Asian stock markets headed south

October 12, 2016

European Outlook: Asian stock markets headed south, with investors pondering the U.S. rate outlook and the slump in Samsung Electronics Co. adding to pressure. The Nikkei closed down -0.93% at 16, 867) Oil prices are slightly higher on the day, but the front end WTI future is holding below USD 51 per barrel amid scepticism about broad output cut agreements. US and UK stock futures meanwhile are higher, the latter despite a jump in the Pound. The European calendar has final French inflation data for September as well as Eurozone production numbers for August, with the latter expected to show a strong gain following very strong national data.

FX Update: Cable made a 31-year closing low in London at 1.2226. Notably this was also the low of the day, which can be taken as a technically bearish indication. Cable is 1.2264 bid presently, having plummeted another 200 pips to lows of 1.2085 and remains about 1.2% up on the day. The pairing is down by 5.4% w/w, 8.2% m/m and off by nearly 17% on the year-to-date. Dollar strength has been a factor in the mix in recent days, aside from Brexit-related sterling under performance (which has seen the currency to fresh lows versus the euro, yen and other currencies). The rebound from under 1.2100 was sparked by news, reported initially by Sky, that PM May has backed down and will allow parliament to scrutinise the government’s Brexit plan before Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is triggered. This is apparently a concession by May to win support of Conservative MPs for a vote on whether to allow parliament to vote directly on the Article 50 plan, which the government does not want (and is subject to a legal challenge that is starting this week). For markets this development is a sign that the government could be forced to dilute its “hard Brexit” stance, although this will remain to be seen. Elsewhere, the dollar traded mixed. EURUSD clocked a 10-week low of 1.1031 while USDJPY settled in the mid 103s in a fourth day of consolidation after logging a six-week peak at 104.16 last Thursday. AUDUSD lifted by over 0.5%, reversing most of yesterday’s decline.

BOJ Governor Kuroda: Speaking  to parliament  explained that the BOJ will ease policy again if requiredincluding lowering negative rates further and buying more Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs) (currently set at 80 trillion yen a year). The amount of JGB purchases will vary from year to year.

BOC Governor Poloz: His comments were consistent with no change in rates alongside a cautiously constructive outlook for growth and inflation in next week’s announcement and MPR. The governor’s remarks,  as reported by Bloomberg, were cautiously upbeat on growth prospects. He acknowledged disappointment over the underperformance in exports and slow pace of the rebound but reiterated that the economy’s path remains positive and further fiscal stimulus will provide a boost near term. The Governor said “The situation continues to be okay…” We agree, with recent data consistent with an economy that continues to find its footing in the wake of the oil price shock and Fort McMurray wildfire. Notably, employment grew in both August and September while the Outlook Survey revealed that weakness in the resource sector is likely bottoming out. Modest reductions in the bank’s GDP projections are expected next week, but the rebound scenario will remain intact. Hence, projections remain for no change in rates until the first half of 2018, when modest rate hikes are seen.

Fedspeak: Minneapolis Fed moderate Kashkari sees no urgency in raising rates and said the Fed should let the economy keep creating jobs so long as it doesn’t spur inflation. He says his eyes are wide open for signs of asset bubbles. Kashkari is speaking on the Too-Big-To-Fail topic, but segued into policy, though this is in line with his previous arguments in favour of patience.

Main Macro Events Today                

FOMC Minutes – The minutes will be an interesting read given the degree of market speculation of a rate hike back then, and now, and especially with the three dissenting votes against last month’s unchanged policy decision. However, there’s not likely to be any new information shared since that meeting included the Fed’s new projections and dot plot, along with Chair Yellen’s press conference. There’s also been considerable Fedspeak since the meeting, explaining the stance. The minutes should show confirmation the Fed remained sidelined due to the slowdown in the labour market and uncertainties over the fallout from Brexit.

JOLTS Report – A favourite of Governor Yellen, data released at 14:00 GMT expectations are for a slight fall to 5.79million from 5.87million last month.

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