Thu, Jun 24, 2021 @ 03:47 GMT
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Dollar Stays Mixed and Trump Awaited

Dollar continues to trade mixed in early US session. The greenback is seen weaker against European majors and Yen. Nonetheless, Dollar trades mildly up against Canadian Dollar thanks to pull back in oil price. Released from US, Q4 GDP growth was unrevised at 1.9% annualized in Q4, below expectation of 2.1%. GDP price index was revised lower to 2.1%. Trade deficit widened to USD -69.2b in January. Wholesale inventories dropped -0.1% in January. From Canada, IPPI rose 0.4% mom in January while RMPI rose 1.9% mom. Focus will turn to US president Donald Trump's address to Congress.

Dollar Unmoved by Increased March Hike Pricing

The talk of a March rate hike by Fed is heating up this week. It's reported that based on Bloomberg's world interest rate probability tool, the markets are pricing over 50% chance for a March hike. Sharply higher than around 34% a week ago. This is seen as a reaction to recent hawkish comments from Fed officials. However, reactions in markets in general are not that apparent. US equities stayed cautious with DJIA closing up 15.68 pts or 0.08% at 20837.44. S&P 500 rose 2.41 pts or 0.1% to close at 2369.75. Treasury yields recovered with 10 year yield closing up 0.052 at 2.369, but stays near to bottom of recent range. Dollar index also rose slightly, back above 101 handle but stays far enough from 101.79 near term resistance. Dollar is also trading mixed, down against Euro and Aussie for the week.

European Yields Remained Dominated by Political Uncertainty and ECB QE Move

Political uncertainty, in particular the French Presidential election, in the Eurozone has unnerved European bond markets. Although far right candidate Marine Le Pen is expected to lose in the second round of the election, the market still finds this tail risk non-negligible. Indeed, recent movements of French bond yields, as well as French-German yield spreads, have been dominated by opinion polls. French yields, as well as French-German yield spreads, climb higher as Le Pen's supports gain, vice versa. For instance, we notice that France's 10-year bond yield has started falling since February 22, after veteran centrist Francois Bayrou surprisingly joined Emmanuel Macron in his campaign. Yields continued to drop, falling to a one-month low of 0.92% today, as the latest polls signaled that Macron would beat Le Pen in the second round of presidential elections in May. Simultaneously, French-German yield spreads fell to around 0.72%, the lowest level in a week.

Dollar Mixed as Markets Look Past Durable Orders

Dollar continues to trade mixed after weaker than expected data. Durable goods orders grew 1.8% in January, below expectation of 1.9%. Ex-transport orders dropped -0.2% versus expectation of 0.5% growth. Traders are staying cautious ahead of the highly anticipated address to Congress by US president Donald Trump tomorrow. Trump would likely provide details on dismantling the Affordable Care Act, or so-called Obamacare. However, market's attention will be on other economic related issues. That include the long-awaited tax reform that boosted stocks to new records highs. Traders started to reposition late last week as seen in the divergence in major indices. Also the greenback pull backed back following sharp fall in yields. The greenback could be vulnerable to selloff if Trump fails to live up to expectations again.

Sterling Dips as PM May Preparing for Scottish Referendum Call

Sterling dips notably against other major currencies in an other wise rather quiet Asian session. Selloff in the Pound is seen as a reaction to news that Prime Minister May is preparing for Scotland to call for another independence referendum. And that would come as May triggers the Article 50 for Brexit negotiation with EU by the end of March. It's reported that May could agree to the vote on condition that it happens after completing the Brexit process. While Sterling weakens broadly, it's so far kept well in range against Dollar and Euro. The larger move is seen in GBP/JPY which is heading back to 138.53 support.

Yen Jumped on Falling Yields and Risk Aversion, Euro Suffered

Yield treasury yield suffered sharp selloff on Friday. 30 year yield closed below 3.000 handle at 2.955, down -0.068. 10 year yield also lost -0.071 to close at 2.317 and carried near term bearish implications. Markets are getting increasing dissatisfied on the lack of progress from US president Donald Trump's administration regarding fiscal stimulus. There was no detail on the so called "phenomenal" tax reform yet. Instead, Trump just continued his attack on media, intelligence agencies and other countries like China. There were talks that Trump could eventually deliver virtually no fiscal stimulus that has an impact of this year's growth. All eyes will turn to his address to Congress on February 28. And reactions could be even more apparent if Trump fails to deliver anything concrete. Dollar also suffered and ended the week mixed.

CAD Surges on Strong Inflation Reading

Canadian dollar surges in early US session after stronger than expected inflation data. Headline CPI jumped 0.9% mom and 2.1% yoy in January. That's way above expectation of 0.3% mom, 1.6% yoy. Meanwhile, BoC CPI core also rose 0.5% mom and pushed the annual rate higher to 1.7% yoy. The Loonie was mildly troubled by WTI crude oil's breakout failure. But much support is seen from the inflation reading. Released earlier today, UK BBA mortgage approvals rose to 44.7k in January.

Euro Recovers Mildly in Directionless Markets

Euro recovers mildly today but remains the second weakest major currency for the week, next to Swiss Franc. Dollar, on the other hand, lost momentum again. Dollar index was repelled from 101.96 resistance and is back below 101 handle. Overall, the financial markets are losing their directions. DJIA closed at another record high overnight, up 34.72 pts or 0.17%, at 20810.32. S&P 500 jumped to new high at 2368.26 but pared gains to close at 2363.81, just up 0.99 pts, or 0.04%. NASDAQ dropped for the second straight days and closed down -25.12 pts, or 0.43%. Treasury yields closed lower as recent sideway consolidation extends. Gold, however, extended recent rise to as high as 1254.8 so far today. WTI failed to break out from recent range and gyrates lower to 54.24.

Dollar Drifts Lower after Treasury Mnuchin’s Comments

Dollar drifts lower in early US session after comments from US treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin. Regarding the long awaited "phenomenal" tax overhaul, Mnuchin just said that the administration is "primarily focused on a middle income tax cut and a simplification for business." He also reiterated that "any tax cuts for the wealthy getting canceled out with closed loopholes." Mnuchin is aiming to pass the reform before Congress' recess in August. However, some analysts doubt the possibility of this due to the complex agenda of Congress. Regarding the economy, he noted that Trump's administration is aiming for "sustainable growth of 3% or more". And the he's exploring 50- and 100-year debt with "very slight premium".

Dollar Shrugged Off Hawkish FOMC Minutes

Dollar was unmoved by the hawkish FOMC minutes released overnight and struggles to extend gain. EUR/USD's break of 1.0520 minor support yesterday is seen as a sign of decline resumption. However, GBP/USD, USD/JPY, USD/CAD and AUD/USD are all held in established range. Similarly, the dollar index lost momentum ahead of near term resistance level at 101.76. The move in EUR/USD was more due to weakness in the common currency in general, due to political uncertainties. In other markets, DJIA closed at new record high at 20775.60, up 0.16%. But S&P 500 and NASDAQ closed slightly down by -0.11% and -0.09% respectively. 10 year yield continue to gyrate in sideway consolidation pattern and closed down -0.009 at 2.418. Gold and oil are both staying in tight range.

FOMC Signaled Rate Hike To Come ‘Fairly Soon’

The FOMC minutes for the January meeting were a hawkish one. Many members expressed the view that it would be 'appropriate' to increase interest rate again 'fairly soon'. A few of them suggested removing policy accommodation in 'a timely manner'. However, there was no indication that it should arrive in as soon as March. Indeed, more clarity on the fiscal stimulus plan is needed before the members could decide on the timing of the rate hikes. While the general outlook to the economy remained upbeat (the description on the employment market was especially constructive),'a few' members were concerned about downside risks to the inflation outlook.

Dollar Higher Against Euro, Lower Vs Yen, FOMC Minutes Next

Dollar strengthens against European majors and Canadian Dollar today. But the greenback weakens against commodity currencies and Yen. Focus is turning to FOMC minutes. The minutes could reveal that FOMC members are more comfortable on the path of growth and inflation. But there's probably nothing new other than that. In particular, some FOMC members have openly noted that fiscal policies, due to the lack of details, were not taken into account in their decisions and projections. We'd view the March FOMC meeting, with new economic projections, as a much more important one. Released in US session, Canada retail sales dropped -0.5% mom in December. Ex-auto sales dropped -0.3% mom.

Stocks Hit New Records, Dollar Limited by Yields Again

US indices closed at new record highs again as led by defense and energy sectors. In particular, WTI crude oil surged to as high as 54.68 and is showing sign of range breakout. That helped lift DJIA up 118.95 or 0.58% to close at 20743.00. S&P 500 gained 14.22 pts or 0.60% to close at 2365.38. NASDAQ also rose 27.37 pts or 0.47% to close at 5865.95. Dollar index was lifted by hawkish comments from Fed officials and reached as high as 101.60. However, the index lost momentum ahead of 101.76 near term resistance.

Dollar Surges Broadly as Hawkish Fedspeaks Finally Having an Effect

Dollar surges broadly today as US markets are back from holiday. There is finally some support from hawkish Fedspeaks. Philadelphia Fed president Patrick Harker is quoted today saying that he would "not take March off the table" for rate hike. He maintained that three hikes this year is "appropriate" depending on developments. Cleveland Fed president Loretta Mester said the trend in inflation is "moving up". And, she's "comfortable" that inflation is moving towards Fed's target. And, it the economy keep on with the currency way, she's "comfortable" for a rate hike at this point. Technically, EUR/USD is heading back to 1.0520 temporary low and break would drag the pair lower. That would correspond to 101.60 resistance in dollar index.

RBA Minutes: Cautious Over Subdued Household Consumption

RBA minutes for the February meeting contained little news. Indeed, it reinforced our view that the central bank would leave the monetary policy unchanged for the rest of the year. The market currently prices in further rate cut this year, followed by rate hike in 2018. The central bank acknowledged the -0.5% GDP contraction in 3Q16. While attributing most of the weakness to temporary factors including 'disruptions to coal supply and bad weather', policymakers also warned that 'slower growth in consumption had also been a factor'. However, they assured that such weakness should not have continued into 4Q16. On the growth outlook, the central bank suggested that 'GDP growth was expected to pick up to around +3% in year-ended terms later in 2017, and to remain above estimates of potential growth over the rest of the forecast period'

Aussie Range Round Despite Upbeat RBA Minutes

Aussie stays in right range against the greenback despite the relatively update RBA minutes. The minutes showed that the central bank expected recovery in the global economy to list resources exports. And, "the higher terms of trade represented a boost to national income, which provided some upside risks to the domestic forecasts." 2017 is forecast to be a good year with 3% GDP growth, "above estimates of potential growth over the rest of the forecast period." Outside of mining, RBA expected that the rise in building approvals over the last year suggested that "non-residential building construction would contribute to GDP growth towards the latter part of the forecast period." In addition, RBA also predicted that "recent pick-up in global inflationary pressures could flow through to domestic inflation by more than expected". Meanwhile, RBA sounded more confident that "Chinese growth would remain resilient in 2017." But it also warned that "China continued to be one of the main sources of uncertainty for the Australian economy."

China Watch: January Money And Inflation Data

In PBOC's latest set money report, China's new renminbi loans rose to RMB 2.03 trillion in January. However, it came in below consensus of RMB 2.44 trillion and RMB 2.5 trillion the same period last year. Although it is usual for new loans to be high earlier in a year as banks front-load their loans for profit maximization, the January figure missed expectations as lending to non-bank financial institutions fell for the month. Outstanding renminbi loans growth decelerated to +12.6% y/y, from +13.5% in December. Medium and long term corporate bank lending, a barometer of corporate sector demand, increased +43.4% y/y to RMB 1.52 trillion, whilst medium- and long-term household loans, mainly mortgage loans, rose to a record high of RMB 0.63 trillion. This suggests that PBOC's recent tightening measures have yet to feed through the housing market. We believe a few months' data would be needed to see the effectiveness of these measures.

Forex Markets Tread Water With Focus on FOMC Minutes and Trump

The forex markets are generally staying in range as another week starts. FOMC minutes will be the main focus of the week. Recent comments from Fed officials were generally hawkish, maintaining the general view of three rate hikes this year. And there are some comments that raised the probability of a March hike mildly. The markets will look into the minutes of January 31 - February 1 meeting to confirm that it's a consensus among FOMC minutes. Meanwhile, it's generally expressed that fiscal policies were not taken into account in Fed's last projections, due to lack of details available. US president Donald Trump has promised to deliver "phenomenal" tax reforms within two or three weeks. And it's about time for Trump to deliver. And the announcement of Trump's tax overhaul could overwhelm the markets.

Sentiments Dragged Down by Rising Frexit Risk

While US equities surged to new record high last week, other markets didn't follow. Dollar ended mixed in spite of a chorus of hawkish comments from Fed officials, including chair Janet Yellen. A batch of stronger than expected data also provided little support to the greenback. Instead, Dollar was dragged down by treasury yields, which failed to break out from recent range and reversed during the week. Political uncertainties could be a major factor in triggering safe haven flows to US bonds. And such sentiment could also be seen in the broad based weakness in Euro, which closed as the second weakest major currency next to Sterling. Swiss Franc decouple from Euro and Sterling and ended as the second strongest currency. And overall risk aversion on European situation could be the factor in driving up the Japanese Yen, which ended as the strongest major currency.

Sterling Tumbles on Retail Sales Miss, Yen Jumps

Sterling comes under much selling pressure today after disappointing data. Retail sales unexpectedly dropped -0.3% mom in January versus expectation of 1.0% rise. The pound is set to end the week as the weakest major currency after a string of weak data. That includes the CPI miss released on Tuesday and wage growth miss released on Wednesday. These data dampened speculations of a BoE rate hike by year end. In addition to that, the impact of Sterling's depreciation since last year's Brexit referendum appears to be fading. And there are a lot of uncertainties ahead as prime minister Theresa May would trigger Article 50 for Brexit by the end of next month.