FX and Equities Brace for a Bumpy Week

Monday February 12: Five things the markets are talking about

Investors are bracing for another bumpy ride this week after market volatility has returned with a vengeance, delivering the biggest rout in global stocks in a number of years.

Despite stocks getting a reprieve overnight, investor fears of interest rate hikes that started the market correction continues to persist.

Last week, the CBOE volatility index ended almost three times higher than its Jan. 26 level. The ten-year Treasury yield finished last week atop of where they started at +2.85%.

Stateside, this week’s inflation report – U.S consumer-price data on Wednesday – could be the catalyst for a major struggle between equities and bonds that triggered the initial market turbulence.

Elsewhere, while the coming week is absent of G10 central bank meetings, there are a number of important economic indicators to be released. In the U.K, consumer and producer price indexes and retail sales for last month should be a challenge for the pound (£1.3560). While in Japan, its first estimate of Q4 growth along with last month’s producer price index and December’s machinery orders (a proxy for capital spending) should be capable of moving the yen (¥108.70).

Later today, President Trump will deliver his 2019 budget blueprint.

1. Stocks breath a ‘sigh of relief’

Global equities overnight have found some temporary support while volatility remains elevated.

Note: In Japan, equity markets were closed due to a bank holiday Feb. 12, while Chinese New-Year celebrations for the ‘Year of the Dog’ begin (Feb 15-21) and follow across much of Asia, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Down-under, the Aussie S&P/ASX 200 was down -0.6%, weighed down by a fresh -1.6% drop in the energy sector, while in S. Korea, the Kospi rallied +0.4%.

China and Hong Kong stocks rebounded after last week’s aggressive sell-off. In China, the Shanghai Composite index was up +0.8%, while China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was up +1.3%. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index was up +0.71%.

In Europe, regional indices are trading sharply higher across the board following on from a sharp rebound on Wall Street Friday and positive Asian markets.

U.S stocks are set to open deep in the ‘black (+1.2%).

Indices: Stoxx600 +1.5% at 374.1, FTSE +1.2% at 7181, DAX +1.9% at 12336, CAC-40 +1.5% at 5153, IBEX-35 +1.5% at 9785, FTSE MIB +1.1% at 22404, SMI +1.8% at 8831, S&P 500 Futures +1.2%

2. Oil prices rally +1%, gold higher

Oil prices start the week better bid, recovering some of this month’s steep losses as global equities find some firm footing after last week sea of red.

Brent crude futures are at +$63.54 per barrel, up +75c, or +1.2% from Friday’s close. U.S West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures are at +$60.04 a barrel – that’s up +84c, or +1.4% from the close.

The stronger prices came after crude registered its biggest loss in two years last week as global stock markets slumped.

Nonetheless, rising U.S production continues to undermine the efforts led by the OPEC and Russia to tighten markets and prop up prices.

Note: U.S oil production has rallied above +10m bpd, overtaking top exporter Saudi Arabia and coming within reach of top producer Russia.

There are also strong signals the output will rally further. Data on Friday showed that U.S energy companies added 26 oilrigs looking for new production, boosting the count to +791, the highest since April 2015.

Ahead of the U.S open, gold prices have edged a tad higher as the dollar eased against G7 currency pairs after last week’s rally. Expect investors to take their cues from this weeks U.S inflation data. Spot gold is up +0.3% percent at +$1,320.19 an ounce.

Note: Prices touched their lowest since Jan. 4 at +$1,306.81 last week.

3. Sovereign yields creep higher

U.S and eurozone government bond yields have edged higher overnight, heading back towards multi-year highs on unease that a pick up in inflationary pressures globally and a strong domestic economy will encourage the ECB and the Fed to signal to be more aggressive than originally priced in at the beginning of the year.

In Europe, bond yields across the bloc were +1-2 bps higher in early trade, while in the U.S the 10-year note trades atop of its four-year highs.

In Germany, the 10-year Bund yield is up almost +2 bps at +0.77% and within sight of its nearly three-year high hit last week at around +0.81%. The yield on the U.S 10-year note has rallied +4 bps to +2.90%, the highest in more than four years, while in the U.K, the 10-year Gilt yield has gained +4 bps to +1.605%.

4. The U.S dollar’s quiet trading session

A broad-based flight to safe haven, such as U.S treasuries or the Japanese yen (¥108.70), has not happened to date despite the recent turmoil on equity markets.

The dollar ‘bulls’ are looking for the USD to rally this week, despite financial market volatility to remain high near-term as looser U.S fiscal policy and upside risk to U.S. inflation raises concerns.

Overnight, FX saw a quiet session ahead of some key inflation data this week (U.K Jan CPI Feb 13 and U.S Jan CPI on Feb 14).

Note: The recent pick up in global bond yields has been led stateside, while capital market wait for more details from President Trump’s budget and his infrastructure plan.

EUR/USD (€1.2272) is little changed, but holding below the psychological €1.23 handle. On the weekend, ECB’s Nowotny (Austria) reiterated the concerns about attempts by the U.S to politically influence the exchange rate.

GBP/USD (£1.3860) trades atop of Friday’s close despite the BoE having turned more rates ‘bullish’ last week. Dealers are now putting more weight on Brexit concerns as the U.K previously admitted that the growth potential of the economy had declined.

USD/JPY (¥108.70) is steady as Japanese markets were closed for a bank holiday.

5. Swiss inflation still super low

Data this morning showed that Swiss consumer prices slid -0.1% in January from December leaving the annual inflation rate at +0.7% and slightly below expectations.

Digging deeper, the decrease compared with the previous month is due in particular to the decrease in prices for outpatient hospital medical services. Prices for air transport also declined, along with prices for clothing and footwear, in particular because of sales. In contrast, prices for overnight stays in hotels, heating oil and electricity increased.

Inflation is still low despite the Swiss National Bank’s (SNB) efforts to raise it through negative interest rates and a willingness to intervene in currency markets.

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