European Outlook: Asian stock markets are mixed, after an uninspiring session on Wall Street. The Nikkei is up 0.02%, the ASX gained 0.23% as oil prices moved slightly higher and the Hang Seng is up 0.72% in contrast to a -0.30% drop in the CSI. Earnings reports, geopolitics and currencies remain in focus. Ongoing Sterling weakness is propping up the FTSE 100, and U.S. stock futures are also up. EGB yields meanwhile are rising and Eurozone peripheral yields in particular were pushed up yesterday as Germany’s top court raised doubts over the ECB’s stimulus program. Finance Minister Schaeuble told Handelsblatt, that in his view the ECB’s QE program remains within its mandate, but the uncertainty ahead of the final court decision will hang over markets. Still, yields moved back down from highs during yesterday’s session and things should calm down further after the initial announcement.
FX Update: The dollar majors settled in narrow ranges. USDJPY lost upside steam as global stock market performance turned more mixed following a rebound phase. The pair settled in the mid 110.00s after a three-day rally capped out yesterday at 110.84, an eight-day peak. And right on the 20 day moving average. EURUSD planted itself around 1.17740 after logging a one-week low at 1.1687 yesterday, which was seen following robust retail sales and Empire State index reports out of the U.S. USD-CAD settled below the one-month peak of yesterday, at 1.2778, and Cable rooted itself in the mid 1.28s after logging a one-month low yesterday at 1.2846. A central focal point today will be the release of the FOMC minutes to the June policy meeting. (Details below)
Yesterday’s US Reports: Mostly beat estimates and lifted prospects for GDP in 2017, with solid July retail sales gains after big and broad-based upward revisions, and an August Empire State surge to a 3-year high of 25.2. The June business inventory figures tracked estimates, with a big 0.5% June rise that included a tiny retail inventory undershoot, and a firm round of July trade prices led by gains for food export and oil import prices, with a skewing of price strength toward exports. Q3 and Q4 GDP growth estimates remain around 3.3% and 2.6% respectively.
Fedspeak: Kaplan repeated that the balance sheet unwind should start very soon, but gave no firm date, in a podcast with The American Banker. We’re looking for the FOMC to announce QT at the September 20, 21 meeting. But he also indicated, as he did Friday, that it’s appropriate to be patient on the timing of the next rate hike. Kaplan is a voter, and typically hawkish, so adds some risk to the call for a December rate increase. He believes there is still some slack in the labour market, but the firming jobs market should eventually translate into higher prices.
Main Macro Events Today
- FOMC Minutes – The Wall Street Journal wrote yesterday of 5 key elements: 1) Portfolio Pointers – any potential for more ‘definitive signal’ on balance sheet wind down in September sought. 2) Inflation Questions – potential for hot debate on cold inflation stats. 3) Another Rate Increase? – even some centrists have been disappointed by low inflation, could delay next hike. 4) Wither the Dollar? – weak dollar could inform debate on economy, inflation, exports, etc. 5) The Debt Limit, Again – just how much the Fed hits the ‘pause’ button or prepares to take emergency steps in the event of a shutdown could be revealed in the minutes.
- Eurozone Q2 – Expectations are for a confirmation of the 0.6% (QoQ) and 2.1% (YoY) first reading.
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