Traders looking to get an early start on the holiday weekend will have to wait a bit longer today, as Janet Yellen is set to speak to a sold-out audience at the Providence, Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Outlook Luncheon today.... *YELLEN SAYS RATE RISE AT SOME POINT THIS YEAR IS APPROPRIATE
For the past three years, the biggest argument supporters of Obamacare would trot out every single time when faced with opposition to the mandatory tax, would be that despite widespread predictions of soaring prices, US medical care service costs had remained low and even, on occasion, declined. All that changed moments ago when core US inflation finally spiked the most since 2013 driven by a 0.7% monthly surge in medical care service costs: the highest since 2007!
The market appears to have chosen the hotter-than-expected Core CPI print (as opposed to weakest headline CPI YoY print since Oct 2009 of -0.2%) as key. Core CPI rose 0.3% MoM in April - the most since March 2006; and 1.8% YoY - the most since Jan 2013. The biggest driver of the surge in consumer prices is medical care costs - which rose 0.7% - the biggest increase since January 2007 (thanks Obamacare).
"The Q1 US GDP data was a major disappointment to the market as business investment declined due to the intensifying US profits recession. Only the biggest inventory build in history stopped the economy subsiding into a recessionary quagmire. The US economy is struggling and the Fed will ultimately re-engage the QE spigot. Talk is growing that China will soon be doing the same as local authorities struggle to issue debt. But this week we want to focus on Japan, having just made my fist visit to that fine nation for over a decade! Japan, the third largest economy in the world, is also in trouble (see chart below) and will soon be increasing its off-the-scale QE programme to an out-of-this-world QE programme." - Albert Edwards
A look at the next week's events that could impact the global capital markets.
"If the BoJ persists with its current pace of JGB purchases, then the incentive for investors to reduce their holdings any further is likely to dwindle away within the next 18–24 months, at which point liquidity may evaporate altogether," Morgan Stanley says, calling liquidity the "major theme" in the JGB market. Meanwhile, a former MoF official claims the BoJ is now in so far over its head that an exit from stimulus is "out of the question."
After trending sharply higher in recent months, the US dollar has entered a consolidative range against most of the major currencies.
Stocks - for now - are ambivalent to the highest core CPI in 5 months; but the grown-up markets in bonds and FX are taking notice. The Dollar has surged (led by EUR weakness) and long-bond yields are up 5bps (back to unchanged on the week).
Following February's big bounce back MoM, Consumer Prices in March rose 0.2% MoM (less than the expected 0.3% rise) but it is YoY that is the great news for Americans. CPI fell 0.1% YoY in March (below expectations of unch) which means Consumer Prices haven't risen YoY in 3 months. However, while this clear disinflationary signal is peersisrtent, Core CPI continued to rise 1.8% from last year (above the 1.7% consensus) driven by big jumps in the cost of shelter (thank you Fed) and healthcare (thank you Govt); which should send shivers through the risk-bulls as The Fed may be forced to pull rate hikes forward.
Judging by the recent action in equity futures, the continuously rangebound US market since the end of QE may be entering its latest downphase, catalyzed to a big extent by the recent strength in the JPY (the EURJPY traded down to 2 year lows overnight), especially following yesterday's not one but two statements by Abe advisor Harada saying a USDJPY at 125 isn't "justified" and a 105 level would be appropriate. A level, incidentally, which would push the Nikkei lower by about 20% and crush Japanese pensions which are now mostly invested in stocks. Not helping matters was the pause in the Chinese and Hang Seng stock bubbles, with the former barely rising 0.3%, while the former actually seeing its first 1.6% decline after many days of torrid, relentless rises.
A look ahead into next week's macro forces.
Is the BoJ's back against the wall? We certainly think so as the evidence increasingly supports the notion that the central bank is bumping up against the limits of accommodative monetary policy and may soon be headed — as we've variously predicted —for "failed nation" status.
A look ahead at the major drivers in the days ahead.
A five sigma event signifies extreme conditions, or an extremely rare occurrence. To bring this discussion from sports and weather to the financial world, we can relate a 5 sigma event to the stock market. Since 1975 the largest annual S&P 500 gain and loss were 34% and -38% respectively. A 5 sigma move would equate to an annual gain or loss of 91%. With a grasp of the rarity of a 5 sigma occurrence, let us now consider the yield spread, or difference, in bond yields between Germany and The United States. As shown in graph #1 below German ten year bunds yield 0.19% (19 one-hundredths of one percent) and the U.S. ten year note yields 1.92%, resulting in a 1.73% yield spread. This is the widest that spread has been in 30 years.
"The Fed is a reluctant Dollar bull," explains Goldman Sachs, noting that Yellen inadvertently revealed the FOMC's expectation that coming policy changes will boost the greenback. Broadly speaking the rest of the sell-side has herded along into the strong US Dollar camp with only Unicredit (rate shift may slow recent very strong USD momentum) and Morgan Stanley (suggesting USD corrective activity) backing away from full dollar bull though most suggest adding to dollar longs on any dip as the most crowded trade in the world gets crowded-er. Then Stan Fischer added... "DOLLAR WON'T KEEP RISING FOREVER."