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Week Ahead: Nonfarm payrolls, China PMIs and Eurozone inflation on tap
Welcome to your guide to the week ahead in the markets. China trade talks are ushered in by PMI data, Eurozone inflation results and US nonfarm payroll reports.
US nonfarm payrolls
The set-piece US labour market report on Friday is the main eco event for market watchers. Signs of a slowdown in employment growth are showing, supporting the doves’ case for further rate cuts. Will we see stronger wage growth though? The NFP report missed expectations on the headline number with employers adding just 130k last month versus the 160k expected.
China data ahead of trade talks
The week gets a kickstart with more economic data from China likely to give more clues about the impact of the trade war. The official manufacturing and services PMIs will be followed by the closely-watched private Caixin manufacturing survey in the early hours of Monday.
The European Central Bank has cut rates, so what now? Inflation has proved stubbornly weak in the Eurozone, with headline inflation in August of just 1%, while core inflation was a meagre 0.9%. Market expectations for inflation remain subdued. There seems little hope that inflation will start to tick higher and give the ECB some breathing space. Euro area CPI preliminary readings will be delivered on Tuesday morning.
MPs are back to business, but we don’t know where this leaves the only thing that matters for sterling right now – will there be a deal or not? GBP pairs will remain exposed to headline risk as the market tries to figure out which way the wind is blowing.
The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to cut interest rates again when it convenes on Tuesday. Speaking last week, governor Philip Lowe gave a very strong signal that rates would be cut again from the current record low 1%.
There are several corporate data releases this week, here are the main ones to put in your diary.
|Oct 1st||Ferguson||FY 19 Full Year Results|
|Oct 1st||Greggs||Q3 Trading Update|
|Oct 2nd||Tesco||Interim Results|
|Oct 3rd||Pepsico||Q3 Earnings|
|Oct 3rd||Ted Baker||Interim Results|
|Oct 3rd||H&M Group||Q3 Results|
Coming Up on XRay
Don’t miss our upcoming video streams on XRay. You can watch them live directly through the platform or catch-up afterwards when it suits you.
|07.15 GMT||Sept 30th||European Morning Call|
|15.00 GMT||Sept 30th||Charmer Trading talks Forex|
|15.45 GMT||Oct 1st||Asset of the Day: Oil Outlook|
|19.00 GMT||Oct 1st||Live Trader Training|
|18.00 GMT||Oct 3rd||The Stop Hunter’s Guide to Technical Analysis (part 5)|
|12.30 GMT||Oct 4th||LIVE Nonfarm Payrolls Coverage|
Key Economic Events
There’s a lot of data coming out in the next few days, particularly at the start of the week.
|01.00 GMT||Sept 30th||China Manufacturing and Services PMIs|
|01.00 GMT||Sept 30th||ANZ Business Confidence|
|01.45 GMT||Sept 30th||China Caixin PMI|
|08.30 GMT||Sept 30th||UK Final QoQ GDP|
|12.00 GMT||Sept 30th||Germany CPI Inflation YoY|
|03.30 GMT||Oct 1st||RBA Interest Rate Decision and Statement|
|08.30 GMT||Oct 1st||UK Manufacturing PMI|
|09.00 GMT||Oct 1st||Eurozone Preliminary CPI|
|14.00 GMT||Oct 1st||US ISM Manufacturing PMI|
|12.15 GMT||Oct 2nd||US ADP Nonfarm Employment|
|14.30 GMT||Oct 2nd||US Crude Oil Inventories|
|08.30 GMT||Oct 3rd||UK Services PMI|
|12.30 GMT||Oct 4th||US Nonfarm Payrolls|
European equities rally as euro, pound crack lower
European markets were on the front foot on Friday morning despite a weak cue from the US and Asia as currency weakness and expectations for yet lower interest rates fuelled risk appetite. Asian shares plumbed a three-week low but European bourses are trading up again. The FTSE 100 continued the good work from Thursday to hit 7400 and make a clear break out of the recent range. With the move north a decent case to make for the 7450 area, the 61.8% retracement of the August retreat.
The S&P 500 declined quarter a percent to 2977.62 against a back drop of political uncertainty in Washington. Markets won’t like these impeachment hearings but ultimately the risk of Mr Trump being ousted by Congress appears very slim indeed.
Another stinker of an IPO – Peloton shares priced at $29 but were down $2 at $27 on the first tick and ended 11.2% lower at $25.76. First day nerves maybe but this stock has fad written all over it. Think GoPro.
On the matter of dodgy prospectuses and dubious IPOs… S&P has downgraded WeWork debt another notch, and slapped a negative outlook on for good measure.
FX – the euro now looks to be on the precipice, on the verge of breaking having made fresh two-year lows on EURUSD. Whilst the 1.09 level may still hold, the banging on the Sep 3/12 lows at 1.09250 has produced a result with overnight tests at 1.09050. We’ve seen a slight bounce early doors in Europe but the door is ajar for bears. The Euro is under pressure as ECB chief economist Lane said there is room for more cuts and said the September measures were ‘not such a big package’. How much more can the ECB feasibly do?
Sterling is tracking lower against the broader moves in favour of USD. There is a chance as we approach crunch time on Brexit that GBPUSD pushes back to the lower end of the recent range, the multi-year lows around 1.19. Bulls have a fairly high bar to clear at 1.25. At time of publication, the pound had cracked below yesterday’s low at 1.23, opening up a return to 1.2280 and then 1.2230. The short-covering rally is over – time for political risk to dominate the price action.
Bank of England rate setter Saunders made pretty dovish comments, saying it’s quite plausible the next move is a cut. In making the case for a cut now it conforms to the belief in many in the market that the Bank is barking up the wrong tree with its slight tightening bias in its forward guidance. The comments from Saunders are clearly an added weight on the pound.
On Brexit – there’s a lot of noise of course and all the chatter is about MPs’ use of language and how could Boris possibly still take the UK out of the EU by October 31st without a deal. The fact is he can and he intends to. There is some serious risk that GBP declines from here into the middle of October on the uncertainty and heightened risk of no deal. This would then be the make or break moment – extension agreed and we easily pop back to 1.25, no deal and it’s down to 1.15 or even 1.10.
Data to watch today – PCE numbers at 13:30 (BST). If the core CPI numbers are anything to go by, the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation may point to greater price pressures than the Fed has really allowed for. Core durable goods also on tap, expected -1.1%. Plenty of central bank chatter too –de Guindos and Weidmann from the ECB follow Lane and then Quarles and Harker from the Fed. Should keep us busy this Friday.
Oil is in danger of entirely fading the gap back to $54.85, the pre-attack close, having made a fresh low yesterday at $55.40. There’s still a modicum of geopolitical risk premium in there though, but bearish fundamentals are reasserting themselves over the bullish geopolitics. WTI was at $56.10, ready to retest recent lows at $55.40. Bulls require a rally to $57.0 to mark a gear change. However we are now touching the rising trend support line drawn off the August low at $50, so could be finding some degree of support.
Gold is pretty range-bound now, but we are seeing it test the $1500 level which could call for retreat to near $1482, the bottom of the recent range and key support.
Week Ahead: Inflation readings to shape central bank views
There are a lot of things going on this week, with inflation leading the headlines.
With investors betting the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates again in September, Tuesday’s US inflation figures will be of key importance for the direction of global markets. Core CPI advanced 2.1% in June, its biggest increase in a year and a half. If inflation pressures continue to build, it could undermine doves on the FOMC calling for more hikes. UK inflation figures are released on Wednesday.
China and Germany growth
Fears about a slowdown in China and Germany are at the heart of investor concerns for the global economy. As such a batch of data from the two countries this week will be important for risk assets. China’s industrial production figures and the German preliminary GDP print on Wednesday will be the most closely watched.
Walmart and US retail sales
Q2 earnings season is well past its peak but US retail giant Walmart delivers its quarterly numbers on Thursday before the market opens. Q1 earnings were a positive surprise with EPS of $1.13 beating expectations of $1.02. The key comp sales number hit 3.4%, making it the best quarter in 9 years. Despite fears for the US economy, consumer confidence and retail sales gauges remain robust. On that front, US retail sales numbers are due on Thursday shortly after Walmart reports.
Tencent and Alibaba
We’ll also be watching earnings from China giants Tencent and Alibaba. The ongoing trade dispute between the US and China is sure to be a weight, however Chinese consumers have remained relatively robust. For Alibaba, in addition to its ecommerce platform, we’ll be watching to see how well its cloud computing business is doing. Both represent important bellwethers for the Chinese economy.
Earnings season is still going strong, with these earnings releases in the next week.
|Pre-Market||14th August||Tencent Holdings Ltd – Q2 Earnings|
|After-Market||14th August||Cisco Inc – Q2 Earnings|
|Pre-Market||15th August||Walmart – Q2 Earnings|
|15th August||Alibaba – Q2 Earnings|
|After-Market||15th August||NVIDIA Corp – Q2 Earnings|
Tune in live or watch on catch-up.
|07.15 GMT||12th August||European Morning Call|
|17.00 GMT||12th August||Blonde Markets|
|12.30 GMT||13th August||LIVE: US CPI Coverage|
|15.30 GMT||13th August||Asset of the Day: Bullion Billions|
|10.00 GMT||15th August||Walmart Earnings Preview: LIVE|
Watch out for the following economic events in the coming week.
|08.30 GMT||13th August||UK Average Earnings|
|12.30 GMT||13th August||US CPI Inflation|
|09.00 GMT||13th August||Germany ZEW Economic Sentiment|
|01.30 GMT||14th August||Australia Wage Price Index|
|02.00 GMT||14th August||China Industrial Production|
|08.30 GMT||14th August||US CPI Inflation|
|01.30 GMT||15th August||Australia Unemployment Rate|
|08.30 GMT||15th August||UK Retail Sales|
|12.30 GMT||15th August||US Retail Sales, Philly Fed Manufacturing Index|
Could this be the biggest monetary policy meeting in years?
Could the upcoming Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) be the most watched monetary policy meeting in a long time?
It certainly has a lot weighing on it.
Stocks are at record highs, pushed higher by a certainty that the FOMC will cut short-term interest rates for the first time in a decade this week. The two-day policy meeting kicks off on Tuesday, with a policy decision announced on Wednesday.
While Chairman Jerome Powell signalled a cut in July, its unclear what the policy could be for the rest of the year. And is a cut even necessary? While the consensus is that a cut is coming – the only quibble is 25bps or 50bps – the recent economic data looks strong. As our Chief Markets Analyst, Neil Wilson, explains:
“Is a cut justified? I would point to underlying core CPI at 2.1%, retail sales +3.4% in June and a 50-year low in unemployment as perhaps arguments to the contrary. Increasingly there is a sense that the Fed is no longer data dependent, but being held to ransom by the White House and the market.”
But what can we expect from the meeting?
The answer is, it depends…
Confirmation of a cut from the FOMC, if paired with signals of a more dovish policy in the long term could send greenback diving.
On the flip side, if the markets are surprised and a cut doesn’t happen, expect stocks and commodities to tumble and the dollar to surge.
At this stage, despite stronger-than-expected data, growth momentum is weaker. While a recession has been avoided, a cut is still the safe bet. This policy meeting could define the direction of global monetary policy for years to come and provides a lot of opportunities for traders. One thing’s for sure, the announcement on Wednesday is not one to miss.
Week Ahead: Fed set to cut rates
Your essential guide to the week ahead
The Federal Reserve is widely anticipated to cut interest rates this week, but there are still big unanswered questions that would help the markets understand the longer-term plan.
1) Will the FOMC cut by 50bps or 25bps? Markets suggest a roughly 25% chance for a 50bps cut.
2) Is this an insurance cut or the start of a sustained easing cycle? While Jerome Powell has signalled a cut in July, it’s lot less clear whether we should expect more cuts are we progress through the latter part of 2019.
Earnings season continues and Apple is the main focus for traders this week.
Analysts are broadly bullish on Apple ahead of the results – check the Analyst Recommendations tool in the platform for more information.
Boris first week
Britain’s new prime minister enjoys his first full week at the helm. The market will be wondering if there is any likelihood for changes to Brexit deals and deadlines based on his initial talks with the EU. Sterling pairs should remain on edge.
Bank of England
The Bank of England is still shackled by Brexit – and all the related uncertainty – but it increasingly seems to be moving with the rest of the world. Instead of the next move likely to be a hike, it looks much more likely the central bank is leaning towards cutting interest rates. We’ll find out more on Thursday at noon, UK time.
Coming shortly after the Fed meeting these payroll numbers will be scrutinised as closely as ever. Job creation bounced back last month, dampening expectations for a 50bps cut – another strong print, combined with improving wage growth, may tell the market that the Fed is not under pressure to do any further easing
We’re in the thick of earnings season, so let’s look at the releases in the coming week:
|29th July||Ryanair – Q1 2020 Earnings|
|After-Market||30th July||Apple – Q3 Earnings|
|Pre-Market||30th July||Samsung – Q2 Earnings|
|Pre-Market||30th July||Pfizer Inc – Q2 Earnings|
|Pre-Market||30th July||Proctor & Gamble – Q4 Earnings|
|Pre-Market||30th July||Sony – Q1 2020 Earnings|
|30th July||Bayer – Q2 Earnings|
|Pre-Market||30th July||BP Plc – Q2 Earnings|
|Pre-Market||31st July||General Electric – Q2 Earnings|
|31st July||Airbus SE – Q2 Earnings|
|After-Market||31st July||Kraft-Heinz – Q2 Earnings|
|Pre-Market||31st July||Spotify – Q2 Earnings|
|13.00 BST07.00 BST||31st July||Fiat Chrysler – Q2 Earnings|
|31st July||BAE Systems Plc – Q2 Earnings|
|Pre-Market||1st August||Shell Plc – Q2 Earnings|
|07.15 BST||1st August||Rio Tinto – Q2 Earnings|
|Pre-Market||1st August||General Motors – Q2 Earnings|
|1st August||BMW AQ – Q2 Earnings|
|07.00 BST||1st August||Barclays Plc – Q2 Earnings|
|07.00 BST||2nd August||Royal Bank of Scotland – Q2 Earnings|
|2nd August||Berkshire Hathaway – Q2 Earnings|
|Pre-Market||2nd August||ExxonMobil Corp – Q2 Earnings|
|2nd August||BT Group Plc – Q1 202 Earnings|
Coming up on XRay this week. Tune in Live or watch on catch up.
|17.00 GMT||29th July||Blonde Markets|
|15.30 GMT||30th July||Asset of the Day: Bullion Billions|
|13.00 GMT||31st July||Asset of the Day: Indices|
|09.00 GMT||1st August||Bank of England special|
|12.30 GMT||2nd August||Nonfarm Payrolls LIVE|
Mark these events in your calendar this week:
|Tentative||30th July||Bank of Japan interest rate decision|
|01.30 GMT||31st July||Australia CPI inflation|
|18.00 GMT||31st July||FOMC interest rate decision|
|01.45 GMT||1st August||China Caixin manufacturing PMI|
|11.00 GMT||1st August||Bank of England interest rate decision|
|14.00 GMT||1st August||US ISM manufacturing PMI|
|01.30 GMT||2nd August||Australia retail sales|
|12.30 GMT||2nd August||Nonfarm payrolls|
Bitcoin jumps, stocks steady ahead of G20
All that glitters is not gold. Bitcoin is sparkling again but beware…breakdown’s coming up ‘round the bend.
Bitcoin jumped above $11,000, taking it to its highest level since March 2018. Futures are back down to $10,855 around send time. Investors are ignoring what happened the last time we saw parabolic rises like this. Is it different this time? No, but people have short memories. Facebook’s Libra white paper may have stoked renewed interest in cryptos at a time when the buzz had already returned.
Bitcoin is more mature etc, but the fundamentals of this scheme remain unaltered. What I would say is that arguably big money is starting to view this differently and think it could be very costly to ignore if they get left behind.
It may also be that the sharp liquidity boost we’ve seen from central banks is helping bitcoin. As we noted last week, it was only a matter of time before the $10k level was taken out it and now ultimately a retest of the ATHs near $20k looks very plausible.
Once this market builds up a head of steam, it’s hard to stop it. As previously argued, this is a big momentum play and the more buzz there is, the more that traders will pile in behind the rising wave. Bears could get burned before the market turns – maybe better to wait and let it fizzle out, which it will eventually. The more it rallies, the bigger the blow-up when it comes. However, we should expect some pullbacks and retracements along the way.
Stocks are maybe looking a little softer with the S&P 500 easing off its all-time highs on Friday and we’ve had a mixed bag from Asia overnight. Japan closed a shade higher at 21,285.
Futures indicate European shares are trading on the flatline as investors take a breather and look ahead to the G20 later in the week. FTSE 100 finding support at 7400, with resistance at 7460.
Coming up this week the G20 is centre stage for markets. President Donald Trump is expected to meet Chinese counterpart XI Jinping at this week’s G20 meeting in Osaka.
Last week Mr Trump tweeted: “Had a very good telephone conversation with President Xi of China. We will be having an extended meeting next week at the G-20 in Japan. Our respective teams will begin talks prior to our meeting.” No one thinks the US and China will do a deal in Osaka, but there is some hope that we will have a positive development that marks a shift in the rhetoric and a re-energising of talks following the breakdown in the recent discussions.
Iranian tensions are not going away, providing some support for oil. Brent was trading around the $65 mark, with WTI at $58. Fundamentals remain bearish but the uncertainty in the Middle East, specifically the risk of a closure of sea lanes, is enough to keep crude above water.
Since last week we’ve had news of the US launching a cyberattack on Iran and warnings from Iran about what a war would mean. Expect lots of turbulence from this but ultimately it does not look like the White House is spoiling for a fight. The risk is, as ever, in a miscalculation.
Gold remained firm, holding above $1400 as a weaker dollar combined with dovish central banks kept traders happy to bid up the metal. Geopolitical tensions may be a small factor, but ultimately gold has huge negative correlation with real yields, which have come right down. Friday’s move off the lows later in the session were key and the bull trend remains intact. A rebound in USD could trap bulls.
The dollar is softer with the euro and sterling holding gains. The euro is holding at a three-month high around 1.1380 – look for a push to 1.14.
Trading around 1.2760, GBPUSD is facing stiff resistance from previous highs and a big Fib level coming in, so we need to see this level breached on the upside to be more confident that the pound can maintain its gains.
Coming up this week – Fed speakers and the PCE inflation print will keep the FX market interested.
Fed holds, pound breaks $1.27 ahead of BoE
Stocks firmed and the dollar fell, whilst gold rallied to a 5-year high as the Fed opened the door to cutting rates.
It’s like 2010 all over: the race to the bottom is on. Only this time the global economy is coming off a period of remarkable synchronised expansion, not a terrible recession and the worst financial crisis in a generation or more. So what gives!? Must Powell acquiesce to the whims of his president? Must Draghi end his tenure not normalising, but actually cutting rates even deeper?
Draghi to be fair has little option. In the absence of structural and fiscal reform – blame Germany – he can but tinker around the edges of the zero lower bound, hoping to weaken the currency to get some competitiveness back. Powell is in a different position, although really it looks like central banks are spitting in the wind in trying to shift inflation expectations. They should try to focus on boosting oil prices instead.
So yesterday the FOMC nudged towards a cut. Nearly half the 17 members of the FOMC think cuts will be warranted this year. The median dot plot suggests 50bps in cuts through 2020. The dots evinced a shift from a tightening bias to an easing bias. The patient mantra was dropped, whilst the economy is now only expanding at a ‘moderate’, not ‘solid’, rate. The market took this as a sign the Fed’s listening to their demands – a cut in July is now fully priced in.
But there’s yet optionality for Powell and co. The Fed refrained from explicit references to cuts. The median dot plot shows no cuts this year still. The market is ahead of itself again. If we believe the dots, rate cuts will come slower than the market wants them to.
In some ways the Fed thread the needle here – keeping the market and the president happy without actually committing to cuts. The dots suggest the Fed is saying: “Of course we will cut, just not yet-good enough?”. For now it is. But the tail seems to be wagging the dog, forcing the Fed to follow sooner or later.
Certainly revising inflation expectations lower points to concerns that tame price growth cannot simply be attributed to transient factors. Yet at the same time the Fed thinks unemployment will be lower and growth stronger than it thought in March.
The problem we have is that Fed looks like it is flip-flopping; changes its mind based not on economic data but on the caprice of financial markets; appears in thrall to the White House; and is therefore at a very serious risk of losing its credibility.
Yields hit the deck. US 10yr bond yields slipped beneath 2% again for the first time since 2016. Bunds heading deeper into negative territory.
Gold rallied on the outcome as yields sank, breaking north of $1385. It’s now cleared a tonne of important multi-year resistance, paving the way for a return to $1400 and beyond. This is a big move, but if the Fed doesn’t deliver the cuts the bulls could be caught out.
Stocks liked it – the S&P 500 notched gains of about 0.3%, Limited upside as the Fed was not as dovish as the market wanted and because a lot of this was already priced in. Asian markets rallied across the board.
Futures show European stocks are on the front foot, catching a tailwind from Wall Street and the Fed. The FTSE 100 may underperform though as the pound is finding bid.
Oil has climbed as US inventories feel three times more than expected. Brent was up at $63.50, threatening to break free from its recent range – look for $63.80. WTI at $55.50 also close to breaking out of its trough.
The dollar kicked lower after the Fed decision – but with the ECB looking super easy the gains versus the euro are limited. Likewise the yen with the Bank of Japan also ready to step up stimulus. Likewise the Australian dollar, with RBA governor Lowe talking up a further, imminent, cut. The race to the bottom is on. Is it too soon to talk about currency wars?
The exception here is the Bank of England, which is heading towards raising rates. We get to learn more about the BoE’s position later today. The difference here is the inflation expectations, which are moving up, not down like they are elsewhere. Britain’s also enjoying strong wage growth and a super-tight labour market. All of this is dependent on a smooth Brexit – this is not a given by any means.
Indeed, Brexit is keeping the lid on sterling’s gains – the prospect of Boris Johnson taking Britain out of the EU come October 31st is a risk. There’s now talk of a possible general election if he gets in – risky, we know what happened to May. The prospect of a general election would not do anything to remove uncertainty around UK assets. Zero clarity still.
EURUSD moved through 1.12 and was last at 1.1280, but failing to gain enough momentum to rally above 1.13 and scrub out the Draghi-inspired losses.
GBPUSD has reclaimed 1.27. Quite a chunky move here, blasting through a couple of big figures in under a day. Maybe the prospect of a more hawkish BoE is helping the pound, albeit the market is actually pricing in cuts, not hikes. At least Mark Carney doesn’t have to deal with a political leader on his case…
USDJPY lost the 108 handle to trade at 107.50, now breaking free into new 2019 lows (ex the Jan flash crash).”
Pound slips to 6-month lows: Morning Note
BoJo sees pound lose mojo , Aussie soft on RBA, equities steady ahead of Fed, Middle East tensions.
Equities steady before Fed
Equities remain cautious ahead of the start of the Federal Reserve meeting today. The S&P 500 and the Dow were pretty well flat yesterday, whilst the FTSE 100 notched a slight gain. Asia has been mixed. Futures indicate European equities are trading on the flatline again. Equities are lacking direction and will wait for the Fed to get a steer.
Equities investors are likely to display caution with the Fed in view. They may be disappointed with what the Fed offers – realization of this may manifest in mild selling ahead of the meet. We’ve got no signs of progress on trade and little sense the G20 will produce anything. And now we have building tensions in the Middle East.
The White House has ordered 1,000 US troops to the region, with fears of escalation rising. Tehran says it will breach uranium stockpile limits in days. The Iran nuclear deal looks dead. Markets may start pricing in risk of escalation. Whilst this is only a very small number of additional manpower, and is clearly designed to act as a warning to Tehran, troop build-ups only tend to lead in one direction.
Pound lacks mojo
The pound is at its lowest in almost 6 months on heightened fears of a no-deal exit. Boris Johnson is the clear favourite to become the next PM – in fact it rather looks like he’s going to walk it. Currency markets display fear that he has said he is prepared to take Britain out on October 31st without a deal if needs be. More BoJo, less mojo. Whilst a crowded trade there is real slippage here with little to spark life into the pound.
The calculus is simple – failure to take Britain out of the EU this year risks a General Election and wipe out at the polls at the hands of the Brexit Party, potentially handing Jeremy Corbyn the keys to Number 10. The EU says it won’t renegotiate (it may have to), MPs won’t accept the existing deal, and Parliament has limited scope to stop this train.
Sterling is increasingly reflecting the no-deal risk. Cable was last hovering close to its lowest of the year at 1.2530, having dipped as low as 1.2510, its weakest since the start of January. 2018 lows around 1.2470 could be the next target on the downside. BoE this week may signal tightening bias and readiness to hike earlier than previously expected, but the pressure on the pound remains because of Brexit. The BoE should be minded to remain on the sidelines until Brexit is decided.
Australia’s dollar is also soft and susceptible to a major downside breach after minutes from the last RBA meeting showed more cuts are coming. More likely than not we should get at least one more cut this year.
The minutes said: ‘Given the amount of spare capacity in the labour market and the economy more broadly, members agreed that it was more likely than not that a further easing in monetary policy would be appropriate in the period ahead.’ This was extremely strong signal and suggests more cuts to come and soon. Excluding the Jan flash crash we are now testing multi-year lows, on the cusp of a move back to decade lows not seen since the height of the financial crisis. At 0.6830 the AUD/USD cross was testing major support – this could hold until we get further clarity from RBA governor Lowe on Thursday.
Oil soft, gold up
Oil has failed to catch any tailwinds from the Middle East tensions. Brent was below $61 again but remains clear of last week’s lows. WTI was holding $52. All looking very bearish and flaggy right now. Until we get a good dose of economic data this rut seems set to continue.
Gold keeps cranking higher – the prospect of lower US yields and geopolitical tensions seem to be acting as a tailwind. Last at $1346 the big target for bulls is the 2018 peaks at $1365 and then the 2017 highs at $1375.
Ashtead FY numbers are positive, with EBITDA at £2.11bn, a slight beat as revenues rose 19%. The medium term outlook looks confident. Despite fears of slowing growth in the US, management say they expect to continue to experience strong end markets in North America.
On tap (GMT)
EUR – ECB President Draghi Speaks (08:00)
EUR – German ZEW Economic Sentiment (09:00)
EUR – CPI (09:00)
USD – Building Permits (12:30)
GBP – BoE Gov Carney Speaks (14:00)
EUR – ECB President Draghi Speaks (14:00)
Markets react to European elections
European equity markets are on the front foot again, building on yesterday’s gains, as investors breathe a collective sigh of relief following the European parliamentary elections.
European bourses have firmed as it looked like the political centre ground is holding in the EU despite pressure from right and left, whilst we have some upbeat spin on trade to contend with as we hear about a possible US-Japan trade deal. London and Wall Street will be playing catch up today. Futures in the US point to gains today.
Euro elections: the centre holds, barely
European elections returned gains for a number of right-wing, Eurosceptic parties as expected, but not enough to really shake the ground from under the centrists. The main blocs have held on to remain just about in control, although for the first time they have lost their combined majority.
The gains for the right continue to point to a problem for Brussels. But there were also big gains for the Greens. The political landscape is shifting, but it wasn’t a Brexit-like earthquake.
The strength of the League in Italy and National Rally in France is noteworthy and will exert domestic pressure more than at a European level. Expect further confrontation between Rome and Brussels. Indeed, on that note, Italian bond yields spiked, with the 10yr BTP above 2.7% again, amid reports the EU is mulling a $4bn fine for Italy for failure to control debt. For France it simply highlights that Macron’s reformist agenda is under a lot of pressure.
The euro though has been pretty well unmoved although London and New York were shut yesterday and we might see traders coming back in today. EURUSD was steady at 1.1180.
Brexit looms over pound
Ain’t no party like a Brexit Party: In the UK the centre has given way completely, and the pressure on the pound remains firm. The Brexit Party won the day, although the overtly Remain parties did very well with the LibDems and Greens enjoying a strong bump in support. European elections are entirely meaningless of course in terms of the Westminster arithmetic, but the impact on the ruling Tory party is key.
For markets, we should expect the result to impact the leadership race and already a number of leading candidates have upped the no-deal rhetoric. One can only argue that this will, on the margins at least, push candidates more towards the fringes and see the party go more to the right. Given the Tory membership’s pro-Brexit feelings there is an ever-increasing risk of a no-deal exit at this stage. A lot is priced in but a no-deal would see further downside for the pound.
GBPUSD has found support again around 1.2670 and while there is still a lot of pressure, Thursday’s reversal on the 78% Fib retracement on 1.2610 looks to have placed something of a floor under the pound for the time being.
Cryptos have rallied hard again on strong volumes, taking another leg higher over the weekend. Bitcoin is testing the $9k round number resistance, before a tilt at the 38% retracement around $9640 and then the April 2018 high on $10k. Once this market builds up a head of steam, it’s hard to stop. As previously argued, this is a big momentum play and the more buzz the more traders will pile in behind the rising wave. Standing in front of a steamroller springs to mind, if you are a natural bear. Better to wait and let it fizzle out, which it will eventually. The more it rallies, the bigger the blow-up when it comes. However, we should expect some pullbacks and retracements along the way, so watch for those whenever the rally looks overextended – 14-day RSI approaching 90 has been a pretty good indicator in the past.
Morning Note: European markets lower, oil gains, pound under pressure
European markets opened lower, with the major equity indices pulling back after Wednesday’s kneejerk move higher amid a very noisy, confusing picture for investors regards trade, growth and interest rates.
The FTSE 100 lost 20 points to retreat to 7275, losing the 7300 handle achieved yesterday. Auto stocks are weaker this morning – perhaps a dose of reality in the cold light of the morning after yesterday’s gains.
Markets recovered ground yesterday, switching from red to green sharply as reports suggested the US will delay auto tariffs by six months. This, combined with some more jawboning from Mnuchin on trade talks, tended to ease the worries about the US-China trade spat.
But the US president add pressure elsewhere – issuing an executive order banning US firms from working with Huawei. Lots and lots and lots of noise from all sides – making this a tough market to be in.
SPX bounced off support around the 2817 level, which was a big area of resistance in the not-too-distant past, to close at 2,850.
The 10-year Treasury remains below 2.4%, with bonds finding bid as the US retail sales and industrial production numbers missed yesterday. 3m-10yr inversion again flashes the recession amber lights – expect to hear more of this talk even though the US seems a long way from recession right now (3.2% print GDP, consumer spending and retail sales at multi-year highs, unemployment at 50-year lows…I could go on).
Oil – Brent has rallied above $72. Bullishness seems to be down to mounting geopolitical risks in the Middle East. Specifically, oil is higher because the market is worried that the US and Iran are at risk of a flare-up. Oil rose despite a surprise build in US inventories, which were up 5.4m barrels in the last week according to yesterday’s EIA data. We also saw a build in inventories in Cushing.
Meanwhile the IEA revised its demand growth outlook lower by 90k barrels a day to 1.3m. Whilst this was bearish, the group also highlighted the significant supply side uncertainty – Iran, Venezuela, Libya etc. As we noted in a recent strategy note on oil, the IEA says the supply picture is ‘confusing’.
Sterling under pressure
FX – Unemployment data from Australia overnight came in weaker and leads us to assume the RBA will cut over the summer (or winter). Although employment rose, jobs growth seems likely to slacken. The RBA has made it perfectly clear that should inflation or unemployment not improve it will be cutting soon. This may well create further downside on the Aussie, which is of course under pressure from the whole China-trade-growth story.
AUDUSD is seriously threatening the 0.69 level on the downside. There is a lot of pressure there and it could go, which would open up move to 2016 lows at 0.68. We’re at multi-year lows here so there is a lot of support to contend with. Whether AUDUSD gets squeezed lower still though will depend on whether the RBA signals it’s one (maybe two) and done, or if it’s embarking on a longer-term easing cycle.
GBPUSD remains below the 1.2860 level having breached this important support yesterday. Brexit worries abound – it’s either no deal or no Brexit by the looks of things. Next up we could see it slip to the mid-Feb lows around 1.2780. Below that we start to consider a return to the 2019 lows around 1.24 as a possibility. The rebels are putting their pieces in place to oust May if (when) her Brexit bill fails against for the umpteenth time. Meanwhile as we noted yesterday’s note, amid a broad downturn in risk appetite the pound is exposed. EURGBP is advancing past the 0.87 marker and was last at 0.874, pushing up to 0.88 and the Feb highs.”