European Outlook: Stock markets moved higher in Asia overnight, as oil recovered some of its recent losses and amid better than expected trade data out of Japan, which underpinned global growth optimism. U.S. stock futures are also moving higher, U.K. stock futures continue to underperform and remain in the red as ongoing Sterling strength weighs on the index. Elsewhere in Europe stock markets already moved higher yesterday and are likely to join the global stock rebound, which is likely to keep upward pressure on core European yields. Gilt futures have been underperforming in tandem with the FTSE 100 in recent days and in the Eurozone spreads are coming in, as policy markets indicate that its too early for a change in central bank policy thus laying the ground for a steady hand policy decision next week. French markets remain jittery ahead of Sunday’s election, which is turning into a four-way race. Today’s calendar is quiet. Germany has PPI inflation at the start of the session, the Eurozone releases construction output data and there is supply from Spain and France.
German PPI inflation steady at 3.1% y/y in March, unchanged from the previous month. Energy prices dropped over the month in March and contributed to a large extend to the steady headline rate. Excluding energy, however, PPI accelerated markedly to 2.6% y/y from 2.2% y/y in the previous month and versus just 0.6% y/y in December. Clearly underlying inflation pressures are making a comeback, and more so in Germany than in some other parts of the Eurozone and while it is clear that the majority at the ECB doesn’t want to remove the insurance policy against geo-political risks and the flaring up of the debt crisis yet, the discussion about tapering and a gradual removal of the ECB’s policy support won’t go away.
Fed’s Beige Book repeated the economy rose at a modest to moderate pace, as is the usual characterization. Manufacturing grew at a modest to moderate clip, as did employment, though the labor market remains tight. Modest wage increases broadened, and there were bigger increases for skilled workers. Prices rose modestly with input prices generally outpacing gains in selling prices. Consumer spending was varied, with stronger auto sales somewhat offset by softer non-auto retail spending. Residential construction spending accelerated somewhat, even as home sales slowed, partly on a lack of inventory. Nonresidential construction remained strong, but became more mixed in some regions. The report surely keeps the Fed in play, but there’s no urgency for a hike next month, especially given some uncertainties noted over fiscal policy.
The UK parliament voted in favour of the June 8 election, a formality that had been widely anticipated following the prime minister’s calling of it. The vote was 522 to 13. The pound was consolidating gains since Tuesday, following the PM’s call for a snap election. The thinking in markets is that the Tory Party would likely win a much a bigger majority than present, if polls are to be believed, which would give the Prime Minister much more flexibility in upcoming negotiations with the EU. May will also have three years clear after actual Brexit in 2019 before having to hold a general election, which pundits reckon will also give her much greater leeway in forming a possible transitional trade agreement with the EU.
Main Macro Events Today
- U.S. Initial Jobless Claims – Claims data for the week of April 15 are out today and should post an increase to 240k from 234k last week and 235k the week prior. Claims continue to remain remarkably tight.
- U.S. Philly Fed Index – The April Philly Fed expected to decline to 25.0 from 32.8 in March and 43.3 in February. The Empire State is already out and posted a decline to 5.2 from 16.4 in March.
- BOE Gov. Carney – BOE Gov. Carney speech starts at 12:30 GMT at the Institute of International Finance Policy Summit, in Washington DC.
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