The single biggest event overnight was the PBOC's devaluation of the Yuan to the lowest since March 2011, setting the fixing at 6.5693, the highest in over 5 years and in direct response to a stronger dollar, which however if one looks at the DXY remains well below the recent highs in the 100 range, suggesting for China this is only just beggining. However, the fact that there was not more volatility in onshore and offshore overnight FX also comforted the market that at the same time as its was devaluing the PBOC was also intervening in the FX market, thus providing some assurance it would not allow runaway "risk off" sentiment prevail, nor would it promote another blitz round of capital outflows, leading to another gradual levitation in overnight risk.
Steen Jakobsen, chief economist and CIO of Saxo Bank, says the US Federal Reserve is on the verge of making a mistake about its projected rate hikes. The Fed has given itself the option of hiking interest rates at its June meeting; but Jakobsen says he is sceptical about the proposals, arguing that the Fed is taking the recent improvement in US economic data as an uptick in overall momentum. Jakobsen says the economy is still performing significantly below its potential, but thinks the Fed wants to hike interest rates now so it can lower them at a later date.
It will be fitting, not to mention symmetric, if stocks which yesterday closed at 7 weeks lows and red for the year, end the week the same way they started it: with a rally on no news, just more hopes that oil (which as recently as two years ago none other than Chair Yellen said said would be be "unambiguously good" if lower) will continue rising. While US markets ended yesterday's trading on a sour note, that weakness has failed to spread to the rest of the world, and global shares rebounded from a six-week low as crude and commodity prices recovered, while the yen weakened on reduced demand for haven assets.
Saxo Bank chief economist Steen Jakobsen said that zero rates, zero growth, zero productivity, and zero reforms have left a great many countries adrift in a “new nothingness”. The products of this nothingness, said Jakobsen, include apathy, stagnation and “an economic outlook based more in peoples’ heads than in reality”.
After two violently volatile days in which the market soared (Monday) then promptly retraced all gains (Tuesday), the overnight session has been relatively calm with futures and oil both unchanged even as the BBG dollar index rose to the highest level since April 4. This took place despite a substantial amount of macro data from both Japan, where the GDP came well above the expected 0.3%, instead printing 1.7% annualized, which pushed stocks lower as it meant the probability of more BOJ interventions or a delay of the sales tax hike both dropped. Meanwhile, in China we got proof of the ongoing housing bubble when new property prices were reproted to have soared 12.4% Y/Y in April, which in turn pushed the local stock market to two month lows amid concerns the rampant housing bubble sector could divert funds from stocks. Yes, China is trading on the "risk" one bubble will burst another bubble.
The dollar's gyrations remain a key source of inspiration for traders with the fundamental focus continuing to switch between falling US and rising OPEC production, according to Saxo Bank's Ole Hanson. Having seen calendar 2017 almost hit $50 last week the realisation that further upside may be hard to achieve may has helped trigger increased demand for protection.
Tomorrow's ECB meeting "looks set to be sleepy" according to Saxo Bank's Mads Koefed as Draghi is largely cornered into confirmation he will do "whatever it takes" and some additional details on the corporate bond purchase plan. Most of the sell-side's research suggests the same, as Bloomberg notes, ECB will probably leave the door open for further cuts if needed; but any downside risk for the euro is seen limited, as Draghi stays on hold by reinforcing its dovish stance after the mix of easing measures announced in March with some defense of the efficiency of his policies after recent criticism by Germany.
Sunday’s producer meeting is all about nothing no matter what agreement might be forged. At best, the agreement will be, as Russia’s energy minister has stated, a gentlemen’s affair, with no binding commitments, no concrete next steps beyond having a review meeting, and no procedure for moving to production cuts.
Recall all those tankers we have profiled before on anchor next to the Iran shore? They have finally started to move.
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.
Only in the new normal of manic algos and goal-seeked short-squeezes could actual news that Iran is undercutting OPEC by slashing prices to maintain market share be out-followed by hopefulness driven by upbeat comment from Janet Yellen (because she has nailed everyting so far) and more chatter about a production freeze (which makes no sense whatsoever given the Iran news). For now, WTI is trading above $39.50 ahead of today's rig count data, back at 2-week highs.
As the growth mirage fades (and short-squeeze ammo runs out), so crude and copper carnage is reappearing. Amid its biggest plunge since early Jan, Copper is now down 10 of the last 12 days and crude is plunging back towards it 50-day moving average. Amid this bloodbathery, precious metals are bid as Saxo Bank sees Gold "heading back to its highs and beyond."
Unlike yesterday's overnight session, which saw some subtantial carry FX volatility and tumbling European yields in the aftermath of the TSY's anti-inversion decree, leading to a return of fears that the next leg down in markets is upon us, the overnight session has been far calmer, assisted in no small part by the latest China Caixin Services PMI, which rose from 51.2 to 52.2. Adding to the overnight rebound was crude, which saw a big bounce following yesterday's API inventory data, according to which crude had its biggest inventory draw in 2016, resulting in WTI rising as high as $37.15 overnight
In a quiet start to the week following last week's surprisingly strong rebound which followed a stronger than expected jobs report (perhaps to demonstrate that good news is once again good news), Japan stocks continued to sink as the USDJPY dropped to fresh lows, while commodities declined for a fifth day as the supply glut from crude to copper weighed on prices, dragging down commodity currencies. European equities rose, rebounding from a one-month low.
"Obama’s job was to talk like a marxist, but act like a robber baron. In this regard, his reign has been an unprecedented success." So are you ready to stop being suckers and take back the country?