Risk gains as Powell signals lower for longer on rates

Fed chair Jay Powell announced a new monetary policy framework based on average inflation targeting (AIT), as had been anticipated. I read this as admission by the Fed that the monetary and fiscal response to the pandemic will ultimately prove inflationary (M1 increase, deglobalisation etc), but that the Fed does not want to pull the handbrake on a long and slow recovery by being constrained with a mandate to keep inflation level. It’s also increasingly politically tuned into recent events in prioritising jobs over price stability.

Essentially the Fed is taking a step back from price stability, it is not going to worry about inflation overshooting; the focus is on employment not stable money. It’s about supporting the economy not prices – this is an important shift, albeit one that we have largely assumed unofficially to be the case for some time. The Fed today made it clear it won’t take the punch bowl away as quickly as it would have done in the past.

Fed AIT framework leaves unanswered questions

But the Fed is keeping its hands relatively free by not sticking to any specific formula relating to AIT – this poses some unanswered questions for the FOMC. There was not much in the way of detail of how the Fed plans to  deliver the new framework. For instance, if inflation runs at 1% for 5 years, does that mean it allows it to run at 3% for the next 5?

Powell’s speech lacked in specifics on the nature of forward guidance that the FOMC is clearly leaning towards – this will be an important lever of the AIT approach, so it needs to be clarified at the next meeting in September.

Should forward guidance be based on a time horizon or specific economic data? Yield curve control has been shelved as an idea by the FOMC but remains an option should it desire. The September 16th meeting will be of great importance to iron out how AIT will be delivered.

Powell stressed that if ‘excessive inflationary pressures’ were to build, or inflation expectations were to rise above levels consistent with its mandate, the Fed ‘would not hesitate to act’. This gives it a degree of latitude down the line should there be a major inflation overshoot.

Dollar offered, stocks and gold bid

Markets are trying to make sense of the changes. The dollar index sold off initially to 92.40 but pared losses and came back to 93 as US yields started to pick up with 10s back above 0.719% having dipped to 64bps. EURUSD spiked to 1.190 but quickly retreated to 1.180. GBPUSD surged to 1.3280 before coming back in to the round number support.

Stocks rose with Wall Street hitting fresh record highs at the open as AIT is fundamentally supportive of risk assets, entailing as it does lower interest rates for longer. The S&P 500 approached 3,500 for the first time, meaning it’s up 100 points for the week. Gold drove sharply higher to $1976 but retraced as quickly as it rallied to $1940 as yields climbed. The key for the market is what will AIT do to inflation expectations.

Earlier data showed just what a big task the Fed has in getting unemployment back to pre-pandemic levels (3.5%). It’s clear the US still has a very troubled jobs market – initial claims still above 1m, continuing claims only came down a small amount to 14.54m from 14.76m a week before. Q2 contraction in the US was a little less than previously estimated, with the annualised figure coming in at –31.7% vs –32.9% on the first reading.

La settimana che ci aspetta: I verbali del FOMC e i nonfarm payroll dominano il calendario

Mentre l’indice PMI cinese sarà al centro dell’attenzione all’inizio della settimana, il calendario economico statunitense dominerà i giorni successivi, con l’ultimo ISM Manufacturing PMI, i verbali delle riunioni del FOMC e i nonfarm payroll di giugno.

L’indice PMI cinese 

È il momento dei più recenti indici PMI cinesi: dal momento che si tratta dei primi dati PMI globali del mese, forniranno ai mercati una possibile tendenza su come stanno andando le cose.

Ora la ripresa della Cina potrebbe essere in pericolo a causa dei nuovi focolai di Covid-19, ma gli ultimi indici PMI daranno comunque un’indicazione su come potrebbero andare le altre nazioni, poiché anch’esse dopo aver combattuto il virus iniziano a concentrarsi maggiormente su come far ripartire le proprie economie.

Inflazione in Germania e nell’Eurozona 

A maggio i prezzi al consumo sono diminuiti dello 0,1% in tutta la zona Euro, anche se questo dato non rappresenta certo uno shock. I dati sull’inflazione di questa settimana potrebbero mostrare ulteriori cali, cosa prevedibile dato l’enorme crollo della domanda, l’aumento della disoccupazione e gli incentivi che vengono emessi sul mercato Banca Centrale Europea. La scorsa settimana Fitch ha previsto che l’inflazione core dell’Eurozona rallenterà nei prossimi 18 mesi e che nel 2021 finirà sotto lo 0,5%.

Un periodo prolungato di deflazione sarà negativo per l’economia, ma si tratta di una situazione che a breve termine è attesa, perciò l’impatto sul mercato dei dati relativi all’Indice sui Prezzi al Consumo è stato in qualche modo attenuato.

Vendite al dettaglio in Germania 

L’attività dei consumatori è fortemente rimbalzata negli Stati Uniti e nel Regno Unito da quando le restrizioni sono state allentate: riuscirà la Germania a seguire l’esempio? A maggio le vendite al dettaglio negli Stati Uniti sono aumentate del 17,7%, superando le aspettative di un aumento dell’8%, mentre le vendite nel Regno Unito sono aumentate del 12% rispetto alle previsioni del 5,7%.

In Germania le vendite al dettaglio sono scese del 5,3% ad aprile, ma il dato è di gran lunga migliore rispetto al tonfo del 12% previsto dagli analisti, con l’aumento delle vendite online che ha contribuito ad attenuare le proporzioni del crollo. Per maggio si prevede un aumento delle vendite del 2,5% quando i negozi fisici hanno iniziato a riaprire, ma come accaduto con i dati di Stati Uniti e Regno Unito potrebbero esserci dati ancora più confortanti.

Il Manufacturing Index dell’ISM 

La produzione americana sta faticando a riprendersi dallo shock della pandemia. L’indice PMI di maggio dell’ISM ha registrato un rialzo dopo i dati più bassi da oltre un decennio di aprile, ma è rimasto di mezzo punto sotto le aspettative del mercato. Un rimbalzo più netto è previsto per giugno, ma l’indice PMI sul manifatturiero rilasciato da IHS Markit la scorsa settimana ha deluso le aspettative, rimanendo in contrazione, anche se i dati dell’Eurozona e del Regno Unito sono tornati in crescita.

I verbali dell’incontro del FOMC 

Il FOMC ha inferto un duro colpo ai mercati a seguito del suo ultimo incontro, rilasciando proiezioni economiche peggiori del previsto che hanno del tutto fatto sparire l’idea che gli Stati Uniti avrebbero potuto vedere una ripresa a forma di V. I responsabili delle policy hanno osservato che i tassi di sarebbero rimasti vicini allo zero almeno fino al 2022, e che il tasso di acquisti di asset sarebbe aumentato nei prossimi mesi.

Il verbale dell’incontro fornirà maggiori dettagli, e i mercati saranno particolarmente interessati a qualsiasi annotazione relativa al controllo della curva dei rendimenti (YCC), che probabilmente sarà il prossimo strumento politico che la Fed implementerà per tenere a freno i tassi. Quando tale azione verrà intrapresa è ancora incerto, ma i verbali potrebbero fornire alcuni indizi.

Rapporto sui nonfarm payroll statunitensi 

Venerdì sarà un giorno festivo, perché il 4 luglio, Giorno dell’Indipendenza degli Stati Uniti, quest’anno cade in sabato. Ciò significa che il rapporto sui nonfarm payroll di giugno uscirà giovedì.

I dati del mese scorso hanno lasciato tutti sbalorditi per l’aumento di 2,5 milioni di occupati rispetto alle previsioni di un calo di 8 milioni, segno che l’economia americana potrebbe riprendersi più velocemente di quanto si pensasse in precedenza.

Tuttavia, gli ultimi dati sulle richieste di sussidi di disoccupazione settimanali sono stati deludenti, anche se le cifre hanno continuato a diminuire, e il calo delle nuove richieste è stato meno significativo del previsto. Ciò indica che la ferita nel mercato del lavoro è più profonda? In caso di risposta affermativa, è necessario tenere a freno le aspettative che i nonfarm payroll possano continuare a fornire cifre così importanti?

In evidenza su XRay questa settimana

Leggi il programma completo dell’analisi e formazione del mercato finanziario.

07.15 UTC Daily European Morning Call
From 15.30 UTC 30-Jun Weekly Gold, Silver, and Oil Forecasts
17.00 UTC 01-Jul Blonde Markets
19.00 UTC 01-Jul Introduction to Currency Trading: Is it For Me?
12.25 UTC 02-Jul

US Nonfarm Payrolls: Live Market Analysis

 

Eventi economici principali

Presta attenzione agli eventi più importanti sul calendario economico di questa settimana:

12.00 UTC 29-Jun German Preliminary Inflation
23.30 UTC 29-Jun Japan Unemployment / Industrial Production
After-Market 29-Jun Micron Technology – Q3 2020
01.00 UTC 30-Jun China Manufacturing, Non-Manufacturing PMIs
06.00 UTC 30-Jun UK Finalised Quarterly GDP
30-Jun easyJet – Q2 2020
09.00 UTC 30-Jun Eurozone Flash CPI
12.30 UTC 30-Jun Canada Monthly GDP
14.00 UTC 30-Jun US CB Consumer Confidence
After-Market 30-Jun FedEx Corp – Q4 2020
01.45 UTC 01-Jul Caixin Manufacturing PMI
06.00 UTC 01-Jul Germany Retail Sales
Pre-Market 01-Jul General Mills – Q4 2020
Pre-Market 01-Jul Constellation Brands – Q1 2021
12.15 UTC 01-Jul US ADP Nonfarm Payrolls Report
14.00 UTC 01-Jul ISM Manufacturing PMI
14.30 UTC 01-Jul US EIA Crude Oil Inventories
18.00 UTC 01-Jul FOMC Meeting Minutes
01.30 UTC 02-Jul Australia Trade Balance
12.30 UTC 02-Jul US Nonfarm Payrolls (Friday is US Bank Holiday)
01.30 UTC 03-Jul Australia Retail Sales
All Day 03-Jul US Bank Holiday – Markets Closed

UK inflation slips, M&S profits slide, indices hold trading ranges

It’s widely accepted that the pandemic is a profoundly deflationary shock to the global economy. No surprise then that UK consumer price inflation slowed to 0.8% in April from 1.5% in March. In fact, the bulk of the decline was due to lower oil prices.

Schemes to keep the economy on life support continue to support purchasing power – it may take some months for inflation to bottom as the economy goes through a painful readjustment.  Input prices for manufacturers declined 5.1%, whilst factory gate prices were 0.7% lower.  What comes next is anyone’s guess, but inflation could be round the corner as central banks and governments deal with vast debts.

M&S sales drop, but cash flow better than feared

Retailers will be at the coalface when it comes to inflation. Big discounts are expected as shops reopen over the summer – better to clear the old lines than having a bunch of shorts and bikinis to scrap. Marks & Spencer has been a bellwether for the UK high street, but lately its crown has slipped.

Results today indicate it’s had a tough time coping with the pandemic – in the six weeks to May 9th clothing sales tumbled 75% , while food sales declined 8.8%. But management are happy that they’ve outperformed their Covid-19 scenario with £150m better cash flow after six weeks than they had feared. Dividends of course are out of the question – MKS will not pay a final dividend for 2019/20 and it does not plan paying one for 2020/21.

Overall full year profits before tax declined around 20%. Free cash has halved over the year to £225m and after tax profits were down 40%. We knew it was going to be tough for M&S, so the focus for investors is the transformation plan, which is accelerating with more cost savings planned. Covid-19 has accelerated lots of consumer trends and it may just be the catalyst required to accelerate Marks & Spencer’s transformation into a 21st century retailer.

In particular it looks as though M&S has learnt just how important online is – so it’s making its Ocado venture more central to the business, introducing 1,600 Clothing & Home lines to be available online via Ocado. Much smaller store footprint, more focus on food, leverage the Ocado platform – there is at last a lot to be said for the MKS approach. Of course, we’ve talking about Marks’ recovery and transformation plans for many a year.

The pound eased back from the day’s highs on the weaker inflation numbers, with GBPUSD retreating under 1.2250, eyeing a potential retest of yesterday’s swing low at 1.2220.

Stock markets soft as scientists question Moderna vaccine data

Wall Street snapped a three-day win streak after doubts were raised about Moderna’s potential vaccine. Some scientists asked by health news website Stat queried the data, or lack thereof. Stocks ran up against the bad news as energetically as they ran with the good. It just shows how the market is clinging to any kind of sort of good news.

European shares followed lower again on Wednesday. The FTSE 100 just held onto the 6,000 level yesterday but opened lower this morning. Basic resources, financials and banks were the leading losers. Indices are within recent ranges as the tug-o-war between the economic reality on the one side and the twin hopes of stimulus and scientific research on the other play out.

API data shows surprise draw, WTI clings to $32

Oil was steady in its recent consolidation pattern as API figures showed a draw on US crude stocks. Inventories fell 4.8m barrels in the week to May 15th, vs expectations for stockpiles to build by 1.5m barrels. EIA figures are due later today and are seen showing a build of 1.7m barrels. With WTI trading above $30 again shale producers are already seen coming back on stream, which could tilt the balance back towards oversupply.

Nevertheless, demand is picking up and shut-ins have resulted in a little more supply being taken off. Reports suggest Chinese oil demand has almost returned to where it was before the pandemic. WTI (Aug) is just about holding above $32 but has a look like it wants to pull back – EIA figures today may provide the catalyst.

The risk-off tone supported gold bulls, with prices making steady progress back to $1750, having struck a low of $1725 yesterday. The recent 7-year high at $1764 struck earlier in the week is the upside target.

The S&P 500 quickly retreated from the area of the late Apr swing high around 2954 and closed below the 61.8% retracement. Futures indicate it will open around this level.

Week Ahead: FOMC’s symmetric minutes, German sentiment, UK inflation

FOMC Minutes

The last meeting of the Federal Reserve Committee saw policymakers reaffirming their commitment to letting inflation run hot in order to make up for years of lacklustre price growth. Jerome Powell told reporters after the meeting that “we wanted to underscore our commitment to 2% not being a ceiling, to inflation running symmetrically around 2% and we’re not satisfied with inflation running below 2%”. Expect more underscoring in the minutes, and perhaps more softening of the economic assessment – the post-meeting statement revised its view of consumer spending to “moderate” from “strong” in December.

Germany ZEW sentiment

Industrial production data last week raised further questions over the outlook for the Eurozone. Production fell 4.1% during 2019, and now there’s the added threat of disrupted supply chains thanks to the coronavirus outbreak. Last month’s ZEW sentiment index surged to 26.7 from 10.7 in December, but recent developments suggest that optimism may have been premature.

UK CPI

A soft inflation reading in December had seen markets divided over whether or not the Bank of England was finally about to cut interest rates, having been on hold so long due to Brexit uncertainty. In the end Governor Mark Carney left things unchanged before passing the baton to Andrew Bailey. Another round of soft inflation data this week might not be enough on its own to persuade the Monetary Policy Committee that a rate cut is necessary, but if Friday’s preliminary Markit PMIs also show weakness markets are likely to raise bets on easing soon.

Eyes on OPEC

Oil markets had been hoping that OPEC would ride to the rescue this month, bringing forward its March meeting as the coronavirus outbreak hammers global oil demand. It now seems that this is unlikely, but any rumours to the contrary will still have a strong impact on oil. A change in diagnostic methods last week saw the number of coronavirus cases and deaths race higher, but equities largely shrugged this off. It’s commodities that are bearing the brunt of the economic impact, so key risks remain for oil on virus and OPEC-related headlines.

Heads-Up On Earnings

The following companies are set to publish their quarterly earnings reports this week:

17th Feb – 21.30 GMTBHP Billiton Q2 2020
18th Feb – 00.30 GMTReserve Bank of Australia Meeting Minutes
18th Feb – 04.00 GMTHSBC Holdings Q4 2019
18th Feb – 09.30 GMTUK Unemployment Rate, Average Earnings
18th Feb – 10.00 GMTEurozone/Germany ZEW Survey Results
18th Feb – Pre-MarketWalmartQ4 2020
18th Feb – Pre-MarketMedtronicQ3 2020
18th Feb – Pre-MarketGlencoreQ4 2019
19th Feb – 09.30 GMTUK Consumer Price Index
19th Feb – 13.30 GMTCanada Consumer Price Index
19th Feb – 19.00 GMTFOMC Meeting Minutes
20th Feb – 00.30 GMTAustralia Employment Change/Unemployment Rate
20th Feb – 01.30 GMTPeople’s Bank of China Interest Rate Decision
20th Feb – 07.00 GMTGermany GfK Consumer Confidence
20th Feb – 09.30 GMTUK Retail Sales
20th Feb – 12.30 GMTECB Monetary Policy Meeting Accounts
20th Feb – 15.30 GMTUS EIA Natural Gas Storage
20th Feb – 16.00 GMTUS EIA Crude Oil Inventories
20th FebBAE SystemsQ4 2019
21st Feb – 06.00 GMTAllianzQ4 2019
21st Feb – 09.30 GMTUK Market Flash Composite (Inc Flash Manufacturing/Services PMIs)
21st Feb – 10.00 GMTEurozone Consumer Price Index
21st Feb – Pre-MarketDeere & CoQ1 20202

Watch the Week Ahead on XRay

Highlights on XRay this week:

Daily08.15 GMTEuropean Morning CallFreeRegister
18th Feb14.15 GMTLive Trading Room with TrendsignalFreeRegister
18th Feb16.30-17.10 GMTAsset in Focus: Oil Gold and SilverFreeRegister
19th Feb 12.00 GMT Midweek Lunch Wrap FreeRegister
21st Feb13.00 GMTLive Trade Setups with Mark LeighFreeRegister

Week Ahead: Inflation headlines heavy data week

Welcome to your guide to the week ahead in the markets.

US & Eurozone inflation 

As markets weigh the prospect of more stimulus from global central banks, hard economic data this week will be eyed for any signs that the premise on which market expectations are based is wrong. 

Friday sees the release of the flash CPI estimate for the Eurozone. Indications so far do not suggest inflation in the bloc is moving higher. The same day the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, the core PCE measure, is released. Core CPI has been moving up lately but the PCE indicator has remained subdued. 

Brexit 

 After the G7 summit over the weekend, markets are looking to the EU and Britain for where the next move is on Brexit. MPs return on September 5th but there will be plenty of politicking going on behind closed doors before then.  

Australian data 

With Aussie traders looking to the next RBA meeting at the start of September, this week’s download of data will be closely assessed for clues about future rate cuts. Construction work done, building approvals and capital expenditure figures are all set for release in the coming days. 

China PMIs 

After the end of the trading week on Saturday we get the latest manufacturing and services figures out of China. The key question for risk assets is whether the trade war is still biting down on Chinese expansion.  

US data 

A batch of US figures are out including core durable goods (Monday), the second reading of the Q2 GDP print (Tuesday), while on Friday we get the Chicago PMI and University of Michigan consumer sentiment reports.  

Corporate Diary

Earnings season is wrapping up, with just a couple of releases this week.

Aug 26thDollar General
Aug 28thTiffany & Co
Aug 28thHewlett Packard
Aug 29thPernod Ricard
Aug 29thBest Buy
XRay

There are plenty of things to look forward to on XRay this week. You can watch live, or subscribe to view on catch up.

07.15 GMTAug 27thEuropean Morning Call
15.30 GMTAug 27thAsset of the Day: Bullion Billions
15.45 GMTAug 27thAsset of the Day: Oil Outlook
13.00 GMTAug 28thAsset of the Day: Indices Insight
07.00 GMTAug 29thLive Trading Room
Key Economic Events

There are a lot of dates for the diary this week, including US Core Durable Goods and Eurozone Flash CPI.

08.00 GMTAug 26thGerman IFO Business Climate
12.30 GMTAug 26thUS Core Durable Goods
14.00 GMTAug 27thUS CB Consumer Confidence
01.30 GMTAug 28thAustralian Construction Work Done
14.30 GMTAug 28thEIA Weekly Crude Oil Inventories
01.00 GMTAug 29thANZ Business Confidence
01.30 GMTAug 29thAustralia Private Capital Expenditure
12.30 GMTAug 29thUS Q2 GDP (2nd Reading)
09.00 GMTAug 30thEurozone Flash CPI
12.30 GMTAug 30thUS PCE Inflation

Payrolls day: eyes on wage inflation

Data this week from the US has offered some mixed signals. Employment via the ADP private payrolls number was strong, coming at 275k, well ahead of expectations. One cannot always see a direct correlation between the ADP print and the NFP number, but nonetheless it suggests another print at least in line with the 3-month average. Census hiring might skew the numbers to the upside – prepare for a 250k+ print this time as a result, which could cause a little volatility.

Meanwhile the Chicago and ISM PMIs were soft, coming in around their weakest in two years and suggesting some drag in some employment sectors.

Within the ISM numbers the Employment Index fell to 52.4%, a decrease of 5.1 percentage points from the March reading of 57.5%. The Chicago PMI also highlighted weaker employment, with the decline in demand and production matched by reduced demand for labour. The Employment Indicator fell to its lowest level since October 2017,  and below the three- and 12-month averages.

Earnings focus

PCE figures meanwhile, shows spending accelerated at the fastest pace in almost ten years, rising to 0.9% in March after a 0.1% gain in February. Personal incomes, rose 0.1% in March. Inflation fell to 1.6% from 2%. All told there is perhaps a sense that wages are not squeezing higher as much as expected.

Unemployment shows tightness

On unemployment, initial jobless claims were steady at a seasonally adjusted 230,000 for the week ended April 27th, after jumping 37k the week before, the biggest rise in two years. The four-month moving average of claims has inched up 6,500 to 212,500.

Last month marked a recovery in the headline number as the March figure climbed to 196k from the wobble in February. Wage growth however was much softer than expected, rising 0.1% MoM versus the 0.3% expected. This left annual average wage growth at 3.2%, short of the 3.4% expected which was printed the prior month.

Post-FOMC, the USD is firmer with a push off the 96 handle back towards the 98 handle. For a drive higher for USD we would like require a beat on wage growth more than anything else as big headline jobs number is easy to disregard month to month. In fact it’s hard to get quite as excited about the main NFP print these days, particularly as the numbers can be quite volatile month to month. Focus on the three-month average and the wage data. Also unemployment, should it fall further and highlight further tightening in the labour market will get the Fed’s attention.

GBPUSD is holding the 1.30 handle but a big number on wages may pressure the pair lower and a retreat to the 200-day line around 1.2960.  

Consensus expectations

190k jobs created

3.8% unemployment

+0.3% wages

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