European Outlook: Asian stock markets were mixed overnight, with Japanese bourses still under pressure (Nikkei closed down 0.55%). despite a dip in the Yen, as USD stabilised. Uncertainty over Trump’s regulatory and trade policies continues to weigh on investor sentiment. News that the U.S. plans to withdraw from the Pacific Rim trade pact, known as Trans-Pascific Partnership and that Trump plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement is not helping as a lack of key data on Monday kept markets focused on politics. U.S. stock futures are narrowly mixed, while FTSE 100 futures are slightly higher, as Sterling retreated from yesterday’s high. Oil prices are slightly up on the day and the front end WTI future is trading around USD 53 per barrel and Gold holds on to gains at USD 1215. FTSE 100 futures moving slightly higher Bund futures could lose some of yesterday’s gains in opening trade. The calendar has January PMI readings for the Eurozone as well as U.K. public finance data and a final decision from the Supreme Court on EU membership.
FX Update: The dollar found its feet after declining over the last day. USDJPY traded back around the 113.00 level after logging an eight-week low at 112.52 during the early phase of the Asia-Pacific session. Investor worries over a more protectionist U.S. weighed on the dollar, with Trump pulling the nation out of TPP and warning U.S. manufacturers there will be punitive taxes on any goods they make abroad and are sold in the U.S. Japanese preliminary January manufacturing PMI surpassed expectations, but cast little market impact. EURUSD drifted under 1.0750 after making a 1.0772 seven-week high in early Asia-Pacific. Cable ebbed under 1.2500, leaving a six-week peak at 1.2544. AUDUSD and NZDUSD settled lower after logging respective 10-week highs, and USDCAD based after seeing a four-session low.
Trump Executive Orders Signed: 1) formal withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) 2) hiring freeze on federal employees and 3) a ban on U.S. NGOs that receive federal funding from providing abortions abroad. Stocks and yields continue to retrace lower, along with the dollar index as the markets adjust to the new era of unilateralism and activism in the executive branch.
Fedspeak: Fed hawk Lacker worries that the FOMC could be getting behind the curve, in an interview on a public radio station in Virginia. He wants the Fed to be a little more aggressive in pushing up rates, versus the views of his colleagues, with the majority on the FOMC projecting 3 quarter-point increases. They are also advocating a very gradual approach to tightening. Note that Lacker is not a voter this year, and has announced he’ll retire on October 1. Fedspeak will go into hibernation today as the informal pre-FOMC blackout period goes into effect.
Main Macro Events Today
- Eurozone PMI’s – Modest improvements across the board are expected following the uptick in the ZEW number. Forecast for the Eurozone Manufacturing PMI predicts a rise to 55.0 from 54.9, while the services reading at 53.7, which should lift the composite to 54.5 from 54.4 and leave projections for robust growth in Q1 intact.
- UK – EU Membership Court Ruling – The United Kingdom’s High Court is due to announce a ruling regarding the government’s ability to bypass parliament and initiate the Brexit by triggering Article 50 of Lisbon Treaty, at the Royal Courts of Justice, in London. The expectation is that the UK Parliament WILL have a vote on the procedures surrounding Article 50.
- US Existing Home Sales – Forecast to rise just 0.2% to 5.62 mln in December following the 0.7% gain in November.
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