EM Asia: Next weeks discussions

By Stephen Innes Head of Trading Asia @steveinnes123

EM Asia sentiment continues to improve; regional equities were trading very well on a  weaker dollar. ASEAN markets do enjoy a capital inflows bump when the US dollar is broadly weaker.

Bloomberg China Calls Off Trade Talks, Won’t Go to Washington Until After Mid-Terms

China

In addition to the significant headlines risk around the FOMC and trade war, the local discussion will continue centring around Premier Li Keqiang ’s comments on import tax cuts, and that policymakers have no intention to weaponise the Yuan in a trade war.

By cause in effect, his comments appear to have improved investor sentiment, as the Shanghai Composite ended up having its best week since 2016, although market chatter is suggesting Friday afternoon extension was nudged on by intervention to reach that high-water mark and boost investor conviction ahead of the long weekend. Nonetheless, we will leave that discussion for another day on how China market intervention, if right in this instance, does tend to hurt the credibility of their intentions.

But let’s not lose sight of the fact that in the absence of a trade deal or a clear signal that one is about to happen post-November G-20, the policy hawks in the Trump administration will be hell-bent on imposing 25 % tariff on 200 billion if not doubling down to 400 billion.

End of November remains the key, and if no resolution by then, the market will yet again price in a meltdown in Chinese equities and a  strong probability the PBOC would allow the renminbi to weaken substantially. Knowing this, investors may tap the brakes after last weeks astonishing equity market recovery, and FX traders will continue to position long USDCNY, knowing full well where the significant tail risk lies.

INR and IDR 

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 unorthodox 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 widely 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.

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

Central Banks up the ante to normalize interest rates

Friday September 21: Five things the markets are talking about

Aside from trade, tariff and retaliation, central banks are upping the ante to “normalize” interest rates.

This week, Norway’s Norges Bank has joined the BoE, and the central banks of the Czech Republic and Romania in withdrawing some of its stimulus, while Sweden’s Riksbank has indicated that it may raise its key rate before the end of the year. The ECB plans to end QE this December, while next week the Fed is expected to hike +25 bps (Sep 26) – the market will be looking for any comments on the impact of escalating trade tensions.

Earlier this week the BoJ kept its stimulus policy unchanged, however, the move overnight to cut the purchases of super long-bonds would suggest that the period of easy-money era is ending. In Hong Kong, the HKD has surged the most in 15-years in part due to the prospect for higher interest rates there.

There are a number of EM hotspots that the market is also focusing on, in particular – Turkey & South Africa. The lack of details on how Turkey can achieve a soft landing for an economy that topped the G20 growth charts in 2017/18 continues to contribute to a volatile TRY, but a plan is forthcoming.

While in South Africa this morning, President Ramaphosa announced details of a stimulus package to take immediate effect to battle the country’s technical recession.

With trade war concerns receding in the background, the U.S dollar is on track to close out the week trading atop of its seven-month lows against G10 currency pairs as stronger equity markets and rising bond yields encourage investors to purchase riskier assets.

Note: Expect today’s session to be volatile as its quadruple witching – futures and options on indexes and individual stocks expire.

On tap: Canadian CPI and retail sales at 08:30 am EDT

1. Stocks rally to records

With Wall Street indexes hitting a record high again yesterday has encouraged Asian and Euro bourses to take flight.

In Japan, equities rallied to an eight-month high, with noted gains in insurance, energy, and shipping stocks. The Nikkei did fade late, but still gained +0.8%. Financials were helped by the BoJ’s offer to buy less super-long bonds. The broader Topix gained +0.9% to hit a four-month high.

Down-under, the Aussie stock market again underperformed in the region overnight. The S&P/ASX 200 finished up +0.4%. The index ticked up +0.5% for the week, a second consecutive modest gain. Providing intraday pressure were utilities, which lost -0.5% last night, but consumer staples rallied that much while materials jumped a further +1.5% and IT climbed +2.2%. In S. Korea, the Kospi closed +0.68% higher on Friday as investors risk appetite recovered. For the week, the benchmark index climbed +0.9%.

In China, stocks surged overnight before a long holiday weekend, with investor sentiment boosted by hopes that a government effort to boost domestic demand could help offset effects of an escalating trade war. At the close, the blue-chip CSI300 index rallied +3.0%, its biggest one-day gain in four-months. The Shanghai Composite Index gained +2.5%, closing out its best week in six months.

In Hong Kong, stocks ended higher for a fourth consecutive session overnight, helped by consumer and technology shares, as sentiment improved after the Sino-U.S trade war unfolded in ways less damaging than feared. The Hang Seng index ended +1.73% higher, while the China Enterprises Index closed +2.17% firmer.

In Europe, regional bourses continue to rise despite sluggish PMI results. In the U.K, the FTSE is supported by positive Brexit comments, while in Italy; bourses are supported by budget talks.

Note: Expect stock markets to be influenced by today’s quadruple witching hour.

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

Indices: Stoxx50 +0.7% at 3,428, FTSE +0.8% at 7,429, DAX +0.7% at 12,418, CAC-40 +0.8% at 5,494, IBEX-35 +0.6% at 9,639, FTSE MIB +0.9% at 21,588, SMI

2. Oil higher on supply worries, but Trump’s call for lower prices drags

Oil prices are a tad higher this morning after falling in yesterday’s session as U.S President Donald Trump urged OPEC to lower crude prices at its meeting in Algeria this weekend (Sep 23).

Note: OPEC and its allies are scheduled to meet on Sunday to discuss how to allocate supply increases to offset a shortage of Iran supplies due to U.S sanctions.

Brent crude for November delivery is up +26c, or +0.33%, at +$78.96 a barrel, while
U.S West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery is up +7c, or +0.10% at +$70.39 a barrel.

Trump took to twitter and called on OPEC to lower prices, saying, “they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices”.

Trump’s veiled threats are unlikely to force OPEC and its allies to agree to an official increase in crude output on Sunday.

The fact that Sino-U.S trade tensions have somewhat dissipated is helping precious metal prices. Ahead of the U.S open, gold prices remain better bid on the back of a weaker U.S dollar and are heading for its first weekly gain in a month. Spot gold is up +0.3% at +$1,210.68, after touching its highest since Sept. 13 at +$1,211.02. It has rallied +1.3% so far this week. U.S gold futures are up +0.3% at +$1,215 per ounce.

3. Italian bond yields fall as investors await budget clarity

Italian bond yields are under some pressure this morning as the market awaits clarity on the 2019 budget and after the 5-Star Movement denied a report that Deputy PM Di Maio had threatened to pull his party out of the government.

An ISTAT report shows that the budget deficit as a proportion of national output was slightly higher last year than previously estimated, but that debt was lower also helped to push down yields.

Italian BTP yields are down -5 bps along the curve, having jumped by up to +12 bps yesterday. Elsewhere, Germany’s 10-year Bund yield has eased to +0.47% as some Euro investors returned to safe-haven assets.

Note: Bunds backed up to a four-month high of +0.506% Wednesday, but have struggled to maintain this level, rallying back down after renewed Brexit concerns and the infighting in the Italian government.

In Japan, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) has cut its purchase of super long JGB’s. This has send Japanese yields to 2018 highs. The 40-year yield has jumped +5 bps to +1.04% while 10’s gained +1.5 bp to +0.13%.

Stateside, the yield on 10-year Treasuries has jumped + 2 bps to +3.08%, the highest in more than four-months.

4. Hong Kong dollar spikes

Expectations of a rise in bank lending rates and tightness in cash supplies caused a sharp spike in HKD overnight, pulling it off the weak end of its narrow trading band it had been stuck in for the six-months.

The HKD rallied to $7.8244, hitting its highest levels since late February. Since March, it had stayed near $7.85, the lower end of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s (HKMA) managed trading band.

USD/INR rose to an intraday high of $72.47 before fading after a sharp spike lower in Indian Indices on liquidity concerns of Indian Housing name Dewan Housing.

ZAR (+0.46% to $14.2629) found support after S. African President Ramaphosa announced a number of policy reform plans this morning, including re-prioritising +$3.5B of public spending to boost economic growth and create jobs.

GBP/USD (£1.3185) falls from yesterday’s highs as the E.U warns the U.K of a possible “no-deal” Brexit. Initial support is around £1.3171.

5. Euro zone business growth eased

Data this morning showed that Euro zone business growth eased this month although optimism picked up a tad from last month’s two-year low.

Nevertheless, growth remained robust and firms were able to increase prices, which should keep the ECB happy.

Digging deeper, there remains a divergence between services and manufacturing – the dominant service industry beat forecasts for no change in the pace of growth from last month. IHS Markit’s Euro Zone Services Flash Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 54.7 from 54.4.

Manufacturers however failed to live up to expectations. The factory PMI slumped to a two-year low of 53.3 from 54.6 – the market was looking for 54.4.

Divergence raises the question, how long can you maintain a strong service sector growth without an upbeat manufacturing sector?

Forex heatmap

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   

 

 

U.S safe-haven appeal diminishes

Thursday September 20: Five things the markets are talking about

It’s not been easy, two and two do not add up when trading these Twitter directional asset classes. Fundamentals have been temporary ignored as the ‘lemming’ trades takes a grip.

Fading market fears over a Sino-U.S trade row has the U.S dollar trading within striking distance of its two-month lows. Even emerging-market currency pairs have found some traction after China said it would not retaliate with competitive currency devaluations.

Global equities are beginning to struggle as U.S yields approach their highest level this year.

In Europe, U.K Consumer spending remains buoyant despite Brexit uncertainties. Norway raises interest rates for the first time in seven-years and the Swiss kept rates on hold.

1. Stocks mixed results

In Japan, the Nikkei ended little changed overnight as an extended rally in financial sector was largely offset by profit taking after this weeks rally. The Nikkei inched up +0.01%, just about staying in positive territory for the fifth consecutive session. The broader Topix added +0.11%.

Down-under, Aussie shares slipped overnight, led lower by banks and consumer staples as investors shifted funds to emerging markets as they became less worried about a U.S-China trade war. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell -0.3% at the close of trade. The benchmark gained +0.5% yesterday. In S. Korea, the Kospi index rallied +0.65%, supported again mostly by Samsung.

Stocks in China fell overnight, as investor sentiment remained fragile following the latest hit of tariffs in the Sino-U.S. trade war. At the close, the Shanghai Composite index and the blue-chip CSI300 index were both down -0.1%.

In Hong Kong, there were mixed results as some investors held on to hopes that China and the U.S would eventually reach an agreement to avert an all-out trade war. The Hang Seng Index rose +0.26%, while the Shanghai Composite Index slipped -0.06%.

In Europe, regional bourses have opened broadly higher. Market will focus on the ‘informal’ E.U leaders summit comments.

U.S stocks are set to open little changed (+0.0%).

Indices: Stoxx50 +0.3% at 3,379, FTSE +0.1% at 7,334, DAX +0.2% at 12,248, CAC-40 +0.4% at 5,415, IBEX-35 +0.4% at 9,526, FTSE MIB +0.5% at 21,396, SMI +0.4% at 8,974, S&P 500 Futures flat

2. Oil steady, supported by U.S. stocks and supply concerns

Oil prices trade steady, nevertheless, the market remains a tad better ‘bullish’ after this week’s U.S crude inventory reports and on signs that OPEC may not raise production enough to compensate for the loss of Iranian exports hit by U.S. sanctions.

Brent crude oil is unchanged at +$79.40 a barrel, while U.S light crude oil is +40c higher at +$71.52 after rising nearly +2% in yesterday’s session.

Note: Brent has been trading below $80 for the past week after conflicting reports of the market views of Saudi Arabia, the biggest producer in OPEC. They wanted oil to stay between +$70 and +$80 a barrel for now, seeking a balance between maximizing revenue and keeping a lid on prices until U.S midterms. However, giving the market a bid undertone are reports yesterday indicating that the Saudi’s were happy with prices above +$80 a barrel.

EIA data Wednesday showed that U.S crude oil stockpiles fell for a fifth consecutive week to a three-year low in the week to Sept. 14, while gas stocks also showed a larger than expected draw on unseasonably strong demand. Crude inventories fell by -2.1m barrels, compared with expectations for a decrease of -2.7m.

Note: OPEC and other producers, including Russia, meet on Sunday in Algeria to discuss how to allocate supply increases to offset the loss of Iranian barrels.

Ahead of the U.S open, gold prices have inched higher as the ‘big’ dollar softened amid easing Sino-U.S trade tensions. Nevertheless, expect investors to remain cautious ahead of next week’s Fed meeting. Spot gold is up +0.1% at +$1,204.69, after rising +0.5%yesterday.

3. Norway hikes rates for the first time in seven years, SNB on hold

Earlier this morning, Norway’s central bank hiked its key interest rate for the first time in more than seven-years. Norges Bank increased the rate to +0.75% from +0.5%.

The central bank said another rate increase is likely in the first three months of next year, with a gradual series of moves taking it to +2% by the end of 2021.

“If the key policy rate is kept at the current level for too long, price and wage inflation may accelerate and financial imbalances build up further,” said Governor Olsen. “That would increase the risk of a sharp economic downturn further out.”

Note: Sweden has also indicated that it may raise its key rate before the end of the year, while the ECB plans to end QE in December.

Elsewhere, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) kept its deposit rate at -0.75%, as expected. The accompanying statement painted two different pictures – the negative rate and willingness to intervene in FX markets “remain essential in order to keep the attractiveness of CHF low and thus ease pressure on the currency.” That said, policy makers also painted a brighter economic future and raised its 2018 GDP forecast to between +2.5% and +3%.

4. Dollar downfall

The CHF ($0.9659) is a tad weaker after the Swiss National Bank (SNB) left rates on hold. The fact that the franc remains “highly valued and has appreciated noticeably” has investors wary of the bank’s next moves.

EUR/NOK (€9.6068) initially fell following the Norges rate hike, but has since reversed and is trading down -1% outright after the bank cut its policy rate forecasts.

GBP/USD (£1.3226) has rallied sharply, again testing yesterday’s intraday highs, on Brexit talk and on stronger than expected U.K retail sales (see below).

USD/ZAR is down by -1.5% at $14.4793 – some investors are anticipating a surprised rate hike this morning. Nevertheless, the consensus expects rates to remain unchanged, given that prices remain within the bank’s inflation target range and that the economy has slid into a recession.

5. U.K retail sales slowed in August

Data this morning showed that U.K. retail sales slowed in August but continued to point to buoyant consumer spending in Q3, which suggests that the economy has kept expanding despite uncertainty over Brexit.

According to the ONS, U.K retail sales rose +0.3% on month in August, after a revised +0.9% rise in July.

Digging deeper, consumer spending continues to power the U.K economy as sales increased across most store categories with the exception of food and clothing outlets.

But is it sustainable, given high inflation, low wage growth and rising interest rates? Uncertainty over the U.K’s future continues to deter investment.

Forex heatmap

Where to hide? That’s the next million-dollar question

Tuesday September 18: Five things the markets are talking about

It was coming, the market new it was coming, just when, and how much, were the unknown variables.

President Trump has imposed an additional +10% tariffs on about +$200B worth of imports from China, rising to +25% by the turn of the New Year. Trump has threatened additional duties on about +$267B more if China contemplates hitting back on the latest U.S action, beginning next Monday.

Of course China is going to retaliate, but how, is part of the guessing game – “to protect its legitimate rights and interests and order in international free trade, China is left with no choice but to retaliate simultaneously.”

There are a few tech exceptions – which benefit Apple/Fitbit for now – and the tiered deployment is to help U.S companies find alternative supply chains. However, if the U.S needs to go to phase three, it would consume all remaining U.S imports from China and Apple products and its competitors would not be spared.

The problem for China is that they do not import enough U.S goods to go head-to-head with the U.S leverage strategy. They will want to cause U.S pain and will probably focus even more on the tech sector. Nevertheless, watch the Yuan’s value, it may be one of China’s strongest weapons. It has weakened by about -6.0% in the past three-months, offsetting any -10% tariff rate by a substantial margin.

From an asset price viewpoint, it’s been a rather ‘subdued’ reaction to Trump’s announcement. Buying U.S dollars in response to trade conflicts does not seem to be as appealing anymore. The delay in imposing +25% tariffs may explain the lack of movement, in addition to the fact that the tariffs have been widely anticipated.

1. Stocks mixed results

In Japan, the Nikkei rallied overnight to its highest close in seven-months, led by insurers thanks to rising U.S Treasury yields. However, no surprises, capping gains were electronic suppliers, which underperformed as the market weighs the new U.S China, tariff impact. The index closed out +1.4% higher, while the broader Topix rallied +1.8%.

Down-under, materials and energy stocks pushed Aussie equities lower as the escalating Sino-U.S trade war pressured commodity and oil prices. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell -0.4% at the close. The index rallied +0.3% yesterday. In S. Korea, the Kospi stock index closed +0.26% higher along with some of its regional bourses as Chinese markets largely shrugged off trade tariff threats.

In China, stocks staged a late rebound as the blue-chip index CSI300 rallied +1.9% as some investors bet that authorities will increase their investment in infrastructure to offset the impact of the latest tariff penalties from Trump. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index closed out +0.6% higher.

In Europe, regional bourses have shrugged off early weakness following the ‘telegraphed’ U.S tariff announcement after the yesterday’s U.S close. Autos lead the gains, while the materials sector and consumer discretionary are under early pressure.

U.S stocks are set to open in the ‘black’ (+0.2%).

Indices: Stoxx50 +0.5% at 3,363, FTSE +0.1% at 7,318, DAX +0.6% at 12,164, CAC-40 +0.6% at 5,383; IBEX-35 +0.4% at 9,446, FTSE MIB +0.2% at 21,148, SMI -0.3% at 8,908, S&P 500 Futures +0.2%

2. Oil prices fall as U.S-China trade war questions demand, gold lower

Oil markets have eased a tad as the Sino-U.S trade war questions the outlook for crude demand from the world’s two largest economies.

Brent crude futures have dropped -29c, or -0.37% to +$77.76 per barrel, while U.S West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude is down -15c, or -0.22%, at +$68.76 per barrel.

U.S crude ‘bears’ believe that these tariffs are likely to limit economic activity in both China and the U.S – a hit to growth is a hit to consumption.

Note: Refineries stateside consumed about +17.7m bpd of crude oil last week, while China’s refiners used about +11.8m last month.

Crude ‘bulls’ are currently clinging to the potential supply cuts caused by U.S sanctions on Iran (third-largest producer in OPEC) as reason enough to support short-term oil prices.

Ahead of the U.S open, gold prices are under pressure as the ‘big’ dollar steadies amid concerns of an escalation in Sino-U.S trade tensions. Spot gold is -0.3% lower at +$1,197.51 an ounce, after rising +0.6% in Monday’s session. U.S gold futures are down -0.3% at +$1,202.20 an ounce.

However, if the ‘big’ dollar loses its ‘tariff haven’ appeal, expect the ‘yellow’ metal to find support on pullbacks.

3. Sovereign yields rally

U.S Treasury yields have backed up along the curve on growing expectations that the Fed could raise interest rates a few more times this year after recent data showed wages spiking last month, elevating concerns about inflation.

Note: U.S data last week showed that wages in August posted their largest annual increase in more than nine-years, rising +0.4% m/m and +2.9% y/y.

Yesterday, U.S 10’s touched +3.022%, the highest level in four-months, along with U.S 30-year yields at +3.159%. As to be expected, the short end rallied to a 10-year high, backing up to +2.799%.

Elsewhere, German Bund yields continue drifting upward to the +0.50% level amid better sentiment around Italy. The 10-year Bund yield is trading at +0.46%, up +0.05%. In the U.K, the 10-year Gilt yield has rallied +1 bps to +1.536%.

4. Dollar muted reaction

EUR/USD (€1.1680) shows a muted reaction to the U.S announcement that it will charge +10% on another +$200B of Chinese imports starting from next Monday. Typically trade tensions have been positive for the ‘big’ dollar; maybe attitudes will change once China shows its hand.

GBP/USD (£1.3126) pulls back from recent six-week highs as the market awaits Thursday’s E.U summit.

TRY ($6.3670) continues to weaken, down another -0.7% as investors remain confident in fading last weeks bigger than expected Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) rate hike.

An interest rate increase by the Norges Bank on Thursday is widely expected and already broadly priced into EUR/NOK (€9.5406). However, NOK bulls believe the central bank will likely signal more rate increases, which should provide further support for this commodity currency.

5. Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) stays true to its ‘hawkish’ stance

In its minutes released overnight there were no surprises. The RBA maintained its interest-rate guidance in the minutes from its meeting a fortnight ago, reiterating that increases will eventually come amid anticipated economic strength.

RBA also noted that a number of G10 central banks, including the Fed, were expected to continuing rate hikes. This had been reflected in the markets, “most notably a broad-based appreciation of the US dollar” that “raised risks” for some, especially for “fragile emerging” markets. However, “the modest depreciation of the AUD was helpful for domestic economic growth.”

The copy and recent rhetoric suggests that Aussie policy makers remains highly confident its current stance – interest rates at record lows will ultimately bring lower unemployment, higher wage growth and an uptick in inflation over time.

Forex heatmap

No tariffs, now tariffs, what gives?

Monday September 17: Five things the markets are talking about

The possibility of a new round on tariffs on Chinese goods is not helping equity markets this Monday morning. The ‘big’ dollar is holding onto Friday’s gains as investors try and acclimatize themselves to the ever-fluid trade situation that President Trump seems to be creating himself.

Deflection or negotiation, whatever the reason, markets continue to wait for the counter punch before throwing all in. China is not expected to be a willing dance partner in proposed trade talks later this month if the Trump administration goes ahead with the additional tariffs expected later today.

Note: Tariff level likely to be around +10%, and below the +25% previously announced.

Last week, the outlook for global trade looked improved, however, true to form, inconsistency seems consistent with this Trump administration.

This week, on the central bank front, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) dominates proceedings (Sept 18). However, recent domestic data remains mixed – Q2 GDP was revised upward while monthly core-machine orders rebounded from June’s decline and PPI edged downward – and certainlgly disappointing news to Governor Kuroda’s inflation fight.

On tap: AUD monetary policy minutes (Sept 17), BoJ rate announcement (Sept 18), U.K CPI and NZD GDP (Sept 19), SNB monetary policy decision & U.K retail sales, CAD retail sales (Sept 21)

1. Stocks see mostly red

The Nikkei 225 was closed for a bank holiday.

Down-under, Aussie stocks were the best performer in the region, as other Asia-Pacific indexes struggled with Sino-U.S trade worries. The ASX 200 rose +0.3% as energy and financial stocks logged solid gains and telecom rallied +1.5%. The negatives were elder care providers due to a planned government probe into the sector. In S. Korea, the Kospi closed down -0.66% on global trade worries.

Stocks in Hong Kong finished lower while China’s main Shanghai Composite index fell to its lowest close in four-years overnight on fears that Washington is expected to unveil new tariffs on imported Chinese goods this week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index ended -1.3% lower, while the China Enterprises index closed down -1.1%. In China, the Shanghai Composite index dropped -1.1%, while the blue-chip CSI300 index also declined -1.1%.

In Europe, regional bourses reverse earlier losses to trade mostly unchanged after weakness in Asia.

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

Indices: Stoxx50 +0.1% at 3,348, FTSE -0.2% at 7,291, DAX -0.2% at 12,100, CAC-40 flat at 5,351; IBEX-35 +0.6% at 9,417, FTSE MIB +0.7% at 21,019, SMI -0.3% at 8,936, S&P 500 Futures -0.1%

2. Oil higher as U.S Iran sanctions raise supply concerns, gold higher

Oil prices remain better bid as the market focuses on the potential impact of U.S sanctions on Iran despite promises by Washington that the Saudis, Russia and the U.S could together raise output fast enough to offset falling supplies.

Brent crude oil is up +45c a barrel at +$78.54, while U.S light crude (WTI) is up +43c at +$69.44.

Note: Washington aims to cut Iran oil exports to force Tehran to re-negotiate a nuclear deal. Iran exports have declined by -580k bpd in the past 90-days.

On Friday, U.S Energy Secretary Rick Perry said that he did not expect any price spikes and that the world’s top three oil producers could raise global output in the next 18-months.

Also capping oil prices, U.S drillers added two oilrigs in the week to Sep. 1, bringing the total count up to 749 according to Baker Hughes energy services.

Note: A Joint Technical Committee of OPEC and non-OPEC producers are due to meet today to coordinate production.

Ahead of the U.S open, gold prices have inched a tad higher as speculators look for short-term gains, amid increasing Sino-U.S trade tensions and prospects of further Fed interest rate hikes. Spot gold is up +0.2% at +$1,195.83 an ounce, after falling -0.6% on Friday when it marked its third straight weekly decline. U.S gold futures are down -0.1% at +$1,199.80.

3. Sweden’s Riksbank ready to hike despite low inflation

This morning minutes from Sweden’s Riksbank suggests that the board has become more tolerant of downside surprises to inflation and that it is now ready to hike rates before core-inflation has returned all the way to target.

Board members indicated that inflation expectations are “firmly anchored at the target, indicating that this is sufficient to start a very gradual tightening of the currently very expansionary monetary policy.” The bond market is pricing in a +25 bps hike in early Q1, 2019. The SEK is rallying, with EUR/SEK down -0.4% at €10.4774.

Elsewhere, the yield on U.S 10’s has fallen -1 bps to +2.99%. In Germany, the 10-year Bund yield is unchanged at +0.45%, while in the U.K, the 10-year Gilt yield has rallied less than -1 bps to +1.53%. The spread of Italy’s 10-year BTP’s over Bunds has narrowed -8 bps.

4. Sterling rallies on Irish border hopes

GBP (£1.3095) trades atop of the psychological £1.31 handle on optimism of progress on the Irish border question ahead of this week’s E.U summit.

E.U chief negotiator Michel Barnier is supposedly working on a plan to minimise physical checks at the Irish border by tracking goods using barcodes on shipping containers.

Note: The first of three Brexit summits will be held on Thursday, and E.U leaders hope a deal can be struck within the next two months.

EUR/USD (€1.1636) little changed. The ‘big’ dollar is expected to remain contained this week due to the absence of Tier 1 U.S data releases, while EUR gains may be capped on ongoing Italian concerns.

Emerging market currency’s trade under pressure once again on tariffs threats, with the USD/TRY over +1.6% ($6.2554) higher, while the USD/INR is +0.8% higher as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) plans over the weekend to curb INR’s fall fail to lift the rupee.

5. Annual inflation down to +2.0% in the euro area

Data this morning from Eurostat showed that the euro area (19 members) annual inflation rate was +2.0% in August, down from +2.1% in July. A year earlier, the rate was +1.5%.

For the European Union (28 members) annual inflation was +2.1% in August, down from +2.2% in July. A year earlier, the rate was +1.7%.

Digging deeper, the lowest annual rates were registered in Denmark (+0.8%), Ireland and Greece (both +0.9%). The highest annual rates were recorded in Romania (+4.7%), Bulgaria (+3.7%), Estonia (+3.5%) and Hungary (+3.4%).

Forex heatmap

Battered and bruised

Battered and bruised

It was a tough week for the markets leaving many participants battered and bruised, but the great thing about this industry, is we get to do it all over again next week.

US 10y yields went on to test 3.0% Friday after a string of constructive  US data, and Fed speaks supported the market’s base case for the Fed to continue with gradual hikes through year-end. Beyond there, the Fed’s outlook remains in wait and see mode, but with US 10’s yields making a run higher, the pragmatic view supports the long USD with the AUD offering is the path of least resistance.

No surprise Trump reportedly wants to proceed with the pending tariff list of USD200bn against China amid resuming negotiations.

The never-ending ping-pong match around BREXIT continues, and the levels of market frustration are loud.

Welcome new Fed member. Mary Daly, who has been named the head of the San Fran Fed, effective October 1, meaning that Esther George will still cast a vote for the regional Fed in September. Daly was the market’s choice so no risk on the appointment.

ARS continued to struggle, despite the central bank’s non-stop attempts to support it after  “The expected disbursement of USD3bn from the International Monetary Fund to Argentina will be delayed until renewed negotiations conclude, according to an Economy Ministry spokesperson.”  Could this be a foreshadowing of a negative emerging market lean next week? So, with TRY way to expensive to short, traders could start to look at the weakest links in the chain with IDR and INR the leading candidates to express a bearish EM view.

CNH fell against USD on Trumps China tariff noise despite treasury secretary Mnuchin’s attempts to broker a trade deal with China. But USDCNH, even in the absence of trade war rhetoric, should move higher near term from the most fundamental of views.

USDCNH  remains at the epicentre of my USD views, but ECB President Draghi is playing down the risks posed by Italy’s fiscal situation, there is a definite tail risk for the EURO to crater on any Italy escalation. While Italian risk remains at the cappuccino in a coffee cup level, the EURO bears will be ready to seize the opportunity on any EU political wobbles.

But it would be sheer folly not keep an eye on the 1.1730 level which is the August high, and, on a break, we can move much higher. Draghi was much less dovish than most projected, so there is cause for the EURUSD to grind higher.

With USDJPY waking up from what feels like a 2-month slumber the BoJ meeting does take on a higher level of importance than many had expected. Its great having USDJPY back in the fold.

Oil Markets

Brent crude oil tested decent support level on Friday following up on Thursdays bearish shift in near-term sentiment driven primarily on the build in US oil products but trimmed losses into the close. While WTI dips remained supported by the larger-than-expected 5.3 million barrels decline in US inventories. But perhaps short covering as options on October WTI crude oil will expire on Monday probably influence given the markets lean. But with the risk-reward calculus not signalling a bullish setup for energy in general, in the absence of any supply disruption, the markets could struggle ahead of the OPEC meeting as oil producers were making a convincing argument that a likely downturn in the Global economy could hurt oil demand. Of course, this is from a soothsayer’s perspective. And while impossible to quantify these unknowns, what we do know it that the weaker EM currency profile would most certainly hurt consumers appetite at the tertiary level of the demand curve. But Chinese commodity demand has appeared not to be destroyed by the 25% US tariffs on $34bn as China continues to offset trade headwinds by upping fiscal spend.

In the wake of depleting oil inventories Baker Hughes US Crude Oil Drilling Rig Count hit +7 last week.

Gold Markets 

The string of positive US economic data on Friday supporting the markets base case Fed outlook, dented Golds appeal into the close. With US 10’s hitting the psychologically significant 3 % level on Friday, we could see more traders feasting with the Gold bears on Monday.

Erdogan hurts TRY ahead of CBRT decision

Thursday September 13: Five things the markets are talking about

U.S. equity futures and euro regional bourses trade steady after the overnight Asian session put an end to its longest losing streak since 2002 on fresh hopes that the worlds’ two largest economies will again sit down and talk trade.

The EUR (€1.1617) and the pound (£1.3040) are little changed ahead of their respective central banks key policy decisions in a few hours.

In anticipation of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) rate announcement (07:45 am EDT) – no rate change is expected – however, investors will be searching for clues about the ECB’s ‘reinvestment policy.’ The bank is expected to downgrade its 2018 eurozone GDP. The reason is likely to be a slowdown in global trade amid trade war uncertainty, rather than a eurozone-specific factor. Eurozone inflation projections are expected to remain unchanged.

Sterling bulls are looking for the pound and short-term interest rates to gain from this morning’s Bank of England (BoE) rate call (07:00 am EDT). Touted support will come from the recent flurry of stronger U.K GDP growth and wage data.

Brexit comments are not expected to have an effect on the pound , as Governor Carney is likely to reiterate that he “assumes a smooth and orderly exit from the E.U.” Also, Carney will want to avoid becoming politicized at such a vital occasion in U.K politics.

For volatility, the market will be looking closely at this morning’s Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) rate announcement. The CBRT needs to raise rates to slow inflation and reverse some of the recent sharp falls in TRY ($6.5345), but faces political pressure from President Erdogan not to. He would cut high interest rates, as he believes high inflation is a result of CBRT’s wrong steps. TRY is expected to weaken further without a sufficient rate increase. The market is pricing anything from zero to +725 bps hike.

Elsewhere, crude oil prices have retreated a tad, mostly on the outlook for tighter supply. Also, the potential impact on commodities from Hurricane Florence has eased along with lower wind speeds.

On tap: Both China and the U.S will release its I.P numbers and retail sales data Friday.

1. Stocks see the light

Global stocks have pared some of this month’s loss overnight; climbing on the news that the U.S had invited China to a new round of trade talks.

In Japan, the Nikkei rallied to two-week highs overnight as news of a proposed fresh round of trade talks between China and the U.S lifted risk appetite. The Nikkei share average soared +1.0%, while the broader Topix surged +1.1%.

Down-under, Aussie stocks were the outlier, falling Thursday as banks and insurers were sold on the back of damaging testimony at a public inquiry, though gains in miners on a recovery in commodity prices capped the losses. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell -0.8%. In S. Korea, the Kospi stock index rallied +0.18% following Sino-U.S trade talk news.

In Hong Kong, Chinese banks helped push the Hang Seng index +2.5% higher, while in China, the Shanghai Composite Index was up +1.2%, although that index still remained down almost -19% on the year after the release of subdued credit growth and new loans figures out of China.

In Europe, regional bourses trade mixed as investors focus on upcoming macro events with rate decisions by ECB and BoE on tap.

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

Indices: Stoxx50 +0.4% at 3,341, FTSE -0.2% at 7,299, DAX +0.5% at 12,090, CAC-40 +0.4% at 5,351; IBEX-35 +0.3% at 9,322, FTSE MIB -0.2% at 20,930, SMI +0.2% at 8,974, S&P 500 Futures +0.1%

2. Oil slips as economic concerns counter tighter supply, gold steady

Oil prices are under pressure, falling from their four-month highs as investors focused on the risk that EM crises and trade disputes could dent demand.

Benchmark Brent crude oil is down -70c a barrel at +$79.04, while U.S light crude (WTI) fell -$1.15 to a low of +$69.22 a barrel.

The IEA indicated this morning that although the oil market was tightening at the moment and world oil demand would soon reach +100M bpd, global economic risks were mounting.

Note: Brent rallied above +$80 per barrel yesterday for the first time since May, supported by expectations that U.S sanctions against Iran’s oil exports, which will start in November, will tighten global markets. U.S light crude pushed over +$70 on Wednesday due to falling U.S crude inventories and production levels.

Ahead of the U.S open, gold prices trade steady, atop of their one-week high, amid hopes for a new round of Sino-U.S trade talks. However, a firmer U.S dollar is expected to keep gains in check. Spot gold is at +$1,205.78 an ounce, after hitting its highest since Aug. 31 at +$1,208.48.

Note: The ‘yellow’ metal gained +0.7% in yesterday’s session, its biggest single-day rise since Aug. 24.

3. Yields steady ahead of ECB and BoE

Both the ECB and BoE are not expected to make any major policy changes this morning.

The demand for safe-haven government debt has also been weak this month by declining fears about the political situation in Italy, where a new populist government is working on its first budget proposal. They expect to adhere to the E.U rules and regulations.

This week’s selling of high-grade sovereign bonds has been led by Europe, with the 10-year German Bund yield backing up to +0.431% from Wednesday’s +0.404%. In the U.K, the 10-year Gilt yield increased to +1.498% from +1.470%.

Stateside, U.S government bond prices are also lower as the market braces for the possibility of tighter monetary policy – a further two rate hikes are been priced in by Fed by the end of 2018. U.S 10’s are trading just shy of the psychological +3% level at +2.97%.

4. A sufficient CBRT hike could weaken the dollar vs. EM FX

If the CBRT were to aggressively hike interest rates this morning, this would likely dampen investors’ appetite for the U.S dollar against EM currency pairs. It may also help the EUR (€1.1616), given that European banks are lenders to Turkish businesses.

However, most EUR moves will be driven by the CB rhetoric. The ECB’s Draghi will likely sound “dovish” by lowering growth forecasts for 2018, which should prevent the ‘single’ currency from gaining on any other factors.

It too would not be a surprise if the CBRT were to disappoint, especially after President Erdogan reiterated this morning his view that interest rates should be cut. USD/TRY is last up +3% at $6.5433. EUR/USD is down -0.1% at €1.1619.

Note: If the Fed continues to raise interest rates, the currencies of Turkey, South Africa, Malaysia, India and Indonesia would be hardest hit. The less vulnerable currencies would be those of South Korea, China, Thailand and Russia.

5. Aussie employment

Overnight, Australia added a stellar +44K jobs in August, the second-highest monthly add in the last nine-months. Even more impressive was the fact that nearly all of the jobs, +33.7K, were in the full-time category and despite a higher participation rate, 65.7% from 65.5%; the unemployment rate remained steady at 5.3%.

This strong report will be much welcomed by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) – more workers mean more tax revenue, and possibly a long-awaited uptick in wage growth as household budgets are strained.

It does not signal an imminent interest-rate increases, but ‘hawkish’ rhetoric could enter the fray.

Forex heatmap

Asia market midday market note

Hang Seng Index

After a positive start during the morning trading session, risk continues to wobble on the heavily subscribed HSI. Don’t mistake short side profit-taking for a reverse in negative sentiment as this market is far from bullish on Asia risk. Despite positive developments on the US-China trade front, the playbook remains unchanged, and it would be a total surprise for many market participants if the Trump administration didn’t follow through with 200 billion in tariffs.

Currency Markets

Much of today’ price action, outside of the Australian Dollar, could be a function of paring risk ahead of the hugely busy day with BOE, ECB,  German, French and US CPIs to navigate. But everyone across the currency world is also watching to see just how definitive a signal the Turkish Central Bank will deliver to quell emerging markets bloodletting.

Australian Dollar

Positions are much cleaner now after the short squeeze on the back of last night CNH move, and today stable domestic jobs report. While there is interest to sell between .7190-7200 levels, in the absence of greater participation, we could set into a consolidation pattern ahead of the critical US CPI data. However, .7200 AUDUSD  a desirable standard for Aussie bear and ultimately they will re-engage  as longer-term interest rate differentials will continue to weigh on AUD and eventually led to a convincing break of .7100 level

Aussie rallies after strong jobs data

The Euro

Participation was meagre again in Asia, but if Draghi sounds all the right dovish tones ahead of the politically contentious Italian budgets, and with the Feds on  Dot Plot autopilot gave the run robust US economic data the Euro bears could be rewarded. Its way too quiet and something has to give on the Euro post.

The Chinese Yuan

CNY fixing at 6.8488, slightly lower than market expectation.

Traders were buying the overnight dip as there remains a high-level uncertainty that any progress will come from these possible trade negotiations. The market was pricing in the US midterm election as a likely timeline for development on the US-China trade front, so the overnight move does look like the unwinding of long USD hedges may have exacerbated it and compounded by stop loss triggers. Fundamentally, the CNH remains, and we could see some topside follow through on a stronger than expected CPI print later this evening.

Canadian Dollar
The market is not making to much of a meal of this headline.
There was some news on the NAFTA front that Minister Freeland want to be attending Thursday trade discussion but reinforce the notion that the intent is to work towards a deal there was no ‘stalemate’. It’s not even registering on my pessimistic ire monitor that would sound alarms if this was a case of where their smoke there’s fire. But until there is a breakthrough in these negotiations the Canadian dollar ” permabans” will put up a good defence around 1.3000. And trust me after cutting my chops trading the CAD on Bay Street back in the day, most CAD traders are Fairweather players at best!!

 

Oil markets 

Despite the favourable convergence of bullish near-term signals, Iran sanctions and sinking US crude inventories, which should keep oil prices supported for the remainder of the week. Oil markets continue to trade rather poorly in Asia.

Asia risk continues to wane as traders remain acutely focused on possible trade fall out, which could weigh negatively on regional crude demand. Brent and WTI have slipped throughout today’s Asia trading session despite the US offering an olive branch by formally inviting China to resume trade discussion.

Southeast Asia risk is an entirely different kettle of fish and one look at the weakening currency profile of one of South East Asia major crude importers, India, does suggest the weaker Rupee could dent  Oil demand as real fuel cost factored directly through the seriously weaker currency profile.

Edge of the seat type stuff !

Edge of the seat type stuff!

US Markets

After wobbling most of the day in extremely choppy markets, the US equity market finished mostly higher supported by higher oil prices and news that the US has formally sent an invitation to China to resume trade talks. But festivities were tempered as the market gave a nod to comments earlier in the week from crucial Whitehouse advisor Kudlow stated that ” important information. ” needs to be answered before celebrating. But none the less with both parties scheduled to resume trade talks it should be viewed in a positive light. AS such the USDCNH dip triggered an across the board sell-off on the US dollar as some short CNH trade war hedges unwound, gold headed back towards the top of its one month range, and Brent briefly hit $80 for the first time since May.

Oil markets

Are the  Bulls are back in control?

Administration crude inventories data for last week indicated 5.3 million barrels draw from commercial crude stocks, and while lower than the 8.6 million barrels registered by the American Petroleum Institute report but a much deeper drop than analyst’s expectations. Propelling Brent briefly above the fundamental and psychological $80 a barrel for the first time since May and was equally as supportive for the WTI contract. However, both benchmarks are trading off intraday highs heading into the Asia session as  the distillate inventories which increased by 6.2 million barrels last week, more than the 5.8 million barrels  gain in the API numbers and excessively more than expected, slightly dampened market overexuberance as indeed much weaker demand over the Labor Day holiday was a significant factor.

There remains a lot of noise in this week’s markets, but the confluence of bullish near-term signals, Iran sanction and sinking US crude inventories should keep oil prices supported for the remainder of the week. But traders are now pivoting to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-members meeting next week in Algeria.

In that light, Brent does feel a wee bit testy above $ 80, notwithstanding the immediate contract sitting comfortably in the green with a bullish tailwind. Yesterday’s comments from Russia’s Energy Minister, Alexander Novak, who stated in a leading newswire interview that the country could increase output by as much as 300k bpd in the medium-term, back to post-Soviet records seen last in October of 2016. However, he went on to say that they will not make any decisions as to whether the market requires additional barrels until it’s meeting with fellow OPEC countries. And keep in mind there is still that lingering notion that OPEC may want to keep Brent in the $ 70-80, which has been supported by the charts the past five months.

Eyes along with prayers remain directed on the US east coast as Hurricane Florence quickly approached landfall. The storm’s trajectory remains relatively unchanged from yesterday as it is expected to miss all significant refineries. And while not a substantial threat to US production it has turned traders into Google meteorologist who is trying to forecast if a Hurricane will eventually sweep through the Gulf given the numbers of tropical storms brewing in the Atlantic Ocean this hurricane season.

Gold Markets

It almost feels counterintuitive to suggest a de-escalation in US-China trade war has provided a tailwind for Gold, but therein lies the fact that Gold is trading entirely and the mercy of the US dollar. And that to judge Gold by any other metric in this environment provides an indecisive, inconclusive and highly inconsequential signal. But there will be much to be said for the USD near-term direction during the next 24 hours as currency, and cross-asset traders remain coiled to spring in either direction as the US CPI will likely set the stage for the US dollar next move.

Currencies

Beyond the headlines, much of the overnight price action could be a function of paring risk ahead of the hugely busy day with BOE, ECB, plus AUD jobs German, French and US CPIs to navigate. But everyone across the currency world is also watching to see just how definitive a signal the Turkish Central Bank will deliver to quell emerging markets bloodletting.

USDCNH sold off from 6.8725 towards 6.8270 on news that the US has sent an invitation to China resume trade talks posted and indeed the greed of the move suggest most traders were caught overly wrong and long as the USDCNH was being viewed as a primary vehicle to hedge trade war risk.
While fundamentals still support the view USDCNH higher, the unwinding of trade war hedges is undoubtedly providing an unexpected shift in near-term sentiment and led to a substantial USD dollar sell-off globally.

Also, the US PPI was weaker than expected which had the US dollar leaning slightly lower.

From the more critical picture scenario, overnight price action was a cause and effect of a myriad of events that included position trimming and a reversal of fortune for the Yuan bears.

ON the other trade war front, Mexico made headlines for seeing a “high chance” of a US-Canada compromise with Nafta, and that sent USDCAD to the 1.3000 level. Canadian Dollar has reacted favourably, and as we get down to the nitty-gritty and on any trilateral NAFTA announcement, the USDCAD could drop to the low 1.29’s in a heartbeat, but in the meantime, we could be in for more stop and go on headline risk.

Malaysian Ringgit

Higher oil prices and a weaker dollar and optimism of US-China trade relations does suggest a stronger opening for the Ringgit, but I suspect with investors in pins and needles ahead of the next 24 hours of risk. Traders will remain cautious knowing that there is that small matter of the Federal Reserve Board and the prospects of higher US interest rates which are probably are a considerable obstacle for Malaysian capital markets as higher yield in US bonds lessens the Malaysian bond appeal from foreign investors and naturally weighs on Ringgit sentiment.

Asia risk continues to wobble ( OANDA Trading Podcast 938Now)