In another quiet overnight session, the biggest - and unexpected - macro news was the surprise monetary easing by Singapore which as previously reported moved to a 2008 crisis policy response when it adopted a "zero currency appreciation" stance as a result of its trade-based economy grinding to a halt. As Richard Breslow accurately put it, "If you need yet another stark example of the fantasy storytelling we amuse ourselves with, juxtapose today’s Monetary Authority of Singapore policy statement with the storyline that the Asian stock market rally intensified on renewed optimism over the global economy. Singapore is a proxy for trade and economic growth ground to a halt last quarter." The Singapore announcement led to a sharp round of regional currency weakness just as the dollar appears to have bottomed and is rapidly rising.
"...investors remain reluctant about chasing a tape so far off its lows. Even assuming the USD weakness, oil strength, and better-than-feared Q1 reports, it’s hard to get the ’16 EPS number more than few dollars above $120 and investors should be careful..."
The summary: modest to moderate growth, increasing consumer spending, stronger labor market conditions, improving labor market conditions, and most importantly, rising wages almost across the board. And virtually no mention of "global" conditions (and certainly no mention of China). So what excuse will the Fed use not to hike in April again?
With oil losing some of its euphoric oomph overnight, following the API report of a surge in US oil inventories, and a subsequent report that Iran's oil minister would skip the Doha OPEC meeting altogether, the global stock rally needed another catalyst to maintain the levitation. It got that courtesy of the return of USDJPY levitation, which has pushed the pair back above 109, the highest in over a week, as well as a boost in sentiment from the previously reported Chinese trade data where exports rose the most in over a year, however much of the bounce was due to a favorable base effect from last year's decline. Additionally, as RBC reported, the 116.5% y/y increase in China’s reported March imports from HK likely reflects the growing trend of "over-invoicing", which is merely another form of capital outflow.
While the market is still enjoying the post-NFP weekly data lull, economic data starts to pick up again in the coming days, alongside the start of the reporting season. Below are this week's key events.
Back in December, New York-based China Beige Book International released what they called a “disturbing” set of data that pointed to pronounced weakness in the Chinese economy. Things have not gotten any better since then and according to the CBB's latest quarterly survey, Chinese firms are now "allergic to hiring."
While Asian stocks continued their longest rally since August overnight, led higher for the third consecutive day on the back of Japan (+1.3%), Australia (+1.2%) and China (+0.4%) strength, European stocks have as of this moment halted their longest rally since October (Stoxx -0.1%) and U.S. index futures are little changed. Oil slipped from an eight-week high despite yesterday's massive rise in US oil inventories on hopes Saudi Arabia may be forced to cut production as its budget strains grow actue and the kingdom is forced to seek a $10 billion loan, its first material borrowing in a decade.
Beige Book: Fed Confused By Impact Of Low Gas Prices, Blames Stock Market, Sees Rising Wage PressuresSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/02/2016 15:15 -0400
While the Fed realizes that its actions are impacting the market, and that plunging gas prices are not the "unambiguously good" thing macrotourists expected one year ago, it now has to deal with not only the highest core inflation in years, but rising wages.And just like that, the March FOMC meeting just went "rate hike" hot again.
Following yesterday's torrid 2.4% March opening rally, which resulted in the biggest S&P gain since January and the best first day of March in history on what was initially seen as very bad news, and then reinterpreted as great news, overnight futures have taken a breather, and erased a modest overnight continuation rally to track the price of oil lower.
The week was supposed to start off quiet on the macro news front, but the PBOC spoiled that with an unprecedented Monday, Feb 29 RRR cut, its fifth since the start of 2015. In any case, it slowly builds up to the week's biggest event on Friday, when the BLS reports February payrolls and will be hard pressed to find all the seasonal adjustments it needs to cover for not only the lost jobs in the devastated energy sector but, as we reported over the weekend, the sudden dramatic air pocket in Silicon Valley jobs.
"The world has fundamentally shifted over the last decade, especially since we’ve emerged from the Great Recession... But the professional class has been very slow to understand what is going on, not just quantitatively but qualitatively in a new generational configuration that I call the Fourth Turning. They don’t accept the new normal. They keep insisting, just two or three years out there on the horizon, that the old normal will return – in GDP growth, in housing starts, in global trade. But it doesn’t return."
European shares tumbled, wiping out gains from a two-day rally, Asian stocks slid and the cost of insuring corporate debt rose as investor concern over global growth prospects resurfaced. U.S. equity-index futures pared gains of as much as 0.9 percent. Government bonds rose, with yields falling to records in Japan and China amid anxiety over the world economy. U.S. crude prices stabilized after dropping below $30 a barrel on Tuesday to touch the lowest since 2003 as Iran moved closer to boosting exports.
After two months of sharp currency devaluation, the market was carefully watching last night's China trade data to see if the Yuan debasement had led to a positive trade outcome to the world's second largest economy, and as reported last night, it was not disappointed when China reported a December trade surplus of $60.09 billion from $54.1 billion in November, as a result of exports beating expectations and rising 2.3%, the first increase since June, while imports declined by just 4%, the smallest drop since 2014 despite China importing a record amount of oil, or 33.2 million tons, in December.
The poor are getting poorer but the rich, it appears, are no longer getting richer. With apartment vacancies at 9-month highs, Bloomberg reports that Manhattan's luxury-home market is rapidly losing its luster. Prices have been dropping every month since February, when they reached their highest point on record, and, as one analyst notes, "the downward trend in that decline hasn’t abated, and we haven’t seen it wavering in any way."