Across the Curve
For once, the overnight session was not dominated by weak Chinese economic data (which probably explains why the Shanghai Composite dropped for the second day in a row, declining 1.4%, and ending an impressive run since the beginning of November) and instead Europe took the spotlight with its own poor data in the form of Q3 GDP which printed below expectations at 0.3% Q/Q, down also from the 0.4% increase in Q2, with several key economies rolling over including Germany, Italy, and Spain while Europe's poster child of "successful austerity" saw Q3 GDP stagnate, far worse than the 0.5% growth consensus expected.
The internals were mixed with the Bid to Cover sliding from 2.460 to 2.409, which however was above the 12 TTM average of 2.356. Offsetting the slightly weaker BtC print was the jump in Indirects, which rose from 56.4% to 60.3% the second highest on record, as foreign central bankers have again decided that the safety of US paper offsets the duration risk of holding it in a rate hike environment.
Following yesterday's abysmal 3 Year auction, many rates investors were on edge ahead of today's 10 Year auction in the aftermath of the weakness across the curve seen since the "stellar" jobs report which had dragged yields higher across the curve. It turned out fears were premature, and moments ago the $24 billion reopening of 10 Years priced at a yield of 2.304%, which while highest since June, priced 0.8bps through the When Issued showing surprising demand for paper.
The carnage in Treasuries continues as this morning's chatter from 'sources' about moar NIRP in Europe has seemingly sparked a sudden exodus from US bonds (even with stocks lower). Across the curve yields are up 4-5bps very suddenly - all testing (if not already broken) 2015 highs. Perhaps most critically for now is the 5Y yield which is surging towards 1.80% - a crucial level of resistance over the past few years.
War-torn Ukraine has reportedly reached a restructuring deal with a group of creditors headed by Franklin Templeton, according to the country’s finance minister Natalie Jaresko. The terms of the agreement call for a 20% writedown and a reprofiling that includes a maturity extension of four years and an across-the-board 7.75% coupon. Vladimir Putin isn't interested.
Here comes today's main event, the July non-farm payrolls - once again the "most important ever" as the number will cement whether the Fed hikes this year or punts once again to the next year, and which consensus expects to print +225K although the whisper range is very wide: based on this week's ADP report, NFP may easily slide under 200K, while if using the non-mfg PMI as an indicator, a 300K+ print is in the cards. At the end of the day, it will be all in the hands of the BLS' Arima X 12 seasonal adjusters, and whatever goalseeked print the labor department has been strongly urged is the right one.
If yesterday's 10 Year auction priced stronger than expected during yesterday's NYSE-trading vacuum, today's 30 Year was the mirror image, with the Treasury selling $13 billion in 30 Year paper far weaker than the When Issued market had expected, resulting in a 3.084% high yield, a tail of 1.6 bps to the When Issued.
A day after the 2 Year auction surprised with solid demand all around, moments ago the US Treasury issued $35 billion in 5 Year paper which also came stronger than some had expected, pricing at a yield of 1.56%, 0.6 bps through the 1.566% When Issued. Like in yesterday's auction, the yield was the highest of 2015. The Bid To Cover dipped modestly, dwon from 2.56 to 2.46, and in line with the 2.47 average.
Water, water everywhere,but not a drop to drink
The UK General Election will be held tomorrow. The polls close at 10 pm. We should have a pretty clear picture of the overall seat count by 5 to 6 am on Friday morning. The result, as SocGen notes, is almost certain to be a hung parliament. Then the fun will really start. However, at the macro level the implications of the election may be less pronounced than many anticipate. Monetary policy has been de-politicised through the BoE’s independence, the formation of a coalition government is likely to involve convergence towards centrist positions, and a minority administration that pursues policies outside the mainstream would be unlikely to survive given its fragile parliamentary basis. In either case, the political system is unlikely to deliver radically different macroeconomic outcomes.
One of the biggest stories of the week has been the great German Bund route as everyone’s new favorite short has sold-off hard on what HSBC calls a “cascade of small events [which has] created a large splash in a structurally ever-thinner mkt, similar to UST flash crash of Oct. 15.” Amid the cacophony of explanations emanating from every credit and rates strategist on Wall Street, BNP is out with a simple suggestion: it’s all about the waxing and waning of supply.
The "new" Bond King joins his predecessor on the bond throne in calling German Bunds a compelling short opportunity. Just as we said last week, "when you short negative yielding bonds you have a positive carry," so why not leverage your bet 100X and get paid to wait on rising yields?