- PEPP and APP program. The PEPP program was created to stimulate the economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the official deadline is March 2022. The question here is whether the central bank recognizes that we are out of the pandemic period and believes that the economy doesn’t need stimulus anymore. Yet, the Delta variant might weigh in that decision. If the PEPP program ends in the first quarter of 2022, the question is whether the APP will be modified to partially substitute the PEPP. This information is critical for rates because it will imply more or less support for EGBs.
- Financing conditions. One of the most significant focuses of the ECB this year has been to maintain financing conditions loose. Yet, since the market started to speculate about tapering, rates began to rise with Italian 10-year BTP gaining 11bps in six trading days and 10-year French OAT turning positive for the first time since mid-July. While it is true that financial conditions remain extremely easy, a fast adjustment of rates higher might tighten conditions suddenly. That's the main reason why any announcement from the ECB needs to be dovish. Hence, the market expects a "dovish taper", which should limit market volatility.
It's easy to conclude that whatever decision the ECB will take to taper purchases under the PEPP program, it will try to deliver it dovishly. It’s up to the market to interpret whether the dovish framework that the ECB presents is dovish enough. However, if it works, volatility can be contained. Yet, it's impossible to ignore that times are changing fast. Suppose an announcement over the PEPP is not presented now. In that case, it must be tackled in December, adding more pressure on rates, which will be even more volatile following the German election.
Additionally, if a dovish taper is delivered on Thursday, the biggest loser might still be US Treasuries. Indeed, the Fed is falling behind the curve, and the longer it waits to taper, the more aggressive it has to be. That's why this is also the right moment to short US Treasuries.
Using options to short Bunds and US Treasuries
It is relatively easy to short Bunds and US Treasuries through options. Expectations are for interest rates to rise, thus falling bond prices by the end of the year. If you are long put options, you have the right to sell a bond at the strike price, exposing yourself to a limited downside (premium) and unlimited upside.
In the Saxo platform is possible to browse options by uploading the ticker and clicking on “Option Chain”. The ticker for the Euro-Bund is FGBL, while for US Treasuries, it is ZN.
Let’s take the Euro-Bund option with the December expiry as an example. We like the December expiry because we expect yields to accelerate their rise during the last quarter of the year.