Global stocks are lower across the board to start the week, as concerns about Trump's administration to pull off a material tax reform plan finally emerge, pressuring S&P futures some 20 points lower this morning, following European and Asian shares lower, while crude oil prices fall unable to find support in this weekend's OPEC meeting in Kuwait where a committee recommended to extend oil production cuts by another 6 months.
If 2016 was the year of the breakthrough, 2017 could see the status-quo fightback, with Europe likely to form the battleground ahead of pivotal elections. And, while next month's general election in The Netherlands may not be the biggest showdown of the year, the outcome could set the tone for 2017.
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.
PM Theresa May flies into Washington for high-level talks this Friday which will no doubt solidify the 'special relationship' that exists between the US and the UK. While the illusion of a mutually beneficial meeting will be spun (and May will get concessions from Trump who is neither anti-trade nor even particularly anti-globalisation) any concessions she wins will be totally in the context of Trump's coming battle with the European Union.
A mixed bag of crude draw and gasoline builds from API combined with IEA comments on rising US Shale output offset by Saudi jawboning about more production cuts possible has pushedoil green before today's DOE data. However, oil prices tumbled when DOE printed an unexpected 2.347mm barrel crude build (1mm draw expected) and another major build in gasoline inventories. US crude production remains at 9-month highs.
"There are some really unexpected things happening with the Trump administration and there are no doubt a lot more people paying attention to Twitter at 2am in the night... We are operating in a very different environment where markets are reacting and adapting to changes that have not been seen for a good decade or more."
"The deep state" is shorthand for a force within Washington that is able to guide the US' ship of state over periods of time longer than presidential terms, and at times despite the stated intentions of elected officials. If Trump has indeed embroiled himself in a conflict with this entity, then, what does that mean for his policy plans and for the post-Inauguration markets?
After last week's massive product builds (and crude draw), API suggested additional builds ahead of DOE data which confirmed even bigger than expected builds in Crude, Gasoline, and Distillates. WTI gapped lower on the print then accelerated lower as US crude production rose by the most since May 2015. Then the algos decided it was time to rip oil prices higher (perhaps on indications of stronger demand)...
"After a year in which reality has managed to surpass even seemingly unlikely calls, 2017 may be a wakeup call which sees a real departure from the 'business as usual'..." Will this be the year when China exceeds growth expectations, Brexit turns into Bremain, the Mexican peso soars and Italian banks turn out to the best performing equity asset class?
Global stocks extended the longest winning streak since September, with Asia up 0.8% and Europe rising 0.7% while bonds and credit markets strengthened amid hopes that the European Central Bank will prolong quantitative easing, while optimism an Italian bailout of Monte Paschi will prevent European bank contagion, has pushed European financial stocks higher. US equity futures were little changed.
European and Asian markets rose, while U.S. index futures were little changed, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average pushing for yet another record, as traders digested the Italian referendum news, await the ECB's Thursday announcement and reflect in a notably quieter overnight session. Oil slipped from a 16-month high after 4 straight days of gains.
"The only way to extricate ourselves from the present mountain of debt is to be more productive. Growth is the only way out of debt; you cannot inflate yourself out of debt, even if this is the go-to agenda among policymakers. Ultimately, change will not come because we want it. It will not come because we decide on it. It will come because we need it."