Jobs Day

August ended on a downbeat note for the S&P500 and on an upbeat note for the US dollar as, even though the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) favourite gauge of inflation, PCE, came in line with expectations in July for both the core and headline figures – and even though the core PCE posted the smallest back-to-back rise since late 2020, the supercore services inflation – very closely watched by Mr. Powell and team, and that excludes not only energy but also housing, rose by the most on a monthly basis since the year began. Plus, personal spending remained strong – in line with the GDP data released earlier this week.

Digging deeper, the personal income fell slightly, meaning that Americans continue to tap into the reserves to continue spending. But the good news for the Fed is that the consumer spending at this speed could continue as long as the savings are available. And according to the latest data, personal savings in the US fell from 4.3% in June to 3.5% in May. Before the pandemic, the savings level was close to 9%. In conclusion, savings are melting, housing affordability is falling, mortgage rates are up, low-income Americans reportedly fall behind their important payments like rent, and the main street gives away signs of suffering. But the GDP remains above 2%, above the long-term trend which is thought by the Fed to be around 1.8%, and the scenario of soft landing is what the market is pricing convincedly.
Jobs day

The US jobs data shows signs of loosening but the numbers are still at historically strong levels. Due to be released later today, the US unemployment rate is expected to remain at a multi-decade low of 3.5%, and the US economy is expected to have added around 170K new nonfarm jobs in August. In the last twelve months, the US economy added almost 280K jobs on average. If today’s data comes in line with expectations, the last 12-month average will still remain close to 270K monthly job additions on average. Historically, we expect NFP to fall to around 50K per month a few months into recession. So, to tell you that: we are not there just yet.

Today, a softer than expected NFP figure, a slight deterioration in the unemployment rate, or softer-than-expected wages data could further cement the idea that the Fed will skip a pause at the September meeting, and maybe at the November as well. So far, the US Treasuries have had their best week since mid-July. The US 2-year yield retreated to 4.85%, while the 10-year yield flirted with the 4% mark for the first time in three weeks. But who says a rapid jump, also says a rising possibility of a correction. One thing is sure, we don’t expect any major central banker to call victory on inflation just yet…

European inflation sticks around 5.3% due to rising energy

Latest CPI estimate showed that Eurozone inflation stagnated at 5.3% in August due to the sticky energy costs, versus a fall to 5.1% expected by analysts. Inflation in France for example accelerated at a much faster pace than expected in August, while the latest PMI numbers showed weakness in activity. German retail sales also fell faster than expected in July, whereas inflation in Germany also ticked higher last month. The combination of weak economic data and sticky inflation is a nightmare scenario for the European Central Bank (ECB). The ECB should raise the rates to continue fighting inflation, even though the underlying economies are under pressure. Today, the final PMI figures will likely confirm the ongoing slowdown. The EURUSD gave back most of its weekly advance after yesterday’s inflation data, hinting that the market is worried that further ECB hikes will further damage economic activity. The bears are tempted to retest the 200-DMA support. If they are successful, the next natural bearish target stands at a distant 1.0615, the major 38.2% Fibonacci retracement on past year’s rally, which should distinguish between the continuation of the actual positive trend and a bearish medium term reversal.

More stimulus from China

This week’s PMI data showed that the Chinese manufacturing contracted at a slower pace, and today’s Caixin PMI showed that it stepped into the expansion zone in August, whereas the Chinese services PMI fell short of expectations and the wave of further bad news, like Country Garden announcing an almost $7bn loss in H1, talk of the company’s yuan denominated bond default, Moody’s downgrading of the firm to Ca and Evergrande’s wealth unit saying that it couldn’t make payments on its investment products due to a cash crunch, combined to the existing and worsening property crisis get the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) to announce lower payment requirements for first and second-time house buyers, and to encourage lower rates on existing mortgages. But it won’t improve the situation overnight. The CSI 300 is closing a week PACKED with fresh stimuli on a meagre note.

Crude rallies

The barrel of American crude jumped more than 2% yesterday and is consolidating above the $84pb level. The next bullish targets stand at $85pb, the August peak, and $89pb, in the continuation of an ABCD pattern. But the rally can’t extend above $90 without reviving global inflation expectations and recession worries, which would then start playing against the bulls.

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