RBA left the cash rate unchanged at 1.5% in June. While the decision had been widely anticipated, Aussie slumped after the announcement as the central bank failed to deliver a more hawkish tone as its US and European counterparts did. Policymakers affirmed that Australian economy would continue to grow gradually. Yet, they pointed to the strength in Australian dollar and subdue inflation as key reasons for standing on the sideline. Meanwhile, RBA remained concerned over the overheating housing market.
SNB's FX reserve slipped to 738.17B franc, from a record high of 741.96B franc (revised from previous estimate of 741.32B franc), in November. The drop is in contrast with consensus of an increase to 745B franc and marks the first drop since June this year. Meanwhile, the sight deposit fell to 576.78B franc in the week ended December 1. Subsequent decline from the August peak has sent sight deposit to the lowest level since June 2017. The movements of both FX reserve and sight deposit have suggested that the SNB is not in a hurry to intervene with the recent weakness in Swiss franc. Separately, the country's unemployment rate stayed unchanged at 3% (seasonally adjusted) in November, compared with expectations of a rise to 3.1%. For the quarterly SNB meeting scheduled on December 14, we expect policymakers to maintain the status quo, i.e. keeping 3-month LIBOR target range unchanged, at between -1.25% and -0.25%, maintaining the interest rate on sight deposits with the SNB at -0.75% and reaffirming that the central bank is committed to intervene in the FX market as necessary. We believe the domestic economic developments since the September meeting have shown gradual improvements, leaving policymakers more room to wait and see.
BOC appeared more confident over the economic growth outlook, although it maintained the policy rate unchanged at 0.5% in April. Policymakers upgraded the GDP growth forecast for this year amidst strong housing market activities in the first quarter, but revised lower the figure for 2018. It also revised mildly higher the inflation outlook, though. The central bank cautioned over the uncertainty of trade relations with the US and stressed that material slack remained in Canada. On the monetary policy, Governor Stephen Poloz described the stance as 'decidedly neutral' as the members weighed the improved economic developments against the uncertain trade policy. We expect the policy rate to stay unchanged at 0.5% for the rest of the year. The loonie strengthened around than +0.5% Wednesday as Canadian economic outlook improved. Yet, the magnitude of the gain was mainly due to USD's weakness as US President Donald Trump complained that the greenback is too strong and reiterated his preference of low interest rate policy.
The government of Japan downgrades its forecasts on GDP growth and inflation for the coming years. This evidences the failure of the transmission mechanism of the monetary policy adopted by the Bank of Japan. We believe the central bank...
As widely anticipated, RBA left the cash rate unchanged at 1.5% in November. As we await Friday' Statement of Monetary Policy, policymakers revealed at today' statement that the macroeconomic guidance has stayed largely unchanged. In short, policymakers remained upbeat about the growth outlook, although they expressed concerns over household spending and soft inflation. Despite recent weakness in the Australian dollar, RBA reiterated the warning that higher exchange rate would lead to slower growth and inflation. Given the overall unchanged tone of the central bank, we retain the view that RBA would keep the policy rate unchanged at least until 1H18.
The December minutes turned out more hawkish than expected. While the policymakers generally judged that the existing monetary policy remained 'appropriate'. They also agreed that the forward guidance might warrant some adjustments as the pace economic recovery accelerated. The minutes noted that the 'transition would take place without a change in sequencing', suggesting that no rate hike would be implemented before the end of the asset purchase program. The minutes indicate that the forward guidance would be a key policy tool in the year ahead.
RBA left the cash rate unchanged at 1.5% in November, following the last reduction in August 2016. The accompanying statement contained little surprise. While staying confident over the employment situation, policymakers remained weary off the persistently soft inflation and wage growth. The RBA stance is largely unchanged from the previous meeting. We retain the view that the policy rate would stay unchanged for the entire 2018.
The July FOMC meeting came in as widely anticipated. The Fed left its monetary policy unchanged, maintaining the federal funds rate target at 1-1.25%. The Fed made two tweak in the statement, though. First, it noted that balance sheet reduction would begin 'relatively soon', signaling that the official announcement would come in September. Second, policymakers revised lower the outlook on core inflation. US dollar plunged, with the weighted index falling to a 13-month low as the market interpreted the inflation assessment as dovish.
The minutes for the July FOMC meeting affirmed that the policy rate is prone to increase in September, notwithstanding Trump’s pressure. The members remained upbeat over the economic growth outlook but warned on downside risk due to intensifying trade...
Canadian dollar recorded the biggest one-day rally in two months after BOC’s more hawkish- than- expected statement. Policymakers turned less concerned over the economic outlook. As such, they dropped the words “cautious” and “over time” in the accompanying statement,...
Bank of Canada is expected to keep its policy rate unchanged at 1.75%, after a rate hike of +25 bps in October. Despite bets of another move this month, we believe policymakers would take a wait- and- see mode...
The talk of the day is undoubtedly the flattening of US yield curve with the spread between the 10-year and 2-year yields fell to 64 bps, the lowest level since November 2007 on Thursday. Meanwhile, the spread between 30-year and 5-year yields also dropped below 75 bps, the lowest in about 2 week. Flattening yield curve has raised concerns as this is probably also a reason of diminished risk appetite this week, apart from disappointing global macro dat. Textbook knowledge suggests a normal yield curve is upward-sloping as yields for longer-dated investments are higher than shorter-dated ones. An inverted yield curve (short-dated yields exceed those of long-dated) is usually a signal of upcoming economic recession. A flat yield curve is the transitory period from a normal to an inverted curve. However, this interpretation does not necessarily hold true. For instance, US' economic growth managed to avoid recession, despite a series of global economic crisis from 1995-2000, years after the sharp yield curve flattening from 1994 to 1995 (Second Chart).
We expect the BOE to vote 7-2 to leave the Bank rate unchanged at 0.25% and the asset purchase at 435B pound. Despite overshooting of inflation, most members would remain cautious and cite slow economic growth and Brexit uncertainty as reasons for keeping the monetary policy accommodative. However, the MPC is expected to adopt a more hawkish tone and strengthen the warning of a weak sterling. The new deputy governor Dave Ramsden would be voting for the first time. He is perceived as a dove amidst his warning of dire consequences after Brexit. He is expected to vote to maintain the status quo in the first 9-member MPC meeting since May.
RBNZ left the OCR unchanged at 1.75% in May. Policymakers shrugged off the recent NZD depreciation and the rise in inflation, indicating that the monetary policy would likely stay unchanged for the rest of the year and probably until 2020 before tightening. The market was disappointed by the lack of hawkish comments and the unchanged forward guidance. Down -1.85, NZDUSD slumped to an 11-month low of 0.6816 after the announcement.
Speeches by ECB President Mario Draghi and Fed Chair Janet Yellen are the key focuses. The market is anticipating Draghi to give more hints on ECB's asset purchases tapering. However, an ECB spokesman indicated last week that Draghi would not deliver a new policy message, but focus on the symposium's theme of "Fostering a Dynamic Global Economy". We believe Draghi would refrain from sending more signals about the policy outlook this week as the ECB is still working on the new economic projections for the September meeting. It would be prudent to wait for the updated economic forecasts and make announcement thereafter.
Surprising to most market participants, ECB dropped the easing bias in the forward guidance. While this had initially sent the euro slightly higher, it reversed as President Mario Draghi reinforced that the act was 'backward looking' and would not...
The greenback slumped as the FOMC minutes for the November meeting revealed that 'several' members were concerned that weak inflation would be persistent, rather than temporary. They highlighted the worries about a 'a diminished responsiveness of inflation to resource utilization'. Another important message suggested in the minutes is that a December rate hike is almost a done deal with 'many' members judging that it is 'warranted in the near term' if the macroeconomic data remain steady. Such opinion has outweighed the thought of 'a few 'members' that a rate hike should be delayed. We view the USD selloff might have been over-reacted. Note that the (core) PCE, the Fed’s preferred inflation barometer, has improved, while the October CPI, released after the November meeting, also picked up. We believe the majority of the FOMC still retain the view that weak inflation is transitory.
Despite no change in the policy rate and the QE program, the euro gained after the ECB announcement, as President Mario Draghi added some upbeat flavors at the press conference and as the staff upgraded the inflation forecasts. The members continued to see risks to growth skewed to the downside, but agreed that they are "less pronounced" now. While the forward guidance in the statement maintained that "interest rates will stay low, or lower for an extended period of time", the members had discussions of its removal at the meeting. The single currency rose from a 3-day low of 1.0523 to as high as 1.0615 against US dollar. The pair gained +0.34% for the day. Global yields were also driven higher on possibility of a chance in ECB's policy measures. The 10-year German bund yield added +5.6 bps to 0.421% at close, whilst the 10-year US Treasury yield climbed further higher to about 2.6%.
FOMC is highly likely to raise its policy rate, by +25 bps, to a range to 0.75-1% in March. With a March rate hike a done-deal, the market focus turns to the future monetary policy stance. We expect two more hikes, one in June and one in September, this year. Given the recent improvements in employment and inflation, the market has begun talking about four rate hikes in 2018. For now, we stick to three, as suggested in December's dot plot. The market is currently pricing in three 25-bps hikes this year and two for 2018. The Fed's updated Summary of Projections (SEP) would be released with fan charts added for the first time.
As widely anticipated, ECB left the policy rates unchanged in September. It also kept the QE program at a pace of 60B euro per month until end 2017, or longer if needed. At the press conference, President Mario Draghi acknowledged the improvement in the economic outlook but was cautious over inflation, warning that headline CPI could fall to the negative territory towards the end of the year. At the Q&A session of the press conference, Draghi admitted that the members began "preliminary" discussion on the adjustment of the QE program but affirmed that the "big labour market slack" is justified for the record low interest rates. On the updated economic projections, the staff upgraded the GDP growth forecasts but downgraded inflation outlooks. EURUSD broke above 1.2, attempting to retest the 2.5 year high made on August 29 after a brief pullback.