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Fundamental Analysis 22.05.2018 – Market Outlook
Market Recap
Attention yesterday Monday 21st of May 2018 was focused on Italy, where a proposal to issue “mini-BOTs” – notes that would be backed by expected tax receipts in the future – sent Italian yields soaring. (BOTs are Buoni Ordinari del Tesoro, a common Italian Treasury bill or short-term credit note.) The move is seen as a way of both getting around the EU’s rules on bond issuance and also in effect creating a parallel currency that would trade at a discount to the euro, since the “mini-BOTs” wouldn’t pay any interest. The very idea sent investors rushing out of Italian bonds and into German Bunds, with the result that the Italy-Germany 2-year spread widened out by 21 bps in one day!

Nonetheless, EUR managed to gain vs USD nonetheless as longer-dated US interest rates declined slightly, removing the main force pushing the dollar higher recently. It’s hard to discern why bond yields declined, however. In fact, TIPS breakevens continued to move higher as US gasoline prices approached $3 per gallon, a price that’s considered expensive in the US

Furthermore, the Fedspeak was generally hawkish. Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic (voter) said “inflation is likely to run a bit above 2 percent for a while” and that while monetary policy should be flexible, i.e. the Federal Reserve System (Fed) shouldn’t panic if there is a modest overshoot of inflation, he still favors two more rate hikes this year. Philadelphia Fed President Harker (non-voter) said that inflation might even reach 2.5% this year and that he could be persuaded to support four rate hikes.

With inflation expectations continuing to move higher and Fed officials moving towards more tightening, it’ll be no surprise if bond yields resume their climb soon and the dollar resumes trending upward with them as well.

CAD was the best-performing currency. There seemed to be no particularly cause, just a reaction to the big drop on Friday 18th of May 2018 in a thin holiday market (Canada was on holiday yesterday for Victoria Day). In fact if anything, the US-Canada yield spread moved further in the US’ favor. But oil prices were higher too. CAD may also be benefitting from the move to put the US-China trade war “on hold,” which not only helped all the commodity currencies but also suggests the US isn’t really intent on ripping up existing trade relations. Nonetheless, it still feel that the recent poor data for Canada may cause some reassesment of the likelihood of Bank of Canada tightening and therefore cause CAD to weaken ahead of next week’s Bank of Canada meeting.

Today’s market

There may not be any headlines coming out today, but certainly the main event is the restart of Brexit talks in Brussels. The big debate in the UK is how to finesse the problem of Britain’s border with Ireland. UK Prime Minister Theresa May made a huge concession recently and agreed that all of the UK will have to remain tied to a customs union with the EU after 2021 until they work out some alternative to a “hard border” with Ireland. Under this plan, all of Britain would be covered by the EU’s common external tariff. That would eliminate the need for any customs border between Ireland and the UK.

The plan is deeply unpopular with many of the “Leavers,” as it leaves Britain more attached to the EU than they would like. Furthermore it has no clear end, meaning it could just be a path to “EU-lite.”

The bigger problem though is that the EU has already rejected this approach. “If this is it, we will have a crisis,” said one senior EU diplomat who’s involved in the talks.

We will see this week how the irresistible force of Brexit meets the immovable object of the EU, or more concretely, the Ireland/UK border.

Early in the day, the UK Parliament’s Treasury Committee holds hearings. There will be a reappointment hearing for Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Jan Vlieghe. And at the same time, Bank of England (BoE) Governor Mark Carney plus some of his MPC colleagues, such as Dave Ramsden, Michael Saunders, and the aforementioned Mr. Vleghe will testify to the committee about the BoE’s recent Inflation Report. To remind you, in the May 2018 inflation report the Bank lowered its growth forecast for this year and projected that inflation would fall faster than it had previously anticipated. The tone of the testimony is therefore likely to be dovish, which could be negative for the pound.

The UK public sector net borrowing (excluding banks) is expected to be up sharply, but since the data aren’t seasonally adjusted, what matters is how that would affect the 12-month moving average. In this case the market consensus forecast would lower the average slightly, meaning the government is still managing to narrow its deficit. This could be positive for the GBP. Note though that there could be a negative surprise (greater-than-expected borrowing) because of the shift in Easter, which could affect VAT receipts.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI)’s industrial trends survey is a second-tier indicator. It probably won’t get much attention today, what with the Parliamentary testimony and the Brexit talks going on. But with little else on the schedule and lots of mystery surrounding the state of the UK economy, it could. In any event if it does, it’s could be negative as the orders DI is expected to fall. Selling prices are expected to remain constant for the third month in a row. 

Other indicators out today include Canadian wholesale trade sales and Richmond Fed manufacturing index. Overnight we get the Westpac leading index for Australia; no forecast is available.

The Fundamental Analysis is provided by Marshall Gittler who is an external service provider of Claws and Horns (Cyprus) Limited, an independent analytical company. Any views and opinions expressed are explicitly those of the writer. Any information contained in the article, is believed to be reliable, and has not been verified by STO and is not guaranteed to be accurate. References to specific products, are for illustrative purposes only and are not a form of solicitation, recommendation or investment advice. Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance.
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