Turkey gets a Reprieve before US Thanksgiving, but Capital Strike may not be Over
Today’s Financial Markets Highlights
• The US dollar is firm against the major currencies but the Japanese yen. The risk-off mood, reflected in the weaker equities has slowed the greenback’s gains above the JPY115 threshold.
• The Reserve Bank of New Zealand hiked the cash rate by 25 bp to 0.75% and project a 2% rate by the end of next year. The market has this discounted, and some were looking for a 50 bp move today. The New Zealand dollar is the weakest of the majors, off about 0.65%.
• Japan’s economy is recovering, and the flash composite PMI rose to a new cyclical high. More fiscal support is coming.
• German infections have doubled in the past two days and the CDC raised the travel advisory for US citizens wanting to go to Germany (and Denmark). Between higher inflation, slower growth, and the surge of infections, investors’ confidence has weakened.
• Ahead of tomorrow’s US holiday, there is a busy economic calendar. We note that nearly all of October’s high frequency data has been stronger than economists expected. The most market sensitive news to come is for the PCE deflator, which the Fed targets. Both the headline and core rates are likely to have accelerated.
• Mexico’s AMLO reportedly retracted his nomination for Banxico head back in August. There has been no clarification and the peso remains weak.
The dramatic collapse of the Turkish lira was like an accident one could not help look at, but it was not an accident. It was the result of a disregard for the exchange rate and compromised institutions. The lira was off around 15% at its worst yesterday, before settling 11.2% lower. After falling for 11 sessions, it has steadied today (~2.7%) but the capital strike may not be over. On the other hand, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand delivered the 25 bp rate hike and seemed to give hawkish guidance, and yet the New Zealand dollar was sold and the worst-performing of the major currencies, off 0.65% through the European morning. The tech losses on Wall Street yesterday weighed on Asia Pacific equities today, where the large markets fell but in China. Europe’s Stoxx 600 is less tech sensitive and is trying to snap a four-day air pocket, but early gains have been reversed. The US futures point to around a 0.5% lower opening. The greenback has a firmer bias ahead of the full economic calendar ahead of tomorrow’s holiday. The yen is the notable exception. The greenback rose to a new multi-year high near JPY115.25 but has come back offered and is straddling the JPY115 level in late morning turnover in Europe. Emerging market currencies are mixed, though the JP Morgan Emerging Market Currency Index is firmer after six consecutive down sessions. Gold is steadying after a four-day drop that took it from around $1870 to about $1782. Oil extended yesterday’s recovery after the concerted agreement to release strategic reserves from six countries but is struggling to sustain the upside momentum. The market was unimpressed with the new supply and had it (and more?) discounted. European (Dutch) gas rose 8% yesterday and remains firm today. Iron ore prices are higher for the fourth session, during which time it has risen by around 20%. Copper is also firmer for the second session. It is up about 4.5% from the middle of last week’s low.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand hiked its cash rate 25 bp to 0.75%. It was widely expected, and many had leaned to a 50 bp move. The forward guidance saw the cash rate at 2.0% at the end of next year. The swaps market had this nearly priced in as well. This might help explain the profit-taking on the New Zealand dollar. The 2-year yield fell 14 bp, and the 10-year yield eased by 5.5 bp. New Zealand stocks defied the regional pressure and rose by about 0.6%.
Japan’s economy is recovering. The economy contracted by 0.8% in Q3, but after a slow start, the vaccination program has been successful. It has allowed a re-opening of the economy. This is evident in the flash PMI report. The manufacturing PMI rose to 54.2 from 53.2, and the services PMI improved to 52.1 from 50.7. The composite new stands at 52.5 (from 50.7) and represents a new cyclical high. Recall that it bottomed in August at 45.5. The fiscal support being offered by the supplemental budget is pro-cyclical; it will accelerate the recovery.
The break of JPY115.00 has seen limited follow-through dollar buying. It peaked near JPY115.25 in Asia and fell to around JPY114.80, where it has found a bid in European dealing. The nearly $950 mln option that expires today at JPY115 has likely been neutralized (hedged/offset), and the one at JPY115.50 for $1.2 bln may be too far away to be impactful. Our idea of a JPY113.-JPY115 range is being tested, but recall that earlier this month, the dollar has slipped to almost JPY112.70. The range is not carved in stone, and some fraying is inevitable. Still, a move above JPY115.50 would suggest that this consolidation since mid-October is over, and a new and higher range is likely. Next: JPY118-JPY120, maybe. The Australian dollar leaked lower and briefly dipped below $0.7200 for the first time since October 1. There is an option that is expiring today there for about A$355 mln. It steadied after early Asia Pacific trading and approached the nearby cap near $0.7230. A move above here would help the technical tone. Officials appear to have broken the one-way trading in the yuan. It has been alternating between gains and losses this week, but the movement has been small, and the yuan is virtually unchanged this week. The reference rate was set at CNY6.3903, slightly more than the market expected (Bloomberg) of CNY6.3898. Lastly, we note that South Korea is widely expected to hike the seven-day repo by 25 bp tomorrow, following a similar hike in August.
It has taken the better part of the two months, but the new German coalition appears to have been agreed upon. However, what the soon-to-be Chancellor Scholz is inheriting is a mess. The Bundesbank warned recently that the economy may be stagnating this quarter (though the flash PMI yesterday did not confirm this), and inflation may be approaching 6%. Moreover, the covid infection rate has reportedly doubled in the past two days. The US CDC put Germany (and Denmark) on a heightened travel advisory.
As one would expect, this is taking a toll on sentiment. The IFO investor survey showed this. The current assessment fell to 99.0 from 100.2. The expectations component eased to 94.2 from 95.4. The assessment of the overall business climate stands now at 96.5, down from 97.7. After falling for the fifth consecutive month, it is at the lowest level since April.
The euro’s losses were extended to almost $1.12. The weakness seems most pronounced in Europe, which lends credence to ideas that European financial firms are key sellers, which some related to year-end adjustments. However, the three-month cross-currency basis swap has steadied since Monday, and pressure on the euro remains. We note that the two-year US-German interest rate differential rose for the fourth consecutive session yesterday to reach 135 bp, the most since last March, but is steadying today. Since the convincing break of $1.13, we do not see strong chart support until closer to $1.10. Sterling made a margin new low for the year yesterday near $1.3345. It remains stuck near there is quiet turnover. The $1.3400 area offers nearby resistance. Here we see little technical support until around $1.3165.
The US holiday tomorrow is forcing a heavy data release schedule today. Not all the data is of equal importance. Of the first set of reports, the weekly jobless claims will command attention. They have fallen for the past seven weeks and are at their lowest level since the pandemic (268k). The November national employment report is due at the end of next week, and another 500k jobs were thought to have been filled. The October trade balance and durable goods orders are notable. Nearly all the October data has been reported better than expected. Growth differentials warn of the risk of a wider trade shortfall. The revisions to Q3 GDP (likely higher) are unlikely to capture much attention as it is too backward-looking.
The second batch of data may see a bigger market reaction, especially in the debt market. The US is expected to report a jump in personal spending (consumption needs to accelerate if the economy strengthens this quarter). Income is likely to recover a bit from the 1.0% drop reported in September. The market may be most sensitive to the deflators. Here inflation is set to accelerate. The headline is projected to rise above 5%, while the core should peak above 4%. Lastly, new homes sales surged 14% in September and maybe lucky to sustain those higher levels in October. Late in the session, when many in the US may be winding down ahead of the holiday, the FOMC minutes from this month’s meeting will be released. The current focus is on the possibility that the Fed accelerates its tapering next month, and anything that sheds light on this could shape the market’s reaction.
The US dollar reversed lower yesterday after reaching CAD1.2745. It settled near its lows (~CAD1.2670), but there has been no follow-through selling, and the five-day moving average, which it has not closed below since November 15, held (~CAD1.2660). Initial resistance is seen now around CAD1.2700-CAD1.2720. We note that Canadian bonds are under some pressure, and the 10-year yield is above 1.80%, the highest level since April 2019. The dollar rose to MXN21.30 yesterday and remains firm, even if off the high today. News that Mexico’s President pulled the nomination of Herrera, the former finance minister, as the next central bank governor, injected some volatility into the peso. Reports suggest that Herrera’s nomination was retracted a few months ago but was kept confidential. It is not clear what happens next. Some suspect Herrera may still get the nomination. It does not appear that any official statement or clarification has been provided. The median seems to be playing up the likelihood of some announcement in the coming days. Meanwhile, Mexico reports its bi-weekly CPI figures, and inflation is still accelerating. Tomorrow’s final Q3 GDP is expected to confirm that the economy contracted. The dollar recorded the high for the year against the peso in March near MXN21.6360.
Bannockburn Global Forex