Jerome Powell, Christine Lagarde and Andrew Bailey blamed pandemic and the war for sending inflation off the chart at a European Central Bank (ECB) event yesterday. We blame them for having called inflation transitory, and having been left behind the curve for too long.
The EURUSD slid to 1.0430, and the euro bulls are gently leaving the market, increasingly less convinced that Christine Lagarde doesn’t have a magic tool to address the fragmentation issue in Europe. At this point, no one knows how the ECB will raise the interest rates and avoid the peripheral yields from spiking to crisis levels. But inflation in Spain and Belgium spiked above 10% in June, while the ECB is not expected to raise the rates by more than 25bp at its next meeting. Seems insignificant to you? To us, too.
No wonder the euro-swissy is below the 1.00 mark. If the fall continues, the Swiss National Bank will likely intervene.
The US will release the latest PCE figure today, which will likely show no pleasant surprise in the US, either. But happily for the Federal Reserve, investors don’t care much about the PCE index, even though the latter is what the Fed is watching to determine whether inflation is in line with its policy.
The PCE index was at 6.3% last month, much lower than the CPI index as the PCE gives a lower weight to gasoline and rents, which sent CPI inflation skyrocketing. Therefore, even if the Fed could bring the PCE down to 2%, it won’t solve the problem of high energy, high rents.
US rents for example hit another record high in June, up 14% over the last year.
Anyway, the chances are that we won’t see PCE hinting at lower inflation anytime soon.
Russia isn’t happy
The tensions between Russia and the West continue rising as NATO decided to welcome Finland and Sweden in the alliance. Putin threatened that if NATO infrastructure is deployed in these countries, Russia will have to respond in kind. Oil prices remained fairly contained however, as the European Union agreed on a framework to eliminate carbon emissions for new cars and vans by 2035. And they better respect their deadline, because the oil giants will not invest in extra refining capacities knowing that they will be out of business in many key markets in less than 15 years.
US crude consolidates above the $110pb this morning after having advanced to $115 yesterday. Sentiment remains comfortably bullish as OPEC will unlikely surprise for a second month at today’s decision. OPEC countries have struggled to meet their production targets last month, pumping around 3 million barrels less per day than their 42 million target. This means that the supply problems will remain the major headline in oil, and the prices will likely push higher unless the recession fears take the upper hand.