Wed, Mar 29, 2023 @ 14:00 GMT

Fed Kashkari: I haven’t seen anything yet to lower my rate path

    Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari told CNBC, “We have a job to do. We know that raising rates can put a lid on inflation. We need to raise rates aggressively to put a ceiling on inflation, then let monetary policy work its way through the economy.”

    Last week’s job data a “tells me that so far we’re not seeing much of an imprint of our tightening to date on the labor market. There’s some evidence that it’s having some effect, but it’s pretty muted so far,” Kashkari said.

    “I haven’t seen anything yet to lower my rate path, but I’m obviously keeping my eyes open and we’ll see how the data comes in,” he added.

    Fed officials expressed concerns over persisting trade tensions

      Some Fed officials expressed their concerns over trade tensions and the impact on confidence and the economy at a Dallas Fed conference yesterday.

      Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said “I’m watching very carefully how these trade tensions unfold because I have a concern.. whether that could cause some deceleration in the rate of growth.” And, “new development over the last month has been increased trade tensions and more business uncertainty, and it’s going to take a little while to sort out how that might unfold, or how long that might last.”

      San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly said for now “the data is good, but the mood is teetering”. The economy’s momentum would be an upside risk to growth ” if we get a relaxation or a reduction in the uncertainty”. However, she warned that if uncertainties persist, “that’s a downside to the economy, because the uncertainty has real effects, but it also has effects on confidence, and that confidence feeds back into investment.”

      Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin and Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic also warned that uncertainties around trade could hurt growth.

      Australia PMI manufacturing hit another record, services edged down

        Australia PMI Manufacturing rose to 59.9 in May, up from 59.7, hitting another record high since May 2016. PMI Services dropped to 58.2, down from 58.8. PMI Composite also dropped slightly to 58.1, down from 58.9.

        Jingyi Pan, Economics Associate Director at IHS Markit, said: “Australia’s private sector growth eased from April’s survey record. That said, growth remained sharp to affirm the continued improvement in economic conditions following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

        “Export orders notably continued to improve, reflecting the robust external demand despite concerns of rising COVID-19 cases in the region. In turn, this filtered through to the labour market with employment improving at the fastest pace in the survey’s five-year history.

        “The outlook for activity over the coming year remained optimistic, particularly in the service sector in May. Ongoing supply-chain disruptions, however, continued to impact private sector firms, pushing up input cost inflation and thereby output prices.”

        Full release here.

        ECB Survey: Consumer inflation expectations reversed in Nov

          In ECB’s November Consumer Expectations Survey, mean inflation expectations for the 12 months ahead dropped back to 7.3%, comparing to October’s 8.1% and September’s 7.3%.

          Median inflation expectations for the 12 months ahead dropped to 5.0%, comparing to October’s 5.4% and September’s 5.1%.

          Mean inflation expectations for the 3 years ahead dropped to 4.6%, comparing to October’s 4.9%, and September’s 4.8%.

          Median inflation expectations for the 3 years ahead dropped to 2.9%, comparing to October’s 3.0%, and September’s 3.0%.

          Full release here.

          UK PMI construction rose to 54.6 in Oct, worst supply crunch may have passed

            UK PMI Construction rose to 54.6 in October, up from 52.6, slightly above expectation of 54.0. Construction recovery accelerated from September’s eight-month low. House building regained its place as the best-performing category. But severe shortages of staff and materials continued.

            Tim Moore, Director at IHS Markit said:

            “UK construction companies achieved a faster expansion of output volumes in October, despite headwinds from severe supply constraints and escalating costs…. “However, the volatile price and supply environment added to business uncertainty and continued to impede contract negotiations… There were widespread reports that shortages of materials and staff had disrupted work on site, while rising fuel and energy prices added to pressure on costs.

            “Nonetheless, the worst phase of the supply crunch may have passed, as the number of construction firms citing supplier delays fell to 54% in October, down from 63% in September. Similarly, reports of rising purchasing costs continued to recede from the record highs seen this summer.”

            Full release here.

            UK GDP grew 0.4% mom in Feb, still down -3.1% from Oct recovery peak

              UK GDP grew 0.4% mom in February, below expectation of 0.6% mom. Service sector grew 0.2% mom. Production grew 1.0%, with manufacturing up 1.3% mom. Construction grew 1.6% mom.

              Comparing to pre-pandemic level seen in February 2020, overall GDP was still down -7.8%. Services was down -8.8%. Production down -3.5%, with manufacturing down -4.2%. Construction was down -4.3%.

              Comparing to initial recovery peak in October 2020, overall GDP was down -3.1%. Services was down -3.9%. Production was flat, with manufacturing down -0.3%. Construction was flat.

              Full release here.

              Also released, goods trade deficit widened to GBP -16.4B in February, larger than expectation of GBP -10.4B.

              Fed Mester: Do more upfront rather than waiting

                Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester told Reuters, “I would need to see monthly numbers coming down in a compelling way before I would want to conclude we could now rest” on raising interest rates.

                “The risks to inflation are skewed to the upside and the cost of allowing that inflation to continue is high,” she said, an argument for the Fed “doing more upfront rather than waiting.”

                “I don’t think it (inflation) will get back to 2% next year. But it will be well on its way, in the range of two and half percent but moving in the right direction,” she said. “And given where the economy is and all the factors affecting inflation that are outside of our realm, that is acceptable to me.”

                Fed Barkin: Recession is obviously a risk in bringing inflation down

                  Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin said, “we’re committed to returning inflation to our 2% target and we’ll do what it takes to get there. I’d expect inflation to bounce around on the way back to our target.” He didn’t expect inflation to “come down immediately”.

                  “A recession is obviously a risk in the process,” Barkin said. But, “it doesn’t have to be like a 2008 recession, it doesn’t have to be calamitous. We’re out of balance today…returning to normal might actually mean products on shelves, cars on lots and restaurants fully staffed.”

                  UK Fox: Changes in EU’s Brexit position due to economic slowdown

                    UK Trade Minister Liam Fox said today that EU is now more afraid of no-deal Brexit due to economic slowdown , including Germany and France. Fox said “there have been some changes in the positions in recent times, dictated by reality”.

                    And, “We’ve seen, for example, the German economy weakening, we’ve seen the French economy weakening, and I think this (EU) view that ‘we can simply weather out any disturbance that would occur from a no deal’, I think there’s much less appetite for that.”

                    BoJ minutes: Basic stance to continue with current monetary easing

                      BoJ has reaffirmed its commitment to continuing with its current monetary easing policy, including yield curve control, to achieve the price stability target, according to the minutes of its meeting in January 17-18.

                      One member noted that there is “still a long way to go to achieve the price stability target”, and thus the Bank should continue with the current monetary easing to firmly support the economy.

                      To encourage firms’ efforts with regard to business transformation until sustained wage increases can be expected, the Bank needs to “curb interest rate rises across the entire yield curve” while paying attention to the functioning of bond markets, according to another member.

                      Another member added that it was “inappropriate to rush to an exit” from the current monetary policy, as overseas economies were currently heading toward slowdowns.

                      However, one member recognized that “at some point in the future”, it will be necessary to examine and assess the balance between the positive effects and side effects of the current monetary easing policy.

                      The Bank’s “basic stance on its future conduct of monetary policy” is to “continue with the current monetary easing — including the conduct of yield curve control — and thereby achieve the price stability target in a sustainable and stable manner accompanied by wage increases,” the minutes read.

                      Full minutes here.

                      Australia PMI composite dropped to 49.6, renewed contraction

                        Australia PMI Manufacturing dropped from 53.5 to 52.8 in October, a 14-month low. PMI Services dropped from 50.6 to 49.0, a 9-month low. PMI Composite dropped from 50.9 to 49.6, a 9-month low.

                        Jingyi Pan, Economics Associate Director at S&P Global Market Intelligence said:

                        “Australia’s private sector saw renewed contraction in October with the service sector primarily showing signs of stress. A fall in demand for services was underpinned by higher interest rates and prices, altogether reflective of the detriments of aggressive monetary policy tightening and capacity constraints upon business activity.

                        “Although input price inflation declined in October, output price inflation climbed in the private sector according to the PMI data suggesting that price pressures have yet to ease steadily. A tight labour market also indicates that wage inflation may persist.

                        “Overall business confidence meanwhile continued to trend lower in October to the weakest since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, which is not a positive sign for the Australian economy.”

                        Full release here.

                        Fed officials are comfortable with rates at current level

                          Comments from Fed officials yesterday generally suggested that interest rates are currently at the right place. There won’t be further rate cut unless outlook worsens materially.

                          St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said that the current 2020 baseline outlook suggests reasonable chance of “soft landing”. While growth is expected to slow, US is not facing a “sharper than anticipated” collapse. The three rate cuts in 2019 were “a substantial move”. “Now we should wait and see what the effects are in the first half of 2020 and beyond that,”

                          Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said that “trade tensions with China don’t seem to be increasing, so that’s a positive.” That could “translate into more business investment”. He added that Fed’s rate cuts have “taken some of the recession risk off the table.””We think inflation is around the corner and then inflation doesn’t come because we raise rates prematurely,” he said. “Now that we’re in a pause mode I think we’re in a much better position.”

                          Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said “I see the fundamentals as pretty good.” “If something were to happen that caused the economy to slow down and perhaps do worse than that then that would call for some type of response on the downward fashion. But I’m not expecting that”.

                          Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said federal funds rate at 1.50-1.75% is “a roughly appropriate setting.” GDP is expected to grow about 2% to 2.25% this year, “and if anything my growth outlook has firmed a bit in the last several weeks.” He also backed the view that rates should stay at current level unless there is “material” change in the outlook.

                          Fed Clarida: Baseline outlook favorable but economy confronts some evident risks

                            Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida reiterated that looking ahead, “monetary policy is not on a preset course”. FOMC will “proceed on a meeting-by-meeting basis to assess the economic outlook as well as the risks to the outlook.” Also, Fed will “act as appropriate to sustain growth and achieve dual mandate.

                            Clarida also repeated that the economy is “in a good place” and the “baseline outlook is favorable”. But the economy “confronts some evident risks”. In particular, he noted, ” Business fixed investment has slowed notably since last year, exports are contracting on a year-over-year basis, and indicators of manufacturing activity are weakening. Global growth estimates continue to be marked down, and global disinflationary pressures cloud the outlook for U.S. inflation.”

                            Clarida’s full speech here.

                            Canada GDP grew 0.3% mom in Apr, but to contract -0.2% in May

                              Canada GDP grew 0.3% mom in April, matched expectations. Both goods-producing (+0.9%) and services-producing (+0.1%) industries were up, as 13 of 20 industrial sectors expanded.

                              However, advanced information suggests that real GDP contracted -0.2% mom in May, with output down in mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction, manufacturing and construction sectors.

                              Full release here.

                              BoJ Kuroda: Absolutely not that case of exiting ultra-loose policy

                                BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda reiterated in an interview with the Japan Daily, the central bank had “absolutely no play” to stop ETF purchases, or unload its holdings. “We will continue to buy ETFs flexibly and in a nimble fashion, so it’s absolutely not the case that we are exiting ultra-loose monetary policy”, he added.

                                Separately from Japan, retail sales dropped -1.6% yoy in February, better than expectation of -2.8% yoy. That’s still the third straight month of annual decline. Unemployment rate was unchanged at 2.9%, better than expectation of a rise to 3.0%.

                                ECB Visco: We will move rates perhaps in July

                                  ECB Governing Council member Ignazio Visco said in a BloombergTV interview, “we can move gradually, raising interest rates in the coming months.” June is too early as the central bank will be ending net asset purchase. But, “we will move after that — after that, means perhaps July.”

                                  “Now I think that we can move out of this negative territory,” Visco said, referring to the deposit rate, which has been negative since 2014. “Gradual means in my view that we have to understand that we should move without creating uncertainty in the market.”

                                  Separately, Governing Council member Madis Muller said the focus needs to be on fighting high inflation. Martins Kazaks said he hoped the first hike will “take place in July”.

                                  Risk sentiment resilient ahead of FOMC rate hike, some previews

                                    Fed is widely expected to continue to slow down its tightening pace today, and raise interest rate by 25bps to 4.50-4.75%. The accompanying statement should clearly indicate that the work is not done yet on fighting inflation. Such message should be echoed by Fed Chair Jerome Powell in the post-meeting press conference.

                                    Fed fund futures are now pricing in another 25bps rate hike to 4.75-5.00% in March. But the main questions are, firstly, whether rate will peak above or below 5% level, and secondly, for how long it will stay there. No concrete answer would be provided at least until new economic projections to be published in March.

                                    Here are some suggested readings on FOMC:

                                    Overall risk sentiment has been resilient going into FOMC announcement. For now, further rise is in favor in S&P 500 as long as 55 day EMA (now at 3934.97) holds. Decisive break of 41.00.51 resistance will confirm resumption of whole rebound from 3491.58 low. Further break of 61.8% projection of 3491.58 to 4100.51 from 3764.49 could prompt upside acceleration to 100% projection of 3491.58 to 4100.51 from 3764.49 at 4373.42, even as a bear market rally. If that happens, risk-on sentiment would continue to cap any rebound attempt of Dollar.

                                    IfW raises Germany’s growth forecast, but warns of subdued momentum

                                      The German economy is expected to grow at a faster pace than previously predicted, according to forecasts by the IfW economic institute. The institute raised Germany’s economic growth forecasts for 2023 from 0.3% to 0.5% and for 2024 from 1.3% to 1.4%. Meanwhile, inflation is forecast to slow from its current level of beyond 7% to 5.4% in 2023 and to around 2% in 2024.

                                      For the Eurozone as a whole, GDP is projected to grow 1.1% in 2023 and 1.6% in 2024. Inflation is forecast to slow to 5.5% in 2023 and then to 2.6% in 2024.

                                      Stefan Kooths, Vice President and Head of Economic Research at the Kiel Institute said, “The economic compass is pointing upwards again, but the momentum remains subdued.

                                      “The recent sharp drop in gas prices is initially providing little stimulus to the economy in this country, it is primarily easing the burden on the government budget, which now must step in with fewer subsidies as part of the so-called energy price brakes.

                                      “As a result, lower import prices are replacing the stimulus from state energy subsidies, which has a similar effect on the macro economy.”

                                      Full release here.

                                      Fed Bostic: There could be significant reduction in inflation this year

                                        Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said yesterday that a pause in tightening in September might be a good idea, because market responses had been “far stronger than what we’ve historically seen.” “I want to make sure I truly understand the pace of change that’s associated with our policy response,” Bostic said.

                                        By September, some of the uncertainty over the economy could be resolved. Bostic expected that could lead to a “pretty significant reduction in inflation.”

                                        Yet, he’s “fully comfortable” to raise interest rates above neutral if inflation doesn’t come down. “The goal is to get inflation down. We’ve got to really tackle it in an intentional, persistent way,” he said. “I want to be open to both possibilities.”

                                        Fed Evans: Current interest rate not nearly restrictive enough

                                          Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said while interest at 3-3.25% is restrictive, ” with inflation as high as it is, and getting inflation under control being job one, it’s not nearly restrictive enough.”

                                          “The risks continue to be high about more persistent inflation, and we just really need to get inflation in check,” Evans said.

                                          Evans added that he expects interest rate to reach top by March.