Market movers today
In Scandinavia the Norges Bank (NB) meeting will be today’s highlight. Relative to its most recent economic projections from 13 March, NB has already reacted to the deteriorated outlook by cutting rates by an additional 75bp on 20 March. We expect NB to stay on hold today keeping the sight deposit rate at 0.25 % while maintaining an easing bias both verbally and in the rate path.
In the US, focus continues to be on initial jobless claims ahead of the April jobs report due tomorrow. Although filings for unemployment benefits have come down, the numbers remain extraordinarily high. A total of 30m Americans have lost their job in the past six weeks.
In the UK, the Bank of England will likely signal its readiness to act if needed, but we think it will face some pressure to scale up its QE compared to other central banks.
Germany’s lockdown measures have been less stringent than in other European countries. Today’s industrial production figures for March will show whether this has also helped mitigate the shock to manufacturing.
Selected market news
As has been the case in recent days the US equity market lost steam in the final hours of the US session with the big indices posting between 0.5-1.0% losses. Overnight, better-than-expected export data out of China has stabilised sentiment sending CNH stronger end equity futures back in ‘green’. Brent crude is back close to USD30/bbl, while US 10Y Treasury yields have rebounded a couple of basis points. More generally US Treasury yields have seen a move higher in recent days amid the US Treasury revealing a staggering USD3tn borrowing need before June – more than triple the 2008 amount.
In the US President Donald Trump encouraged Americans to return to work even if this leads to higher infection rates and an acceleration in deaths. His remarks constitute a clear step-up of the argument that the economic damage done from the shutdowns is becoming too great and a threat to his re-election campaign. Meanwhile, Trump also backtracked on previous White House comments that the COVID-19 taskforce soon will be dismantled. Instead, the president now says that he’ll let the taskforce run indefinitely as he ‘had no idea how popular the taskforce is ‘.
While total US infections have slowed we find it somewhat worrying that most of the improvement has been driven by New York while other populous states have shown significant setbacks as shown by this reproduction number proxy chart .
The US ADP labour market report roughly matched estimates showing an April drop in employment of 20.2 million. While the ADP report has been a less than stellar predictor of the non-farm payrolls report (due tomorrow) it does show that we are in for a historical weak report on Friday. We pencil in an employment drop on Friday of 25 million, which is slightly more than the 21 million consensus.