Global markets traded near all-time highs on Tuesday, with S&P futures, Asian shares and European stocks all flat this morning, while oil continued to gain on Kurdish geopolitical concerns while most industrial metals fell. The euro extended its recent slide and stocks drifted as Spain’s escalating hard-line response to the Catalonian secession threat fueled concern the crisis may intensify.
Markets initially followed the US reaction to reports of a positive John Taylor (Rule) – Donald Trump meeting, which sent 2Y Treasury yields to their highest since 2008 and pushed up the dollar higher amid speculation the next Federal Reserve chairman will be more hawkish, while TSYs briefly traded through Monday’s session lows because as we showed yesterday, the Taylor Rule would suggest a Fed Funds rate that is far higher than the current.
However, the pop in short-yields was not matched at the long end and the 2-to-10 year U.S. yield curve hit its shallowest in more than a year.
“Fed chairs have often influenced U.S. monetary policy quite considerably in the past. And I would certainly see Taylor as a candidate who would fit in this pattern,” Commerzbank analyst Thu Lan Nguyen said. “That makes one thing clear: should Trump nominate Taylor as Yellen’s successor the U.S. dollar would initially appreciate notably.”
Cable remained volatile through U.K. inflation data and dovish commentary from BOE’s Ramsden but eventually traded flat. In addition to Spain, the EUR/USD continued its recent trend lower, pricing a nine-month QE extension within ECB taper, while bunds and other EGBs continue to grind higher. The South African rand weakened following a Zuma cabinet reshuffle
The common currency declined for a fourth day, the longest streak since May. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was little changed following mixed trading in Asian stocks earlier, after North Korea warned that a nuclear war could “break out any moment.” Core European equity markets dipped from the open before trading back to unchanged with the tech sector supported by Infineon (2.5%) after positive comments from BofA, leisure sector underperforms after Merlin Entertainments (-19.5%) posts poor earnings forecast. Spain’s IBEX Index fell 0.3 percent to the lowest in a week as Spain cut its economic growth forecast for 2018, acknowledging the impact of an escalating political crisis that led the National Court in Madrid to jail two leading Catalan separatists. As reported on Monday, the Spanish state is turning up the pressure on the separatist leaders as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy tries to persuade Catalan President Carles Puigdemont to drop his push for independence or see Madrid take direct control of the regionl two Catalan independence leaders were ordered jailed without bail during a sedition trial.
Asia’s regional stock benchmark was little changed, holding near its highest level in 10 years, while a gauge of mining stocks advanced after Rio Tinto Group signaled it’s on track for record annual iron ore shipments. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added less than 0.1 percent to 167.82 as of 11:40 a.m. in Hong Kong, after extending gains from its highest level since November 2007 on Monday. Materials stocks led gains Tuesday, rising 0.5 percent. Japan’s Topix fluctuated, erasing early gains, after a six-day rally pushed it further into technically overbought levels. It eventually closed 0.2% higher in Tokyo after gaining as much as 0.6%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.7 percent and South Korea’s Kospi index was up 0.2 percent.
“Investors are pausing just a bit while waiting for more directional data points on the global state of affairs before they assess whether current high valuations have firm footing,” said Attila Vajda, managing director of Project Asia Research & Consulting Pte. China’s GDP report due on October 19 will help determine investment decisions.
Elsewhere, the pound dropped amid speculation the Bank of England will deliver the U.K.’s first rate increase in more than a decade next month after data showed inflation in U.K. accelerated in September, although testimony by Governor Mark Carney befire lawmakers in London appears to have taken away the fizzle. British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker agreed over dinner in Brussels on Monday that the pace of negotiations over Britain’s departure from the European Union should be stepped up. Some market watchers such as JP Morgan are sceptical on sterling’s outlook, recommending investors to buy euros against the British pound as “the overhang of the Brexit issue itself would constrain how much accommodation the BoE would be able to remove.”
One of Monday’s big movers, oil, consolidated a near month-high having spiked after Iraqi forces seized the oil-rich city of Kirkuk from fighters loyal to the country’s semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government. After months of rangebound trading during which OPEC-led supply cuts supported crude values but rising U.S. output capped markets, prices have moved up significantly this month. Brent crude oil was 5 cents higher at $57.87 a barrel by 0800 GMT, up almost a third from its mid-year levels. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 was nudging up again too at $51.99. There were unconfirmed reports that Kurdish forces had shut around 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil production from major fields. “The 500,000 bpd Kirkuk oilfield cluster is at risk,” Goldman Sachs said in a note to clients.
Tension between the United States and Iran is also rising, after U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday refused to certify Iran’s compliance over a nuclear deal which removed long-running sanctions. “If there (were new sanctions), we expect that several hundred thousand barrels of Iranian exports would be immediately at risk,” Goldman said. During the previous round of sanctions around 1 million bpd of oil was cut from global markets.
In currencies, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gained 0.1 percent to the highest in more than a week. The euro dipped 0.3 percent to $1.1764. The British pound dropped to session lows near $1.3226. The Japanese yen climbed less than 0.05 percent to 112.15 per dollar.
Yields were little changed, with the US 10-year up one basis point to 2.31%; Germany’s 10-year yield decreased less than one basis point to 0.37 percent; Britain’s 10-year yield climbed two basis points to 1.336 percent, the biggest increase in almost two weeks.
Gold declined and most emerging-market currencies weakened alongside developing-nation stocks. WTI crude resumed its push above $52 a barrel as tensions in Iraq lingered. Treasuries edged higher as odds rose that John Taylor will replace Janet Yellen at the Fed.
Johnson & Johnson, Goldman Sachs, Harley-Davidson, Morgan Stanley, Omnicom are among companies reporting earnings
Top Overnight News from Bloomberg
Asia equity markets eventually traded mostly higher following the momentum from their US peers, where all major indices edged to fresh record levels once again. The positive lead provided an early bid tone in ASX 200 (+0.8%) which was also led by materials names as Rio Tinto rose to its highest in around 6 years on strong Q3 iron ore shipments, while Nikkei 225 (+0.4%) was also higher but saw some intraday pressure in which participants took heed of a strengthening JPY and booked profits. Elsewhere, Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.1%) were choppy despite a substantial liquidity operation by the PBoC, with participants tentative in the midst of earnings season and ahead of China’s 19th National Congress. Finally, 10yr JGBs were subdued amid a somewhat positive risk tone in Japan and after softer 20yr bond auction results in which the amount sold, b/c and accepted prices all declined from prior. PBoC injected CNY 100bln via 7-day reverse repos and CNY 90bln via 14-day reverse repos. PBoC set CNY mid-point at 6.5883 (Prev. 6.5839) China researcher states that China should tighten its monetary policy and toughen property curbs.
Top Asian news
European equity markets trade marginally in the red, the FTSE found a marginal bid following the UK CPI data, recovering from best levels, however, still
behaving as one of the noticeable underperformers across Europe. The CAC continues to trade near session lows,
despite strong earrings from the likes of Danone. An opening markdown for the 10-year German debt future, largely due to reports that the more hawkish-leaning John Taylor put in
an impressive performance when interviewed by President Trump for the role as next Fed chair. The news unsettled US
Treasuries, and especially the short end of the curve where 2 year yields rallied to multi-year peaks alongside a jump in implied
rates per Eurodollar contracts from the turn of next year through to 2019. A strong German ZEW report could add more
pressure, while supply is also due via a Eur4 bn Schatz offering (though dovish ECB forward guidance on rates should
underpin sentiment here, and reiterated by speakers to come). Back to Eurex, the range so far for Bunds has been 162.59-
With a 3% headline print all priced in to the UK CPI data, (and in fact a bit more for many), Gilts have rebounded to a fresh intraday
high of 124.34 (from 124.23 at best pre-data), while Short Stg futures have pared losses to just a tick. Note, comments from BoE’s
Ramsden may also be lending some support to the 10 year bond and 3 month strip as he highlights slack in the economy, no
second round inflation in wages and investment risks from Brexit. Note, however, y/y CPI has hit a 5 year-plus peak and November
tightening remains a better than 50% prospect so any further bounce in debt/STIRs may be contained.
Germany sells EUR 3.22bln vs. Exp. EUR 4bln 0% 2y Schatz Auction b/c 1.3 prev. 1.8 and average yield -0.75 prev. -0.72%,
Top European news
In currencies, Sterling saw choppy trade following the 9.30 data, as the bid coming into the figures saw a marginal retracement. GBP/USD still trades near session highs, likely to look toward 1.33. USD: The greenback firmer by 0.2% following the move higher in US rates amid source reports stating that John Taylor (very hawkish) made a favourable impression on President Trump in regards to the Fed Chair position. The break above 93.32 (38.2% Fib retrace of the October fall) and the subsequent push through 93.40 indicates a bullish trend forming, however 93.50 is capping further gains for now. Meanwhile, the downward trend continues for EUR which ended yesterday’s session on the back foot amid the stronger greenback. Although with little key risk events until the Oct 26th ECB monetary policy decision it is possible that the pair will stay within close proximity to 1.18.
In commodities, US Total shale regions oil production for November is seen upwards of 82,000 bpd at 6.12mln bpd WTI and Brent Crude futures have ground higher through early European trade as WTI trades through 52.00/bbl, with latest news from an IEA head stating that OPEC compliance is currently at 86%.
Looking at the day ahead, the September industrial production print is the most notable release, while September manufacturing production and the import price index readings are also due, along with the October NAHB housing market index print. Onto other events, keep an eye on BoE Governor Carney testifying before the UK Parliament. Away from this, the ECB’s Constancio and Costa is also slated to make comments. Meanwhile EU foreign ministers hold preparatory talks ahead of the summit at the end of the week. Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and IBM results are also due.
US Event Calendar
DB’s Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap
Last week I mentioned that the previous weekend’s papers were discussing how a supposed soothsayer was predicting that the start of the end of the world would happen this past weekend. This guy predicted that from October 15th the world will be hit with a tempest of tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes and then nuclear war. I dismissed this cheery forecast but if anyone took a walk around London yesterday afternoon then you’d be forgiven for thinking that the apocalypse had arrived as the overcast skies had turned an ominous dark orange. The only thing I’ve seen like it before was an eclipse on a cloudy day! It wasn’t until I got home that I read that this was due to the bypass from Hurricane Ophelia bringing Saharan dust with it. Just to be safe I’m off to Frankfurt this morning to escape the day of reckoning.
Maybe bonds thought the end of the world was nigh as yesterday was most notable for a strong rally in Euro Govt bonds. Core European 10y bond yields fell c3bp (Bunds -3.2bp; Gilts -3.3bp; OATs -3bp) while most peripherals outperformed, down c5bp (Italy: -5.1bp; Spain: -4.7bp; Portugal: -0.6bp). It’s not obvious to me why the dam broke yesterday, especially as US Treasuries actually climbed c1.8bp from intraday low into the European close. Some talked about Yellen being more resolute about low inflation being transitory over the weekend than Draghi who asked for patience with regard to inflation returning to normal. It didn’t feel to me that either deviated too much from recent remarks though. It could have also been a delayed reaction to the recent inflation misses in France and Sweden and then the US last week. So not easy to pinpoint the reason. Notably, the odds of a December rate hike in US has increased back to 80% (+7ppt from Friday, per Bloomberg).
After Europe went home we saw a flurry of activity over the next Fed Chair as Bloomberg first reported that John Taylor had impressed Trump, but that Warsh had slipped down the pecking order. A short while later it was reported that Mr Trump will meet Mrs Yellen on Thursday. Net net, yields climbed to 2.31% on the Taylor news but quickly dipped back towards 2.29% and closed 2.304% (+3bp from Friday) as the Yellen headlines came through. Mr Taylor is a renowned economist, known for his Taylor rule on rates as well as serving on the Council of Economic advisers under three presidents. Interestingly, last week he noted that “rules should (not) be used as a way to tie central bankers’ hands” as “there are reasons to run policy with a strategy”. It seems that we should have an announcement on the new Fed Chair within a few weeks so this will remain an important topic.
This morning, bond market will see the latest round of inflation numbers with the UK the more interesting. Headline UK CPI is expected at +0.3% mom and +3.0% yoy, with core unchanged mom and +2.7% yoy. This will be the highest annual rate since April 2012 for headline and joint highest since December 2011 for core if comes in as expected (Aug. 17 was 2.7% too). The final Euro area CPI is also due but this is the final reading. The flash reading was +0.4% mom and +1.5% yoy (headline) and little change is expected. Core is expected to be +1.1% yoy and also same as the flash reading.
Over in Catalonia, in his letter to Spanish PM Rajoy, Catalan President Puigdemont has called for more negotiations rather than clarifying whether independence was formally declared or not. He has reasserted that he has a mandate from Catalan voters to declare independence, but noted “for the next two months, our main objective is to bring you dialogue…I’m sure we can find the path to a solution”. In response, Spain has ruled out negotiations until Puigdemont withdrew his demands for independence, noting that he has until Thursday (10am local time) to formally respond again. Spain’s deputy PM said “the question we have asked is…not hard to answer…It’s not hard in these three days for common sense to return” and that the decision “it’s in his hands”. Should Thursday’s response be unsatisfactory, PM Rajoy could ask the Senate to hold an emergency session to invoke Article 155 and seek a suspension of the self-rule by Catalans. The Spanish markets were a bit mixed with equities down 0.75% (Caixabank -1.73%, Sabadell -2.80%), but bonds were firmer with 10y yields down 4.7bp.
In the latest 2018 budget plan to Brussels, Spain’s Economy ministry has revised down its economic growth forecasts to 3.1% for 2017 (-0.1ppt) and 2.3% for 2018 (-0.3ppt). Elsewhere, as per Bloomberg, Spain’s National Court as ordered the Catalan Police Chief to surrender his passport and report to the court in Madrid every two weeks.
Turning to Brexit, there were quite a few headlines ahead of the official EU Summit meeting later this week which could make or break the current talks. Firstly, UK PM May flew into Brussels yesterday and had a “broad and constructive” working dinner with European Commission President Juncker,where they reviewed the progress made so far and “agreed that these efforts should accelerate over the months to come”, but fell short of delivering a tangible break through. Elsewhere, the FT has reported that PM May will not budge on her offer of €20bn divorce bill. Earlier yesterday, the UK Chancellor Hammond noted that a Brexit (transitional) agreement was in the interest of both sides, while PM May’s office (per Bloomberg) feared that talks are heading for a ‘catastrophic breakdown” unless EU signals a willingness to allow talks to move onto trade and transition at this week’s summit.
On the other side, the messaging has been firmed but somewhat mixed. The latest draft of the EU summit conclusion has apparently tougher language where the UK have to make “sufficient progress” on all three key areas (the divorce bill, the Irish border and the status of EU citizens) before talks progress to trade. Elsewhere, according to EU officials (per Bloomberg), both Germany and France wants to toughen the tone on the summit declaration. This follows phone calls between PM May with Merkel on Sunday and France’s Macron on Monday. However, there is some optimism, as according to a draft paper prepared by Germany’s Foreign Ministry, it is working on proposals that include calls for the “comprehensive free trade accord” with the UK. So with all this bubbling along, we await for the EU summit later and see who blinks first.
Staying in the UK, there were a couple of interesting headlines on house prices yesterday. Acadata & LSL suggested that London home values are now down 2.7% in the year through to September, which is the most since 2009. Elsewhere, the stockpile of unsold London homes under construction also rose to a post GFC high, with the number of properties being built or completed but yet to find buyer now at 12,952 units (+2.8% from end of last year). Notably, outside of London and Southeast England, house prices are more resilient, with average prices up c3% on the year through to September.
Turning to Italy, the Corriere della Sera reported that the President may dissolve parliament early and potentially call for an early election on 4th March, which is c2 months earlier than the original schedule for a May election.
Overnight, North Korea’s deputy ambassador to the UN warned that a nuclear war “may break out any moment” but “as long as one does not take…military actions against NK, we have no intentions to use…..our nuclear weapons against” others. This morning in Asia, markets are trading slightly higher. The Nikkei (+0.27%), Kospi (+0.10%) and Hang Seng (+0.18%) are up slightly while the Chinese bourses are also up marginally as we type.
Onto yesterday’s market performance, US bourses edged higher onto another fresh record high, with the S&P (+0.18% to 2,557.6), Dow (+0.37%) and Nasdaq (+0.28%) all up slightly. Within the S&P, modest losses were driven by the real estate and health care sectors (-0.38%), with the latter likely impacted by President Trump’s latest comments that prescription drug prices are “out of control” and that healthcare companies are “getting away with murder”.
Elsewhere, the weakness was more than offset by solid gains from Telcos (+0.77%), financials and tech stocks. Notably, the VIX was slightly higher at 9.91 (+0.3 pts) yesterday, but has seen 15 sessions out of the last 19 below 10 now.
Elsewhere, European markets were mixed, but little changed with Stoxx 600 flat, while the DAX (+0.09%) and CAC (+0.21%) rose marginally. Elsewhere, FTSE 100 (-0.11%) and Spain’s IBEX (-0.75%) fell modestly.
Turning to currencies, the US dollar index strengthened 0.24% while Euro and Sterling weakened 0.20% and 0.26% respectively. In commodities, WTI oil rose 0.82% following reports of increased tensions between Iraqi and Kurdish forces which could disrupt oil supplies. Precious metals softened on the risk on bias (Gold -0.62%; Silver -1.1%), while LME copper rose 2.55% to a new 3 year high, but other base metals were slightly softer (Zinc -1.17%; Aluminium -0.88%). Elsewhere, palladium retreated 1.66% after reaching an intraday high of $1,010, which if held would have been the highest close since February 2001. Away from the markets and onto the timing of US tax reforms. Both President Trump and Senate Majority Leader McConnell have reaffirmed their aim of delivering a tax bill by December. However, Trump pointed out the last major tax reform in 1986 was achieved “mid-way” through President Regan’s second term, but “I’ve been here for a little more than nine months”. Elsewhere, Senator McConnell noted that some of the major changes under President Obama were also signed in the second year of his first term (Affordable Care Act and Dodd- Frank Act).
Yesterday’s data releases were fairly quiet aheadof a more busy day and week ahead. In the US, the empire manufacturing survey was materially higher than consensu s at 30.2 (vs. 20.4 expected) – the strongest since September 2014. Elsewhere, the Eurozone’s August trade surplus was slightly higher than expected at €21.6bn (vs. €20.2bn expected).
Looking at the day ahead, a bit of a bumper day for data and particularly inflation readings with September CPI/PPI/RPI due in the UK and the final September CPI report also due for the Euro area. The October ZEW survey will also be worth keeping an eye on in Germany. In the US the September industrial production print is the most notable release, while September manufacturing production and the import price index readings are also due, along with the October NAHB housing market index print. Onto other events, keep an eye on BoE Governor Carney testifying before the UK Parliament. Away from this, the ECB’s Constancio and Costa is also slated to make comments. Meanwhile EU foreign ministers hold preparatory talks ahead of the summit at the end of the week. Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and IBM results are also due.
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