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Action Insight: Special Reports

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FX 2017: - CHF: SNB To Tolerate Modest EURCHF Drop Print E-mail
Special Reports | Written by | Jan 18 17 07:21 GMT
We expect EURCHF to weaken modestly from current level. Elevated political uncertainty in Europe should maintain demand for Swiss franc as a safe haven, a status which accelerating buying of the franc in several occasions in 2016, including Brexit referendum and US presidential election. While FX intervention is still on, we expected SNB to be a little more tolerable to franc's appreciation than the previous years. Switzerland's economic outlook has improved over the past months with gradual recovery seen in exports and inflation. Meanwhile, strength in US dollar should also allow the franc to weather some appreciation against the euro. In our estimate, EURCHF might drop to 1.05 by end-2014, -2.8% below SNB's unofficial floor of 1.08, after the central bank's removal of the 1.2 threshold in January 2015
FX 2017: JPY – Yield Curve Control To Keep Yen Weak Print E-mail
Special Reports | Written by | Jan 16 17 02:44 GMT
Recent correction does not change our relatively positive outlook over USDJPY this year. Donald Trump's victory at the US presidential election last November triggered sharp rally in interest rates and USD, facilitated by unwinding of USD shorts and opening of USD longs. Despite a pullback after soaring to a recent high 118.66 in mid-December, reflation trades, hinging on the bets that Trump's administration would drive quicker growth and inflation, remain in play and should push USDJPY higher after consolidation. Yield curve targeting announced in September indicates that BOJ would strive to keep the 10-year JGB yields close to its target by buying sufficient amounts of bonds. This, together with the sharp rise in US yields, helps accelerate divergence of Japanese yields from those in the US, pressuring Japanese yen. We do not feel surprised if prices corrects to 110-112 in 1Q17. Rather, it offers a buying opportunity for a resumption of recent rally. Risk to USDJPY's strength is slower-than-expected and/or milder-than-expected implementation of Trump's pro-growth policy.
China Watch: Soaring Oil Prices Weighed On Trade Surplus Whilst Lifted PPI Print E-mail
Special Reports | Written by | Jan 13 17 07:15 GMT
China's trade surplus narrowed to US$40.8B in December from USD44.6B a month ago. From a year ago, exports contracted -6.1% y/y, deteriorating from a -1.6% drop in November, while imports growth decelerated to +3.1%, from November's expansion of +13%. Both contraction in exports and expansion in imports came in worse than expectations. We are concerned that rising oil prices would continue to weigh on the country's balance of payment given China's huge crude oil imports. Released last week, the country's FX reserve was reported to have dropped -US$41B, to US$3.01 trillion, in December. Similar to the past 5 months, the decline was driven by government's selling of foreign currencies to moderate renminbi depreciation
FX 2017: GBP – Brexit Uncertainty Haunting… Print E-mail
Special Reports | Written by | Jan 12 17 07:47 GMT
British pound was the most volatile G10 currency last year with the trade weighted index plunging -15% on annual basis, despite a -5% rebound from the October low. Sterling fell about -16% against both US dollar and the euro for the year. The huge volatility was mainly driven by political reasons: Brexit referendum, resignation of David Cameron, as succession of Theresa May, as Prime Minster, as well as May's announcement to trigger Article 30, followed High Court's ruling that MPs must be consulted before triggering Brexit. In 2017, political risks should continue to haunt UK's economic developments as Brexit negotiations are prone to begin. The market has recently priced in higher BOE rate expectations due to rising inflation outlook and solid dataflow. Yet, we do not believe any rate hike would be adopted. The central bank would stand on the sideline, maintaining the bank rate at 0.25%, throughout the year. We are bearish over sterling, forecasting it to depreciate against USD and be range-bounded around current levels against the euro, which has been pressured by elevated political risks
FX 2017: EUR – Political Uncertainty And ECB's Dovish Tapering Continue To Weigh Print E-mail
Special Reports | Written by | Jan 09 17 02:45 GMT
Subdued economic growth and unconventional easing measures resulted in EURUSD's third consecutive yearly decline, although the loss was greatly trimmed to about -3%, last year. EURGBP, however, jumped +16% as sterling slumped on concerns over British economic outlook after Brexit. Risk is to the downside for the single currency in 2017 as pressured by elevated political uncertainties and ECB's dovish tapering stance. Recent upside surprises on inflation data would not make ECB less dovish. Core inflation remained weak and should only improve gradually this year, not sufficient for the central bank to commit to tapering. A break below the 1.0463 low in March 2015 has paved the way for EURUSD to go further lower. We expect EURUSD to reach parity by 2Q17, probably after French election.
FX 2017: USD - Fiscal Expansion and Additional Fed Rate Hikes To Extend USD Rally Print E-mail
Special Reports | Written by | Jan 04 17 07:44 GMT
2017 is year of high uncertainty, mainly hinging on the shift of global political agendas, from the new policy direction under Trump's administration, to the beginning of negotiations between the UK and the EU on Brexit, to the leadership transition in China. On the currency outlook, we remain constructive over USD this year, anticipating Trump's pro-growth policy would drive higher economic expansion and inflation, and facilitate a tighter monetary policy stance. With the market shy of pricing in three Fed funds rate hikes (as signaled in the December dot plot) this year, there is room for USD to rally further should incoming macroeconomic data eventually convince traders that more rate hikes are possible. We are bearish on Treasuries and expect US yields to move higher, especially at the front-end. Monetary policy divergence should bold well for the greenback, especially against the euro.
Recent Yen Weakness And Rising JGB Yields Mainly Driven By FOMC Rate Hike Expectations Print E-mail
Special Reports | Written by | Dec 21 16 07:54 GMT
The recent selloff in Japanese yen and widening in US-Japan yield differentials have been driven by the FOMC rate hike and expectations of further tightening in US monetary policy. Indeed, BOJ’s action has minimal impact on the phenomena of late. BOJ on Tuesday left its interest rate targets unchanged with the short-term and -10 bps and the 10-year JGB yield at around 0%. The asset purchase program also stays at approximately 80 trillion yen of JGBs annually. The central bank also upgraded its current economic assessment and outlook.
RBA Minutes Unveils Concerns Over Elevated Household Debts Print E-mail
Special Reports | Written by | Dec 20 16 07:15 GMT
RBA in its minutes for the December meeting cautioned the high levels of household debt due to low interest rates. It also warned of the 'considerable uncertainty' in the labor market. The central bank maintained a neutral bias at the meeting while leaving its cash rate unchanged at historic low of 1.5%. Note the meeting was held a day before the release of 3Q15 GDP growth which shrank -0.5%.
BOE, SNB, Norges Bank On Hold After Fed's Rate Hike Print E-mail
Special Reports | Written by | Dec 16 16 07:12 GMT
Of the three major European central banks held monetary meeting on Thursday, all left their policy rates unchanged. Moreover, all pointed to higher uncertainty in the global economic outlook. BOE kept its Bank rate unchanged at a record low of 0.25%. The sizes of government and corporate bond purchases also stayed unchanged at435B pound and up to 10b pound, respectively, in December. Policymakers warned that the recent strength in sterling might cool inflation in the medium-term. SNB held deposit rate steady at -0.75%, while Norges bank left kept its deposit rate steady at 0.5%.
Fed Raised Rates by +25 Bps, Expects Three Hikes In 2017 Print E-mail
Special Reports | Written by | Dec 15 16 07:41 GMT
The Fed increased the policy rate by +25 bps for the first time in a year. While this had been widely anticipated, the 'dot plot' indicated that the members expect three hikes in 2017, up from two previously. The accompanying statement was in a hawkish tone, upgrading the assessments to the economic outlook. The members reinforced that 'near-term risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced. Fed Chair Janet Yellen made no hint on how the new fiscal policy would affect the monetary stance. Yet, she stressed there is non-negligible uncertainty regarding the new policy.
China Macroeconomic Update Print E-mail
Special Reports | Written by | Dec 13 16 08:47 GMT
Recent releases in China's November macroeconomic indicators suggest that growth continue to stabilize. Yet, weakness in renminbi means that capital outflow should remain a headache. China's growth in industrial production (IP) improved to +6.2% y/y in November, from +6.1% a month ago. This came in better than consensus of +6.1%. Retail sales expanded +10.8% y/y in November, compared with expectations of +10.2% and +10% in October. Indeed, this is the fastest pace of consumer spending growth so far this year. A key contributor to the upside surprise was auto sales, thanks to government tax incentives. Meanwhile, 'single's day earlier in November also helped boost sales of electronics and telecom products. Urban fixed assets investment gained +8.3% in the first 11 months of the year, unchanged from the year through October. This came in line with expectations.
ECB Extends QE but Tapers Size Print E-mail
Special Reports | Written by | Dec 08 16 15:28 GMT
ECB surprised the market by announcing tapering plan for its bond purchases program. The Governing Council decided to extend the program until December 2017. However, the pace would slow down to 60B euro per month from April 2017, compared with the current 80B euro. The market generally anticipated ECB to extend the program for 6 months without changing the pace of purchases. The market was disappointed. German yields spiked to a one-year high. The single currency soared to a one-month high of 1.0872 immediately after the announcement. However, gains were erased with EURUSD dropping more than -1%, as ECB left the door open to extend QE further beyond December 2017 and/or pick up the pace of bond buying again if the economic conditions deteriorate. Despite disappointing in first sight, the ECB has indeed delivered more than the market had anticipated: 9 months*60B euro = 540B euro vs consensus of 6 months*80B euro = 480b euro. Has the ECB has again disappointed the market by doing more?
BOC Left Rates Unchanged, Differentiating Itself from Fed Print E-mail
Special Reports | Written by | Dec 08 16 05:42 GMT
BOC, as widely anticipated, left the policy rate unchanged at 0.5% in December. The central bank maintained a dovish tone as in recent meetings. While acknowledging that global market conditions have 'strengthened', 'undiminished' uncertainty has continued to undermine 'business confidence and dampening investment in Canada's major trading partners'. Of particular note is that BOC explicitly indicated its different from the Fed, attempting to dampen hopes that BOC would follow the Fed in raising interest rates. It also attributed the recent increase in Canadian treasury yields to US factors, instead of domestic fundamentals. We expect BOC to leave the policy rate unchanged, as well as maintaining a dovish tone, throughout 2017.
RBA Kept Policy Rate Unchanged At 1.5% In December Print E-mail
Special Reports | Written by | Dec 06 16 06:52 GMT
RBA left the cash rate unchanged at 1.5%, as widely anticipated. Little news was seen in the accompany statement with the more notable change was policymakers' acknowledgement in the rise in commodity prices. However, they stopped short of projecting its impacts on growth, for now. Today's announcement lacks indication for the central bank's monetary policy outlook. We expect future moves remain data-dependent but the central bank is not urgent in making another change in the policy rate.
Chinese Manufacturing Activities Improved Further In November Print E-mail
Special Reports | Written by | Dec 02 16 04:54 GMT
The official manufacturing PMI for China climbed +0.5 point higher to 51.7 in November, another month of big increase after October's 0.8-point gain. The non-manufacturing PMI (services and construction activities) soared +0.7 point to 54.7. The services PMI added +1.1 points to 53.7, while the construction PMI slipped -1.4 points to 61.4. The Caixin/Markit version of manufacturing PMI, by contrast, fell to 50.9 in November from a 27-month high of 51.2 a month ago. Despite the fall, Markit noted that it remains the second-highest reading in 2 years and indicates that 'the manufacturing industry continued to pick up steam'. Moreover, although index readings for both output and new orders declined, those 'tracking input and output prices rose at a faster pace to hit their highest levels in 5 years, pointing to further intensification of inflationary pressure'.
OPEC and Non-OPEC Agree to Cut, but Can This Really Boost Oil Prices? Print E-mail
Special Reports | Written by | Dec 01 16 15:30 GMT
To the market's surprise, OPEC announced to cut production to 32.5M bpd, the lower end of the target range indicated in the "Algiers Accord" in September. It also represents a -1.2M bpd, or -3.7%, reduction from October levels. Meanwhile, OPEC noted that non-OPEC countries have also agreed to cut output by -0.6M bpd with half of the contribution coming from Russia. Initial market reaction was buoyant with crude oil prices rallying the highest levels in a month. However, performance of commodity currencies under our coverage was not as robust as expected. Indeed, all of aussie, kiwi and loonie ended the day lower after initial rally, mainly due to a stronger US dollar. Higher oil prices as a result of output cut lift inflation expectations, lifting US dollar and Treasury yields.
Quick Guide to Italian Referendum on Senate Reform Print E-mail
Special Reports | Written by | Nov 30 16 14:49 GMT
Following Brexit and Donald Trump's victory in US presidential election, the Italian referendum this coming Sunday is the latest event that could cause huge volatility in the financial markets. Indeed, with the "no" camp leading in opinion polls, Italian shares and bonds have underperformed of late. The banking sector has suffered most with the FTSE Italia Banks Index losing almost -9% in November. Italy's FTSE MIB index has fallen -2.65% this month, compared with a -0.74% drop in the pan-European Stoxx600 index. Meanwhile, the 10-year Italian/German yield spread widened to a 1.5-year high of 1.874% last Thursday. The market's key concern is that a "no" vote leading to resignation of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi would trigger massive selloff in bank shares, forcing the debt-ridden Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena to suspend plans for a critical 5B euro capital increase and then making other banks, such as UniCredit, to delay similar plains too. Such risks might be contagious, spreading to other peripheral countries and result in another European financial crisis.
FOMC Minutes Affirmed Rate Hike To Come 'Relatively Soon' Print E-mail
Special Reports | Written by | Nov 24 16 06:26 GMT
The FOMC minutes for the November meeting added little news to the post-meeting statement. Yet, it reinforced the conviction that a Fed funds rate hike would be coming in December. The members generally judged ongoing improvement in the economic outlook. As noted in the minutes, 'almost all of them continued to judge that near-term risks to the economic outlook were roughly balanced'. On the monetary policy, the minutes indicated that 'most participants' judged that 'it could well become appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate relatively soon'.
Weak Renminbi Trend To Continue Print E-mail
Special Reports | Written by | Nov 22 16 10:58 GMT
While USDCNY has risen to levels not seen since 2008, we do not expect the trend to end any time soon. On the contrary, we expect PBOC to continue to allow renminbi depreciation over the coming year. While this has been the government's policy to stimulate growth, retaliatory depreciation cannot be ruled out should Donald Trump adopt trade restrictions against China, as he promised during the election. Meanwhile, China's FX reserve would continue to fall as the government continues to sell foreign currencies so as to manage renminbi's decline. We acknowledge the rise in CFETS index over the past few weeks. However, we believe this is only the government's attempt to manage the pace of currency depreciation against the sharp rally in US dollar. This should not be interpreted as a policy change from its preferred renminbi weakness.
RBA Reiterated Neutral Bias In November Minutes Print E-mail
Special Reports | Written by | Nov 15 16 06:50 GMT
The RBA minutes for the November meeting delivered a neutral bias but sent little new information following the meeting statement and the Statement of Monetary Policy. The central bank remained cautiously optimistic over the growth outlook, suggesting that rising commodity prices had improved the outlook for nominal growth in the economy, despite 'considerable uncertainty' in the labor market. Policymakers saw downside risks on inflation but retained that the overall risk to inflation 'appeared to be more balanced. They reiterated that previous monetary easing should help achieve the +2% inflation target over time. Meanwhile, RBA remained concerned that the strength in housing price and Australian dollar would complicate its monetary policy stance.
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