What is our trading focus?
Nasdaq 100 (USNAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I)
US equities were under a lot of pressure yesterday as the US 10-year bonds saw big moves pushing the 10-year yield closer towards 4% in moves that smelled of thin liquidity and heightened nervousness. S&P 500 futures did the worst close in terms of level for this drawdown cycle but did not go below the intraday lows hit during the June selloff. This morning the mood among investors is stabilising and S&P 500 futures are rebounding 1.1% trading around the 3,710 level. If the USD Index and US yields come down today we could see the VIX forward curve flip back into contango and help push equity futures higher planting the seeds for a short-term rally.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HSIU2) and China’s CSI300 (03188:xhkg)
Hang Seng Index fell another 1% to its lowest level since 2011, led by the charge lower of the tech sector. Hang Seng Tech Index (HSTECH.I) dropped 1.7% and leading China Internet names fell over 2%. HSBC (00005:xhkg) failed to rally despite the Pound Sterling having stabilized. Ahead of quarter-end and the National Day golden week holiday, the PBoC for two consecutive days in a row this week via open market operations. The year-on-year decline in China’s industrial profits slowed in August. CSI 300 gained 0.5%, led by wind power, solar power, semiconductor, and infrastructure stocks.
Sterling (GBPUSD, EURGBP) reversed Monday’s flash crash, but risks seen ahead
Sterling reversed from the flash crash seen in the Asian session on Monday, and thin liquidity conditions may have been a reason for the sharp drop. The new all-time low was set at 1.0350 but GBPUSD recovered later to trade closer to 1.0800-levels even as BOE’s lack of action (read below) continued to weigh on sterling. BOE’s Chief Economist Pill is scheduled to make a statement on Tuesday, and lack of real action may mean further downside in sterling. EURGBP traded between 0.8900 and 0.9000 after the wild spike to 0.9200+ on Monday, with the highest weekly close during the 2016-2020 “Brexit limbo” years just above 0.9300.
Some USD pairs seeing wild moves on further spike in US yields
The US dollar strength spiked higher yesterday, with the extension higher particularly aggressive against some of the G10 weaklings of late like NZD and NOK (USDNOK only has one weekly close above the current level near 10.75 in its history, posted during the pandemic outbreak in early 2020). The move was supported by a further rise in long US treasury yields yesterday, as the 10-year benchmark rose sharply again. Today’s September US Consumer Confidence reading and 5-year treasury auction (more below under US Treasuries) are in focus for next steps for the USD and US yields.
Gold dropped further on Monday as the relentless dollar and US yields surge left it with nowhere to go but down. It has since bounced back a bit after almost reaching $1618, the 50% retracement of the 2018 to 2020 rally. The short-term direction will be dictated by the dollar and the duration of the current bond market rout which has seen an almost one percent jump in US ten-year real yields this month. With the recent decline in breakeven yields, as investors buy into the Fed’s ability to bring down inflation, real yields have risen strongly thereby challenging gold and other investment metals.
Crude oil (CLX2 & LCOX2)
Crude oil traded higher in Asia following another day of selling led by a continued rally in the dollar and US Treasury yields driving concerns about tighter monetary policy leading to weaker demand for crude oil and fuel products. Brent and WTI both reached their lowest levels since January after several Federal Reserve policy makers signaled that further rate rises were in store to tame inflation regardless of the economic impact of such actions. The question now is at what levels OPEC+ will step in to pare supplies and stem what increasingly has become a rout, not only in crude oil but across markets. Also focus on hurricane Ian which is gaining power as it nears Cuba on a path toward the eastern part of the Gulf and Florida, leading to a surge in demand for diesel. While it is expected to miss most of the energy infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico some offshort production has been shut down with employees being evacuated.
US treasuries (TLT, IEF)
US treasury yields rose sharply once again yesterday, particularly at the longer end of the curve, where the US 10-year treasury yield came within eight basis points of the 4% handle. For perspective, that benchmark has not closed above 4% on a weekly close since 2008. A 2-year US Treasury auction saw surprisingly tepid demand, given the very high yield on offer well north of 4%. Today sees the auction of 5-year treasuries and tomorrow a 7-year auction.
What is going on?
Bank of England’s lack of action
Sterling slid to record lows of 1.0350 on Monday on the fallout from the announcement of new tax cuts late last week, prompting calls for an immediate action from the Bank of England to stem the slide in the currency or stabilize inflation expectations. However, the BOE response was rather lacking, only bringing a few words rather than action, and bringing doubt on whether the BoE would hike rates between now and the next regularly scheduled meeting on November 3. The risk of rate hikes being ineffective to restore sterling credibility may be seen, but BOE’s currency reserves are also rather limited and can only cover about two months of imports. This suggests sterling can remain prone to more wild swings. The BOE’s Chief Economist Huw Pill will speak today.
Fed speakers maintain hawkish rhetoric
Cleveland Fed President Mester (voter this year) was on the wires in the late US hours, reaffirming that further rate hikes will be needed and as the Fed is set to maintain a restrictive stance for some time, while she added it can be better to act more aggressively in an uncertain environment and that pre-emptive action can prevent the worst-case outcome. Boston Fed chief and FOMC voter Collins also spoke about getting inflation under control even if that means deteriorating labour markets, while Logan (2023 voter) also stressed the 2% inflation goal. Fed’s 2023 rate cuts bets are easing since the hawkish FOMC last week, More Fed speakers are lined up for Tuesday, including Powell, Bullard, Evans and Kashkari.
German Ifo survey slips to new lows
Germany’s Ifo business-climate index fell to 84.3 points in September from a revised figure of 88.6 points in August, data from the Ifo Institute showed Monday. This is its lowest value since May 2020 and below expectations of 87.1. The Ifo president said that the German economy is slipping into a recession, as business confidence worsened due to the escalating energy crisis.
China’s industrial profits declined 9.5% Y/Y in August but slower sequentially
In the first eight months of 2022, China’s industrial profits contracted 2.1% y/y. For the month of August, industrial profits declined 9.5% y/y, a slower contraction that July’s -14.5% y/y. The National Bureau Statistics noted that the slower pace of contraction was helped by stronger auto, electrical equipment, electricity generation, and consumer product industries.
No Russian oil price cap for the moment
Yesterday, the EU countries announced they will delay the introduction of an oil price cap on Russian imports. At least two countries, Cyprus and Hungary (the Hungarian government is one of the most vocal European governments criticizing the sanctions against Russia) have expressed opposition to the oil cap proposal. Expect intense negotiations ahead to reach a compromise. For this matter, the EU requires unanimity among member countries. Each country has an effective veto.
What are we watching next?
Traders are expecting further tightening from central banks
The money markets expect that the European Central Bank (ECB) will go for another 75 basis point interest rate hike in October. Given the plunge of the sterling pound, traders expect that the Bank of England (BoE) could go in with a 100 basis points emergency rate hike before the scheduled November meeting. Hopefully, this will work. If it fails, the Bank would be in a complicated situation and the sterling pound would certainly further weaken. This is one of at least four options the Bank must use to stop the currency slide. The three others are: 1) say and do nothing until the calm comes back in the forex market; 2) say something but do nothing (with might not be the best option so far); and 3) do something small (50 basis point interest hike for instance) but the market might then test the Bank. There is no easy answer, as you can see.
Apple begins production in India
Apple has begun assembling some of its iPhone 14 in India. This may be the start of a manufacturing boom in India, as China transitions to a consumption economy and US-China tensions continue to play out. Meanwhile, India’s push on electronics manufacturing could mean more foreign investments to come, as India seeks to solidify its position in global supply chains in addition to being a large consumption-driven economy. Our India equity theme basket is worth considering as India remains one of the big winners of deglobalization and slowing Chinese economy.
US September Consumer Confidence up later today
Confidence according to this survey rebounded in August to 103.20 versus the local low of 95.30 in July, likely as the labor market remains strong and gasoline prices had fallen sharply from the record levels back in June. Today’s number is expected at 104.5, but it is worth noting that while the overall survey has remained well within the range since 2015, the ratio of the very high Present Situation versus very low Expectations was the widest (-81.4) recorded in July since a brief episode in early 2001.
Earnings calendar this week
The action this week will be on Thursday with earnings from H&M, Nike, and Micron Technology, with earnings from Micron being the most interesting to watch as we already know H&M and Nike are seeing weak demand. Micron has exposure to the consumer electronics industry and manufactures memory chips in Asia which means that the company sits in at the intersection of many interesting trends.
- Today: Ferguson
- Wednesday: Paychex, Cintas
- Thursday: Polestar Automotive, H&M, Nike, Micron Technology, CarMax
- Friday: Carnival (postponed from last week), Nitori
Economic calendar highlights for today (times GMT)
- 0730 – US Fed’s Evans (voter in 2023) to speak on CNBC
- 1000 – Sweden Riksbank’s Ingves to speak
- 1015 – US Fed’s Evans to speak
- 1100 – UK Bank of England Chief Economist Pill to speak
- 1100 – ECB's Villeroy to speak
- 1130 – Fed Chair Powell to speak on digital currencies
- 1230 – US Aug. Preliminary Durable Goods Orders
- 1300 – US Jul. S&P CoreLogic Home Prices
- 1315 – ECB's Guindos to speak
- 1355 – US Fed’s Bullard (voter 2022) to speak
- 1400 – US Sep. Consumer Confidence
- 1400 – US Aug. New Home Sales
- 1700 – US 5-year Treasury Auction
- 1700 – US Fed’s Kashkari (voter 2023) to speak
- 2030 – API's Weekly Crude and Fuel Stock Report
- 2350 – Japan Bank of Japan meeting minutes
- 0130 – Australia Aug. Retail Sales
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