Sunday, 10 March 2019

Week to Mar 7th

Growth forecast cuts in China, Europe and Canada, Worst US TB since 2008

Mon Mar 04
Despite encouraging remarks from President Trump at the weekend, and another call for a weaker dollar, a rally in China during the Asian session did not prevent optimism from fading in the US markets and SPX close down 0.4%. DAX and NKY followed suit although FTSE advanced as GBP faded some its Brexit hopes gains. Yields fells on stock-bond rotation.
President Trump also called for a weaker dollar again, but this had no effect, with all currencies except JPY declining slightly, in line with the equity softening. Gold fell in line, although Oil managed to move up after Friday’s sharp fall.

Tuesday March 05
Mixed US data left equities directionless today. The situation was better in Europe after UK, German and Eurozone PMI beats at 0855, and DAX and FTSE were both up slightly. The dollar benefited from continuing EUR weakness ahead of the ECB meeting, with DXY advancing 0.24%, and CAD and JPY also fell slightly, and GBP was flat, as was Gold. Oil was choppy but ended slightly up, whereas yields fell for a second day. AUD hardly moved after the rate hold.

Wednesday March 06
Markets faltered again today on the US trade balance miss at 1330, the worst deficit since 2008, together with the ADP miss at the same time, and all indices were down, even FTSE. Yields were down 3.2bp, and JPY was up in line with the risk off mood. DXY was flat (as was Gold), with small recoveries (after two days decline) in EUR and GBP balancing a sharp drop in CAD (only 9.1% of the basket) after gloomy growth forecasts from the BoC at 1500 and mixed Ivey PMIs at the same time. AUD dropped sharply by nearly 1% on the Australian Q4 GDP miss. Oil ended slightly up, with the usual choppiness around the EIA print at 1530. The headline missed, but the Gasoline estimate beat.

Thursday March 07
Another day, another problem. Following the record US trade deficit and the BoC forecast, today the ECB downgraded growth forecasts for the giant Eurozone, and more significantly reversed policy from tightening (the end of bond buying in December) back to easing by a new TLTRO program. The forecast was expected, the TLTROs were not, and EUR fell 1.27% during the next six hours. US, Japanese (futures), and UK equities accelerated their fall. DAX had a short currency related spike up and then joined them.

DXY had its best day since June 2018, and rose 0.75%. As you would expect EURJPY moved even more (down 1.18%). Other currencies moved down, although notably, CAD did not suffer from its usual risk aversion, having softened the day before. Gold was flat. Oil was up slightly again, staying in the 56.50-57.50 range it has held all week. Yield were down again, following the rotation principle rather than the stronger dollar. This is showing that the dollar was not really stronger, it is just EUR that is weaker, as evidenced by the move down in USDJPY.

Friday March 08
The February NFP miss (20k vs 180k) at 1330 gave us three bad days in a row. Small misses sometime push equities up on the theory that they will delay rate hikes, but this was the third-worst print since 2011, following a stellar (311k) January. No tweet from Trump today! Markets all slid down further, although there was a small rally in the last hour. Notably China fell 4% in Asia well before the NFP release.

DXY was down 0.26%, giving back a third of its Thursday gains, with all currencies up, in particular big moves up in JPY and Gold, and down in Oil in line with the equity fade, although the latter recovered somewhat into the close. The Canadian NFP beat had a surprisingly modest effect, with USDCAD only down 0.28%, no more than DXY as a whole. Yields were down 5bp on rotation or dollar tracking.

Despite the stronger yen, NKY was the biggest index decline this week. The strong yen also made shorting GBPJPY (down 2.35%) the best forex trade of the week. Cryptos went to sleep again after a brief burst of activity last week. Another mixed week for FANGs with a surprisingly strong performance from FB.

Note we use Google Finance data for daily movements, listing UUP as a proxy for DXY. All references to ‘the dollar’ are based on UUP. The equity and index prices are now based on the cash close each day.

(all times are GMT)
(Calendar High volatility items are in bold)
  • Yet another Brexit ‘high noon’
  • BoJ Rate Decision
  • US Inflation release
  • US/Europe DST disconnect

Monday March 11
Today is the first day of the bi-annual one-hour disconnect between the start of daylight saving (summer) time in North America and Europe. The first effect is the Retail Sales print, an hour earlier for European traders, coming after the worst figure since 2001 last month. Our times remain on GMT, as they will when Europe enters DST.

21:45 NZD NZ Electronic Card Retail Sales (Sunday)
00:00 EUR Eurogroup meeting (all day)
07:00 EUR Germany Industrial Production/Trade Balance
12:30 USD US Retail Sales Jan (Control Group est 0.6% prev -1.7%)
13:00 GBP BoE Haskel speech

Tuesday March 12
Today, we have another attempt by embattled UK PM Theresa May to get her Brexit deal through the British Parliament. The vote seems likely to fail again, at which point the saga moves to later votes in the week. US inflation (one leg of the Fed’s dual mandate) will inevitiably affect USD if it is well off estimates. Fed Chair Powell is due to speak at some time today (unconfirmed).

00:00 EUR EcoFin Meeting (all day)
02:15 CNY China FDI
06:30 AUD RBA Debelle speech
09:30 GBP UK Industrial/Manufacturing Production
09:30 GBP UK GDP MoM
12:30 USD US CPI (Core YoY est 2.1% prev 2.2%)
13:45 USD Fed Brainard speech
19:00 GBP UK Parliamentary vote on Brexit (time approx)
20:30 WTI API Oil Stock

Wednesday March 13
Provided the Tuesday vote fails (as expected), a (free) vote by UK MPs is expected to on whether it is acceptable to exit on Mar 29 without a deal. This is designed to be rejected, and almost certainly will be.  In the middle of this, the UK Spring Statement (Budget) is announced, with possible tax changes. A new US report, the unwieldy-titled Nondefense Capital Goods Orders ex Aircraft has been marked by commentators as important, more so that the normal Durable Goods release at the same time.

10:00 EUR Eurozone Industrial Production s.a. (MoM)
12:30 USD US Core PPI
12:30 USD US Durable Goods
12:30 USD US ND Capital Goods (est 0.1% prev -1%)
12:30 GBP UK Budget Report (time approx)
14:30 WTI EIA Oil Stock

Thursday March 14
If the two previous votes are rejected, today’s British Parliament vote is crucial. This will be to extend the exit date (probably to May 23). There may be amendments for a longer delay, or even a second referendum (polls suggest a new people’s vote would cancel Brexit). This is the least certain and therefore potentially the most volatile for GBP. China’s Industrial Production figures are important, given reactions to recent Chinese data. There is a rate decision on UAH (0.5% cut expected)

00:00 AUD Aus Consumer Inflation Expectations
02:00 CNY China Retail Sales/Industrial Production (YoY)
07:00 EUR Germany CPI (est 1.% prev 1.7%)
12:30 USD US Jobless Claims
14:00 USD US New Home Sales (MoM)
21:30 NZD Business NZ PMI
22:50 CAD BoC Wilkins speech

Friday March 15
After growth downgrades elsewhere last week, traders will be listening carefully for any similar views from the BoJ, so for once, this normally unimportant rate decision and statement may cause some JPY volatility. The Michigan Sentiment Index is estimated to fall further. The miss two weeks ago caused a sharp fall in SPX, and another could do the same.

02:00 JPY BoJ Rate Decision/Statement (est -0.1% hold)
10:00 EUR Eurozone CPI
13:15 USD US Industrial Production (MoM)
14:00 USD Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index (est 93.0 prev 93.8)
18:00 WTI Baker Hughes Rig Count

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