Saudi 5-year CDS jump to 11-month high

The cost of insuring exposure to Saudi Arabia’s sovereign debt jumped to the highest level in 11 months on Monday after the kingdom faced increasing international pressure over missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Saudi Arabia’s 5-year credit default swaps rose to 100 basis points after closing at 89 basis points on Friday, according to data from IHS Markit.

Reuters

U.S retail sales increase less than expected in September

U.S. retail sales barely rose in September as a rebound in motor vehicle purchases was offset by the biggest drop in spending at restaurants and bars in nearly two years.

The Commerce Department said on Monday retail sales edged up 0.1 percent last month after a similar gain in August. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales increasing 0.6 percent in September.

Retail sales in September rose 4.7 percent from a year ago.

Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales jumped 0.5 percent last month. These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product.

Data for August was revised down to show core retail sales were unchanged instead of the previously reported 0.1 percent gain. Consumer spending is being driven by a robust labor market, with the unemployment rate near a 49-year low of 3.7 percent. Tight labor market conditions are gradually pushing up wage growth.

The solid core retail sales increase in September pointed to strong consumer spending that should offset anticipated drags on economic growth from a widening trade deficit and persistent weakness in the housing market. Growth estimates for the third quarter are above a 3.0 percent annualized rate. The economy grew at a 4.2 percent pace in the second quarter.

Last month, auto sales surged 0.8 percent after declining 0.5 percent in August. Receipts at service stations fell 0.8 percent, likely reflecting a moderation in gasoline prices.

Sales at clothing stores rebounded 0.5 percent after tumbling 2.8 percent in August. Online and mail-order sales soared 1.1 percent in September after rising 0.5 percent in the prior month.

Receipts at furniture stores increased 1.1 percent. But Americans cut back on spending at restaurants and bars, with sales dropping 1.8 percent. That was the biggest decline since December 2016.

While the Commerce Department said it was impossible to determine the impact of Hurricane Florence on the data, disruptions caused by the storm could have hurt sales at restaurants and bars last month.

Sales at building material stores nudged up 0.1 percent in September. Spending at hobby, musical instrument and book stores increased 0.7 percent last month.

Reuters

Geopolitical risks and yields dominate proceedings

Monday October 15: Five things the markets are talking about

Following a weekend of warnings on global economic fragility from G10 finance leaders at an IMF meeting in Bali, has global equities starting this new week on the back foot, with regional bourses in Asia and Europe seeing red, while U.S equity futures are pointing to deep declines.

Sovereign yields are lower in this cautious climate, while yen has pushed higher along with gold. Crude oil has advanced as tensions rise between the U.S and Saudi Arabia over a missing journalist.

Politics and data are never a good mix and this week is awash with both.

Italy is to submit its contentious budget to the E.C. Already; the proposed budget has potentially broken specific thresholds, which would require a lot of debating from both parties. Expect Italian BTP yields again to come under pressure, backing up towards the psychological +4%.

The E.U meets on Wednesday and will get an update on the status of negotiations with the U.K’s Brexit. Expect the Irish border to be the ‘hot topic du jour. If there is insufficient progress, the possibility of a special summit next month to finalize an agreement looks dead in the water. Dealers expect the pound to remain volatile in the short-term.

The U.S Treasury report about the international economy and the FX market is to be released Tuesday. To neutral observers, China does not meet the threshold of “manipulation.” However, Trumps interpretation may be very different.

On the data front, the U.S releases retail sales this morning (08:30 am EDT) and FOMC minutes on Wednesday.

Across the pond, the U.K presents its labour report tomorrow, (Oct 16) inflation Wednesday (Oct 17) and retail sales Thursday (Oct 18).

In Canada, Friday’s upcoming data includes retail sales, and CPI – neither of the reports are expected to dissuade the market of pricing in a +25 bps rate hike at next weeks Bank of Canada (BoC) monetary policy decision.

1. Equities see red

In Japan overnight, the Nikkei closed at a two month low as automakers and other manufacturers were hit by news that the Trump administration would seek a provision about currency manipulation in future trade deals. The Nikkei share average ended down -1.8%, the weakest closing point since mid-Aug, while the broader Topix dropped -1.6%, the lowest close in seven-months.

Down-under, the ASX 200 fell to a six-month low overnight, led by the banking sectors growing concerns about the hit to earnings from an inquiry into misconduct. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell -1%. In S. Korea, the Kospi stock index fell -0.77% as institutions cut their exposure to riskier assets. The country’s biggest automaker Hyundai Motor slipped -1.7%, marking its lowest trading level in eight-years.

In China and Hong Kong, stock markets again slipped overnight following last week’s deepest dive in eight-months, as investors await the latest twist in the Sino-U.S trade dispute. The Shanghai Composite index closed lower by -1.5%, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng closed -1.4% lower.

In Europe, regional bourses trade lower across the board, tracking U.S futures and Asian indices lower. The FTSE and sterling (£1.3140) trade a tad lower after the E.U and U.K paused Brexit talks until after this week’s mini-summit.

U.S stocks are set to open deep in the ‘red’ (-0.8%).

Indices: Stoxx600 -0.6% at 356.8, FTSE -0.3% at 6976, DAX -0.4% at 11474, CAC-40 -0.6% at 5066, IBEX-35 -0.3% at 8876, FTSE MIB -0.2% at 19225, SMI % at -0.8%, S&P 500 Futures -0.8%

2. Oil prices rise on Saudi tensions, gold higher

Oil prices remain bid this Monday morning as tension over the disappearance of a Washington post journalist and Saudi critic, Jamal Khashoggi, fuelled supply worries, although concerns over the long-term demand outlook dragged on sentiment.

Brent crude oil jumped +$1.49 a barrel to a high of +$81.92 before easing to +$81.13, up +70c. U.S crude (WTI) was last up +40c at +$71.74.

Saudi Arabia has been under pressure since Khashoggi, a U.S. resident, disappeared on Oct. 2 after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

President Trump has threatened “severe punishment” if it is found that the journalist was killed in the consulate.

On Sunday, the Saudi’s said it would retaliate to any action taken against them over the Khashoggi case. The market is tentatively concerned that the Saudis may use oil as a tool for retaliation.

Despite prices starting the week better bid, there are still lower that last week’s high print.

Also limiting price gains is a report from the IEF last Friday stating that the market looked “adequately supplied for now” and cut its forecasts for world oil demand growth this year and next.

Ahead of the U.S open, gold prices have jumped +1% to hit a three-month high as global stocks resumed their fall and investors wrestled with the impact of the ongoing Sino-U.S. trade war and higher U.S interest rates. Spot gold is up +0.9% at +$1,228.24 an ounce, while U.S gold futures are up +0.8% at +$1,231.80 an ounce.

3. Italian and Portugal yields fall

Portuguese and Italian government bond yields have fallen this morning, with prices outperforming euro zone peers after ratings agency Moody’s upgraded Portugal’s credit rating back to investment grade.

Portugal’s 10-year bond yield fell -4 bps to +2.01% after Moody’s lifted its credit rating to Baa3 on Friday.

The positive periphery sentiment from Portugal has spilled over into Italy’s battered bond market. Italian 10-year BTP yields are down -4.5 bps to +3.53%.

Note: Expect Italian yields to trade rather volatile this week as Italy presents its budget to the E.C.

Elsewhere, the yield on U.S 10’s fell -1 bps to +3.15%. In Germany, the 10-year Bund yield has dipped -1 bps to +0.49%, the lowest in more than a week. In the U.K, the 10-year Gilt yield has eased -2 bps to +1.614%, the lowest in more than a week.

4. Dollar’s safe haven flows ease

Risk aversion flows initially provided a bid for the traditional safe-haven currencies of JPY (¥111.75) and ‘big’ USD, however, market sentiment has eased a tad ahead of the U.S open.

GBP (£1.3147) opened below the psychological £1.31 handle on concerns that a Brexit agreement might be slipping away after the U.K and E.U negotiators were said to have called ‘a pause’ in their Brexit talks and would now wait for the outcome of a summit mid-week (Wed) before any resumption.

TRY ($5.8208) is firmer by over +1% outright for its seventh session gain on optimism that relations between Turkey and U.S would improve following the release of U.S Pastor Brunson.

Bitcoin prices have spiked +6.5% this morning, jumping above +$6,600. While the catalyst behind the move higher is not clear and with few ready to label bitcoin a “true store of value” in turbulent times, BTC has held up better than most of late.

5. Embarrassing losses in Bavarian election shake Merkel’s coalition

Germany’s grand coalition could become even further unstable after coalition members suffered humiliating results in an election in the southern state of Bavaria.

Chancellor Merkel’s Bavarian allies slumped to their worst election results in almost 70 years and her junior coalition partners, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), saw support in Bavaria halved.

The SPD had hoped that infighting over immigration between Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CDU) allies would give them a boost in Bavaria.

But instead, the party saw support fall to just under +10%, prompting a discussion over the sustainability of its alliance with Merkel’s conservatives at the national level.

Note: SPD members are still bitter over their leaders’ decision to join a Merkel-led government.

Merkel’s authority may be called into question as soon as in two-weeks in an election in the western state of Hesse – the state is ruled by Merkel’s CDU in a coalition with the Greens, but polls suggest she is losing further support.

Forex heatmap

Friday’s relief rally in full swing

Friday October 12: Five things the markets are talking about

Volatility, in particular, for equities, has notched aggressively higher this week, now that sovereign bond yields are beginning to price out cheap money.

Stronger than expected U.S economic data and weak European underlying inflation in key countries is being blamed as the specific trigger for this week’s ‘bearish’ bout.

However, Chinese trade data released earlier this morning showed better-than-expected growth in Chinese exports has, at least temporarily, helped ease investor concerns about the damage to China’s economy from U.S tariffs and other trade friction.

China’s trade surplus with the U.S widened to a record +$34.1B in September as exports to the American market rose by +13% y/y, despite a worsening tariff war.

Global equities have staged a robust recovery; the ‘big’ dollar trades steady, U.S Treasury yields back up and crude oil prices recover while still heading for the biggest weekly drop in three-months.

Nevertheless, a gradual Fed rate increase remains the order of the day, especially after yesterday’s muted U.S CPI data – the market is pricing in a +25 bps move in December.

Since the Fed’s last meeting in September all data has been in line with the Fed’s depiction of an economy in which low unemployment will be coupled with inflation running near +2% for the foreseeable future.

1. Stocks sell off ends in Asia

Chinese stocks, among the biggest losers in a global market selloff this week, rallied overnight, as investors reassessed the impact of the Sino-U.S trade spat on the country’s economy and its markets.

In Japan, the Nikkei ended higher on Friday as investors took heart from gains in Chinese equities on upbeat export data, which generated buying in manufacturers exposed to China. The Nikkei share average gained +0.5%. On Thursday, the index slid -3.9% and for the week the index was down -4.6%, its biggest weekly drop since March. The broader Topix traded flat.

Down-under, Australia’s ASX 200 lagged most of Asia Pacific overnight as the heavily weighted energy and financial sector held the index back. It ended +0.2% higher, but fell -4.7% for the week. In S. Korea, its stock market rebounded from one of its biggest drops in seven-years. The Kospi rallied +1.5%, its first gain this month. The index fell -4.7% for the week.

In China, the main stock indexes bounced higher overnight after suffering massive losses this week, as investors went bargain hunting on the back of stronger Chinese exports data. At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was +0.9% higher, after touching near four-year lows yesterday. The index was down -7.6% for the week, its worst weekly performance in eight months. The blue-chip CSI300 index closed +1.49% higher.

In Europe, regional indices trade higher across the board rebounding from multi-month lows following a rebound in U.S index futures and Asian Indices.

U.S stocks are set to open deep in the ‘black’ (+0.8%).

2. Oil rebounds, but pares gains on adequate supply, gold lower

Oil has rallied overnight; rebounding after two-days of heavy declines, though prices pared gains after an IEA report deemed supply adequate and the outlook for demand weakening.

Brent crude has rallied +76c to +$81.02 a barrel, having dropped by -3.4% yesterday. U.S crude (WTI) has added +71c to +$71.68.

Note: Brent is still on course for a -3.7% decline this week, the biggest weekly fall in about four-months.

Oil found support from data showing that China’s daily crude imports last month hit their highest in four-months and from a rebound in equities.

Gains were pared, after a monthly report by the IEA said the oil market looked “adequately supplied for now” after a big rise in production and trimmed its forecasts for world oil demand growth this year and next. “This is due to a weaker economic outlook, trade concerns, higher oil prices and a revision to Chinese data,” said the IEA.

Ahead of the open, gold prices are under pressure as global equities rally, but the ‘yellow’ metal trades within striking distance of its 10-week high print in yesterday’s session. Spot gold is down -0.4% at +$1,218.86 an ounce, after rallying +2.5%yesterday, as this weeks equity rout sent investors rushing to safe-havens. U.S gold futures are down -0.4% at +$1,222.30 an ounce.

3. Yields back up on relief

Eurozone government bond markets show signs of relief as equity markets rebound. The 10-year Bund yield is trading +2.3 bps higher at +0.54%, pulling the yields of other core and semi-core issuers higher.

Note: Bunds yields are down from five-month highs reached earlier this week at +0.58%.

Eurozone periphery government bond yields trade lower, indicating a lower level of concern, at least for the day. Italy’s 10-year BTP yield is trading -4.5 bps lower at +3.53%.

Note: Italian 10-year bond yields rose to five-year highs earlier this week on tension between Rome and the E.U over Italy’s expansionary budget plans.

Elsewhere, the yield on 10-year Treasuries has backed up +3 bps to +3.18%, the biggest advance in a week. In the U.K, the 10-year Gilt yield has gained +2 bps to +1.694%. In Japan’s 10-year JGB yield has climbed less than +1 bps to +0.15%.

4. Dollar stable, EM pairs rally

USD initially tested multi-week lows as a weak Wall Street soured its recent bullish sentiment. Nevertheless, the greenback is off its worst levels as the equity sell-off has eased.

After jumping to an 11-day high of €1.1611 overnight, the dollar has stabilized and EUR/USD trades slightly higher, last by +0.1% at €1.1593. However, expect Italian fiscal risks and the direction of U.S yields to continue to drive the EUR/USD.

Emerging-market currencies are having another good day after weathering the global equity selloff this week. The South African rand is up +1.1% at $14.483, and the Mexican peso has gained +1.5% at $18.8718. The Turkish lira has paired some of its gains, but its trading +2% at $5.9451 – up +5% on the week.

The PBoC set yuan at weakest level since March 2017, a day after U.S Treasury staff advised Secretary Steven Mnuchin that China was not manipulating its the exchange rate. The midpoint for the dollar was ¥6.9120.

GBP/USD (£1.3215) is trading within striking distance of its three-week highs on hope for a Brexit agreement at the upcoming E.U leader summit next week. There is speculation that PM May is close to an agreement, but obstacles remain, as she requires the DUP Party ally and rebel Tory members support.

5. Eurozone factory output rebounds

Data this morning showed that industrial production in the eurozone rebounded strongly in August, as surges in Italy and the Netherlands offset weakness in Germany to suggest economic growth across the currency bloc continues at a modest pace.

The E.U’s statistics agency said industrial production was +1% higher in August than in July, and up +0.9% on year. The market was looking for a monthly gain of just +0.2%.

It was the first rise in production since May, following two straight months of decline.

Today’s healthy rebound will likely reassure the ECB that the economy is on course to grow more slowly this year than last, but still at a rate that will lead to new jobs being created, thereby pushing wages and inflation higher.

Note: The IMF trimmed its eurozone growth forecast for this year to +2% from +2.2%, noticeably downgrading its growth projection for Germany to +1.9% from +2.2%.

Forex heatmap

Dollar Loses Momentum as Stocks Drop Awaiting Inflation Data

The EUR/USD rose 0.42 percent on Wednesday. The single currency is trading at 1.1539. The surge was due to positive Brexit comments but was limited as Italian budget drama continues. As the deadline for a final divorce agreement between the UK and the EU nears there has been a lot of talk of getting closer to an amicable split. The market is still awaiting any definite details that could send the euro even higher.



The US dollar is taking a breather even as US yields continue to climb. Inflation data in the US is still supportive of more rate hikes. The PPI release today met the forecast at 0.2 percent after last month’s loss of 0.1 percent. Tomorrow’s CPI datapoint will be crucial for the US dollar as fundamentals continue to push the greenback higher.

Yesterday US President Donald Trump once again spoke against more Fed rate hikes. The President echoes the view of many (including some Fed members) that inflation is not a problem and is urging the Fed to slow down its planned rate hikes. The Fed has hiked 3 times this year and is on track to add another 25 basis points lift in December.

Loonie Lower as USMCA High Fades

The Canadian dollar is lower on Wednesday. The loonie is lost 0.38 percent versus the USD as lower oil prices and higher US yields put downward pressure on the currency.

The IMF did not cut the growth forecast for Canada, in fact mentioned that the USMCA might boost growth. The loonie has been riding the trade agreement wave, but the market is now focusing on fundamentals.


usdcad Canadian dollar graph, October 10, 2018

Returning form the Thanksgiving holiday CAD traders have seen housing starts and building permits come in lower than expectations. The Bank of Canada (BoC) could hike rates in October, but economic data has to prove that the economy can take it.

Although the USMCA is a big positive for the loonie, the agreement is not final as politicians in all member countries need to ratify the agreement and with midterms in the US and a looming federal election in Canada next year there could be some obstacles ahead.

Mexican Peso Stays Close to 19

The Mexican peso had a volatile day as the US PPI validated the Fed’s rate hike path. The Mexican central bank kept rates unchanged in October and the market is anticipating a rate hike in December the U.S. Federal Reserve. Interest rate divergence put some pressure on the peso, but after reaching daily highs the US dollar ran out of steam. The pair is trading at 19.03 awaiting the release of US inflation on Thursday.



Gold Higher Awaiting US Inflation Data

Gold prices rose 0.14 percent on Wednesday. The US dollar is mixed against major pairs with the euro and sterling gaining on positive Brexit news. The dollar is losing some steam after the producer price index PPI met expectations at 0.2 percent. Investors will be on the lookout for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to be released on Thursday at 8:30 am EDT.



A rate hike by the Fed was already priced in at the end of the September meeting and with high probabilities of a December rate lift its time to question the staying power of the US dollar.

Global growth has been downgraded and if trade disputes increase the pace of growth of the US looks to take a hit next year. Gold will fail to get any traction if US economic data continues its steady solid pace.

Oil Prices Await US Weekly Inventories

Oil prices dropped 2 percent on Wednesday. Energy prices are back to levels last seen on Monday after a global growth downgrade and the lower estimated impact of Hurricane Michael in the US.


West Texas Intermediate graph

The IMF downgraded its outlook for global growth on Tuesday. Growth is now estimated at 3.7 percent this year and next, from a previous 3.9 percent made last summer. Trade concerns were the biggest factor behind the downgrade.

Weather disruptions will continue to keep the black stuff bid as the sanctions against Iranian exports are set to begin. Buyers have already limited their purchases of Iranian crude and decisions like that of Sinopec to halve its purchases of oil loadings signal a more stringent enforcement from the US.


West Texas Intermediate graph

Hurricane Michael is not expected to affect Gulf of Mexico production beyond workers who were evacuated return to work after the storm has passed. The release of API inventories and weekly US crude data by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) will weigh on prices later today and tomorrow.

US weekly energy stocks are expected to increase by 2.3 million barrels and could put further downward pressure on prices. Lack of pipelines are a concern as Permian Basin oil and natural gas supply will be constrained. The bottleneck created by higher supply into an existing pipeline capacity will be sorted next year, but in the meantime it won’t be a big of a factor.
Market events to watch this week:

Thursday, October 11
7:30am EUR ECB Monetary Policy Meeting Accounts
8:30am USD CPI m/m
11:00am USD Crude Oil Inventories
Friday, October 12
10:00am USD Prelim UoM Consumer Sentiment

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

Canada: Building permits, August 2018

Canadian municipalities issued $8.1 billion worth of building permits in August, up 0.4% from July. Strength in the non-residential sector drove the increase, while the residential sector declined for the third consecutive month.

Non-residential sector: High value projects drive the increase

In the non-residential sector, $3.2 billion worth of permits were issued in August, up 8.8% from the previous month. Both the institutional (+25.8%) and commercial (+8.9%) components contributed to the gain, which was largely the result of the issuance of permits for a new hospital in Ontario and new office buildings in British Columbia.

Meanwhile, the value of industrial permits fell 5.9% in August to $677 million. This followed a 13.4% gain in July, as multiple permits were issued that month for transportation terminals and manufacturing structures in Ontario and Alberta.

Residential sector: Third consecutive month of declines for both components

Municipalities issued $5.0 billion worth of residential permits in August, down 4.4% from July and marking the third consecutive monthly decline for the sector. Five of the six provinces that posted decreases had lower intentions for both single and multi-family construction.

The value of permits for single-family dwellings was down 5.2% to $2.2 billion, maintaining the general downward trend that began in January 2018. While eight provinces posted decreases in the month, Ontario and British Columbia contributed the most to the decline.

In the multi-family dwelling component, the value of permits fell 3.8% to $2.7 billion. Despite the monthly decline, the year-to-date value was $3.5 billion higher than the same time last year. Multi-family dwellings have represented over 70% of the total units for six of eight months so far this year. There are no previous years on record where multi-units exceeded that level.

Provinces and census metropolitan areas: British Columbia reaches another record high

In August, only three provinces reported gains, led by a record high in British Columbia. The largest decline occurred in Ontario, due to lower construction intentions in the residential sector.

The value of permits in British Columbia reached a record high of $1.8 billion in August, 12.8% above the previous record set in March 2018. In the non-residential sector, the value of permits passed the $600-million mark for the first time. Large projects for office buildings in the Vancouver census metropolitan area (CMA) were largely responsible for the growth.

In the CMA of Vancouver, the value of permits rose 66.4% to $1.4 billion in August, accounting for three-quarters of the value in British Columbia. Although most of the increase came from the City of Vancouver, the City of Burnaby issued over $250 million worth of permits for apartment buildings, bringing the total to over $800 million for the year.

In Ontario, all components declined in August, except institutional buildings. The value of permits in the residential sector dropped 13.9%. This followed several strong months in the multi-family dwelling component.

At the CMA level, the value of residential permits in Ottawa fell 60.9% in August, following a 59.9% gain in July. This was due to the implementation of higher development fees in the city, as developers applied for permits ahead of August’s fee increase.

StatsCanada

U.S producer prices increase for first time in three months

U.S. producer prices rose for the first time in three months amid a surge in gauges reflecting airfares and rail-transportation costs, a Labor Department report showed Wednesday in Washington.

HIGHLIGHTS OF PRODUCER PRICES (SEPTEMBER)

  • Producer-price index rose 0.2% m/m (matching est.) after a 0.1% drop in prior month; up 2.6% y/y (est. 2.7%) after 2.8% gain
  • Excluding food and energy, core gauge rose 0.2% m/m (matching est.); up 2.5% y/y (matching est.) after 2.3%
  • PPI excluding food, energy and trade services, a measure some economists prefer because it strips out the most volatile components, rose 0.4% m/m, most since Jan.; up 2.9% y/y, same as Aug.
  • Key Takeaways

    The monthly increase in the broad index stemmed partly from a 1.8 percent rise in transportation and warehousing services, a record in data back to 2009. That reflected a 5.5 percent jump in the category of airline passenger services, also a high in figures dating to 2009, while rail transportation of freight and mail was up 1.4 percent, the most since 2012.

    Overall, services prices increased 0.3 percent while the cost of goods fell 0.1 percent, reflecting declines in both food and energy. The decrease in goods prices was the first since May 2017.

    While the figures — which highlight wholesale and other selling prices at businesses — are less prominent in investors’ minds than the consumer price index out Thursday, they illustrate how changes in input costs are feeding into inflation. PPI reports have limited usefulness in predicting the monthly CPI reports, JPMorgan Chase & Co. economists said in a recent note.

    Amid trade tariffs and retaliatory levies, inflation pressures are being closely watched, particularly for signs of how likely they filter through production pipelines and on to businesses and consumers. Benchmark Treasury yields have climbed to multi- year highs this month amid investor expectations that the Federal Reserve will continue raising interest rates to the point of eventually restricting growth.

    Other Details

  • Energy prices fell 0.8 percent from the prior month, biggest drop since March; food costs dropped 0.6 percent, same decline as prior month
  • One-third of advance in final demand services stemmed from airline passenger services, which mostly reflects airfares
  • BLOOMBERG

    Dollar gains pause, but probably not for long

    Wednesday October 10: Five things the markets are talking about

    U.S treasury yields are largely stable, after declining from their seven-year high print yesterday.

    Euro equities are on the back foot after Asia stocks managed to break a multi losing session.

    Elsewhere, the ‘big’ dollar has stalled temporarily after U.S President Trump said the Fed should not raise interest rates as fast. However, Trump’s plea is unlikely to alter the broader theme of dollar gains in the short-term.

    Dollar ‘bulls’ have yet to have a clear understanding of what the top is for the Fed cycle, and until the Trump administration changes its tune on China and trade, investors will continue to support the USD against emerging markets and pro-growth currencies.

    For the dollar ‘bear’s’ next month’s midterm elections have the potential to derail dollar demand, especially where the loss of the House by the GoP would curtail most hopes for fresh fiscal stimulus. However, a month is a long time in politics.

    Despite the U.S bond rout easing a tad, +$230B of new U.S debt is coming to the market this week, which should put pressure on dealers to back up yields.

    U.S producer and consumer price data is also due in the next two-days and it too will determine where yields go from here.

    1. Stocks mixed results

    In Japan, the Nikkei edged a tad higher overnight as investors picked up defensive stocks on the dips, while index-heavyweight SoftBank dived on news it was to buy a majority stake in U.S shared office space provider WeWork. The Nikkei share average ended +0.2% higher, while the broader Topix was also up +0.2%.

    Down-under, Aussie stocks rallied after its worst 48-hours in six-months. The ASX 200 closed +0.1% higher as the health-care sector rebounded +1.5%, reversing some of yesterday’s -3.9% losses, the biggest drop in seven-years. In S. Korea, the Kospi stock index closed down -1.12% overnight, hitting its lowest close in 18-months after the IMF cut its growth forecast for the country.

    In China, stocks were mixed after the close overnight, as gains in utilities and communications led shares higher while losses in the energy sector led shares lower. At the close, the Shanghai composite rallied +0.18%.

    In Hong Kong, stocks closed marginally higher earlier this morning, with investors remaining nervous about volatility in the U.S and a weak yuan. The Hang Seng Index edged up +0.08%.

    In Europe, regional bourses continue their bearish tone with declines across the board. Sino-U.S trade concerns, coupled with Italian budget and U.K Brexit commentary continue to weigh on markets.

    U.S stocks are set to open in the ‘red’ (-0.1%).

    Indices: Stoxx600 -0.4% at 371.5, FTSE -0.1% at 7227, DAX -0.6% at 11904, CAC-40 -0.7% at 5283, IBEX-35 -0.6% at 9203, FTSE MIB -0.2% at 20023, SMI 0% at 8960, S&P 500 Futures -0.1%

    2. Oil dips as IMF cuts growth outlook; eyes on hurricane

    Oil prices have eased a tad after the IMF yesterday lowered its global growth forecasts. Nevertheless, markets are well supported on pullbacks as Hurricane Michael, a category 4, moves toward Florida causing the shutdown of nearly +40% of U.S Gulf of Mexico crude production.

    Brent crude is down -20c at +$84.80 a barrel, after a +1.3% gain on yesterday. U.S light crude is down -15c at +$74.81.

    Also providing an underlying bid is data showing crude exports from Iran, OPEC’s third-largest producer, are declining before the imposition of new U.S sanctions next month.

    According to tanker data, Iran’s crude exports fell further in the first week of October, as buyers sought alternatives ahead of U.S sanctions that are to take effect on Nov. 4. Iran exported +1.1M bpd of crude in the first week of October, down from at least +2.5M bpd in April – before President Trump imposed sanctions.

    Yesterday, the IMF cut its global economic growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019, raising concerns that demand for oil may also slump.

    Ahead of the U.S open, gold is holding steady in a narrow range overnight, as the ‘big’ dollar pulls back from its seven-week high – support remains strong for the dollar on the back of a strong U.S. economy and expectations of steady interest rate hikes by the Fed. Spot gold is little changed at +$1,189.35 an ounce, moving largely within a +$4 range. U.S. gold futures have rallied +0.1% to +$1,192.60 an ounce.

    3. Sovereign yields dip, including Italy’s BTP’s

    Italian BTP yields have eased a tad this morning after Italy’s Economy Minister Giovanni Tria confirmed budget forecasts and said that he expected collaboration with the E.U over the budget.

    After hitting multi-year highs yesterday, Italian government bond yields fell -2 bps along the curve – the two-year BTP yield fell to +1.70%. The spread of Italy’s 10-year BTP’s over Germany’s has widened +10 bps to +3.026%.

    Yesterday, President Trump repeated his displeasure with higher short-term interest rates set by the Fed. Trump believes U.S inflation remains “in check,” which does not warrant a tighter monetary policy, especially at the Fed’s current pace.

    The yield on U.S 10’s has eased -1 bps to +3.21%. In Germany, the 10-year Bund yield has decreased -1 bps to +0.54%, while in the U.K, the 10-year Gilt yield has backed up less than +1 bps to +1.719%.

    4. Dollar takes a breather

    The pound (£1.3160 +0.10%) has advanced to a four-month high against the EUR and a two-week high against the dollar, on signs of momentum in the Brexit negotiations. According to the Times, a group of between 30 and 40 Labour members of parliament will defy Jeremy Corbyn and endorse a less hard-line proposal to prevent a ‘no-deal’ exit from the E.U.

    Note: Both the U.K and E.U are said to have made progress in Brexit negotiations over Irish backstop.

    Rising Italian bond yields continue to provide some resistance for the EUR (€1.1482), but major falls are not in the cards as long as the ‘single’ unit’s existence is not threatened, and as long as the ECB indicates ‘whatever it takes’ promise is in place.

    The USD/JPY (¥113.19) is a tad higher as the yen snapped a four-day winning streak as some safe-haven flows retreated as U.S Treasury rates stabilized.

    5. U.K economy picked up in the summer

    Data this morning showed that U.K economic growth picked up over the summer, supported by stronger retail sales and house building in response to warmer-than-usual weather.

    According to the ONS, economic output in the three-months through August was +0.7% higher than in the three-months through May, equivalent to annualized growth of +2.8%.

    However, there were signs that the U.K economy was losing traction towards the end of the period, with output flat in August compared with July.

    According to the ONS, “the economy continued to rebound strongly after a weak spring with retail, food and drink production and house building all performing particularly well during the hot summer months.”

    Note: The BoE indicated it would follow its two rate rises with a number of further moves over the coming years if the economy continues grow at around its current rate. However, expect the Brexit strategy to determine monetary policy, at least in the short-term.

    Other data showed that the U.K’s trade deficit widened in August as its goods deficit deepened to -£11.2B from -£10.4B in July, while its manufacturing output was -0.2% lower in August than in July, a second straight month of decline.

    Forex heatmap

    Another ominous Yuan fix?

    The Yuan
    Another ominous signal from this mornings Yuan fix has sent Yuan bears into action. While the counters cyclical mechanism pegged the fix lower than yesterday close, we’re still trading at year highs suggesting the central bank is in no rush to stem the weakening tide. However, this does run contrary to statements from the bank overnight that they will not use the Yuan as a tool in a trade war, but as history reminds us, the Pboc remains very fluid when it comes currency policy.

    OANDA Trading podcast: CNH and IDR insights with MONEYFM 89.3

    Equity market reaction

    The local equity markets, along with global equity index futures markets are not reacting well to traders pushing the Yuan envelope, USDCNH higher. Market continue to underprice the destabilising effect of a weaker Yuan will have on global equity markets.

     

    Gold Market
    While keeping a close eye on equity sentiment, gold traders gently buying gold in the event the latest markets developments could trigger and downwards spiral on global equities. While I don’t believe this is a significant enough trigger at this stage, but when compounded with the potholed encumbered landscape, it’s worth keeping an eye on

    Oil Markets

    Batten down the hatches Hurricane Micheal is intensifying, adding some support to prompt contracts

    Japanese Yen
    Price action can be very deceiving, a ten-pip range in USDJPY but given the heightened level of discussions around Yen and BoJ this morning, something is going to give.

    Japan’s economy is alive kicking by any measure but today’s over the top machine orders data that printed 6.8%MoM versus -3.9% expected and the YoY number rose by 12.6% versus 1.8% is a stunner by any stretch of the imagination prompting the Cabinet Office upgraded its assessment of machinery orders, saying they are in recovery.

    The markets are still positioning for to a 115-year-end target of USDJPY, but the economic revival along with the weaker Yen of late does suggest the BoJ does have some wiggle room to tack to a more hawkish target.

    Australian Dollar
    Not to unexpectedly the Australian dollar ran into a wave of interbank offers and has traded off intersession highs.

    Will the bond market bloodbath resume?

    Tuesday October 9: five things the markets are talking about

    The first day back in a holiday-shortened trading week again sees U.S Treasury yields creeping higher, trading atop of their seven-year high yields. This aggressive backing up of sovereign yields this month is again putting pressure on risk assets.

    However, overnight, equities traded mixed, with Asian bourses and U.S futures on the back foot, while Euro stocks have been able to move higher.

    Yesterday saw the biggest one-day sell off in three-months of China stocks despite the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) cutting its RRR for the third time this year. Their easing actions have again put pressure on the yuan, which is sure to annoy Washington.

    The IMF has cuts world 2018 and 2019 GDP forecast by -0.2% to +3.7%. It’s the first cut in two-years as the risk of balance has shifted to the downside due to escalating trade conflicts and tighter financial conditions.

    On tap: The U.S Treasury is auctioning +$230B worth of debt this week. On Friday, the IMF and World Bank will hold meetings in Bali, with the world’s finance chiefs.

    1. Stocks mixed results

    Global risk aversion has put the yen (¥113.17) in demand, which is hurting Japanese stocks. Overnight, the Nikkei fell to a three-week low after stocks of firms with exposure to China weakened on worries about its economy while chip equipment makers tumbled, tracking weakness in U.S tech firms’ overnight. The Nikkei share average ended -1.3% lower, while the broader Topix dropped -1.8%.

    Down-under, Aussie shares have also extended their sharp declines from Monday overnight; trading atop of their four-month lows, on investor concerns over growth outlook for the country’s largest trading partner China hurt sentiment. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell -1% at the close of trade, after losing -1.4% yesterday. In S. Korea, the Kospi was closed for a holiday.

    In China, stocks rebounded overnight from Monday’s steep losses as authorities took further steps to support the economy and contain the effects of an escalating trade war with the U.S. The Shanghai Composite index closed +0.2% higher, while the blue-chip CSI300 index was up +0.3%. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng closed down –o.1%.

    Note: Dealers attribute yesterday’s steep losses in China to investors playing catch-up after a weeklong holiday, during which a sharp sell off in global bond markets had dragged down equity markets.

    In Europe, regional bourses are trading mixed in quiet trading thus far.

    U.S stocks are set to open in the ‘red’ (-0.3%).

    Indices: Stoxx600 0% at 372, FTSE +0.1% at 7238, DAX -0.1% at 11938, CAC-40 0% at 5301, IBEX-35 +0.3% at 9232, FTSE MIB +0.3% at 19900, SMI -0.2% at 8951, S&P 500 Futures -0.3%

    2. Oil prices rise as Iranian crude exports fall, gold higher

    Oil prices remain better bid, as further evidence emerges that crude exports from Iran, OPEC’s third-largest producer, are declining before the imposition of new U.S sanctions. Also providing price support is a slow hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Brent crude is up +55c at +$84.46 a barrel, after having fallen as low as +$82.66 yesterday. Brent hit a four-year high of +$86.74 last week. U.S light crude (WTI) is up +45c at +$74.74.

    According to tanker data and an industry source, Iran’s crude exports fell further in the first week of October, as buyers sought alternatives ahead of U.S sanctions that are to take effect on Nov. 4.

    Iran exported +1.1M bpd of crude in the first week of October, down from at least +2.5M bpd in April – before President Trump imposed sanctions.

    Saudi Arabia, the biggest producer in the OPEC, said last week it would increase crude output next month to +10.7M bpd, a record. The market will wait to see if they follow through.

    Meanwhile, oil companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico have closed -20% of oil production as Hurricane Michael moves toward the eastern Gulf States including Florida.

    Ahead of the U.S open, gold prices are better bid on risk aversion amid concerns over a potential slowdown in China’s economic growth. Spot gold is up +0.2% at +$1,189.58 an ounce.

    Note: Yesterday, it fell -1.2%, its biggest one-day percentage fall since the middle of August, and also touched a more than one-week low of +$1,183.19.

    3. Sovereign yields on the move

    On the weekend, China cut its Required Reserve Ration (RRR) for major banks by -100 bps to +14.50% to prevent the country’s credit conditions from getting too ‘tight.’ The PBoC’s easing bias highlights their policy divergence with the Fed.

    The impact from Sino-U.S trade tensions is to become more noticeable in coming quarters, so an easing bias in monetary policy, coupled with an expansionary fiscal policy is expected to support China’s economy. The PBoC stated that it would continue with “prudent and neutral” monetary policy. Will investors buy into Beijing’s policy-easing measures or do they require more market-orientated reforms?

    In Italy, BTP yields have backed up to new highs after Economy Minister Giovanni Tria addressed the parliament on the government’s budget plans. He called for a “constructive discussion with Brussels over the budget” and said Italy’s “structural deficit will recover once GDP and employment returns to pre-crisis levels.”

    Italy’s five-year bond yield rose to +3.042%, its highest level in almost five-years, while 10-year bond yields hit a new 5-year high at +3.63%.

    Elsewhere, the yield on 10-year Treasuries has advanced +2 bps to +3.25%, hitting the highest in more than seven-years with its fifth consecutive advance.

    Note: The U.S treasury is to auction +$230B worth of debt this week.

    In Germany, the 10-year Bund yield has climbed +3 bps to +0.56%, while in the U.K, the 10-year Gilt yield has increased +4 bps to +1.714%.

    4. Dollar supported by yields

    The USD is maintaining its firm tone across the G10 currency pairs as U.S Treasuries are still holding last week’s gains in yields.

    Rising Italian bond yields continue to weaken the EUR (€1.1460), but major falls are not in the cards as long as the ‘single’ unit’s existence is not threatened, and as long as the ECB indicates ‘whatever it takes’ promise is in place. EUR/USD is last down -0.25% at €1.1460 even though 10-year Italian yields reach +3.628%, just shy of yesterday’s 2018 high of +3.631%

    China’s effort to support its decelerating economy continues to heap pressure on the yuan. The yuan weakened beyond ¥6.93 this week, coming within striking distance of its lowest level in nearly two-years, after China moved over the weekend to free more funds for domestic banks. The currency briefly recovered to around ¥6.91 earlier this morning.

    5. German exports slipped in August

    Data this morning showed that German exports slipped for the second-straight month in August, which may suggest that, the Sino-U.S trade conflict are dampening demand for goods.

    According to the Federal Statistical Office, the total exports of goods fell -0.1% in August from the month before, while imports of goods dropped -2.7% in the period.

    Note: German exports stumbled in August despite a weaker EUR. The EUR traded around $1.14 in mid-August compared with levels around $1.25 in early February.

    Germany’s adjusted trade surplus stood at €18.3B in August, undershooting a consensus forecast of €19.0B and a surplus of €21.3B in August last year.

    Forex heatmap