Thu, Mar 23, 2023 @ 23:09 GMT
HomeContributorsFundamental AnalysisUS PMIs Might Have the Biggest Market Moving Potential

US PMIs Might Have the Biggest Market Moving Potential


Yesterday’s US President’s Day holiday narrowed down trading volumes to an absolute minimum, with European markets going nowhere in absence of any relevant eco data. This morning’s RBA minutes offer a glimpse of what to expect from tomorrow’s FOMC Minutes as well. The key question being how large the hawkish Fed minority was in favour of sticking to a 50 bps rate hike pace, as suggested by Fed Mester and Bullard last week around. To fill the void until these Minutes, S&P global will serve February PMI surveys today. European gauges are expected to show another modest improvement in both manufacturing (49.3 from 48.8) and services (50.7 from 50.3). Risks are probably tilted to the upside of expectations as the economy and labour market turn out to be more resilient than feared. Simultaneously, they could still see sticky price pressures in the details of the report. Such outcome could reinforce market trends in place since early February. From a market point of view, we think US PMI’s might have the biggest market moving potential. PMI’s over the past month deteriorated both faster and stronger than “comparable” ISM’s. Up until recently, the idea was that ISM’s would converge towards PMI’s. Following this year’s earlier economic releases, the balance started shifting with PMI’s likely painting a too pessimistic picture. The composite US PMI fell below the 50 boom/bust mark in July and remained “under water” ever since. Consensus today expects a marginal improvement from 46.8 to 47.5. Any (substantial?) upward surprises are expected to put new selling pressure on US Treasuries while the dollar’s faith will depend on the stock market reaction. We’ve been proven wrong earlier this year, but stick to the view that higher core bond yields (bond sell-off) will eventually hurt risk sentiment as well, that way supporting USD. The main mechanism through which this will work is when (money) markets start pricing a 50 bps rate hike in March. Key markets remain near important technical levels, suggesting that a break higher won’t be easy. Specifically, the US 10-yr yield tested 3.9% resistance last week, the German 10-yr yield 2.55% resistance and EUR/USD the 1.0650 support area.

News and views

The Bank of Israel raised its policy rate by a more-than-expected 50 bps to 4.25%. Yesterday’s move brought to policy rate to its highest level since 2008. The Bank of Israel started its hiking cycle in April last year at 0.1%. January inflation printed at 5.4% Y/Y, still holding well above the 1-3% target of the central bank. Deputy governor Andrew Abir stressed that the central bank was determined to bring inflation down. Yesterday’s 50 bps step was justified by ongoing strong growth, a tight labour market and an increase in the broader inflationary environment. The Bank of Israel also cited currency volatility as a factor. Even as it indicates that monetary tightening is working, some further adjustments remains possible depending on the data. The central bank holds its next policy meeting on April 3. The 50 bps rate hike met with critics from foreign minister Eli Cohen. The shekel over the previous month depreciated from USD/ILS 3.35 to currently USD/ILS 3.57. Part of the weakening might be due to uncertainty related to political reforms in the judicial system. A weaker currency might slow the disinflationary process.

Minutes of the 7 February policy meeting by the Reserve Bank of Australia showed that the RBA considered both the option to raise the policy rate by 25 bps and by 50 bps. The arguments for a 50 bps increase stemmed from the concern on incoming prices and wages data exceeding expectations, and a risk that high inflation would be persistent. If so, there would be significant costs, including higher interest rates and a larger increase in unemployment later on. Arguments for a 25 bps point increase also recognized the need to bring demand and supply into balance, but noted that inflation was expected to have peaked and that consumption might soften. Monthly meetings provided the Board with frequent opportunities to assess these uncertainties and to adjust policy if needed. In this respect, the MPC opted for a 25 bps hike to 3.35%. Members also agreed that further increases in the interest rate are needed over the months ahead. Contrary to December, the Board didn’t retain the option of keeping the cash rate unchanged. The 2-y Australia government bond yield gains 2 bps this morning. The Aussie dollar (AUD/USD 0.689) eases slightly on a mild broader bid for the USD.

KBC Bank
KBC Bank
This non-exhaustive information is based on short-term forecasts for expected developments on the financial markets. KBC Bank cannot guarantee that these forecasts will materialize and cannot be held liable in any way for direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this document or its content. The document is not intended as personalized investment advice and does not constitute a recommendation to buy, sell or hold investments described herein. Although information has been obtained from and is based upon sources KBC believes to be reliable, KBC does not guarantee the accuracy of this information, which may be incomplete or condensed. All opinions and estimates constitute a KBC judgment as of the data of the report and are subject to change without notice.

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