German politics = boring politics – in recent decades this equation has generally held true. And yet, with the new Europe we face, that perhaps is no longer the best thing for them to be. Suddenly politics in Germany has become very interesting and the race for the chancellorship looks open again.
The global "risk on" melt-up continues. After a modestly hawkish Yellen warned that every meeting is live, and refused to take March off the table, sending the dollar and yield higher and the S&P to fresh record highs, world stocks rose hitting a 21-month high on Wednesday with the dollar rising for the 11th straight day, the longest positive streak since July 2015.
Spain’s three biggest banks, Banco Santander, BBVA and Caixa Bank, have got off to a flying start this year having issued €8.6 billion in new debt, seven times the amount they sold during the same period of last year. The last time they rolled out so much debt so quickly was in 2007, the year that Spain’s spectacular real estate bubble reached its climactic peak.
French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron accused Russia of waging a "fake news" campaign against him, as he faces thousands of daily cyber attacks. "We are in the presence of an orchestrated attempt by a foreign power to destabilize a presidential election candidate" said Richard Ferrand, Macron's secretary-general.
European, Asian stocks declined, halting a global rally that sent U.S. stocks surging to new all time highs faltered, weighing on the S&P although the index rebounded modestly after a kneejerk announcement lower overnight after Trump's National Security Advisor announced his unexpected resignation.
This is a complicated mess. Berlusconi wants election in 2018 so he would be able to run. Renzi wants an election this year as does Beppe Grillo. But Renzi also wants to squash opponents of Renzi-ism first. This may push back elections to August.
According to BofA, the best ways to hedge increased risks of a potential Eurosceptic win in the upcoming French election is favouring 10y peripheral spread wideners in Spain vs France, longs in 5y5y Germany and 5y Dutch sovereign CDS. In the options space, the banks recommends going long vol with a hybrid 6m10y strangle. In inflation, it likes 5y5y French CPI v HICP widener and a long 30y OATei breakeven vs inflation swap.
The key economic releases this week are CPI, retail sales, and industrial production on Wednesday. In addition, there are several scheduled speaking engagements from Fed officials this week, including Chair Yellen’s semi-annual Monetary Policy Report to Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday (Humphrey-Hawkins).