Gold struggles as global trade tensions escalate

Gold has posted considerable losses in the Wednesday session. In North American trade, the spot price for one ounce of gold is $1246.24, down 0.74% on the day. On the release front, inflation reports narrowly beat their estimates. Core PPI was unchanged at 0.3%, beating the forecast of 0.2%. PPI dropped from 0.5% to 0.3%, above the estimate of 0.2%. On Thursday, the U.S releases key consumer spending reports as well as unemployment claims.

The markets remain nervous about the worsening global trade war, particularly between the United States and China. After the two economic giants imposed tariffs on each other of some $30 billion, the Trump administration has raised the ante, threatening to hit China with further tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. China cannot retaliate in kind, since it does not import that amount of goods from the U.S. Still, the Chinese can take steps which will make it more difficult for U.S companies to do business in China. President Trump’s presence at the NATO summit will not bolster investor confidence, as Trump has lashed out at Germany and other NATO members for not paying their fair share in defense spending.

Gold is sensitive to interest rate moves and investors and traders continue to look for clues about the Federal Reserve’s monetary plans. The Fed is expected to continue raising rates in the second half of 2018, but it remains unclear if the Fed will raise rates once or twice. The highly-anticipated FOMC minutes did not shed any light on this question and had little effect on gold prices. Fed policymakers remain bullish over the strong U.S economy, but remain concerned about developments abroad. These include growing trade tensions with U.S trading partners, as well as political and economic developments in Europe. The markets are circling the September policy meeting for the next rate hike, with the CME Group setting the odds of a quarter-point hike at 84%.

  Investors turn risk-averse on tariff war escalation

  ( Update 1) When the going gets tough, the tough get going

XAU/USD Fundamentals

  • 8:30 US Core PPI. Estimate 0.2%. Actual 0.3%
  • 8:30 US PPI. Estimate 0.2%. Actual 0.3%
  • 10:00 US Final Wholesale Inventories. Estimate 0.5%. Actual 0.6%
  • 10:30 US Crude Oil Inventories. Estimate -4.1M. Actual -12.6M
  • 12:30 US FOMC Member Rafael Bostic Speaks
  • 13:01 US 10-year Bond Auction
  • 16:30 US FOMC Member John Williams Speaks
  • 19:01 British RICS House Price Balance. Estimate -3%

Thursday (July 12)

  • 4:30 BoE Credit Conditions Survey
  • 8:30 US CPI. Estimate 0.2%
  • 8:30 US Core CPI. Estimate 0.2%
  • 8:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 226K

*All release times are DST

*Key events are in bold

 

XAU/USD for Wednesday, July 11, 2018

XAU/USD July 11 at 12:25 DST

Open: 1255.71 High: 1256.99 Low: 1246.09 Close: 1246.24

 

XAU/USD Technical

S3 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1204 1220 1236 1260 1285 1307

XAU/USD edged lower in the Asian session. The pair showed little movement in European trade and has posted losses in North American trade

  • 1236 is providing support
  • 1260 is the next resistance line
  • Current range: 1236 to 1260

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1236, 1220, 1204
  • Above: 1260, 1285, 1307 and 1322

When the going gets tough, the tough get going

When the going gets tough, the tough get going

U.S. stocks are trading off their intraday highs late in the NY session weighed down by financials profit-taking ahead of the deluge of bank earnings reports on Friday, robust US economic data had temporarily overshadowed fears over global trade disputes. That was until a late NY session headline suggesting the US is reportedly preparing the release of a new $200B China tariff list according to two people familiar with the matter. But a list is a list and not an actual tariff, so lots to be ironed on this one. But regardless, it will put the  markets back on the defensive for the time being

Until that point, the market was indeed embracing the raft of outstanding US economic data, and despite the apparent downside risks from an escalating trade war the fact investors continue to plough cash into equities, that was a central dictating market theme. And given the likelihood of a strong earnings season, and at one point investors were heard yelling down Wall Street “what trade war”?? Indeed, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. That was until the latest headline when much of the tough slogging was quickly unwound in minutes as the SPX shed 100 points in the flash of an eye reminding investors we are in tricky markets, and nothing can be taken for granted.

The currency markets, however, are a different kettle of fish where the market risk is relatively light with Forex traders doing little more than rotating from what currency pair is hot from what is not. In other words, chasing the fear of missing out seems to be a common theme among G-10 trades after a considerable volume of USD long positions have been culled over the past few weeks, especially against the EUR and AUD. There is a reason why risk is so low in currency land; it’s the real fear of getting sideswiped by trade war headline risk.

Oil Markets

Oil prices continue to gain on yet more production outages with Brent briefly breaching the $ 80 per barrel high water mark as strikes by workers in Norway and Gabon added to global production outages.

Without question, supply risk continues to dominate trader psyche and after the API reported another massive draw traders are now positioning for another sizeable drop in today’s EIA weekly report.

ON the bigger picture, the markets continue to access the intermediate-term supply impact as the Nov. 4 US-imposed deadline for allies to halt Iranian imports moves nearer. All the while the Libyan disruptions continue to run on.

At the end of the day, supply concerns and more disruptions  continue to skew bullish for oil prices

Gold Markets

After a brief peak above 1265 Gold prices resumed its downward path as global stock markets trade well. However Gold prices pulled came off session lows on NATO concerns as the EU countries are worried about possible side agreement between Putin and Trump which could profoundly weaken the alliance. Also, the latest tariff headlines suggesting the US is reportedly preparing the release of a new $200B China tariff list according to two people familiar with the matter should keep a bid under the market. Gold dips remain attractive especially for investors knowing that gold should be an essential part of any diversified portfolio, especially in these highly charged political times.

Currency Markets

With this morning’s tariff headline risk, I need to remind myself that the trade war is good for the dollar, as the US has the upper hand in negotiations and whichever way this issue gets resolved it’s likely to be positive for the US current account.

GBP: Cable remains the land of the brave requiring a sharp eye and quick trigger given the plethora of Brexit headline risk. But indeed, in this muddied UK political landscape it does suggest the endgame will be the UK  never leaves the EU, and in this scenario, the Pound is ” cheap as chips”. When the UK political malaise subsides, Sterling  will be the shining star of the market

JPY: The USD did look poised to break out topside given the fading of trade rhetoric and a real risk-on environment developing. US equities have held up remarkably well as the bull market keeps marching her despite the reams of negative news thrown at the benchmarks. Long USDJPY is entirely under-owned as risk-off trades are still prevalent vs the JPY, and on a break of 111.50-75 levels, dealers will be forced into a risk on trade. But as usual, nothing ever works out as planned so we may have to re-explore this scenario later once we iron our fact from fiction over the latest US trade escalation headline.

MYR: It was an up and down day for the Ringgit which was in high demand and dare I say outperformed early on Bond related inflows as investors position for dovish pause for the BNM. The MGS curve was in firm demand particularly the attractive long end yields which are usually the domain for real money investors and pension funds. Indeed, last weeks Bond market awakening was the real deal!!

As for the BNM policy decision, we anticipate no actual shift in rates, Nor Shamsiah is a BNM veteran, and it would suggest policy continuity, but the markets will be more focused on forwarding guidance. Given the political and fiscal struggles ahead, I think it’s easy to assume this will not be a hawkish pause.

Oil prices continue to flourish and should push higher given the bullish supply skews which should go a long way in supporting the government coffers.

Gold remains subdued, US job report misses mark

Gold has posted small gains in the Tuesday session. In North American trade, the spot price for one ounce of gold is $1255.58, up 0.18% on the day. On the release front, JOLTS Jobs Openings fell to 6.64 million, well below the estimate of 6.88 million. On Wednesday, the focus will be on consumer inflation reports. Core CPI and CPI are both expected to drop by 0.2%.

Gold is sensitive to interest rate moves and investors and traders continue to look for clues about the Federal Reserve’s monetary plans. The Fed is expected to continue raising rates in the second half of 2018, but it remains unclear if the Fed will raise rates once or twice. The highly-anticipated FOMC minutes did not shed any light on this question and had little effect on gold prices. The minutes were somewhat dovish in tone, as policymakers gave a thumbs-up to the strong U.S economy, but expressed concern about developments abroad. These include growing trade tensions with U.S trading partners, as well as political and economic developments in Europe. The minutes also reiterated the Fed’s support for a “gradual” raise in interest rates. The markets are circling the September policy meeting for the next rate hike, with the CME Group setting the odds of a quarter-point hike at 80%.

U.S employment data was a mix on Friday, as job growth remained above the 200-thousand level, but wage growth faltered. Nonfarm payrolls dropped to 213 thousand, but this beat the estimate of 195 thousand. Average Hourly Earnings edged lower to 0.2%, shy of the estimate of 0.3%. There was a surprise as the unemployment rate climbed to 4.0%, above the forecast of 3.8%. The data demonstrates that the U.S labor market remains strong, and the economy continues to perform well. The markets remain bullish on U.S growth, despite uncertainty in Europe and elsewhere, as well as the growing threat of an all-out trade war between the U.S and China.

  Commodities Weekly: Gold saved by dollar’s retracement

  All is quiet on the western trade war front

 

XAU/USD Fundamentals

Tuesday (July 10)

  • 10:00 US JOLTS Job Openings. Estimate 6.88M. Actual 6.64M

Wednesday (July 11)

  • 8:30 US Core PPI. Estimate 0.2%
  • 8:30 US PPI. Estimate 0.2%
  • 10:00 US Final Wholesale Inventories. Estimate 0.5%
  • 10:30 US Crude Oil Inventories
  • 12:30 US FOMC Member Rafael Bostic Speaks
  • 13:01 US 10-year Bond Auction
  • 16:30 US FOMC Member John Williams Speaks

*All release times are DST

*Key events are in bold

 

XAU/USD for Tuesday, July 10, 2018

XAU/USD July 10 at 12:15 DST

Open: 1257.88 High: 1260.45 Low: 1247.42 Close: 1255.58

 

XAU/USD Technical

S3 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1204 1220 1236 1260 1285 1307

XAU/USD showed little movement in the Asian session. The pair recorded considerable losses in European trade and has recovered most of these gains in the North American session

  • 1236 is providing support
  • 1260 was tested earlier in resistance
  • Current range: 1236 to 1260

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1236, 1220, 1204
  • Above: 1260, 1285, 1307 and 1322

Commodities Weekly: Gold saved by dollar’s retracement

Overall, the first salvos in the US-China trade war has undermined confidence in the metals space, with traditional safe-haven assets struggling for traction as other havens offer better returns. The energy sector has been driven higher by supply concerns, while the agricultural sector remains broadly under pressure.

Precious metals

Gold had been at the mercy of the US dollar’s firmness during the second half of June, struggling to maintain its label as a safe haven in times of trouble. The precious metal slumped almost 5.5% vs the dollar from its recent peak on June 13 to the near-term low on July 3. The rebound so far has taken the metal to the 38.2% Fibonacci level of the drop and is now consolidating at 1,257.513.

Gold Daily Chart

Source: Oanda fxTrade

Latest data from Chicago’s Commitment of Traders report, with the snapshot taken as of July 3, shows that managed money accounts were net sellers of 1,230 gold contracts from a week prior and short positions exceeding long positions by 1,254 contracts.

Silver has also tracked hold’s progress to some degree during the period. The sell-off in the second half of June saw a bullish divergence pattern unfolding on the stochastics momentum indicator, which suggested a near-term base could be forming. Sure enough, we have seen the rebound unfolding this month and the next resistance point can be found at the 55-DMA, currently at 16.4320.

Silver Daily Chart

Source: Oanda fxTrade

The gold/silver (Mint) ratio seems to have built a near-term base mid-June and has since rallied to test the 55-DMA at 78.4841. It is also oscillating around the 200-DMA at the moment during its consolidation period.

Platinum is staging a modest recovery from its near-5 month downtrend after the metal traded below the 800 mark at the start of the month, the first time since December 2008. The 55-DMA continues to cap to the upside while the July 3 low of 798.365 should hold in the near-term.

Palladium is trading near the middle of its recent 3-month range. It is currently retracing the uptrend started at the beginning of 2016 and has so far managed a correction as deep as 21%. Palladium is currently trading at 954.853.

Base metals

Copper has fallen just over 6% so far this month to touch its lowest level since July last year. The base metal is testing the 100-week moving average, which has held on a closing basis since November 2016. However, investors are keeping an eye on labour negotiations at BHP Billiton’s Escondida mine in Chile, the largest in the world. The current contract expires at the end of this month and any signs that negotiations become protracted and an agreement may not be reached could have implications for copper supply and result in higher prices.

Energy

Natural Gas continues to struggle to gain traction after the hefty slump in February this year. As we are in the midst of the summer months in the northern hemisphere, pressure should remain on gas with near-term support found at the 100-DMA at 2.7914.

Latest data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) storage change released last Friday showed an increase of 78 billion cubic feet, higher than the estimate of 75 billion and up from the previous week’s 66 billion. Stocks were 717 billion cubic feet less than this time last year.

Crude oil prices have been edging higher since the OPEC meeting last month amid supply concerns and steady demand. Brent prices received an additional boost following news today that oil workers in Norway are scheduling a strike later today after recent wage talks failed. Coupled with supply issues from Libya after oil port closures, Iran heading toward US sanctions, and ongoing issues with Venezuela, the path oil least resistance for oil prices still appears to be higher. West Texas prices scaled $75 p/barrel last week, while the 100-month moving average is at 74.6907. West Texas CFD is now trading at 74.094 and the Brent/WTI spread is about 4.3 pips.

Brent/WTI Spread Chart

Source: Oanda fxTrade

Agriculturals

Sugar continues to feel the pressure of rising global stockpiles amid surging production in Asia, and slowing demand. Money managers added more than 30,000 contracts to short positions, according to the latest CFTC data as of July 3. As with any crop, the weather could play a significant role and the second half of the year could see concerns about another El Nino weather pattern in Asia emerging. That could be the only hope for bulls. Sugar is now at 0.11165

Corn is attempting to recoup some of June’s heavy losses, and having a tough time of it. This despite a June 29 report from the US Department of Agriculture that showed total acreage for corn and soybeans down 1% from a year ago.

With Soybeans a target for China import tariffs in retaliation for the Trump administration’s actions, soybeans are struggling to bounce strongly off recent 9-1/2 year lows. Friday’s low of 8.334 should provide near-term support while the June 25 high of 8.961 will be the next resistance point.

Wheat broke a three-day rising streak on Monday and has continued the retracement today. Daily momentum has turned bearish, suggesting the fall has a bit further to g

Trade war -will cooler heads prevail ?

All is quiet on the western trade war front

All is quiet on the western trade war front

For a change,  all is quiet on the western trade war front as the drop in aggressive US tariff posturing and the nonfarm payroll after effects have propelled US equity market to the third consecutive day of substantial gains. While traders sit tight awaiting the next US trade salvo, but for the time being robust US economic data is offsetting concerns about rising trade tensions. In addition to the strong payrolls report, Federal Reserve Board data showed that consumer borrowing picked up in May with total consumer credit increasing $24.6 billion to a seasonally adjusted $3.9 trillion, up 7.6%. Indeed, this incredibly strong pace of credit growth points to a resilient US consumer while continuing to highlight an extremely robust US economy despite growing trade concerns.

But markets remain deceptively tricky and could be even more so as we enter the US dog days of summer.

In Asia markets, all eyes were on Xiaomi Corp IPO but the coming out party was less than a hit and didn’t exactly attract the feeding frenzy expected from high tech investors. Indeed, global high-tech investors continue to feel more comfortable investing in global stalwarts like apple as opposed to debutantes like Xiaomi who have more of an Asia centric presence. Of course, escalating trade war concerns weighed on sentiment but being the first of many prominent Chinese tech names coming to market seeking IPO in coming months, investors may have thought Xiaomi valuation a tad “toppish” in current market conditions. And are perhaps looking for more significant fire sales as more of China’s glittering tech giants swamp the IPO markets in the months ahead.

Oil Markets
Indeed, there’s a bullish undertone in the markets with the Iranian supply question expected to support and eventually push prices higher. The Brent market climbed amid ongoing concerns regarding Libyan supplies while treader weighed the bullish medium-term impact of Iran sanctions.

While WTI was under some early pressure after Syncrude Canada announced it would be restarting production from its Fort McMurray oil sands upgrader earlier than expected, but prices remained firm and started to rally after API showed another major draw of 4.50 million barrels.

Looking to Libya, the head of their state energy producer warned that output would keep falling day by day if significant ports remained closed because of clashes last month that lead to a standoff. Mustafa Sanalla, chairman of the Tripoli-based National Oil Corp, stated that “Today, production is 527,000 barrels a day, tomorrow it will be lower, and after tomorrow it will be even lower, and every day it will keep falling.” But keep in mind, current levels are less than half what the country was producing in February pre-political deadlock levels.

Even under the supposition that production from Saudi Arabia and Russia is sufficient to offset declining output from Venezuela, Libya and Iran, keeping the market in an approximate physical equilibrium, the stream of supply disruptions will continue to upset those dynamics.

Gold markets

The weaker dollar had gold bulls charging but the run of stop losses above $ 1261 cleared a path for Gold to touch $ 1265 overnight after political turmoil reared its ugly head in the UK when Boris Johnson resigned. But technically, gold has a long road to travel before breaching the more relevant technical levels around $1300 suggesting it remains ever so prone to the stronger USD. But the robust US economic data, fading of trade war rhetoric and extremely buoyant US equity markets turned golds tide overnight as “risk on ” saw gold prices fall from interday peaks and retreat before eventually finding support at around $1258 levels.

Currency Markets

In the currency market, Political unravelling in the UK has provided the best trading opportunities.

GBP: Another roller coaster ride on GBP overnight as Brexit markets got very uneasy after Boris Johnson resignation and the thought he could force a party coup which all but unwound the positively from Friday Brexit Chequers meeting. Long Sterling is arguably the G-10 most crowded trade so any Brexit hic up will likely trigger an outsized move as weaker near-term stops get triggered. But overall the long Sterling trade remains bruised but not broken.

AUD: The lack of trade drama is underpinning the AUDUSD. But the Aussie was arguably the most subscribed USD dollar long play in G-10, so players were mercilessly squeezed as ongoing China/US trade skirmishes are showing nascent signs of easing.

JPY: US yields and equities were soundlessly trended higher which have propelled USDPY to within striking distance of the 111 level. With investors running very neutral USD dollar exposure vs the JPY, short-term traders are boarding the risk- on wagon and buying USDJPY. If US equities continue to stabilise let alone move higher and US 10-year yields continue dribble north, we could eventually test the key 111.40 support line that has proved to be an impenetrable force for months.

MYR: The relief rally on the toned-down trade rhetoric continues to take hold of ASEAN markets. Risk on sentiment in US equity markets should play out positively for local bourses. Asian currencies are trading stronger aided by a sharp move lower in $RMB, robust equity performance and improved risk sentiment which is in complete contrast to last week’s markets tumult.

However, Malaysia registered another 1.65 billion in June outflow all but wiping all the reported 8 billion in fixed income flow from March 2017-2018 which tells the real tale of the election’s impact.

The next crucial focus will be the MPC on the July 11th This will be the first policy meeting chaired by the new BNM governor and with no real drive for BNM to adjust interest rate policy at this stage, however, given all the political uncertainty their remains a chance the BNM could offer up a dovish pause.

In the meantime, the MYR is benefiting from positive regional risk sentiment and rising oil prices all the while the Chinese RMB continues to unwinds last weeks trade induced tantrum.

CNH: For me its a case of know when to hold them and know when to fold them. While I think the RMB will eventually come under renewed pressure as China risk continues to wobble,  markets have read far too much into the China economic slowdown which will likely be modest at best. Still this week tier one China economic data will continue to supply food for thought.

Gold gains ground at start of week

Gold has gained ground in the Monday session. In North American trade, the spot price for one ounce of gold is $1260.98 up 0.44% on the day. On the economic front, there are no key events on the schedule. On Tuesday, the U.S releases JOLTS Jobs Openings.

U.S employment data was a mix on Friday, as job growth remained above the 200-thousand level, but wage growth faltered. Nonfarm payrolls dropped to 213 thousand, but this beat the estimate of 195 thousand. Average Hourly Earnings edged lower to 0.2%, shy of the estimate of 0.3%. There was a surprise as the unemployment rate climbed to 4.0%, above the forecast of 3.8%. The data demonstrates that the U.S labor market remains strong, and the economy continues to perform well. The markets remain bullish on U.S growth, despite uncertainty in Europe and elsewhere, as well as the growing threat of an all-out trade war between the U.S and China.

Gold is sensitive to interest rate moves, but the base metal shrugged after the release of the FOMC minutes on Thursday. The minutes were somewhat dovish in tone, as policymakers gave a thumbs-up to the strong U.S economy, but expressed concern about developments abroad. These include growing trade tensions with U.S trading partners, as well as political and economic developments in Europe. The minutes also reiterated the Fed’s support for a “gradual” raise in interest rates. The markets are circling the September policy meeting for the next rate hike, with the CME Group setting the odds of a quarter-point hike at 80%.

  Trade war -will cooler heads prevail ?( OANDA Trading Podcast with BFM Radio KL )

 

XAU/USD Fundamentals

Monday (July 9)

  • 15:00 US Consumer Credit. Estimate 12.2B

Tuesday (July 10)

  • 10:00 US JOLTS Job Openings. Estimate 6.88M

*All release times are DST

*Key events are in bold

 

XAU/USD for Monday, July 9, 2018

XAU/USD July 9 at 11:55 DST

Open: 1255.26 High: 1266.01 Low: 1255.01 Close: 1260.83

XAU/USD Technical

S3 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1204 1220 1236 1260 1285 1307

XAU/USD posted small gains in the Asian session and recorded stronger gains in European trade. XAU/USD  has posted slight gains in the North American session

  • 1236 is providing support
  • 1260 is a weak resistance line
  • Current range: 1236 to 1260

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1236, 1220, 1204
  • Above: 1260, 1285, 1307 and 1322

Trade war -will cooler heads prevail ?( OANDA Trading Podcast with BFM Radio KL )

Stephen Innes, Head of Trading in Asia-Pacific, OANDA, Singapore

On July 6, the US imposed a 25% import tariff on US$34 billion worth of Chinese goods. China has since retaliated, and accused the US of igniting ‘the largest trade war in economic history’. Stephen comments on how trade tensions are affecting market sentiment, versus the economic fundamentals of the world’s two largest economies.

 

BFM Radio Kuala Lumpur

For the USD , it’s all about this week’s CPI.

For the USD, it’s all about this week’s CPI.

Markets dismissed the opening salvo of the  US -Sino trade war as dated news.

However, after another Goldilocks NFP,  US stock markets traded positively in the green while the US dollar bears begrudgingly came out of hibernation after US  bond market yields knee-jerked lower.

The NFP report showed the US economy continues to add jobs at a robust pace (+213k). There was a 0.2pp rise in the participation rate to 62.9%, with the expansion in the labour force helping lift the unemployment rate to 4.0%. AHE were softer than expected at 0.2% m/m (consensus: 0.3% m/m). An undershoot in hourly earnings with the participation rate moving higher suggests there is still more room in the labour market to go before wage pressure passes through to the data. But none the less,  it does keep the Fed on track and shouldn’t alter too much from that perspective. But the  tepid US wage growth  inflationary data does lend tentative support to the fresh recovery in EM and G10 high-beta currencies versus  the USD

However, for the USD to get back on track and reverse this negative momentum, it’s all about this week’s US CPI print. With the big dollar apparently in retreat, the Greenback will need a shot in the arm with inflationary “pick me up juice” to reverse this nascent sell-off

Trade war
The market will be incredibly focused on Fed chatter this week as downside risks from tariffs were discussed by Fed officials as indicated on the Jun  13 FOMC meeting minutes released last week. Currently, the duties on $34 billion of Chinese goods, remain primarily at the Walmart level as far as escalation runs and will have limited economic impact, However, should the Administration follow through with the threat of a $200 billion + duties on  Chinese goods,  indeed this would have some negative implication for both the US and global growth prospects.

Remember that while Powell recognised the dangers of escalating trade war in his Sintra comments last month, but he was insistent the Fed would need to assess incoming data. Early warning signs usually come from sentiment surveys and if we recall it was China and EU sentiment indexes that had led investors into the tank in those key markets. So, traders will key on this week’s University of Michigan consumer sentiment index to see if there are any signs that consumer sentiment is starting to fray from trade war fears.

Oil Market

Of course, Oil traders are wholly perplexed by President Trumps demands to cut off 2.4 million barrels of Iranian oil while admonishing OPEC to keep prices stable if not have them go down! But it’s the White House’s zero-tolerance policy to Iran which is supporting oil markets given the fragile state of global supplies as spare oil capacity hovers near zero. In this scenario, of  supply reality versus wishful thinking, there is only one direction for the oil price to move, and that is higher over time

Oil benchmarks went in opposite directions Friday afternoon, with WTI running higher and Brent trading lower as fears of the escalating U.S.-Chinese trade war and increased production by Saudi Arabia, and Russia bumped against supply disruptions from Venezuela and Libya as well as the sanctions on Iran.

There has been some interesting discussion over a note issued by Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. suggesting the lack of reinvestment in oil production could lead to a price spike.“Investors who had egged on management teams to reign in capex and returned cash will lament the underinvestment in the industry,”, And that falling behind the production curve in favour of paying out shareholder dividends runs the risk of prices spiralling much higher in the future.

Baker Hughes reported an increase of 5 in the number of active oil rigs in the United States matching the June high water mark.

Gold Market

For the better part of June and early July, US dollar strength and the dollar-bullish outlook continued to weigh on gold as stronger than expected US data and a hawkish Fed weighted gold prices down like an anchor.
Buyers of physical in Asia have been few and far between despite the pullback, as local currencies have been taking it on the chin due to the stronger USD. But the Goldilocks NFP print which could deliver a softer US dollar profile this week, suggests opportunistic investors may return which should support gold prices. After all, in this highly political and geopolitically charged environment, gold remains a very suitable component in any diversified portfolio.

China Market

While China response to the US administration trade policy is keeping the headline tickers working overtime, growth remains mainland’s biggest priority hence the markets will be extremely focused on this week’s China tier one economic data dump which will provide some exacting signpost for evaluating Chinas economy. While US-Sino Trade will continue to dominate the headline ticker tape, this week’s critical set of growth data will be a massive test for local markets. Frankly, by all metrics, growth in China remains more than adequate, but a subpar reading and Main Street might eventually take notice and realise all is not well in China.

PBoC
Many confusing signals to deal with but none more so than why the PBoC waited so long on the currency front before verbal intervention which has left just enough uncertainty in the air over what their actual motivation was. With some arguing that policy choices are going to be robust and will have the effect of intentionally causing the currency to weaken.  However, authorities have made clear their intent on domestic monetary settings, and this would suggest that growth and not trade war will be the determining factor in policy decisions

Indeed, there is Big Trouble in Big China as authorities continue to grapple with pulling back stimulus created by a state-run banking machine which operated with wanton disregard for risk management. Add in the prospects of an economic slowdown, escalating trade wars all wrapped in a shrinking population, and it does suggest Main Street is missing the bigger picture. China risk continues to be underpriced from my chair indicating at a minimum; the Yuan will resume trending lower as  the mainland administrators  continue to deleverage  China, keeping in mind in a wobbly China scenario, CNH should move more than CNY (which is fixed)

Asia market 
There have been massive portfolio outflows from Asia that have resulted in markets tumbling to fire sale levels (SHCOMP -20% on the year). The big dollar – which triggered a lot of the recent round of EM troubles – seems to be consolidating but, there is a lot to be still much to be worried about as the US is not easing its aggressive trade posturing. But this extended period of capital outflows in ASEAN markets does suggest this was more than event-driven risk but more of a structural shift. Whether this shift was all about the strength of the US dollar and risk around China, or more likely a combination for both,  this week tier one China data will go along way to confirm this view.

Malaysia market 

The first round of US tariffs has come into effect with little fanfare. But this contained reaction has given a boost to local risk assets led by the SHCOMP trading 2.5 % higher w. USD ASIA along with the broader G-10 complex in general, traded lower into the weekend as the Goldilocks NFP has given a boost to the nascent EM Asia rally and the USDMYR was no exceptions piggybacking regional risk.

But MYR bonds are trading very neutral into weekend due to the NFP influence,  but activity should pick up today ahead of the MPC on on on the 11th which could read neutral to dovish and given support to local bonds. However a  more dovish MPC USDMYR trading defensively next week again, but the currency pairs will be hard pressed to take out the 4.05 level given the significant ( USD) dollar could be on the retreat after Friday tepid US wage growth-inflation .. And with OIL prices poised to move higher, the Ringgit should get some support from the commodity sector.

On the MPC front,  economic growth will slow to 5.5 per cent this year from 5.9 per cent, while inflation will cool to 2.5 per cent from 3.9 per cent, which will give new Governor Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus cause to pause. But for fear of triggering more outflows and denting the local capital market appeal due to to the resulting weaker Ringgit, the BNM will likely refrain from being overtly dovish. With very little priced into rate hike expectations, the market has done most the BNM repricing with Bloomberg data showing the market implied policy rate for one year’s time has declined to 3.28 per cent from 3.41 per cent in May, so why rock the boat.

Currency Market

NZD: The metals complex has recovered from the worst of the sell-off for now and has seen something of a relief rally in AUD & NZD.But given the antipodean position in the global supply chain, they will be the first pairs to buckle on a further escalation of trade war rhetoric.

EUR: The Euro has seen a decent relief rally from the low 1.15 handle, and after last week when some ECB members advocated a sooner rather than later rate hike and a Goldilocks NFP print we could see some more EUR short covering. But it does feel like we are entering the summer doldrums on currency markets as desks are more apt to cover what orders need to be hedged and little else.

JPY: This remains a painfully dull range trades, and levels are clear with the downside at 109.90 and topside resistance in the 111.20

24 hours of reconciliation

24 hours of reconciliation
It took all of 24 hours for the results of the rationality test to kick in after traders took time to the read the minutes from Wednesday. Not a heck of a lot has changed in the Feds view. The minutes were far more balanced than the equity market sell-off suggested. The discussions about their inflation target being symmetric indicate that the Feds are less concerned about the updraft from inflationary pressures than current market pricing. Overall there were few if any significant hawkish shift and traders have started to nimbly re-engage the US dollar downside not waiting until Powell’s key Humphrey Hawkins testimony which should clear up more than a few policy concerns.

The Feds will raise interest rates in March on the back of two strong inflation prints post-January meeting, but the market remains comfortably parked in the three rate hike camp for 2018.
This new Fed Chair will be as data dependent as his predecessor so, in reality, no one knows for sure what the Feds will do other than hike somewhere between two and four times in 2018.

Bond Markets

The bond markets continue to trade from a bear market bias, and this is unlikely to change anytime soon given the burdening supply issues which are compounded as the Feds delicately and gingerly pull back on QE largess.

Stock Markets
US equity market rebounded as concerns over rising US interest rates abate. If you were confused by Wednesday 50 pips downside adventure on the S&P post-FOMC minutes, you were not alone. However, until the dust is settled on the Fed policy debate, we should expect more back and forth ahead of Jerome Powells Humphrey Hawkins testimony.
Oil markets

Oil market bid was boosted by DoE inventories which saw a draw of -1.616 million barrels which far better than consensus and more profound than the -.9mn print by the API. While the market continues to communicate concern over rising levels of shale production, this bullish inventory data coupled with a slightly softer USD profile, it’s easy to see why oil prices are finding fresh session highs going into the NY close.
Gold Markets

Gold continues to act as less of a haven hedge and more as a proxy for USD sentiment. Given the greenback is trading within a restricted range as the stage is getting prepared for new Chair Jerome Powell, gold will remain supported by the $ 1324-25 levels given the markets ubiquitous bias to sell the USD.  But the topside should also stay in check as most traders will opt to only aggressively re-engage in  USD downside after Powell clears the policy airwaves in his Humphrey Hawkins testimony.

The Japanese Yen

No need to jump the gun, today’s CPI data will be a crucial driver in JPY sentiment. Post data comments to follow.

The Euro
Fact of fiction, the Euro remains a point of contention, but topside conviction remains low ahead of the Italian election compounded by softer EU economic data.

The Malaysian Ringgit 

The USDMYR landscape is a bit muddled, and this air of uncertainty could extend, more so if opinion on the soft dollar narrative become less reliable. Rising US interest rates and the markets growing sensitivity to local economic data presents some near-term challenges for the Ringgit. Ultimately we believe that US rates are in the process of topping but until we get a definitive signal from the New Fed chair, hopefully, next week, we should expect offshore flows to remain light in the short run.

None the less the Ringgit is getting support from higher oil prices and given we are far removed from the USDJMYR 4.0 danger zone, longer-term investors should continue to look for opportunistic levels to re-engage long MYR posting

The Chinese Yaun

Markets in China return from a week-long holiday only to discover the US has initiated another anti-dumping probe.. This time for rubber bands. Certainly sounds more bark than the bit, but non the less trade war discussion is picking up.

Continue to favour a constructive view on the Yuan given the markets negative USD bias. But he RMB complex will most certainly benefit from expected bond inflows which should accelerate as we move through 2018.

Gold Gains Ground, Puts Brakes on Dollar Rally

Gold has posted gains in the Thursday session, erasing the losses seen on Wednesday. In North American trade, the spot price for an ounce of gold is $1331.17, up 0.50% on the day. On the release front, unemployment claims dropped to 222 thousand, well below the estimate of 230 thousand.

Gold prices remain continue to fluctuate. The base metal has lost 1.3% this week, erasing much of last week’s gains. Concerns that strong US numbers could stoke inflation and more rate hikes sparked the recent turbulence in global stock markets. This has triggered volatility in gold, as gold prices are sensitive to moves (or expected moves) in interest rates. The Fed is currently projecting three rate hikes this year, but if inflation continues to move upwards, many analysts are expecting that the Fed could press the rate trigger four, or even five times in 2018.

The Federal Reserve released the minutes of its January meeting, and as expected, the benchmark rate was left unchanged at a rate between 1.25% and 1.50%. The message from policymakers was that further rate hikes could be in the cards, due to strong economic conditions in the US. In the words of the minutes, policymakers “anticipated that the rate of economic growth in 2018 would exceed their estimates of its sustainable longer-run pace and that labor market conditions would strengthen further”. At the December meeting, the Fed penciled in three rate hikes in 2018, and there was no reference to a quicker pace of hikes in the January minutes. As for inflation, the minutes did not reveal any concern. Most Fed members were of the opinion that inflation would rise towards the Fed target of 2 percent.

 

XAU/USD Fundamentals

Thursday (February 22)

  • 00:15 US FOMC Member Randal Quarles Speaks
  • 8:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 230K. Actual 222K
  • 10:00 US CB Leading Index. Estimate 0.7%. Actual 1.0%
  • 10:00 US FOMC Member William Dudley Speaks
  • 10:30 US Natural Gas Storage. Estimate -121B. Actual -124B
  • 11:00 US Crude Oil Inventories. Estimate 2.2M. Actual -1.6M
  • 12:10 US FOMC Member Raphael Bostic Speaks 

*All release times are GMT

*Key events are in bold

 

XAU/USD for Thursday, February 22, 2018

XAU/USD February 22 at 12:40 EST

Open: 1324.57 High: 1331.37 Low: 1321.03 Close: 1331.17

 

XAU/USD Technical

S3 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1260 1285 1307 1337 1375 1416
  • XAU/USD showed little movement in the Asian and European sessions. The pair has posted gains in North American trade
  • 1307 is providing support
  • 1337 is the next resistance line
  • Current range: 1307 to 1337

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1307, 1285 and 1260
  • Above: 1337, 1375, 1416 and 1433

OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio

XAU/USD ratio is showing strong movement towards long positions. Currently, short positions have a slim majority (51%), indicative of a lack of trader bias as to what direction XAU/USD will take next.

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.