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Euro Having Harder Time Against Both Dollar and Sterling


May University of Michigan consumer confidence unexpectedly set the tone for the final WS trading session of last week. The headline indicator fell more than expected, from 63.5 to 57.7, the lowest level since July of last year. Markets zoomed in on the forward looking inflation expectations component of the report though. 1-yr forward inflation expectations fell less than hoped, from 4.6% to 4.5% with long term (5-10yr) expectations picking up from 3% to 3.2 % (vs 2.9% consensus), the highest level since March 2011! Similar signs came from the NY Fed’s most recent Survey of Consumer Expectations (3y & 5y inflation expectations up 0.1 ppt) and in Europe from the ECB’s Consumer Expectations Survey. Median expectations for 1y and 3y EMU inflation respectively rose from 4.6% to 5% and from 2.4% to 2.9%. US Treasuries sold off after the Michigan survey, underperforming German Bunds. US yields added over 9 bps at the 2-7y part of the curve with longer tenors adding 5 to 8 bps. The US 2y yield closed just below the psychological 4% mark. A dissection of the yield increase shows that it was especially driven by higher US real yields, suggesting that markets probably pushed the idea of a conditional rate pause and especially H2 2023 rate cuts too far. German yields rose by 5-6 bps across the curve last Friday. The relative yield advantage, higher real yields and a risk-off climate (US stocks initially sold off in line with US Treasuries) supported last week’s USD rebound. EUR/USD closed at 1.0849 (lowest close since March 31) from an open at 1.0916. The trade-weighted dollar powered ahead to 102.71, taking out first minor resistance at 102.40.

Today’s eco calendar contains EU Commission economic forecasts and the US Empire Manufacturing Survey. We don’t expect them to interfere with recent market trends. Core bonds are trapped in sideways rages. Especially the topside in German Bund future and US T-Note seems very well protected. In FX space, the euro is having a harder time against both the dollar and sterling. Risk sentiment is shacky, but stronger than feared given lingering issues like the US debt ceiling and regional banking crisis. Several ECB/BoE/Fed members shed their views on policy and this will be a red line throughout the week. It serves as a wildcard. Key eco points this week include tomorrow’s UK labour market report and US retail sales. Strong UK labour data could further help sterling moving away from the EUR/GBP 0.8719 support area, broken last week.

News and views

Turkish presidential elections might head for a second run-off vote. According to results mentioned by Bloomberg President Tayyip Erdogan is leading by winning 49.3% of the votes while opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu gained 45% support. The tally was made on the basis of more than 98% of the votes counted. One of the candidates needs to reach 50% of the votes to avoid a run-off. A run-off would take place on May 28 and could lead to a period of additional uncertainty for Turkish markets, including for the Turkish lira. The lira in early trading this morning is losing modest further ground trading at USD/TRY 19.625. Anadolu news agency reported that the current parliamentary alliance, including Erdogan’s AKP and the Nationalist Movement party, managed to hold on to their majority, clinching 323 seats in 600-seat parliament.

Rating agency Fitch on Friday confirmed Italy’s credit rating at BBB with a stable outlook. Fitch took notice of stronger than expected growth in Q1 (0.5% Q/Q vs -0.2% expected). The rating agency upwardly revised Italy’s 2023 growth to 1.2%, but 2024 growth was downwardly revised to 0.8%. Fitch expects inflation to decline to an average 7.2% in 2023 and 3.5% in 2024 due to a normalization of energy prices and only limited second round effects. On fiscal policy, the agency indicated that recent Stability programme sets out credible fiscal goals in continuity with the fiscal policy of the previous government. The plan sets out a fiscal deficit of 4.5% in 2023, 3.7% in 2024 and 3% in 2025. The rating agency even sees risks for lower deficits as the government started from conservative assumptions. Fitch expects the debt-to-GDP ratio to decline to 142.3% of GDP in 2024 (was 144.4% in 2022). While this is a decline of 12.6 ppts compared to the peak in 2020, it is still above the pre-pandemic level of 134.1% (2019).

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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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