Fed Rhetoric to Dictate Dollar Direction

Friday February 23: Five things the markets are talking about

Ahead of the U.S open, Euro equities are struggling for direction after a positive Asian session as the market debates the outlook for central banks ‘normalizing’ their policies.

Euro bonds have gained along with Treasuries, while the dollar steadies after yesterday’s drop.

With no U.S data on the docket today, the market will shift its attention towards a plethora of Fed speakers doing the rounds.

First up will be New York Fed Chief, William Dudley, who kicks off proceedings at 10:00 am EDT as he addresses the “Monetary Policy Forum” in Chicago.

Note: Dudley is making his final rounds of appearances before his retirement.

Appearing at the same conference shall be Boston Fed President Rosengren, who is one of the Fed’s more “dovish” members, but who is not a “voter” this year.

Ms. Mester, the President of the Cleveland Fed, will be speaking at the same conference this afternoon at 1:00 PM EDT. She is a “voter” this year and a “hawk.”

Finally, Mr. Williams, the President of the San Francisco Fed, a “voter” on the FOMC this year and generally considered a “moderate,” will be speaking to a group on the west coast on the economy and monetary policy at 03:40 pm EDT.

1. Stocks gain in thin trading

In Japan, stocks rallied in light trade as receding fears of more aggressive U.S interest rate hikes boosted sentiment. The benchmark Nikkei ended +0.7% higher. For the week, it was up +0.8%.The broader Topix gained +0.8%.

Down-under, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed +0.8% higher to cap its best week since Oct. In S. Korea, the Kospi had its best day since Oct. 10 rising +1.5%.

In Hong Kong, stocks rose overnight, capping a holiday-shortened trading week, as main indexes managed to recover much of the damage done during the recent rout. The Hang Seng index rose +1.0%, while the China Enterprises Index gained +1.7%.

In China, shares extended their rebound overnight, on sign’s that the Chinese government is once again supporting the stock market. The blue-chip CSI300 index ended up +0.5%, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained +0.6% in a holiday-shortened week. Both indexes have rebounded over +7% from a low print on Feb. 9.

Note: One of China’s largest insurance companies, Anbang Insurance Group, was seized as it violated laws and regulations that could seriously endanger the solvency of the company.

In Europe, regional indices trade mixed this morning with strength in the Italian MIB offset by weakness in the Spanish Ibex and FTSE.

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

Indices: Stoxx600 flat at 380.4, FTSE -0.2% at 7238, DAX +0.1% at 12470, CAC-40 flat at 5310, IBEX-35 -0.2% at 9858, FTSE MIB +0.4% at 22541, SMI -0.6% at 8917, S&P 500 Futures +0.3%

2. Crude oil prices rally, gold little changed

Crude oil prices remain better bid and range bound following the release of this week’s EIA inventory report, which showed a somewhat surprising decline in crude oil inventories on the order of -2.3m barrels compared to the average increase of +3.4m barrels in the previous five-years.

U.S oil production last week was steady at +10.27m bpd, a record level, while crude exports jumped to more than +2m bpd, close to a record +2.1m hit in October.

Crude bulls are beginning to ask if the “bull” rally could fade away as the U.S. oil production undermines the OPEC production cut commitments.

Note: The decline in crude inventories was particularly acute in Cushing. U.S oil refineries averaged approximately +15.8m bpd during the week ending February 16 or about -330k fewer bpd than last week previous.

Ahead of the U.S open, gold prices are little changed, but the ‘yellow metal’ remains on track for its sharpest weekly drop in nearly three-months. Spot gold is down -0.1% at +$1,329.16 an ounce.

Note: Prices gained +0.6% Thursday, their biggest one-day percentage rise since Feb. 14. The precious metal remains on track for its biggest weekly fall since the week ended Dec. 8, 2017.

3. Sovereign yields fall

Capital markets remains somewhat sceptical that the recent streak of data on wage growth, consumer prices and producer prices points to a rapid acceleration in inflation on either side of the Atlantic.

Data this morning from the Eurozone showed that consumer price growth slowed slightly last month (see below), but the core-measure edged a tad higher for the first time in months.

The ten-year U.S yield has eased, but remains atop of their 2014 high print, while those on German bunds dropped to the lowest since early January.

The yield on 10-year Treasuries decreased -2 bps to +2.90%. In Germany, the 10-year Bund yield has fallen -2 bps to +0.70%, the lowest in four weeks. In the U.K, the 10-year Gilt yield has declined -2 bps to +1.546%. In Japan, 10-year JGB’s yield has dipped less than -1 bps to +0.05%, the lowest in more than seven-weeks.

4. Dollar on the back foot

The U.S dollar is modestly weaker as the market is apparently ready to accept as a given that the Fed shall move at least three times this year to tighten monetary policy and to raise the overnight fed funds rate. The only question is whether the Fed shall move for a fourth time and by how much?

For the ‘single’ unit, it’s not only next weekend’s Italian general election (Mar 4) that poses a risk to the EUR (€1.2313), but also Sunday week is the same date that Germany’s SPD party members will vote on the proposed CDU/SPD coalition. The market is currently pricing in a +40-50% chance of a rejection, a result that could see Chancellor Angela Merkel step down.

Elsewhere, the pound (£1.3950) has edged a tad higher after U.K’s PM Theresa May won the backing of her divided Brexit “war cabinet” to ask for an ambitious trade deal with the E.U.

The SEK (€10.0388) is a tad softer outright as the market felt that the Riksbank Feb minutes this morning were on the softer side with concerns lingering over inflation and the exchange rate given the recent negative surprise with Jan CPI data.

5. Eurozone Jan CPI unrevised, but still a distance from target

Eurostat said consumer prices in the 19 countries sharing the ‘single unit’ fell -0.9% m/m in January for a +1.3% y/y increase.

Ex-food and energy, or core-inflation, fell -1.3% m/m and rallied +1.2% y/y, accelerating from +1.1% in the previous three months.

An even broader measure of core inflation, which in addition excludes alcohol and tobacco prices, also increased to +1.0% y/y in January from +0.9% in the previous three-months.

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Dollar Dives on Confidence, No Support from Fundamentals

Thursday February 15: Five things the markets are talking about

U.S bond yields have backed after an unexpected rise in U.S consumer inflation to its fastest pace in a year – the core’s +1.8% y/y print yesterday was higher than expected, but still below the Fed’s +2% target – making it more likely the Fed will raise interest rates three or more times this year. But, higher U.S rates have not been able to make the U.S dollar more attractive.

The dollar remains under pressure, building on yesterday’s slide in the Euro session, as the market seems to be losing confidence in the long-run state of the U.S economy.

The Dollar Index is down -0.5% and poised to log another three-year low if the decline persists as we head to U.S session open.

Without any new positive U.S demand or supply shocks that could change the landscape for the country’s economy, it’s easy to see the weak dollar story persisting.

For the dollar to rise with Treasury yields, which it has not been doing this year, there needs to be a return in relative confidence over the medium-term U.S.

Also yesterday, January retail sales fell unexpectedly in their biggest drop in 11- months, declining -0.3%, raising new concerns about the U.S economy as a weaker sale print will lead to lower expectations for Q1 GDP growth.

1. Stocks edge higher

The global stock rally is marching ahead as investors take in stride a jump in sovereign yields.

In Japan, the Nikkei posted a solid rise despite a stronger yen (¥106.31). The index ended up +1.5% overnight, after tumbling to a four-month low on Wednesday. The broader Topix advanced +1.0%.

Down-under, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rebounded +1.2% as the stock index’s energy component rallied +2.4% to reverse some of this month’s decline.

In a shortened session ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped +2%. Its rise of +5.4% this week has erased +50% of last week’s decline, its biggest fall in a decade.

Note: China, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam markets were all closed.

In Europe, regional indices continue their ascent higher, tracking another positive session in Asia and on Wall Street yesterday. The French CAC is +1% higher following earnings from a host of Index components. The Swiss SMI is underperforming after Nestle reported mixed results.

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

Indices: Stoxx600 +0.9% at 378.0, FTSE +0.7% at 7264, DAX +0.9% at 12455, CAC-40 +1.6% at 5248, IBEX-35 +1.3% at 9808, FTSE MIB +1.1% at 22687, SMI +0.2% at 8924, S&P 500 Futures +0.8%

2. Oil rises on Saudi commitment to withhold output, gold higher

Oil prices have rallied +1% overnight to extend their gains from yesterday’s session, lifted by a weak dollar and Saudi comments that it would rather see an undersupplied market than end a deal with OPEC.

Brent crude futures are at +$64.99 a barrel, up +63c, or +1%, extending Wednesday’s +2.6% climb. U.S West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures are up +83c, or +1.4%, from Wednesday’s close at +$61.43 a barrel, adding to its +2.4% gain.

Oil markets have got a push from comments by Saudi Arabia, voicing support for output cuts backed by OPEC and other producers including Russia since 2017 in an effort to tighten the market and prop up prices.

OPEC Secretary General Barkindo said that preliminary data for January points to high compliance of cuts by producers.

Ahead of the U.S open, gold prices have edged a tad higher as the dollar weakens and investors’ bank on the precious metal as a hedge against inflation. Spot gold is up +0.3% at +$1,354.34 an ounce and is heading for a fourth consecutive session of gains.

3. Sovereign yields rise

The yield on U.S 10-year Treasuries is nudging closer to +3%, continuing its steady advance from last year’s low of +2.01% in September.

Following this weeks U.S inflation data, and the potential implications that it has for the pace of Fed rate increases this year, the market will be closely scrutinize speeches later today by ECB policy makers to see whether the recent market turmoil will convince them to ease off plans to taper their bond purchases.

Note: Fed-fund futures show a +21% chance of at least four interest-rate increases by year-end, compared with +17% earlier this week.

In Germany, the 10-year Bund yield has gained +1 bps to +0.77%, the highest in more than two years on the biggest gain in a week.

4. Dollar dives again

The USD remains on the defensive despite higher U.S yields –the currency is usually highly correlated to short-term rates. Market seems to be reacting to concerns over weak U.S policies and/or diverging central bank policies as both the BoJ and ECB could begin tightening monetary policy.

The EUR/USD (€1.2467) probed the upper end this week’s and year range as the pair re-tested the €1.25 handle. Sterling (£1.4042) is a tad higher initially aided by reports that the E.U Commission was looking to ease the Brexit transition conditions. However, the E.U later refuted the reports. The pound is also finding support not only from the dollar’s weakness, but also a perceived higher probability that the current U.K government will serve its full five-year term.

USD/JPY (¥106.69) continues to trade atop of its 15-month lows as the pair probed below ¥106.20 overnight. Japan’s Finance Minister Aso comments that the yen’s strength is not abrupt enough to require intervention supported the yen’s rally.

In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin (BTC) is moving back toward $10,000, up +6% on the day at +$9,840 – the price had slumped some -70% in the past six weeks.

5. Crisis in the Northern Ireland

U.K PM Theresa May is facing a political crisis in Northern Ireland as the DUP, who are part of the government’s coalition, have stated there was “no prospect” of a power sharing deal and suggested a return to direct rule.

This crisis threatens to throw the Good Friday agreement into jeopardy and would be a significant blow to P.M May’s authority as she attempts to agree to a crucial Brexit deal over the Irish border.

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Will it be a Valentines Day Massacre for the Dollar?

Wednesday February 14: Five things the markets are talking about

Are financial markets justified going from a growth story to an inflation narrative?

Today’s U.S consumer price index (08:30 am) is being touted as one of the most significant economic releases in a number of years as capital markets seek to understand the recent plunges in global equities and sovereign bonds.

With investors already on edge, they are expected to renew this months convulsion on any sign that U.S inflation is exceeding expectations at a rate that may entice the Fed to quicken its plans for tightening monetary policy.

Already this month, after a stronger U.S non-farm payroll (NFP) print and wage numbers, investors have sent U.S Treasury yields aggressively higher and instigated a rout in equities that pushed them into the first correction in 18-months.

Note: Market expectations are looking for the core-CPI (ex-food and energy) to rise +1.7% in January y/y compared with the +1.8% increase in December. U.S retail sales are also out this morning and are expected to have increased for a fifth consecutive month.

A higher CPI will give the USD strength, lead to higher yields and lower equity prices, but a tepid headline print could cause more of a problem, especially with record short U.S 10-year treasury position and a market focusing on President Trump’s proposed budget and the rise in U.S twin deficits.

Note: Lunar New Year celebrations for the Year of the Dog begin, affecting China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Chinese mainland markets are closed Feb. 15-21.

1. Stocks mixed reaction

In Japan, the Nikkei share average dropped to a fresh four-month low overnight as investor sentiment was again sapped by worries about U.S inflation data due this morning. The Nikkei ended -0.4% lower, its lowest closing since early October. The broader Topix fell -0.8%.

Down-under, the Aussie S&P/ASX 200 index fell -0.3%, following a +0.6% rise on Tuesday. In S. Korea the Kospi closed out the overnight session up +1.1%, helped by a +3% jump in Samsung.

In Hong Kong, shares rebound sharply ahead of Lunar New Year holiday. Trading will resume on Feb 20. At close of trade, the Hang Seng index was up +2.27%, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose +2.14%.

In China, stocks rebounded overnight, but volumes were thin, as many traders had already left for the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday. Chinese markets will reopen on Feb. 22. At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was up + 0.46%, while the blue-chip CSI300 index was up +0.8%.

In Europe, regional indices trade higher across the board following a rebound in Wall Street yesterday and strength in U.S futures this morning.

U.S stocks are set to open in the black (+0.4%).

Indices: Stoxx600 +0.7% at 373.2, FTSE +0.7% at 7216, DAX +0.7% at 12286, CAC-40 +0.6% at 5139, IBEX-35 +0.5% at 9693, FTSE MIB +0.2% at 22071, SMI +0.9% at 8832, S&P 500 Futures -+0.4%

2. Oil dips on looming oversupply and weak U.S dollar, gold higher

Oil prices have dipped overnight, pressured by lingering oversupply including rising U.S inventories. However, the prospect of Saudi output dropping next month, economic growth hopes and a weaker U.S dollar all combined to limit losses.

Brent crude futures are at +$62.68 per barrel, down -4c. Brent was above +$70 a barrel earlier this month. U.S West Texas Intermediate crude futures are at +$59.06 a barrel, down -13c from yesterday’s close. WTI was trading above +$65 in early February.

On Wednesday, the Saudi energy ministry said that Saudi Aramco’s crude output in March would be -100k bpd below this month’s level while exports would be kept below +7m bpd.

Stateside, yesterday’s API report showed that U.S crude inventories rose by +3.9m barrels in the week to Feb. 9, to +422.4m.

Note: That is due to soaring U.S crude production, which has jumped by over +20% since mid-2016 to more than +10m bpd, surpassing that of top exporter Saudi Arabia and coming within reach of Russia, the world’s biggest producer.

Oil traders will take their cue from today’s EIA print (10:30 am EDT) and U.S inflation release.

Ahead of the U.S open, gold prices have rallied for a third consecutive session overnight to hit a one-week high, buoyed by a weaker U.S dollar, while the market awaits U.S inflation data for clues on the pace of future Fed rate increases. Spot gold is up +0.3% at +$1,332 an ounce.

3. Sovereign yields little changed

Earlier this morning, Sweden’s Central Bank (Riksbank) kept their repo rate unchanged at -0.5%. Deputy governor Henry Ohlsson voted to raise rates, but the central bank’s signals on inflation were more downbeat. The inflation forecast for this year was downgraded to +1.8% from +2%. The statement indicated that policy makers would start raising the rate in H2 of 2018. Policy makers stressed that was important not to raise the rate too early and was committed to stimulus to prevent inflation setbacks.

Elsewhere, fixed income seeks guidance from today’s U.S CPI release. The yield on U.S 10-year Treasuries fell less than -1 bps to +2.83%. In Germany, the 10-year Bund yield declined -2 bps to +0.74%, while in the U.K, the 10-year Gilt yield dipped -1 bps to +1.618%. In Japan, the 10-year JGB yield decreased -1 bps to +0.07%, the lowest in more than five weeks.

4. Dollar on soft footing

The USD remains on soft footing ahead of key Jan CPI data for the U.S.

The EUR/USD is steady, trading atop of the €1.2350 area after various European GDP data highlighted better economic growth prospects (see below).

USD/JPY tested ¥106.85 overnight for 15-month lows. The pair came off its worst level to approach 107.50 just ahead of the N.Y session after Japanese officials reiterated that they had no comments on forex levels.

In S. Africa, political optimism that President Zuma would resign has sent the ZAR currency to its best level in nearly two-years outright. The South African Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Maimane (opposition) has stated that its motion to dissolve parliament was processed by Speaker. USD/ZAR is at $11.85 ahead of the open stateside.

The Swedish krona has been volatile after the Riksbank interest rate decision. The krona briefly rose soon after the announcement, but has since pared those gains EUR/SEK last trades flat on the day at €9.9163, compared with €9.8952 before the decision.

5. Euro-zone economy ends 2017 on a high note

Note: There were a number of European GDP releases in the Euro session highlighting better economic growth prospects – Germany mixed; Netherlands beat and Italy a miss.

Industry helped drive the euro-zone’s +0.6% expansion in Q4. This morning’s ‘flash’ estimate of Q4 GDP is the second release and confirms that quarterly growth slowed a tad from Q3’s +0.7% to +0.6%.

There is no breakdown until the next release; however, expenditure evidence would suggest that weaker consumer spending growth was the main driver of the slowdown, while investment expanded after Q3’s contraction and net trade again made a positive contribution to growth.

Digging deeper, industry appears to have made a stronger contribution to GDP growth than in Q3. Following the consensus-beating +0.4% monthly rise in IP in December.

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FX and Equities Brace for a Bumpy Week

Monday February 12: Five things the markets are talking about

Investors are bracing for another bumpy ride this week after market volatility has returned with a vengeance, delivering the biggest rout in global stocks in a number of years.

Despite stocks getting a reprieve overnight, investor fears of interest rate hikes that started the market correction continues to persist.

Last week, the CBOE volatility index ended almost three times higher than its Jan. 26 level. The ten-year Treasury yield finished last week atop of where they started at +2.85%.

Stateside, this week’s inflation report – U.S consumer-price data on Wednesday – could be the catalyst for a major struggle between equities and bonds that triggered the initial market turbulence.

Elsewhere, while the coming week is absent of G10 central bank meetings, there are a number of important economic indicators to be released. In the U.K, consumer and producer price indexes and retail sales for last month should be a challenge for the pound (£1.3560). While in Japan, its first estimate of Q4 growth along with last month’s producer price index and December’s machinery orders (a proxy for capital spending) should be capable of moving the yen (¥108.70).

Later today, President Trump will deliver his 2019 budget blueprint.

1. Stocks breath a ‘sigh of relief’

Global equities overnight have found some temporary support while volatility remains elevated.

Note: In Japan, equity markets were closed due to a bank holiday Feb. 12, while Chinese New-Year celebrations for the ‘Year of the Dog’ begin (Feb 15-21) and follow across much of Asia, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Down-under, the Aussie S&P/ASX 200 was down -0.6%, weighed down by a fresh -1.6% drop in the energy sector, while in S. Korea, the Kospi rallied +0.4%.

China and Hong Kong stocks rebounded after last week’s aggressive sell-off. In China, the Shanghai Composite index was up +0.8%, while China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was up +1.3%. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index was up +0.71%.

In Europe, regional indices are trading sharply higher across the board following on from a sharp rebound on Wall Street Friday and positive Asian markets.

U.S stocks are set to open deep in the ‘black (+1.2%).

Indices: Stoxx600 +1.5% at 374.1, FTSE +1.2% at 7181, DAX +1.9% at 12336, CAC-40 +1.5% at 5153, IBEX-35 +1.5% at 9785, FTSE MIB +1.1% at 22404, SMI +1.8% at 8831, S&P 500 Futures +1.2%

2. Oil prices rally +1%, gold higher

Oil prices start the week better bid, recovering some of this month’s steep losses as global equities find some firm footing after last week sea of red.

Brent crude futures are at +$63.54 per barrel, up +75c, or +1.2% from Friday’s close. U.S West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures are at +$60.04 a barrel – that’s up +84c, or +1.4% from the close.

The stronger prices came after crude registered its biggest loss in two years last week as global stock markets slumped.

Nonetheless, rising U.S production continues to undermine the efforts led by the OPEC and Russia to tighten markets and prop up prices.

Note: U.S oil production has rallied above +10m bpd, overtaking top exporter Saudi Arabia and coming within reach of top producer Russia.

There are also strong signals the output will rally further. Data on Friday showed that U.S energy companies added 26 oilrigs looking for new production, boosting the count to +791, the highest since April 2015.

Ahead of the U.S open, gold prices have edged a tad higher as the dollar eased against G7 currency pairs after last week’s rally. Expect investors to take their cues from this weeks U.S inflation data. Spot gold is up +0.3% percent at +$1,320.19 an ounce.

Note: Prices touched their lowest since Jan. 4 at +$1,306.81 last week.

3. Sovereign yields creep higher

U.S and eurozone government bond yields have edged higher overnight, heading back towards multi-year highs on unease that a pick up in inflationary pressures globally and a strong domestic economy will encourage the ECB and the Fed to signal to be more aggressive than originally priced in at the beginning of the year.

In Europe, bond yields across the bloc were +1-2 bps higher in early trade, while in the U.S the 10-year note trades atop of its four-year highs.

In Germany, the 10-year Bund yield is up almost +2 bps at +0.77% and within sight of its nearly three-year high hit last week at around +0.81%. The yield on the U.S 10-year note has rallied +4 bps to +2.90%, the highest in more than four years, while in the U.K, the 10-year Gilt yield has gained +4 bps to +1.605%.

4. The U.S dollar’s quiet trading session

A broad-based flight to safe haven, such as U.S treasuries or the Japanese yen (¥108.70), has not happened to date despite the recent turmoil on equity markets.

The dollar ‘bulls’ are looking for the USD to rally this week, despite financial market volatility to remain high near-term as looser U.S fiscal policy and upside risk to U.S. inflation raises concerns.

Overnight, FX saw a quiet session ahead of some key inflation data this week (U.K Jan CPI Feb 13 and U.S Jan CPI on Feb 14).

Note: The recent pick up in global bond yields has been led stateside, while capital market wait for more details from President Trump’s budget and his infrastructure plan.

EUR/USD (€1.2272) is little changed, but holding below the psychological €1.23 handle. On the weekend, ECB’s Nowotny (Austria) reiterated the concerns about attempts by the U.S to politically influence the exchange rate.

GBP/USD (£1.3860) trades atop of Friday’s close despite the BoE having turned more rates ‘bullish’ last week. Dealers are now putting more weight on Brexit concerns as the U.K previously admitted that the growth potential of the economy had declined.

USD/JPY (¥108.70) is steady as Japanese markets were closed for a bank holiday.

5. Swiss inflation still super low

Data this morning showed that Swiss consumer prices slid -0.1% in January from December leaving the annual inflation rate at +0.7% and slightly below expectations.

Digging deeper, the decrease compared with the previous month is due in particular to the decrease in prices for outpatient hospital medical services. Prices for air transport also declined, along with prices for clothing and footwear, in particular because of sales. In contrast, prices for overnight stays in hotels, heating oil and electricity increased.

Inflation is still low despite the Swiss National Bank’s (SNB) efforts to raise it through negative interest rates and a willingness to intervene in currency markets.

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Equities Lose $5 Trillion as Bulls Slay Bulls

Friday February 9: Five things the markets are talking about

**Stateside, the House of Representatives has approved the bill to fund the U.S government and has raised spending limits over two-years, it is now sending the measure to President Trump.**

Investors should expect market turbulence to continue this year as pullbacks and volatility become more common in the wake of rising central bank interest rates and sovereign bond yields.

The growing consensus is that increasing market volatility should not be capable of derailing the underlying economic expansion or fundamentally dent risk assets, it does however make many things less predictable.

Ahead of the U.S open, European stocks have pared their decline and U.S stock futures have gained despite an Asian session seeing red, with China’s bourses tumbling the most in 24-months.

Elsewhere, Treasury yields have backed up to trade atop of their four-year highs as the ‘buck’ edged lower. Crude oil is heading towards its worst week in 12-months on concerns of over growing U.S supply and gold prices have temporarily stopped the bleeding.

On Tap: Canadian employment numbers are out at 08:30 am EDT. Is the market about to see a deep revision to the last two-months of massive job gain headlines?

1. Stocks Sea of red

In Japan, the Nikkei share average tumbled again overnight, mirroring Wall Street’s losses, with oil-related equities leading the broad declines as crude prices slumped. The Nikkei finished down -2.3%, bringing its weekly loss to -8.1%. The broader Topix was -1.9%, down -7.1% for the week.

Down-under, Aussie shares slumped to a near four-month low overnight hammered by renewed selling on worries of higher inflation and interest rates. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell -0.9%. The benchmark has declined -4.6% on the week, its biggest loss in over 24-months. In S. Korea, the Kospi index fell -1.8%.

In Hong Kong, stocks crumble and cap the biggest weekly fall since the global financial crisis. At close of trade, the Hang Seng index was down -3.1%, the Hang Seng China Enterprises index fell -3.87%. For the week, the Hang Seng tumbled -9.5%, the biggest weekly loss since October 2008, while the HSCE posted a weekly loss of -12.01%.

In China, stocks were crushed and suffered their worst day in almost two-years, with blue-chip led carnage dragging the markets into correction territory. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index tumbled -4.0% and the blue-chip CSI300 ended the day down -4.3%.

In Europe, regional indices trade mostly lower, but are off their session lows after a rebound in U.S futures ahead of the open stateside. Increased outlook for higher rates from the Bank of England (BoE) is weighing on the FTSE.

Indices: Stoxx600 -0.5% at 372.1, FTSE -0.4% at 7144, DAX -0.3% at 12221, CAC-40 -0.4% at 5129, IBEX-35 -0.7% at 9689, FTSE MIB -0.3% at 22407, SMI +0.1% at 8768, S&P 500 Futures +0.7%

2. Oil slides towards steep weekly loss as supply fears mount, gold higher

Oil prices are on track for their biggest weekly loss in 10-months after hitting new lows overnight after data this week showed U.S crude output had reached record highs and the North Sea’s largest crude pipeline reopened following an outage.

Brent futures are down -30c at +$64.51 a barrel. Yesterday, Brent fell -1.1% to its lowest close since Dec. 20. U.S West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude is down -42c at +$60.73 a barrel, having settled down -1% Thursday, its lowest close since Jan. 2.

Note: Brent futures have lost around -9% from their four-year January high print of +$71. Futures positions suggest that investors are sitting on the largest ‘bullish position in history.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) upped its 2018 average output forecast to +10.59m bpd, up +320k bpd from its last forecast 10-days ago.

Note: The output is now higher than the previous bpd record from 1970 and above that of top exporter Saudi Arabia.

Ahead of the U.S open, gold prices have edged a tad higher after hitting more than one-month lows yesterday, as the correction in equities drove investors towards safe-haven assets like gold. However, gold ‘bulls’ should expect a stronger U.S dollar and concerns over rising global interest rates to keep gains somewhat capped. Spot gold is up +0.1% at +$1,320.72 an ounce.

Note: On Thursday, gold prices touched their lowest since Jan. 4 at +$1,306.81 an ounce.

3. Equity pain brings relief to bonds

The Eurozone and U.S bond yields have edged a tad lower as renewed global stock selling has managed to lend some support to safe-haven debt markets.

Bond yields have been backing up aggressively all week as investors brace for an end to easy-monetary policies by G7 central banks.

Note: Yesterday’s more hawkish than expected Bank of England (BoE) was the latest catalyst to cause fixed income to steepen sovereign yield curves.

The yield on U.S 10-year Treasuries has decreased less than -1 bps to +2.84%. In Germany, the 10-year Bund yield fell -1 bps to +0.76%, while in the U.K the 10-year Gilt yield declined -2 bps to +1.617%.

4. Dollar jives and dips

Market risk aversion sentiment remains to the fore, but the G10 forex pairs continue to stay locked within their recent ranges. The U.S dollar bull, and they are dwindling; maintain that it’s the Fed who may be caught behind the curve on rates. Next week’s U.S CPI may very well put the ‘cat amongst the pigeons.’

Note: The greenback has caught a bid now that the House of Representatives has approved the bill to fund the U.S government.

Elsewhere, the EUR/USD (€1.2254) is little changed, the pound continues to benefit, albeit struggling after the U.S funding announcement, from the Bank of England saying on Thursday that it expected to “increase interest rates earlier and faster” than previously projected, seen by many to mean a likely May rate rise.

The Chinese currency is on track for its first weekly loss in nine-weeks as the yuan (¥6.3400) has weakened against the dollar in thin volume.

5. U.K industrial output falls on North Sea pipeline shutdown

Data this morning showed that U.K. manufacturing continued to grow in the final month of 2017, but overall industrial production fell by more than anticipated due to an emergency shutdown of a North Sea pipeline.

In monthly terms, U.K. factory output grew by +0.3%, in line with market expectations, the eighth consecutive month of growth.

However, overall industrial production, meanwhile, declined by -1.3%, +0.4% more than forecast.

Separately, the ONS said that the U.K.’s trade deficit widened in December, driven by increased oil imports and rising prices. The December goods trade deficit stood at -£13.6B – significantly wider than expected (-£11.8B e)

Forex heatmap

Beware: FX Space is Calm, but Appearances can be Deceiving

Wednesday February 7: Five things the markets are talking about

Risk-averse sentiment seems to have cooled for the time being as a number of the major indexes rebound in the overnight session.

Note: From a volatility standpoint, the forex market space appears tranquil when compared to other asset classes like equities or bonds.

The rebound in equity prices has spread to Europe, but capital markets remain on edge as Asian bourses pared their advance while U.S futures retreated.

Elsewhere, U.S Treasuries have rebounded after yesterday’s slump along with gold and crude prices. The dollar has edged a tad lower as the FX market showed limited reaction to the sharp drop in equities earlier this week.

In Germany, the CDU/CSU, SPD political parties are said to have agreed on a grand coalition treaty.

Up next: Monetary policy decisions are due this week in New Zealand (Today 03:00 pm EDT) and tomorrow in the U.K (07:00 am EDT).

1. Some stocks record small gains

In Japan, equities pared early gains to end a tad higher overnight in a volatile trading session, as investors remained wary of further losses as U.S futures slipped from their highs. The Nikkei 225 share average ended +0.2% higher, while the broader Topix gained +0.4%.

Down-under, Aussie shares rebounded after Tuesday’s biggest one-day drubbing in roughly 24-months. Broad-based buying helped the S&P/ASX 200 index end up +0.8%. The benchmark slumped -3.2% in the previous session. In S. Korea, the Kospi index dropped more than -2%.

In Hong Kong, equities reversed their earlier gains and closed at a five-week low overnight, led lower by material and real estate firms. At close of trade, the Hang Seng index was down -0.89%, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises index fell -2%.

In China, stocks slumped as developers and consumers fall. At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was down -1.81%, while the blue-chip CSI300 index was down -2.38%.

In Europe, regional bourses have rebounded from Monday’s sharp sell off, mirroring Wall Streets moves. However, U.S stock futures (-0.8%) are pointing lower once again as volatility continues.

Indices: Stoxx600 +0.8% at 375.9, FTSE +0.6% at 7187, DAX +0.7% at 12474, CAC-40 +0.6% at 5191, IBEX-35 +0.6% at 9869, FTSE MIB +0.8% at 22518, SMI +1.0% at 8926, S&P 500 Futures -0.8

2. Oil steadies, as lower inventories offset by higher U.S output, gold higher

Oil prices are holding steady, as the boost from a report showing a drop in U.S crude inventories last week was offset by evidence of soaring U.S output.

Brent crude futures are down -11c to +$66.75 a barrel, while U.S West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures have eased -12c to +$63.27 a barrel.

Data yesterday showed that U.S. crude inventories fell by -1.1m barrels in the week to Feb. 2 to +418.4m barrels, helping support the commodity.

However, rising U.S oil production continues to hang over the market. EIA data shows that U.S output has risen by +1m bpd in the last year to about +10m bpd.

Investors will take their cue from todays EIA crude stock report (10:30 am EDT).

Ahead of the U.S open, gold prices have rallied from their three-week low on bargain hunting. Spot gold is up +0.5% to +$1,331.23 per ounce. Prices fell over -1% yesterday to hit its lowest since Jan. 11 at +$1,319.96.

3. Sovereign yields fall

In the Euro session, southern European government bond yields have fallen sharply and have extended their recent outperformance on news of a coalition agreement in Germany viewed as positive for Euro integration.

Germany’s Chancellor Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD) have agreed “in principle” on a coalition deal. This will take Europe’s economic powerhouse a step closer to a new government. Germany’s 10-year Bund yield has climbed +1 bps to +0.70%.

Italian, Spanish and Portuguese 10-year government bond yields are -5 to -8 bps lower, and spreads over benchmark German Bunds have tightened.

Elsewhere, the yield on 10-year U.S Treasuries has dipped -4 bps to +2.76%, while in the U.K, the 10-year Gilt yield has advanced less than +1 bps to +1.523%.

Overnight, in India the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) statement noted that the decision to keep policy steady (+6%) was not unanimous (5-1) with a dissenter calling for +25 bps hike. It maintained its neutral monetary policy stance and reiterated to keep headline inflation close to +4% target on a durable basis.

4. Dollar has ‘little traction’

From a volatility standpoint, the forex market space appears tranquil when compared to other asset classes like equities or bonds. The U.S dollar continues to be confined to its recent ranges against G10 currency pairs.

The EUR/USD (€1.2346) is a tad lower despite market reports of a grand coalition agreement in Germany. The pair continued to find headwinds above the psychological €1.24 level.

GBP/USD (£1.3884) continues to face headwinds as various press outlets noted that the E.U is prepared to harden its stance during the transition phase of negotiations.

USD/JPY (¥109.07) remains the liveliest of currency pairs, as risk-on and risk-off continues to find capital market leverage.

Note: The Nikkei 225 index did see its initial +2% gain disappear in the final hour of trading.

5. German industrial output slips

Data from Europe this morning revels that Germany’s industrial output slipped at the end of 2017.

Industrial production in December fell -0.6% m/m, led by construction output. Market consensus was looking for a -0.5% decline.

Germany’s economics ministry said manufacturers’ order books signal vigorous production in the coming months. The trend is “clearly pointing up” after reporting a +3.8% monthly gain in manufacturing orders in December on Tuesday.

Forex heatmap

Equities Slump Deepens; Dollar Steady

Monday February 5: Five things the markets are talking about

Global stocks have extended their biggest decline in two-years overnight while the ‘big’ dollar steadies outright against G10 currency pairs. Sovereign treasury yields continue to creep higher, while crude oil prices again come under pressure as U.S explorers raised the number of rigs drilling for crude to the most since August.

This week is again dominated by monetary policy decision with four central banks meetings in the coming sessions – today, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), Wednesday, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and its ‘super’ Thursday for the Bank of England (BoE) as it also publishes its quarterly inflation report.

Other data releases will focus on December industrial production (IP) and January composite PMI’s. China will release January data for its merchandise trade balance and its consumer and producer price indexes. North of the U.S border, Canada will close out the week reporting its January labor force survey. It’s December international trade balance is reported on Tuesday.

1. Stocks see red

In Japan, the Nikkei share average fell sharply on overnight as fear that U.S inflation may be finally gathering pace pound global equities. The Nikkei tumbled -2.5%, its biggest one-day drop since Nov 9, 2016, when President Trump won the U.S election. The broader Topix slumped -2.2%.

Down-under, Aussie shares fell overnight, dragged down by financial and materials. The S&P/ASX 200 index slid -1.6% ahead of Wednesday’s Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) rate decision.

In Hong Kong, stocks ended lower on overnight, but recouped much of their earlier losses sparked by Friday’s slide on Wall Street. The Hang Seng index slumped -1.09%, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises index fell -0.43%.

In China, stocks bucked the region’s tumble as the Shanghai Composite index ended the session up +0.73%, while the blue-chip CSI300 Index also reversed its earlier losses, closing up +0.1%.

In Europe, regional indices are trading lower across the board, but off the session lows as markets have faded a large part of the earlier move lower, on the back of a slight pullback in Euro Bond yields as well as a bounce in U.S futures.

U.S stocks are expected to open little changed.

Indices: Stoxx600 -1.0% at 384.1, FTSE -1.0% at 7366, DAX -0.5% at 12715, CAC-40 -0.9% at 5317 , IBEX-35 -0.6% at 10145, FTSE MIB -0.7% at 23048 , SMI -1.0% at 9132, S&P 500 Futures flat

2. Oil trades atop one-month lows, gold prices higher

Oil prices are under pressure for a second consecutive session overnight, as rising U.S output and a weaker physical market added to the pressure from a widespread decline across equities and commodities.

Brent crude futures are down -36c at +$68.22 a barrel, while U.S West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude has fallen -13c to +$65.32.

Oil is caught up in the markets general risk-off move, not helped the strength of the U.S dollar in the past two trading sessions.

Adding to the pressure on oil, which hit its highest price in nearly three-years in January, has been evidence of rising U.S crude production, which could threaten OPES’s efforts to support prices.

Data from the U.S government last week showed that output climbed above +10m bpd in November for the first time in nearly fifty-years, as shale drillers expanded operations.

Ahead of the U.S open, gold prices have inched higher as declining equities lend support to the yellow metal even though robust U.S. jobs data potentially increased the chances of more interest rate hikes this year. Spot gold is up +0.1% at +$1,334.23 per ounce, after declining -1.2% on Friday in its biggest one-day fall since early December.

3. Sovereign yields continue to back up

Investors on both sides of the Atlantic are dumping government debt, but for different reasons. In the U.S, investors see more inflation coming; while in the eurozone, they see stronger economic growth.

On Friday, the 10-year Treasury yield closed at +2.852%, the highest yield in two-years, compared with +2.410% at the start of the year. German 10-year sovereign Bunds have edged up to +0.701% from 0.430% over the same period.

Note: Inflation-linked Treasuries’ (TIP’s) show that almost two-thirds of the U.S bond selloff that started at the beginning of December is explained by inflation expectations.

Elsewhere, the RBA looks set to continue lagging the trend toward higher interest rates globally. It’s first policy meeting this year on Tuesday will likely see the RBA’s official cash rate steady at +1.5%, with interest in whether its guidance will be more upbeat reflecting a stronger job market.

Aussie policy makers continue to face the problem of weak wages growth, soft inflation reads and an elevated AUD (A$0.7934). Forecasts for the first interest rate hike have been pushed back lately.

4. Dollar under constant pressure

The U.S. dollar remains relatively contained after rebounding at the end of last week, when a strong non-farm payroll (NFP) suggested the currency’s weakness might have gone too far, too fast.

The EUR/USD (€1.2426) has managed to eek out a small gain overnight as optimism continued to flow about a grand coalition in Germany – political parties have said to seek a grand coalition by tomorrow (Feb 6th).

GBP/USD (£1.4102) is little changed despite the Jan. U.K PMI Services reading missed expectations (see below).

USD/JPY ‘s strong correlation with U.S interest yields seems to have broken down as the pair tested ¥109.80 in the session overnight despite the BoJ’s rhetoric that it would continue advocating an easy monetary policy.

Bitcoin (BTC) is down -6.7% at $7,637.

5. U.K services expansion slides to 16-month low, Europe expands

In the U.K, services PMI fell to 53, from 54.2 in December, below the expected consensus for an increase to 54.5. This morning’s data is now following weaker-than-expected manufacturing and construction PMI data last week.

Note: This January slowdown pushes the all-sector PMI into ‘dovish’ territory as far as the Bank of England (BoE) monetary policy is concerned. The BoE announces its latest interest rate decision and inflation report on Thursday.

Elsewhere, the composite PMI for the eurozone in January was revised up to 58.8 from 58.6, hitting its highest level in a dozen years and further proof that the eurozone economy started this year on a very strong footing.

At a national level, Italy stood out, recording its highest reading in a dozen years, as businesses hired at the fastest pace in 17-years.

Note: The ECB will be encouraged to expect acceleration in wages growth that would help it meet its inflation target in the coming years.

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What to look for in U.S payrolls (NFP)

Friday February 2: Five things the markets are talking about

The U.S labor department is expected to report that 2018 has kicked off with a pickup in hiring.

Market consensus is looking for non-farm payrolls (NFP) to rise by +180k last month, while the unemployment rate continued to hover atop of +4.1% – its lowest level in 18-years.

What to look for in today’s payrolls report:

More hiring

The pace of job creation has been slowing as the U.S economy encroaches on full employment. Employers added an average of +171k jobs a month in 2017. After a slightly softer December (+148k), the market expects todays jobs report to rebound to around its recent trend.

Steady unemployment

The U.S unemployment rate is expected to remain atop of +4.1% last month. Fed officials continue to monitor domestic wage and price pressures, and a falling unemployment rate supports their expectation that tighter labor market will eventually boost inflation.

Note: Fed policy makers’ median projection in December saw the jobless rate dipping to +3.9% by late 2018.

Wage Growth

The biggest surprise in 2017 was that U.S wage gains actually softened after two consecutive years of gains. Average hourly earnings for private-sector workers were up +2.5% in December y/y, but down from +2.9% annual growth at the end of 2016. Minimum-wage increases in many states should help boost earnings for January.

Housekeeping matters

As is typical for the January jobs report, today’s release will include a number of routine changes from the Labor Department. New population controls mean the household-survey figures for the number of employed and unemployed will not be directly comparable between December and January.

The payrolls data will include an annual benchmark revision – roughly +4% of payroll employment will be “reclassified” by industry due to the adoption of updated classifications.

1. Stocks see red as yields back up

In Japan, the Nikkei share average fell overnight on weakness in most sectors, with banking stocks down on worries that JGB bond yields would be kept low after the BoJ conducted a special bond purchase operation to curb rising yields. The Nikkei dropped -0.9% while the broader Topix shred -0.3%.

Down-under, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose +0.5%, supported by higher commodity prices. In S. Korea, the Kospi index declined -1.7%.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index ended Friday marginally down, but posted its biggest weekly loss in two-months, pressured by rising sovereign bond yields. At the close, the Hang Seng index was down -0.12%, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose +0.78%. For the week, the Hang Seng lost -1.7%.

In China, stocks reversed earlier losses and ended higher on Friday, supported by gains in resources firms. Nevertheless, regional indexes still posted hefty weekly drops, led by the Shanghai benchmark index, which posted its worst week in 14-months. At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was up +0.5%, while the blue-chip CSI300 index was up +0.6%.

In Europe, regional indices continue to trade lower with the German DAX registering another -1% decline as rising sovereign rates and mixed earnings continue to weigh on equity markets.

U.S stocks are set to open in the “red” (-0.7%).

Indices: Stoxx600 -0.9% at 389.8, FTSE -0.3% at 7466, DAX -1.4% at 12822, CAC-40 -1.2% at 5390, IBEX-35 -1.3% at 10264, FTSE MIB -1.1% at 23279, SMI -0.7% at 9229, S&P 500 Futures -0.7%

2. Oil prices extend gains on compliance with output cuts, gold lower

Crude oil prices are rallying for a third consecutive session after a survey showed strong compliance with output cuts by OPEC and others including Russia. It’s currently offsetting market concerns about surging U.S production.

Brent futures are up +24c, or +0.3% at +$69.89 a barrel, while U.S West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude is up +33c or +0.5% at +$66.13 a barrel.

A Reuters survey this week showed that production by OPEC rose in January from an eight-month low as higher output from Nigeria and Saudi Arabia offset a further decline in Venezuela and strong compliance with a supply reduction pact.

Stateside, an EIA report Wednesday disclosed that U.S crude output surpassed +10m bpd in November for the first time in nearly half a century.

Gold has edged lower ahead of the U.S open, under pressure from a stronger USD outright. Investors will take their cues fro today’s NFP report. Spot gold is down -0.3% at +$1,345.22 an ounce.

3. Global bond yields break higher

Overnight, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) again conducted a fixed-rate JGB purchase operation (the fourth time performed). Japanese officials offered to buy unlimited amount of 10-year JGB’s at +0.11% in an attempt to control their yield curve. The BoJ said its action to cap rises in bond yields was consistent with the central bank’s current easy monetary policy.

The market is also taking a look at bund yields – higher yields stateside seem justified, given expectations of further rate increases by the Fed, but rising yields in German Bunds seem to be ‘out of sync’ with ECB policy. The ECB is set to remain a “net” buyer of bonds until at least September 2018 and isn’t expected to raise policy rates until 2019.

The yield on U.S 10-years has gained less than +1 bps to +2.79%, the highest in almost four-years. In Germany, the 10-year Bund yield has climbed +2 bps to +0.74 percent, the highest in more than two-years, while in the U.K, the 10-year Gilt yield increased +5% bps to +1.531%, its highest yield in 21-months. In Japan, the 10-year yield has declined -1 bps to +0.086%, the largest drop in 11-weeks.

4. Dollar comes up for air

With higher sovereign bond yields supporting a number of higher currency values, both the ECB and BoJ are beginning to show increasing uneasiness around the recent appreciation of their respective currencies (€1.25 and ¥109.87). The somewhat ‘outlier’ to higher domestic yield has been the USD – it cannot seem to rely on rate and yield differential for solid support.

EUR/USD continued to probe the psychological €1.25 level area on removal of stimulus expectations, but the ‘single’ unit seems unable to sustain any momentum through this key resistance point. ECB officials have upped its rhetoric on volatility concerns. EUR bulls continue to look at pullbacks to add to current ‘long’ positions.

The BoJ’s commitment of keeping its 10-year yield fixed despite rising upward pressure on global yields might allow 10-year yield differentials to move against the JPY. For now, JPY is confined to its ¥107-112 range.

GBP (£1.4216) is trading softer ahead of the U.S open after a weaker U.K Construction PMI print (see below) and housing activity contracting for the first time in 17-months.

Last December, bitcoin appeared to be marching toward $20,000/coin after climbing as high as $19,511 on Dec. 18. Since then, the cryptocurrency (BTC) has plummeted -56%, leaving it just above $8,000.

5. UK Construction PMI falters

Data this morning showed that U.K activity in the construction sector eased to a four-month low at the start of this year.

Markit’s U.K’s purchasing managers’ index for the construction industry fell to 50.2 in January, down from 52.2 a month earlier – the figure was just above the 50.0 no-change mark, suggesting only a fractional rate of growth.

Digging deeper, concerns about the U.K.’s economic outlook has weighed on new orders, with residential building activity contracting. Cost pressures remain intense, fuelled by shortages of input materials and high costs for imported products.

Forex heatmap

Dollar Support Lukewarm despite Fed’s ‘Hawkish-hold’

Thursday February 1: Five things the markets are talking about

Global equities have kicked off the new month mostly in the ‘black’ as capital market participants have decided that the outlook for growth and corporate earnings remains strong enough to suppress concerns about the back up in sovereign yields.

U.S Treasuries have resumed their slide, while the ‘mighty’ U.S dollar trades steady against G10 currency pairs.

Yesterday, as expected, the Fed held the overnight interest rate target range steady between +1.25 – 1.50% in a unanimous vote (9-0). In their accompanying statement, policy makers noted that the U.S labor market had continued to strengthen and they dropped the language on expecting inflation to remain below +2% in near-term. In fact, the statement made few changes from December and affirmed a solid outlook for U.S. growth. It offered little sign that officials’ thinking about the economy has changed materially.

Note: Next up is tomorrow’s U.S non-farm payroll report (NFP), where U.S employers are supposed to have added more jobs in January than a month earlier (+180k vs. +148k).

1. Stocks get the green light

In Japan, the Nikkei share average rallied overnight, rebounding from a six-day losing streak and pushed most sectors into positive territory, as a weaker yen and upbeat corporate earnings drove the benchmark index higher. The Nikkei rose +1.7%, while the broader Topix jumped +1.8%.

Down-under, Australian shares rose overnight, supported by strong gains in mining stocks and financials. The S&P/ASX 200 index climbed +0.9%. In S. Korea, the Kospi index dropped -0.05%.

In Hong Kong, shares weaken as energy and finance stocks fall. At close of trade, the Hang Seng index was down -0.75%, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises index fell -0.94%.

In China, equities were also under pressure, as investors dumped firms, which are expected to report weaker 2017 earnings, and took profits ahead of the upcoming long Lunar New Year holidays. At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was down -0.99% losing ground for the fourth consecutive session. The blue-chip CSI300 index was down -0.71%.

Note: Data overnight showed that growth in China’s manufacturing sector remained solid last month, beating market expectations, as new business led factories to raise output at the start of 2018.

In Europe, regional indices trade higher across the board and in tandem with U.S futures, as corporate earnings support the move higher.

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

Indices: Stoxx600 +0.4% at 397.1, FTSE +0.1% at 7540, DAX +0.4% at 13237, CAC-40 +0.5% at 5507, IBEX-35 +0.5% at 10507, FTSE MIB +0.9% at 23717, SMI +0.4% at 9376, S&P 500 Futures +0.2%

2. Oil rises as OPEC compliance trump’s U.S output, gold lower

Oil is better bid after a survey showed OPEC’s commitment to its supply cuts remains in place, even as U.S production topped +10m bpd for the first time in 48-years.

Brent crude futures are up +49c at +$69.38 a barrel, while WTI crude for March delivery rose +45c to +$65.18 a barrel.

Note: Brent crude rallied +3.3% in January – it was the strongest start to a New Year for five-years.

The week’s EIA report showed the biggest increase in crude oil stocks in 11-months, a rise of +6.8m barrels.

For crude bears, they now have to gage how much U.S production will increase as prices rise.

Ahead of the U.S open, gold prices are under pressure after the Fed left interest rates unchanged, but hinted at hikes later this year. The market would also prefer to take his cues from tomorrow’s U.S payrolls report. Spot gold is down -0.4% at +$1,339.71 per ounce. Yesterday, it touched +$1,332.30 an ounce, its lowest print since Jan. 23.

3. Sovereign yields continue to back up

Yesterday’s FOMC meeting was the last attended by Chair Janet Yellen before she turns over the reins to her successor, Fed Governor Jerome Powell.

Governor Powell will begin his term as chairman on Saturday, and is scheduled to be sworn-in as chairman of the Fed board of governors on Monday.

With the Fed’s three hike ‘dot-plot,’ the odds for a rate increase at the March 20-21 meeting remains at around +78%.

However, yesterday’s FOMC statement hinted that officials might favour more than three-rate increases this year because it offered slightly more conviction that inflation would move higher in 2018.

The yield on U.S 10-year Treasuries has backed up +3 bps to +2.73%, the highest in almost four-years. In Germany, the 10-year Bund yield has climbed +2 bps to +0.72%, the highest in more than two-years, while the U.K’s 10-year Gilt yield has advanced to +1.525%, its highest yield in 21-months.

4. Dollar support remains lukewarm

The USD has ebbed and flowed in the overnight session on market belief that yesterday’s Fed ‘hawkish hold’ has very much been priced-in.

EUR/USD (€1.2433) is back above the psychological €1.24 handle as Euro manufacturing PMI’s this morning support the region’s recovery story.

Note: Beats: France, Swiss, Norway, Czech; misses: Germany, U.K, Spain, Sweden, Poland and in-line: Euro-Zone and Russia.

The single unit is also getting some passive support that eurozone inflation data may have bottomed.

GBP is higher by +0.5% at £1.4245, atop of its strongest level in 19-months, supported by the markets optimism on Brexit talks. Some fixed income dealers are bringing forward their forecast for the next Bank of England (BoE) rate hike to May. It’s conditional on a Brexit transitional agreement next month.

USD/JPY (¥109.73) trades at its overnight highs, underpinned by the Fed’s ‘hawkish-hold’ statement. The pair seems to be locked in a ¥107-110 range.

And following a horrid January for crypto currencies, Bitcoin (BTC) has again edged lower, trading below the psychological $10,000, down-6% at $9,605.

5. U.K manufacturing growth slows

Data this morning revealed an unexpected drop in January U.K manufacturing PMI to a seven-month low of 55.3, down from 56.2 in December and below the market consensus for 56.5.

Digging deeper, Markit (which compiles the survey) said that the reading remained “well above its long-run average of 51.7” and still showed a strengthening in new export order inflows.

Today’s report also revealed a sharp rise in inflationary pressures, with purchase prices rising at the fastest rate in 11-months.

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