Notes/Observations

  • Question lingers on how long any Brexit delay would be
  • Focus on Wed FOMC rate decision with expectations for an accommodative Fed given recent soft US data

Asia:

  • RBA Mar Minutes reiterated stance that saw no strong case for any near-term adjustment in policy; Scenarios were more evenly balanced compared to last year (Neutral policy). Noted of ‘considerable uncertainty’ around consumption outlook
  • Australia Q4 Housing Prices worse than expected and makes RBA easing bets grow; Aussy 3-year yield below RBA rate for 1st time since 2016

Europe:

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  • EU to formally agree on Brexit delay this week potentially until July 1st. The change in departure date to July 1st might convince the UK speaker that the deal had changed and could be enough for a 3rd meaningful vote to happen. EU officials believe that issuing a summit communique with legal force, known as council conclusions, containing a new date could be sufficient for another vote.EU leaders could suggest a 3-9 month extension if PM May deal passed parliament
  • UK Junior Brexit Min Kwarteng stated that would look at requesting extension to Article 50 ahead of March European Council. Length of any extension would be agreed between the EU and the UK govt. Still saw a chance the Brexit deal would come back and go through Parliament; acknowledged there was a slim chance that a new ‘meaningful vote’ would pass. If the EU Council did not grant an extension, then the UK would leave on March 29th with no deal – PM May said to be drafting a letter to EU Council President Tusk to formally ask for a Brexit delay of between 9 and 12 months
  • Parliament Speaker Bercow: PM May must change Brexit deal to hold third ‘meaningful vote’; May could not put the same Brexit deal to a third vote
  • UK Attorney General Cox noted that there were ways around Bercow’s ruling; prorogation was option for Govt;
  • German Chancellor Merkel: hoped that euro zone inflation would soon rise to target level so that the ECB could change its policy

Americas:

  • Agricultural Sec Perdue: US/China trade talks remain very dynamic; China had made some very attractive offers for US agricultural products. China could triple its buying of US farm products

SPEAKERS/FIXED INCOME/FX/COMMODITIES/ERRATUM

Equities

  • Indices [Stoxx600 +0.42% at 383.72, FTSE +0.34% at 7,324.25, DAX +0.52% at 11,717.91, CAC-40 +0.20% at 5,423.46, IBEX-35 +0.37% at 9,443.80, FTSE MIB +0.40% at 9,443.80, SMI +0.62% at 9,555.50, S&P 500 Futures +0.24%]
  • Market Focal Points/Key Themes: European Indices trade slightly higher following a flat to lower session in Asia and slightly higher US futures, in a relatively quiet session so far. On the corporate front shares of UK online fashion retailer Asos declines after Q2 prelim Rev fell short of forecasts; Illiad falls after reporting slightly weaker Revenue and outlook; John Wood Group declines sharply on earnings and the stepping down of its Chairman, while Bonmarche, also declines after a weaker outlook. Softcat is a notable riser on upgraded guidance, Hochdorf, Ocado and Antofagasta also gain on earnings. In other news Norsk Hydro falls after it was subject to a cyber attack; Kier Group rises on the announcement of a new CEO while Rovi gains on positive study results. Looking ahead notable earners include HD Supply, DSW and Michaels.

Equities

  • Consumer discretionary: Asos [ASC.UK] -3% (trading update), Swatch Group [UHR.CH] +2.5%, Richemont [CFR.CH] +2.5% (Swiss trade balance), Ocado [OCDO.UK] +3.5% (trading update), Antofagasta [ANTO.UK] +4% (earnings), Mears Group [MER.UK] -8% (earnings), Bonmarche [BON.UK] -16% (trading update),
  • Energy: Norsk Hydro [NHY.NO] -2% (subject to cyber attack)
  • Financials: Standard Life Aberdeen [SLA.UK] +2% (court outcome), Deutsche Bank [DBK.DE] -2%, Commerzbank [CBK.DE] -2% (DB said to work with Citigroup on Commerzbank merger)
  • Healthcare:
  • Industrials: Fraport [FRA.DE] -0.5% (earnings), John Wood Group [WG.UK] -4% (earnings; Chairman to step down), Kier Group [KIE.UK] +2% (CEO appointment)
  • Telecom: Iliad [ILD.FR] -6% (earnings)

Speakers

  • EU Commission’s Dombrovskis reiterated that EU needed clarity from UK side on Brexit
  • UK Brexit Sec Barclay: Parliamentary Speaker ruling mades it unlikely that a 3rd meaningful vote would occur this week; now in a situation where we would need an extension to Article 50. Talks with Northern Irish DUP party have been constructive; both sides want them to continue . Pro-Brexit MPs saw a growing risk of no Brexit. UK Govt would need to discuss a longer Brexit delay with EU
  • German Bundesbank board member Wuermeling said to be concern about exposure of small businesses to Brexit and the slow pace of this ‘repapering’ process ahead of Brexit. Banks had been moving certain activities for their EU clients (including derivatives) from London to outside of the UK. But banks could only move clients business if they had been given permission to do so. On Banks he noted that mergers could not resolve challenges from negative interest rates; Bundesbank was neutral on mergers as it did not initiate them
  • Norway Finance Ministry maintains 2019 Mainland GDP (non-oil) at 2.7% and set 2020 growth at 2.5%
  • Norway Fin Min Jensen: Needed to avoid unnecessary pressure on rates and NOK currency (Krone); needed to continue with reforms and make tough choices
  • Czech Central Bank Vice Gov Mora: Expected interests rates to be held steady at the March meeting as risks from overseas economies were clouding the domestic outlook
  • OPEC Sec Gen Barkindo: Market is responding positively to OPEC+ meeting

Currencies/Fixed Income

  • USD was on slightly soft footing ahead of Wed FOMC rate decision. The greenback was facing expectations for an accommodative Fed. Recent US data have conspired against the USD and underscoring the Fed’s resolve to remain on hold for now. Overall for the YTD the greenback remained stronger against the bulk of the major pairs with most analysts believing dollar rally remained intact going forward.
  • GBP/USD saw mixed economic data but higher wage data keeping a slight bid in the pair. The Wed release of UK inflation data was set to see CPI remain within the BOE target for the 2nd straight month. Focus remained on the BOE rate decision on Thursday but Brexit uncertainty will keep the central bank in a cautious mode.

Economic Data

  • (CH) Swiss Feb Trade Balance (CHF): 3.1B v 3.0B prior; Real Exports M/M: 1.3% v 0.9% prior; Real Imports M/M: -3.0% v +5.4% prior; Watch Exports Y/Y: 3.4 v 0.6% prior
  • (ES) Spain Q4 Labour Costs Y/Y: 0.9% v 1.9% prior
  • (HK) Hong Kong Feb Unemployment Rate: 2.8% v 2.8%e (matched lowest level since Jan 1998)
  • (PL) Poland Feb Employment M/M: 0.2% v 0.1%e; Y/Y: 2.9% v 2.9%e
  • (PL) Poland Feb Average Gross Wages M/M: 0.4% v 0.2%e; Y/Y: 7.6% v 7.2%e
  • (IT) Italy Jan Total Trade Balance: €0.3B v €2.8B prior; Trade Balance EU: +€0.9B v -€1.5B prior
  • (UK) Feb Claimant Count Rate: 2.9% v 2.8% prior; Jobless Claims Change: +27.0K v +14.2K prior
  • (UK) Jan Average Weekly Earnings 3M/Y: 3.4% v 3.2%e; Weekly Earnings (ex-Bonus) 3M/Y: 3.4% v 3.4%e
  • (UK) Jan ILO Unemployment Rate: 3.9% v 4.0%e (lowest level since 1975); Employment Change 3M/3M: +222K v +120Ke

Fixed Income Issuance

  • (ZA) South Africa sold total ZAR2.85 vs. ZAR2.85B indicated in 2023, 2032 and 2048 bonds

Looking Ahead

  • (IL) Israel Mar 12-month CPI Forecast: No est v 1.2% prior
  • (CO) Colombia Feb Consumer Confidence Index: -1.7e v -2.8 prior
  • 06:00 (DE) Germany Mar ZEW Survey Current Situation: 13.0e v 15.0 prior; Expectations Survey: -11.5e v -13.4 prior
  • 06:00 (EU) Euro Zone Mar ZEW Expectations Survey: No est v -16.6 prior
  • 06:00 (EU) Euro Zone Jan Construction Output M/M: No est v -0.4% prior; Y/Y: No est v 0.7% prior
  • 06:00 (EU) Euro Zone Q4 Labour Costs Y/Y: No est v 2.5% prior
  • 06:00 (EU) Daily Euribor Fixing
  • 06:15 (CH) Switzerland to sell 3-month Bills
  • 06:30 (UK) Weekly John Lewis LFL Sales data
  • 06:30 (EU) ECB allotment in 7-Day Main Refinancing Tender (MRO)
  • 06:30 (HU) Hungary Debt Agency (AKK) to sell in 3-month Bills
  • 06:30 (UK) BOE allotment in 6-month GBP-enhanced liquidity repo operation (ILTR)
  • 07:00 (BR) Brazil Mar IGP-M Inflation (2nd Preview): 1.1%e v 0.6% prior
  • 07:00 (PT) Portugal Feb PPI M/M: No est v -0.4% prior; Y/Y: No est v 1.2% prior
  • 07:00 (TR) Turkey to sell Bonds
  • 07:30 (EU) ESM to sell €2.5B in 6-month bills
  • 07:45 (US) Daily Libor Fixing
  • 07:45 (US) Weekly Chain Store Sales data
  • 08:55 (US) Weekly Redbook Retail Sales data
  • 09:00 (UK) Baltic Dry Bulk Index
  • 09:00 (RU) Russia Feb PPI M/M: +0.5%e v -3.3% prior; Y/Y: 8.9%e v 9.5% prior
  • 09:00 (SE) Sweden Central bank (Riksbank) Dep Gov Skingsley
  • 09:00 (RU) Russia announces upcoming OFZ Bond issuance
  • 10:00 (US) Jan Factory Orders: 0.3%e v 0.1% prior; Factory Orders (ex-transportation): No est v -0.6% prior
  • 10:00 (US) Jan Final Durable Goods Orders: 0.4%e v 0.4% prelim; Durables (ex-transportation): No est v -0.1% prelim; Capital Goods Orders (Non-defense/ex-aircraft): No est v 0.8% prelim; Capital Goods Shipments (Non-defense/ex-aircraft): No est v 0.8% prelim
  • 10:00 (EU) Weekly ECB Forex Reserves
  • 10:30 (NZ) Fonterra Global Dairy Trade Auction:
  • 11:00 (UK) BOE buys £1.15B in APF Gilt purchase operation
  • 14:30 (UK) BOE Financial Policy Committee (FPC) member Sharp
  • 16:30 (US) Weekly API Oil Inventory data
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