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

Bring on the FOMC !

FOMC 

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

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

Dovish tail risk

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

What else in G-10?

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

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

Brexit Blues 

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

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

Sterling Down on May Brexit Warnings

OANDA Market Insights podcast (episode 32)

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

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

China 

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

USD Price Action 

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

Currencies in focus next week

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

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

Oil markets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

A bullish confluence in oil markets

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices slipped on Thursday, although U.S. crude remained above $70 a barrel on the back of falling crude inventories and Brent was still close to $80 because of looming sanctions against Iran.

Brent rose above $80 per barrel the previous session for the first time since May, spurred by expectations that U.S. sanctions against Iran’s oil exports, which will start in November, will tighten global markets.

U.S. crude inventories C-STK-T-EIA fell 5.3 million barrels in the week to Sept. 7 to 396.2 million barrels, the lowest since February 2015 and about 3 per cent below the five-year average for this time of year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its weekly report on Wednesday.

Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda in Singapore, said crude inventory data for last week showed “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.”

U.S. crude oil production C-OUT-T-EIA fell by 100,000 barrels per day (bpd), to 10.9 million bpd.

Innes said the slight dips on Thursday came as rising refined product inventories, which the EIA also reported, “slightly dampened market overexuberance” as it indicated that U.S. fuel demand may be weakening.

Overall, however, Innes said “the confluence of bullish near-term signals (of) Iran sanctions and sinking U.S. crude inventories should keep oil prices supported for the remainder of the week.”

 

Reuters

Channel one’s confidence

Channel  one’s confidence

USDJPY and Emerging markets traded with a more positive tone overnight, although EM is hardly out of the weeds just yet, as US equity markets ignored a shaky start to finish higher on the day led by energy and telecom sectors.

When the S&P markets rally in the face of higher global yield and a slightly steeper US yield curve, only good should come out of this for investors. Indeed, this price action does suggest we could be in for a bullish extension in US equities over the near term. The buoyant US markets continue to benefit from the run of very robust US economy and should continue to do so as the US economy is firing on all cylinders. Forget that September blues nonsense the markets are readying to take off again!!

Oil Markets

The combination bullish market calls, Iranian sanction developments, preparation for Hurricane Florence were all positive for oil prices overnight and the API data added to the momentum in late NY trade.

The American Petroleum Institute figures for the week ended September 7 showed a much larger-than-expected 8.6 million barrels and WTI had reacted positively to the release on this relatively dramatic decline versus analyst’s expectation. Even Cushing which everyone was fretting about early in the week due to pipeline bottlenecks showed a decrease of -1.17 million barrels.
But the survey did show larger-than-expected 5.8 million barrels build in distillate inventories and a larger-than-expected 2.1 million increases in gasoline stocks. So, we see the drop in crude stocks offset by rising oil products suggesting inventory runs are high.

So, the modest uptick in WTI prices on the headline remains in line with the change in total petroleum inventories.

But energy markets have been supported overnight as there was much more focus on Hurricane Florence than markets had priced in, indeed a case of batten down the hatches along the Colonial Pipeline.

But its Brent that continues to drive sentiment as the premium to WTI has widened out to more than $10 per barrel as concerns of potential supply outages on the back of reduced Iranian imports are driving the global benchmark higher while WTI has been held back by the prospects seasonal builds ahead of the maintenance period.

The Iran sanctions are the most dominating driver and will continue to be so, but with the Whitehouse hawks circling above, the administration issued a stern warning that US will hold Iran accountable for any attacks by proxies in Iraq that cause injury to Americans or damage to US facilities. So again, the middle east risk embers are smouldering and reading to ignite. Typically, escalation and provocations in the Middle East tend to push prices higher, so worth watching this development.

Gold Markets

Gold caught a remarkable strong tailwind overnight as hedgers were in covering possible tail risks prospects for escalating U.S.-China trade tensions. But those constantly smouldering Middle East embers could ignite into raging geopolitical firestorm after the Whitehouse warned that if Iran or their proxies threaten any American assets in the region, there will be a severe price to pay.

However, higher US yields should remain US dollar supportive and does continue to suggest upticks to $1200 will stay fleeting as gold bears will add to shorts at this crucial level. But it will be Thursday’s US CPI and Friday’s retail sales data that will provide the next big test for this bearish theory.

Asia Markets
South Asia market risk is an entirely different kettle of fish, and “when in doubt stay out” as there are few clear-cut risk decisions on the back of the looming China tariffs, tech sector woes and likely slowdown in China. One look at the Hang Seng price action should be enough to scare even the most prominent contrarians.

However, Emerging Market moves are less idiosyncratic and becoming more a function of global risk sentiment. Which is encouraging as we could see all regional markets, even those under extreme currency pressure could benefit immensely from the subtle optimism around global trade disputes being resolved. But its a matter of how to channel one’s confidence in the appropriate manner in these under-owned conditions based after the recent waves of regional capital outflows. Be nimble!!

Currency Markets

Canadian Dollar
Patience is a virtue and even more so when trading the Canadian dollar which is best done from a playbook. The Loonie is still at the negotiating table but with US President Trump saying the talks are going “very well. The latest Reuters headline suggesting Canada is ready to offer limited access to the Canadian dairy market to the US as a concession. Goodwill concessions are apparent, and the 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.

Australian Dollar

Not too unexpected the AUDUSD is putting up a staunch defence at the .71 levels but this could be little more than due oversold conditions as some traders are looking to play a contrarian’s hand as any weakness in US data could see a much greater outsized move on short squeeze than sell off on reliable data. I try to avoid this type of “fools logic “, but it does play a part in the thought process, but with NAB business confidence falling to a two-year low compounding all the negatives from last week, I fully expect the Aussie to bleed from a differential perspective alone with a test of .7000 in the offing. If not for the reprieve from trader’s insatiable demand from buying USDCNH overnight, we could be trading nearer the .7075 levels today in my opinion.

The Euro
The biggest issue is we seem to be doing the same thing over and over. And the EURUSD is doing little more than testing the near-term ranges. Participation is predictably low as the EURUSD remains mired in the ” no trade zone” straddling the 1.1600 level.

Japanese Yen
We should test the 112.00 if risk remains intact, but the big question is, however, do you want to own USDJPY risk at this level. Risk sentiment is turning positive every so gradually while US yields continue to move higher, we could push through that 112.00 on a positive CPI print.

EM

South African Rand

Nothing like a ZAR rally to signal the market has turned on the risk lights back on. Although the test of 15.00 was faded, the market has been holding on these gains on the back of this week positive Brexit headline. Former colonies have enjoyed favourable terms trade with the UK, and Brexit progress will be viewed in a favourable light.

The Malaysian Ringgit

Trade wars are one of the most significant regional factors, and while an escalation will negatively impact the MYR, the currency is much better insulated from terms or trade shifts other ASEAN countries will feel due to Oil exports. Next to that is the negative impact of higher US yields. So, expect the market to open mixed today with US Treasury yields higher, and trade war fears still front and centres.

Markets underpricing China risk( OANDA Trading Podcast BFM Kuala Lumpur 89.9)

Stephen Innes, Head of Trading in Asia-Pacific, OANDA, Singapore
Stephen reckons markets are “seriously underpricing economic risk in China”.

Economists suspect the direct impact from the two sets of US tariffs aimed at Beijing could drag China’s GDP down by 0.3 percentage points in the longer run.

Stephen also shares some insights on how China can contain the adverse impact from its ongoing trade war with the US.

We also discuss the market expectation on China’s 2Q GDP that is scheduled to be out today.

BFM Radio Kuala Lumpur 89.9

Trade ,earnings ,teapots and the US dollar

Trade, earnings, teapots and the US dollar

Strong domestic growth and on-target core inflation continue to suggest the US economy is in that happy place,  but this week’s US economic data will begin to shape market expectations for Q2.

And equally significant will be Fed Chair Powell’s semi-annual monetary policy testimony before the Senate Banking (Tuesday) and House Financial Services (Wednesday) Committees. We should expect Powell testimony to reflect the minutes of the June 13 meeting broadly. But members did note the increased risk to their base economic outlook from trade wars, but since then, President Trump has tabled a review of tariffs on $200billion of additional goods from China. But of course, this escalation was widely telegraphed by the Trump administration, which suggests the FOMC trade concerns were based on the 200 billion in trade war escalation anyway.

However, the new tariffs would not be put in place before the end of August and could be even further kicked down the road as the US and China seek to a secure a lasting bilateral trade based on freer and fairer policy.

But, should the US eventually move ahead with these tariffs, China could not escalate on an even basis given China only imports roughly 130 billion annually from the US suggesting they would either need to levy higher trade tariffs on a small number of selected products or take the least attractive measure of tactically weakening the Yuan. Hence the lack of immediate response from China, as administrators will be ultra-careful not to send the wrong signal triggering another market melt in China.

One does get the sense that investors believe this latest threat from Trump will bring back both parties to the negotiating table and yield some form of compromise.

Economic Union ( EU) chiefs Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk will take their anti-Trump trade roadshow to China and Japan hoping to preserve some semblance of free trade world order. And as opposed to Trumps fire and fury style of negotiation, there’s excepted to be fewer fireworks although the EU leader will press China for free access to China markets while discussing Chinas propensity to dump cheap steel on EU markets.

But absent continued headline risk from trade war this week, desk noise should be a few decibels lower, but it will be far from a walk in the park, with the Trump-Putin still tentatively set for Monday despite Friday “coincidental” set of indictments of 12 Russian military intelligence in Mueller gate. While this isn’t great news for the US-Russian relations unless the citations reveal an actual smoking gun,  don’t expect too much to be focused on this despite the abundance of partisan political posturing.

US markets

What trade war? It is clear as a bell the US economy is on fire. Soaring business confidence and corporate tax cuts are fuelling surging company profits, but more significantly for the prolonged effect, Americans are returning to the works force end masse.

So, despite all the trade war bluster, US markets continue to grind higher, even with numerous trade headwinds. Indeed, the only thing unlucky about Friday the 13th was for equity market bears.

But earnings season is always a bit of a wildcard, and with investors hoping for a  contiued buying binges. They could be a bit disappointed given that sentiment continues to run at peak optimism, even more so, if markets start dialling in more trade war pessimism to the calculus.

Indeed, this week’s key US economic data will be so crucial in shaping investor expectations for Q2, especially around the retail sales data.

Among the companies due to report are Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, Morgan Stanley and Microsoft.

Oil markets

The oil market consolidated into the weekend as traders were still rehashing the myriad of developments which saw prices head sharply lower last week. The reported increase in Libyan crude oil production was perhaps the most significant fundamental eye-opener of the week, but then Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak chimed in about a possible supply increase and then stated Russia might swap goods for Iranian oil, a move that would severely dent the impact of US sanctions.

Also, the decline in China’s crude oil imports for June raised a few eyebrows on Friday and did weigh negatively on the demand side of the equation. But given that  China crude import numbers are highly volatile, the markets tend to sidestep a one-off print. But looking under the hood, Chinas crude imports fell -12.04% month on month to 34.35 m tons last month, its lowest level since December. Reduced imports were likely due to China ordering at least five independent refineries (teapots) in Shandong to cut run rates ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit to be held the port city of Qingdao on June 9-10. So, it possible the teapots will gear up again on additional quotas.

Despite last week’s plethora of bearish signals Oil prices rallied towards $71.50 during Friday’s  New York session, but the rally was cut short by media headlines suggesting ” “The Trump administration is actively considering tapping into the nation’s emergency supply of crude oil as political pressure grows to rein in rising gasoline prices before the mid-term congressional elections”

While trade war rhetoric should subside this week and could be a possible plus for oil prices, with the Trump administration actively considering tapping into the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, it could weight negatively on trader’s cerebral side of the oil price equation.

Gold Markets

The precious space continues to hold critical support at $1,240, but the gold complex remains under pressure. US equity markets continue to trade well triggering few if any defensive allocations into Gold as ETF flows have remained muted lately. With sluggish demand for precious metals and the USD on solid footing, gold prices will stay pressured lower for the foreseeable future as gold has wholly lost its glittering appeal in this enduringly bullish equity and USD environment.

Currency Markets

JPY
Massive move in USDJPY last week which caught everyone flat-footed given the volumes turned and the breadth of the movement. The break above the yearly highs does suggest this move has more ways to run although during Friday trade flows were much more balanced perhaps reflecting the softer Michigan Sentiment index and the negative US political fallout for Mueller gate escalations. USDJPY is signalling the most significant break out in years, and the long USDJPY is a position severely under-owned which suggests the pair will explode higher on any positive news. One can only imagine spot will trade if an intense wave of risk on kicks in or trade war fizzles out.
Only a week ago we were lamenting on how UDJPY was the low beta range trade so what the heck changed. For one, equity markets are surging, 2 year US yields are moving higher, but that only paints a corner of the picture.

1) There is the fair value argument that USDJPY is undervalued supported by interest rate differentials

2) Trade war fears are good for the US dollar because it could shrink the trade deficit when they become competitive enough. Primarily, if the Trump administration puts the automobile tariff in practice, it will exert a fatal blow to Japan’s economy and an already weakening trade balance, which will act as a JPY negative eventually.

3) Japanese institutional investors are increasingly looking outward for investment particularly in the US. And as well are not hedging full returns. The how the notion of Japanese investors repatriating when global risk rises are diminishing.

4) The old FOMO as traders move from what’s not to what’s hot. But arguably this position is under-owned with many structural risks off long JPY still in play, so a push into the 113 could trigger a significant extension of the current rally as more risk off hedged unwind, and more traders become believers.

MYR and the knock-on effects of the Yuan

The perfect storm of negatives saw the USDMYR predictably take out the 4.05 level on Friday trade. Despite the KLCI trading in the green while tracking local burses higher as risk sentiment recovered on Friday, the local currency unit didn’t fare so well. Despite the obvious political overhang from IMDB investigations and political and fiscal uncertainty weighing negatively for the Ringgit. The USD started to reassert itself, and when coupled with increasingly bearish signals from the oil patch, the market was prone to a selloff. But even worse when the $Asia shows sings of recovering, the Ringgit continues to lag the moves.

In addition, the RMB complex continues to set the pace of play in regional currency markets and besides the daily risk YO-YO on equity markets taking its toll on regional sentiment, with the Pboc weighing possible policy options around mainlands economic slowdown, this uncertainty is having a negative knock-on effect in local currency markets.  Uncertainty around policy, trade and retaliation will keep the riks reward needle skewed negatively for the Yuan near-term.

The sky hasn’t fallen just yet

Trade War Escalates, but the sky hasn’t fallen just yet as optimism crept back into the market on reports of fresh bilateral trade negotiations between China and the US coupled with a slightly firmer RMB scrim. “Where there is a will, there is a way”. But when it comes to backroom negotiations, one can only imagine that talk is not going to come cheap.

The broader market continues to remain in wait and see mode for further details on how China might retaliate on trade, while equity markets continue to press higher under the guise that “no escalating news is good news”. Indeed equity markets continued to retrace the sharp mid-week sell-off. But again, the US technology sector comes shining through as US internet and technology stalwarts are leading markets to a solid finish in Thursday’s New York session.

While investors could be breathing a sigh of relief, they’re probably just happy their investment portfolios are breathing and alive and kicking after the latest trade war episode. But even the most pessimistic investors must take note of just how enduringly bullish these markets are, after having everything thrown at them including the kitchen sink (Trade, Italy Germany, Long Bond Rates). It’s incredible what global bourses have withstood all this harmful noise and continue to march higher. But indeed, the solid foundation of a bull market is that it ignores the bad news and keep on grinding higher. And one can only imagine what levels the S&P would be trading if trade war fizzled out.

Equities shrug off trade tariff tensions

Speaking of bull markets, USDJPY continues to grind higher and perhaps a bit of the above is starting to factor in (i.e. ignore the bad news and keeps moving higher). The break above 111.75 was one of the most unambiguous signals in some time, and a move into the 113’s could trigger an unwind in longer-term structural risk-off (long JPY) positions which could see this current rally extend much higher.

There was little movement on Powell interview on Marketplace but here are the full transcripts.

Chairperson Powell’s Marketplace interview

And the NATO summit ended on a more cheerful note, with President Trump reaffirming his commitment to the alliance while focusing more closely on the financial obligations of the other countries. So, the market is happy to hear the NATO band marching on.

Oil market

The oil markets are trying to make some inroads after Wednesday’s spill, but are having trouble holding both tops and momentum. I think this is a one-part trade war and one-part supply coming back online. But Wednesday was one of those steep selloffs on record volumes that will give even the bravest of bull’s cause /pause for thought about holding long positions, especially into the weekend. On the supply front, the latest news from Libya is short-term bearish with the El Feel or Elephant field restarting for the first time since February, and there is some discussion suggesting the supply rebound could increase and more than offset the impacts from the Eastern port closures.

Gold market

The precious space continues to hold critical support at $1,240, but the Gold complex is still hovering in the mixed territory zone. The global equity market is bouncing higher overnight, and there are very few defensive allocations into Gold. However, with Fed Chair Powell not ringing any alarm bells for more aggressive fed tightening, gold picked up a bit of goodwill. But ultimately, the USD looks to be on solid footing while preparing to take the driver seat once again, especially on USDJPY, which should hold the gold bulls at bay.

Currency Markets

The USD is looking to get back in in the driving seat once again.

JPY: USDJPY is signalling the most significant break out in years, and the long USDJPY is a position severely under-owned which suggests the pair will explode higher on any positive news. One can only imagine where spot will trade if an intense wave of risk on kicks in or trade war fizzles out.

CNH: The Yuan remains at the centre of all the action, but with further signs of policy easing on the cards given the economic slowdown has been much deeper rooted than feared, markets will continue to buy dips until a definitively positive shift in trade war sentiment.

USDAsia
Strong demand on the platform for long USDAsia is consistent with the general market views.

Trade war escalation is a definite plus for the dollar and coupled with robust US economic data; it does support this view.

MYR: Despite some optimism creeping back in on reports of bilateral trade negotiations between China and the US, while most of $Asia pulled back from yesterday morning highs, the Ringgit continued to lag the moves.

The Ringgit continues to suffer from political risk and fiscal uncertainty. If the USD does start to reassert itself and coupled with short-term bearish signals on oil prices,  the USDMYR will likely slice through the 4.05 level like a hot knife through butter in this environment.

INR The Ruppe hit and all-time interday  low and has now plummeted over 7.6 % versus the USD will wiping out a significant portion of carry-trades in its wake. But the Rupee will continue to trade at the mercy of oil prices

KRW.After testing 1130.00, the dissenting policy vote injected some life into the Won and coupled with the firmer RMB backdrop saw the USDKRW fall below the 1124 level. The won will be the go-to trade on the escalation of trade war tensions, but in the meantime, the RMB complex will continue to dictate the pace of play

A tenuous and unstable state of affairs

A tenuous and unstable state of affairs

The prospects of another round of US tariffs directed at China have resurrected fears that the trade skirmish between Washington and Beijing could escalate with some investors now fearing a full-blown global trade war could be a reality. But the most damning signal is that dialogue between the two superpowers is pretty much non-existent, and with a diplomatic solution appearing more unlikely as the days go by, markets will remain on the defensive.

But with about seven weeks before the new tariffs kick in, if there is a will there could be a way. However, with no senior-level discussion scheduled on the near-term horizon, markets will likely remain in a very tenuous and unstable state of affairs until officials get back at the negotiating tables.

As for woeful Wednesday, Trade war headlines continued to exact a full court press on stocks, oil and EM FX. But the day also provided an unexpected turn of events on USDJPY which bucked conventional risk off wisdom and surged higher as US Treasury yields moved north, but with USDCNH adjusting convincingly higher, the USDJPY now appears trending in sympathy with the broader $/ASIA basket. Indeed, Japanese investors are not in the repatriating haven mood but may be increasingly looking toward the US markets as their essential investment vehicle which could support USDJPY even in a risk-off environment.

Oil markets
An extremely active session in commodities overnight with Crude prices spilling lower across the board as USD200bn of additional tariffs on Chinese goods took its toll.  While Oil prices are following the risk-off move but adding more fuel to the fire was Presidents Trump’s comments on Germany’s energy policy which he is suggesting is being ” held captive by Russia”. Also weighing on prices was the lifting of the force majeure at Ras Lanuf, Es Sider, Hariga and Zueitina suggesting that Libyan exports from its eastern ports will quickly resume to previous levels and this report has exerted pressure on bullish sentiment overnight. But the .6% rally in the USD is also weighing on commodity sectors

West Texas Intermediate crude oil moved lower in sympathy with a weaker Brent market on  even after the DOE reported a much larger-than-expected draw , but with imports falling by 1.6 million barrels per day but the decline in imports could be writing off due to July 4th holiday hangover and the deluge in the Texas coast due to heavy rains. But still not a particularly bullish signal.

Metals Markets
The metals complex is getting hammered with copper plummeting to one-year lows. Of course, trade tensions are harmful to the base metal complex, but the fear that an escalating trade war will severely dent global growth assumptions is inflating the sell-off. Predictably the Aussie dollar is taking it on the chin given it precarious position in the base metal supply chain into China.

Gold Markets

In the Gold sector, there has been nary a haven bid to be found as the surging USD has driven gold lower and within an eyeshot of the critical 1240 level. But with a broader equity sell-off failing to materialise in US markets, there has been a real scarcity of defensive allocations into Gold overnight.

Currency Markets
What’s hot what’s not? Well, I’m glad I reminded myself that trade wars are good for the USD while holding an unwavering conviction that USDCNH has no place to run but higher on any escalation.

CNH: Yes, this 200 billion is a significant escalation in the trade war between China and the US, and yes, the RMB complex should remain to be the epicentre of currency trade where the visible big-picture developments should see a bullish skew for the USD. And while it’s entirely possible the Feds may enter the equation at some point denting the $’s appeal, we’re nowhere near meltdown level just yet, suggesting there is more juice to be squeezed on the long USD RMB complex.

JPY: it will be tough for traders to change gears from depending on the risk aversion signals to the reality of shifting Japanese inventor behaviour which may be looking outbound for yield. It might be time to start viewing USDJPY strategy through a different lens.

MYR: The BNM held a very even tone at yesterday’s MPC favouring policy continuity. A very sharp move by a Central Bank veteran knowing full well that keeping policy measures at hand for possible darker days ahead makes perfect sense especially with no real reason to signal a dovish shift at this stage.

But more aggressive trade war fears are coming home to haunt as the fear that an escalating trade war will severely dent global growth assumptions and trigger a commodity market rout. Oil markets are not immune to this calculus, and the sudden drop in oil prices overnight is weighing on the MYR sentiment.

But equally concerning, is the lunge higher in USDCNH which should continue to exert pressure across regional currencies.

I’m always looking for a silver lining in the Ringgit cloud, but everything is looking ever so tarnished today suggesting we could press higher as regional sentiment wanes.

APAC Tuesday Morning Market Update ( OANDA Trading Podcast 938NOW Singapore )

We’re tracking the market movements with Oanda Asia-Pacific Head of Trading Stephen Innes. We explore Brexit developments, Asian economic numbers as well as whether trade fears have eased.

938NOW Singapore

 

All is quiet on the western trade war front

All is quiet on the western trade war front

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gold markets

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

Currency Markets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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