in Hong Kong. Despite the correction lower in USDCNH, given that China’s current account surplus is expected to shrink as a result of US tariffs and if the Feds signal clear dot plot sailing or even shift slight higher, CNH could sell off again.

Oil markets

Traders will pay close attention to Sunday headlines from Algiers as OPEC, and cooperating non-OPEC producers will meet on Sunday in Algeria

Likely seeking to appease President Trump, unnamed members of OPEC suggested they would discuss adding 500 K barrels per day, and while it gave cause to book some profit and reduce risk, its highly unlikely anything dealing with supplies will happen before the December 3 OPEC summit.

Despite wire reports suggestions otherwise, most of the oil traders in my circle, and despite the usual OPEC headline noise, think the meeting will be little more than the steering committee review of production and market data.

Please join me on Live on Monday discussing cross-asset markets 

BFM Radio Kuala Lumpur  7:35 AM SGT  on the Market Watch

938Now 9:00 AM SGT for an extended view  on global markets

France 24 TV at 12:15 SGT for the European Open coverage

Jazz FM London 1:00 PM SGT discussing the Asia markets today

 

 

 

 

Canadian Inflation Lifts Probabilities of an October Rate Hike

The USD/CAD fell 0.92 percent in the last five days. The currency pair is trading at 1.2921 after various phases of NAFTA jitters have helped and pressured the loonie. The Canadian currency gained on a weekly basis against a softening greenback.

US-China trade rhetoric hast lost some traction, and as JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon put it, it’s more like a skirmish than a war.


Canadian dollar weekly graph September 17, 2018

NAFTA optimism remains high, but officials from both sides have begun to trade sound bites as frustrations mount.

US White House Chief Economic Advisor Kevin Hasset said in a TV interview that the US could forge ahead with the Mexico only trade deal. The US has been trying to get Canada to join the quick agreement made with Mexico, but so far the negotiations have not been as smooth.

Canadian Foreign Minister wrapped up her Washington visit on Thursday with the Quebec elections on October 1 an important day if dairy concessions are given as part of the NAFTA renegotiation.

Canadian monthly GDP data will be released on Friday September 28, with a forecast of 0.1 percent. The stronger pace earlier in the year and with inflation above target will pressure the Bank of Canada (BoC) to lift rates in October. Probabilities of a 25 basis points hike are at 88.74 percent.

US Dollar Recovers Ground Ahead of Fed Meeting

The US dollar bounced back on Friday, but could not offset the losses suffered during the week. The greenback was lower against most major pairs at the end of five days. Traders adjusted their positions before the weekend giving some breathing room to the USD.

The U.S. Federal Reserve will host its two-day meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement will be published at 2:00 pm EDT followed by a press conference by Fed Chair Jerome Powell at 2:30 pm EDT.

A rate lift by the US central bank is highly anticipated and has been priced in to the dollar putting more focus on the words of the Fed chief.

Euro Appreciates as US Trade War Fears Soften

The EUR/USD surged 1.05 percent this week. The single currency is trading at 1.1743 after a late recovery attempt by the USD on Friday.



The Trump administration unveiled the second round of tariffs against Chinese goods on Monday but as more details came out an all out trade war can still be averted.

Despite the rhetoric market participants are optimistic about a resolution that will not have a negative impact on global growth.

German data and EU inflation will be released this week. German confidence has improved of late and forecasts show that trend will continue but European inflation early results are not expected to have gained traction. The EUR has recovered from political uncertainty earlier in the year, but investors will look at fundamentals for guidance.

Canadian Inflation Lifts Probabilities of an October Rate Hike

The USD/CAD fell 0.92 percent in the last five days. The currency pair is trading at 1.2921 after various phases of NAFTA jitters have helped and pressured the loonie. The Canadian currency gained on a weekly basis against a softening greenback.

US-China trade rhetoric hast lost some traction, and as JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon put it, it’s more like a skirmish than a war.


Canadian dollar weekly graph September 17, 2018

NAFTA optimism remains high, but officials from both sides have begun to trade sound bites as frustrations mount.

US White House Chief Economic Advisor Kevin Hasset said in a TV interview that the US could forge ahead with the Mexico only trade deal. The US has been trying to get Canada to join the quick agreement made with Mexico, but so far the negotiations have not been as smooth.

Canadian Foreign Minister wrapped up her Washington visit on Thursday with the Quebec elections on October 1 an important day if dairy concessions are given as part of the NAFTA renegotiation.

Canadian monthly GDP data will be released on Friday September 28, with a forecast of 0.1 percent. The stronger pace earlier in the year and with inflation above target will pressure the Bank of Canada (BoC) to lift rates in October. Probabilities of a 25 basis points hike are at 88.74 percent.

Oil Ends Week Higher with OPEC Meeting to Provide Guidance

Oil prices rose ahead of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting in Algiers in a week that included supply concerns and pressure from US President Trump to keep prices low.


West Texas Intermediate graph

The production cut agreement by the OPEC and other major producers has been the most important factor in the stabilization of crude prices since the 2014 drop.

Supply disruptions have kept prices in current ranges even as the OPEC and partners such as Russia will be discussing ramping up production.

The biggest disruption to supply this year has come from the reapplication of US sanctions against Iranian exports. Global producers that are part of the supply curb have telegraphed their intentions but weather and geopolitical factors have been offset with global growth and energy demand forecast downgrades.

Weekly US inventories threw another drawdown data point on Wednesday and have kept the black stuff bid. President Trump has used twitter as a macro policy tool and this time his aim fell on the OPEC.

The organization has limited options and will look to Saudi Arabia for leadership as some members have pressured internally to increase production for their own national interests.

This time the US is mixing political and economic factors to force an increase in supply, even though the White House is the one who triggered the latest disruption.

Yellow Metal Loses Shine on Friday Looks Ahead to Fed Rate Hike

Gold was lower on Friday by 0.65 percent, but gains earlier in the week still managed to put it in the black with a 0.19 percent gain.

The safe haven appeal of the yellow metal was lower as US stock markets continued their rally stoked by improving economic data in America.



The Fed’s imminent rate hike is keeping gold close to the $1,200 price level and the Swiss franc is now the de facto refuge for investors.

With a 25 basis points fully priced in from the Fed metal investors will be focusing on the economic projections and any changes in the wording of the statement looking for clues on the rate hike path of the central bank.

Market events to watch this week:

Monday, September 24
4:00am EUR German Ifo Business Climate
Tuesday, September 25
10:00am USD CB Consumer Confidence
9:00pm NZD ANZ Business Confidence
Wednesday, September 26
10:30am USD Crude Oil Inventories
2:00pm USD FOMC Economic Projections
2:00pm USD FOMC Statement
2:00pmUSD Federal Funds Rate
2:30pm USD FOMC Press Conference
5:00pm NZD Official Cash Rate
6:00pm NZD RBNZ Press Conference
Thursday, September 27
8:30am USD Core Durable Goods Orders m/m
8:30amUSD Final GDP q/q
Friday, September 28
4:30am GBP Current Account
8:30am CAD GDP m/m

*All times EDT
For a complete list of scheduled events in the forex market visit the MarketPulse Economic Calendar

What is good for the Hong Kong dollar is bad for property markets

The Hong Kong dollar on Friday posted its biggest gain against the US dollar since 2003, over concerns about tighter liquidity in the city, after the People’s Bank of China announced it would issue bills in the city.

“The issuance of PBOC bills in Hong Kong aims to enrich the spectrum of renminbi financial products of high credit rating in Hong Kong, improve the yield curve of renminbi bonds in Hong Kong and support the development of offshore renminbi business in Hong Kong,” the Chinese central bank said in a statement.

“There’s a stampede of unwinding of arbitrage trades, which is creating a domino effect of tighter liquidity,” said Jasper Lo, chief investment strategist at Eddid Securities and Futures. “It really is a historical day for the Hong Kong dollar.”

Lo said tighter liquidity would push up interest rates ahead of the expected interest rate increase by the US Federal Reserve next week.

The currency had been hovering near the weak end of its peg against the US dollar this year, forcing the HKMA to spend HK$95 billion to defend it in the currency markets.

Stephen Innes, head of trading at Oanda, said that while the market reaction had taken a tremendous amount of pressure off the currency peg, it was a worrisome sign for property investors nonetheless.

Liquidity at Hong Kong banks is likely to remain tight for the foreseeable future, until the PBOC’s intentions are clear, which would bring the soaring real estate prices in Hong Kong closer to a tipping point given the highly leveraged nature of the city’s property market.

“We are going to see more PBOC presence in Hong Kong money markets after the memorandum … and the PBOC will probably continue taping and draining the Hong Kong money markets and pushing rates, which is an ominous sign for property markets,” said Innes.

US-China trade war, yesterday’s news.?

US-China trade war, yesterday’s news.?

The US stock markets catapulted to a new record high on Thursday as investors continued to sidestep fears over the escalating global trade war and instead focused on a boomy American economy. And at least for today anyway, US-China trade war was yesterday’s news.

Make no mistake the US economy is running on all cylinders, robust growth, soaring employment and rising capital investments. Suggesting the healthy US economy is more than just a short-term knock-on effect from the intravenous elixir of easy credit and fiscal glucose. The US economy is thriving.

Oil Markets

And when you thought the ducks were aligning for a significant push higher in oil prices, enter President Donald with yet another timely twitter castigation of OPEC. Which comes just days before OPEC, Russia and non-OPEC partners meet in Algiers this weekend to review the state of the oil market, with a focus on the likely supply impacts of US-led Iran sanctions. Another case of President Trump having his cake and trying to eat it also, as its those US imposed sanctions on Iran and Venezuela that are causing the spike in oil!!

The market had until that point been trading fluidly with the assumption that Saudi Arabia is now comfortable with Brent at $80 or even higher, which is challenging the markets long-held supposition that prompt Brent between $70 and $80 was OPEC sweet spot.

But with significant support levels holding firm and sentiment is securely buttressed by Iran sanction, politically inspired dips in a bullish market will undoubtedly be bought. The problem, however, is we’re heading into a weekend where what was initially thought to be a meeting of OPEC steering committee to discuss Oil markets current affairs,  has morphed into an unofficial OPEC meeting with 20 + nations at the table, which means traders were going to profit take and reduce risk anyway. I guess President Trump brought forward that decision for traders  20 hours earlier than expected and perhaps the follow through a little thicker than anticipated.

So why the 1.5 % sell-off?

And while Saudi Arabia is revelling in these Iran sanctions, they are also worried that any sanctions-related, oil prices spike  will trigger fresh criticism from Trump, especially ahead of the November election where the blame for high energy prices will squarely fall on the Trump administration ramping up geopolitical risk, for the sake of a hawkish international policy mandate.

Indeed, Saudi Arabia does fear the ” wrath of Trump ” and are taking few chances with the longshot NOPEC bill lingering, but the real question is, even if they wanted to ramp up production, could they??

Gold Markets.
The precious complex is quiet while modestly reacting to the weaker dollar but surging US Bond yields are holding back speculators and not to mention there’s nary a hedger insight with US equity markets rising above all-time high-water marks.

Currency Markets

So where are the dollar bulls ?? more comfortable to short bonds in this market than to go long dollars, so look over at the bond desk!!

Indeed, a tangled web of confusion as USD remains doughy and while US yields didn’t lead overnight, they did hold stable support levels. Of course, the first discussion across our global trading desks was will the USD weakness linger. And the conclusion was a resounding maybe!! While the dollar was widely expected to wobble into the US midterm elections, I think that playbook trade has been brought forward by many factors that we will look at below. But ultimately USD should remain constructive post-midterms for no other reason than as the US economy is doing better than anyone else’s and the Feds will continue to raise interest rates.

The dollar leak

So modern-day forex desks are staffed by a compliment of the brightest kids, grizzled veterans and machine learning algorithms using 3000 data points, and still, no one can predict the course of the USD beyond 24 hours, well 8 hours to be exact in this market. So, forget trying to play long ball (6-month conjectures) and let’s look at some granularity that got us to the point this week where DXY/USGG10YR correlation has temporarily snapped.

EM markets have been catching the tailwind from CBT rate hike, CBR surprise rate hike, BI potential mandatory FX conversion for exporters and the RBI currency countermeasures. All of which contributed to taming the beast (USD) to various degrees. But a significant factor in adding to the current run of dollar weakness is the drop on safe-haven appeal after China suggested they won’t weaponise yuan in a trade war.

Yesterday the RBI stepped up their game as USDINR NDF fell abruptly this afternoon on wire reports suggesting RBI is studying the efficacy of taking oil companies USD demand away from the market. The state-run oil companies were now sourcing their entire dollar demand in markets, and the RBI is now considering opening a swap window to alleviate the pressure, something they have baulked at in the past.
Indeed, desperate times lead to drastic measures.

The Yuan rallied further on news that Mainland authorities are reportedly cutting import tax from most of its trading partners as soon as next month. Of course, the breadth and the actual tax % will be the key. Current estimates are the tax cut will be applied to around 1,500 consumer products. This move triggered more unwinding of trade war hedges as China will get creative to counter the adverse economic effects of US tariffs.

Trump constant attempt to undermine the Feds is also a distraction, as the markets knowing full well the Administration is lobbying for lower interest rates and a weaker USD in this trade war environment. None the less USD has put itself in the centre of discussion regarding what Fed Chair Powell is up to with Congress. Markets are chatty about this article  Bloomberg

And while the Forex markets have become a point for of frustration for some, overnights the price movements appear to be more related to USD haven hedge unwinds as opposed to any long-term structural adjustments the USD as the markets remain well within well-worn ranges.

G-10

The Euro

The EUR was toying with the market all week, and finally, the dollar bears got the bravado to take on the 1.1730 level which predictably triggered a cascading effect to 1.1780. So, with the USD bulls sidelined, short-term speculators seized the moment with the Euro Stoxx reaching a fresh all-time high and Bund yields moving higher pressed the 1.1730-50 zone and made a quick profit on the day.

The Japanese Yen

USDJPY is being carried higher by a higher NKY and higher USD rates

Asia FX
Regional Risk is very steady supported by thriving global equity markets a slightly weaker USD and a positive glean that North Korea’s leader Kim Jung-un has asked for a second summit with President Trump and has reportedly agreed to ‘verifiable’ dismantling of a missile testing site during the North/south summit.

Join me live at 8:30 AM SGT  discussing my views on   MONEY FM 89.3 Singapore   

 

 

Markets flat as China quickly responds to tariffs

Ball back in Trump’s court as China responds with counter-tariffs

Markets are taking new tariffs between the US and China in their stride again on Wednesday, with stocks in Europe and futures in the US looking quite flat ahead of the open on Wall Street.

The latest tit-for-tat between Washington and Beijing has been on the cards for some time and while investors would have preferred to avoid the need for them, they were prepared and it was well priced in. In fact, the US tariffs were probably towards the lower end of expectations so the announcement didn’t really carry the same shock factor that previous announcements or reports have.

What may have a greater impact is Donald Trump following through quickly on phase three, as he has indicated he would which would dramatically ramp up the intensity and pace of the trade war between the two countries and could lead to more undesirable outcomes. There is clearly a good reason why the Trump administration has chosen not to include certain products – specifically those it stripped out after the consultation period – and opted initially for 10% rather than 25% and I think this may stop him acting in the rash manner he indicated he would.

OANDA Trading Asia market closing note : Irrational exuberance ? YUAN

UK inflation spikes in August sending sterling higher

Over in the UK, attention has switched briefly away from politics – or more specifically Brexit – and onto the data after CPI numbers for August showed prices rising by 2.7%, a significant beat on expectations. The release triggered quite a strong response in the pound, rallying above 1.32 against the dollar for the first time in almost two months before settling up around a quarter of a percent on the day.

UK Inflation

I don’t personally think this changes much from an interest rates perspective, especially in the near-term with the Bank of England having only recently raised interest rates to post-financial crisis highs and shown a willingness to proceed with caution over the coming years. We’re also heading into a crucial period for Brexit talks and I think policy makers will want to withdraw from the spotlight during that time and then reassess the situation once the terms of the divorce are clearer.

Tariffs? – So what!

GBP to remain sensitive to Brexit ahead of Salzburg summit

The increase itself may also be temporary and reflect firms taking advantage of a great summer and enthusiastic consumer, something that may take its toll in the months ahead. I don’t expect the BoE to react too much to this summer spike and instead take a more conservative view unless we see further evidence of it becoming a longer-term trend.

GBPUSD Daily Chart

OANDA fxTrade Advanced Charting Platform

Sterling is going to remain sensitive to Brexit reports in the coming months and tomorrow’s meeting in Salzburg will be the next hurdle. Traders will be paying very close attention to any comments coming from the summit and will be looking for any hints that significant progress is being made towards a deal that will avoid a disastrous no deal Brexit. Traders are clearly becoming more optimistic but that’s coming from a low base, with a lot of pessimism having been priced in since April.

Economic Calendar

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

OANDA Trading Asia market closing note : Irrational exuberance ? YUAN

Irrational exuberance? YUAN

EM Asia currencies

The Yuan

Could be little more than a case of irrational exuberance as the markets have completely latched on to Premier Li Keqiang comments which, at the World Economic Forum, said China would not devalue the currency to stimulate exports and as one would expect the Australian dollar is getting taken along for the ride

Traders are positioning long USDCNH based a weaker RMB currency profile that was thought would underpin domestic economic activity and possibly prop-up equity markets. So, if the US does ramp up tariffs, I’m not sure what possible counter-strategy mainland authorities would implement that would be as easy and as impactful as steering the Yuan weaker. None the less the USD has been trading broadly weaker on the news despite my overly pessimistic view of the current proceedings.

The Thai Baht

Despite the BoT leaving its policy rate unchanged at 1.50%, USDTHB is dipping lower to June levels. . The markets are viewing the two dissenting votes as hawkish. But the THB has been an excellent regional haven play as its been pretty insulated from the trade war fracas. A hefty current account surplus will do that for you in this environment, not to mention tourists aren’t about to skirt BKK anytime soon and that industry provided nearly 20 % of GDP.

G-10

The Euro 
Once again, the Euro has a spring in its step in early London trade. However, pushing through the August high of 1.1730 remains critical for a substantial extension. Frankly, the EURUSD is where the near-term US dollar (X JPY) battle lines are forming as the ECB has shifted less dovish and should continue to so with Italian risk falling. But Brainard has signalled the Fed intentions, so the battle lines are forming around 1.1730

 

US yields take a runner.

One could expect a bit of apprehension to enter the fray, and traders to tap the brakes not just from a relief rally hangover perspective, but local bond and currency traders could start looking over their shoulders at US 10y bond yields that have raced higher to 3.05 %.

While everyone thought US bond yields could begin to rise in September as the markets emerged from summer holiday, but few could have predicted returns to come on as strong as the did with US 10Y touching to 3.05 %
While last NFP data produced robust wage growth data, I think its as much a function of hawkish fed speak as anything else.

The most significant shift in my view comes from Fed Governor Lael Brainard, who I dare say it was starting to roost with the Hawk suggesting the sitting Federal Reserve Board is a tad more hawkish than markets have priced.

While last week lower than expected US CPI, print does suggest we are nowhere near a reprice higher of the Fed curve from an inflationary standpoint.

But with the market emerging from its summer slumber and the US economy rocking on overdrive, traders may soon realise that they are pricing 2019 rate hike risk far too pessimistically. If the strong run of US economic data continues and an even more so on the first glint of inflation.

The pragmatist in me says this is USD supportive and not an especially appealing prospect for local Asia markets, in my view.

The morning after

The morning after

US equity market has wholly shrugged off yesterday’s back and forth on US-China trade, as the robust US economy continues to sway investors. However, when we look back at the 2018 stock market run, a lot of ink will be spilt about the benefits of US repatriation flows which are keeping balance sheet flush which could  lead to   higher levels of capital spending, and in a low rates environment, should continue to support a more robust corporate earnings narrative.

While there’s a whole lot that can go upside down in US trade negotiations with  China, Europe and Canada and despite the market taking the bluster in stride, history tells us that tariffs are detrimental for global trade and commerce. As such the current levels of market buoyancy belie the possible groundswell that could overrun markets.

The bottom line why the market didn’t react negatively was the lack of shock and awe given the tariffs were so well telegraphed.

Oil Markets 

Oil prices remain supported despite a larger than expected build in the API US crude inventories report, but stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery point declined 1.6 million barrels according to the API.

Traders are ignoring today’s API data given while focusing on news from the middle east

Prices firmed when Russia pointed the finger at Israel when one of their reconnaissance planes was shot down, although it was later determined to be a  Syrian defence missle.  None the less any type of escalation in the middle east provided a fillip for oil prices.

But it was comments from Saudi oil officials that continues to resonate. It was only two weeks ago traders were assuming that OPEC was prepared to keep Brent trading between 70 and 80 per barrel. However, overnight chatter suggests that the Saudis are more than happy with a Brent price above $80 or that OPEC, more generally, is not considering raising output.

The September 23 OPEC+ meeting in Algiers turning into a significant affair with 20+ nation set to attend. It appears Saudis are putting their cards on the table ahead of the meeting and is currently being view through a bullish lens.

Gold Markets 

Continues to be driven by the USD, given the lack of clear direction overnight, the market continues to teeter-totter around the critical $1200 levels.

Currency Markets

JPY was the worst performing currency over the past 24 hours due to higher US yields and a more buoyant risk market, and of course, the Nikkei benefits through the weaker yen better for exports feedback loop.

Some focus on the BoJ meeting today. Expected to tow the line but forward guidance is the key after BoJ was discussing throughout the summer about tapering.

CAD was among the best-performing currencies globally on broader sentiment. Investors are waiting to restart conversations trader took the following in a very positive light House Majority Whip Steve Scalise stated. “While we would all like to see Canada remain part of this three-country coalition, there is not an unlimited amount of time for it to be part of this new agreement.”

AUD the return of global risk appetite has the Aussie bulls coming out of the woodwork. But with the A$ the main G-10 proxy to express China risk, I think the top side will be limited given the sheer volumes of headline risk.

MYR: Higher oil prices and a favourable risk environment should see the Ringgit trade more favourably, but the surge in US yields will temper trader’s expectations