Oil prices hold above USD 44 per barrel

28 June, 2017

European Outlook: Asian stock markets mostly headed south, with Australia’s ASX a notable exception. Elsewhere markets followed Wall Street lower, after the delay to a U.S. healthcare reform vote and with Draghi’s comments yesterday serving as a reminder that central bank support has peaked and that rates will trend higher. Losses in Nikkei and Hang Seng seemed more muted though and the ASX actually managed to move higher, as oil prices hold above USD 44 per barrel. Equally, the uptick in long yields looked less severe in Asia and with the first round of preliminary June inflation data out of the Eurozone today likely to show a drop in the headline rate, even Eurozone markets, which were knocked off balance by Draghi yesterday, should start to settle. Lower inflation numbers over the next days and likely comments from officials trying to play down the impact of Draghi’s remarkets should see bonds settling again. The calendar has EMU M3, preliminary Italian HICP, US Pending Home Sales and US Crude Oil Inventories.

U.S. reports: revealed June gains for both consumer and business confidence, as the various “soft” measures continue to overshoot “hard” data forecasts despite modest pull-backs from Q1 highs. For consumer confidence, we saw a June bounce to 118.9 from 117.6 (was 117.9) in May, leaving a fourth consecutive reading above what was once the 16-year high of 116.1 in February, versus the new 16-year high of 124.9 in March. The Richmond Fed index bounced to 7.0 in June from 1.0 in May, versus a 7-year high of 22.0 in March, while the ISM-adjusted Richmond Fed bounced to 54.0 from 51.7 in May, versus a 7-year high of 59.2 in March. Yesterday’s Dallas Fed index bucked the trend thanks to recent oil price declines, with a June drop to 15.0 from 17.2 in May, while the ISM-adjusted Dallas Fed dropped to 53.0 from a 2-year high of 55.4 in May.

Fed Chair Yellen: reiterated the Fed’s commitment to price stability. Policymakers want to avoid making too-low of an inflation rate to become ingrained. She noted that household inflation expectations have slipped some, and added that many on the Committee do believe that a low jobless rate will boost inflation. She did say though that aid there are reasons to believe rates will remain low for some time. Layoffs at brick-and-mortar stores will continue. Asset values are somewhat rich by traditional metrics. She stressed, however, that the FOMC is not targeting asset prices. The markets have well anticipated a gradual rate hike path, especially as the Fed has made it clear rates will rise only gradually. She cautioned to expect uncertainty over how Brexit will unfold. She declined to comment on her relationship with President Trump, but said there is a long tradition of the Fed working with administrations and added that the administration has respect for the Fed’s independence. On the other hand, Fed’s Harker still backs another rate hike this year, he said in comments from a conference London. He believes growth should average about 2.3% this year, but he’s pushed back his view of inflation hitting the 2% target into the start of 2018 versus the end of 2017.

German May import price inflation fell back to 4.1% y/y from 6.1% y/y in the previous month, with prices down -1.0% m/m. A stronger than expected dip, which, however, is largely due to base effects from energy prices and the currency. At 4.1% y/y import price inflation remains at high levels, but with headline rates also coming off highs and June figures likely to fall back further below the 2% limit, the data will back the ECB’s cautious approach to tightening steps, although that the ECB is heading for tapering next year is pretty clear.

Main Macro Events Today

ECB’s Forum – ECB’s President Draghi speaks today at the ECB forum in Central Bank in Portugal at 13:30 GMT along with BOC Gov. Poloz, BoE Gov. Carney and BoJ Gov Koruda.

U.S. Pending Home Sales & Oil Inventories – Pending home sales from the NAR are expected to rise 0.7% in May to 110.6 and EIA inventories are due after sparking recent bouts of crude oil selling.

JPY Retail Trade – Retail sales are projected at 2.6% y/y in May from 3.2% y/y in April. The projection is for a 0.5% y/y dip in May large retailer sales following the 1.1% rate of increase in April.

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