With the US closed for Memorial Day and UK markets also offline, overnight volumes have been weaker than normal on little newsflow. The main story remains the stronger USD which not only led to the lowest Yuan fixing since February 2011 but pushed the USDJPY as high as 111.50 overnight before paring gains. Europe’s Stoxx 600 is unchanged on poor volume, after earlier rising above the 200 DMA for the first time in 2016. US equity futures were 0.2%, or 4 points higher, currently resting just above 2,101 with the last trading day of May tomorrow expected to push the cash market over 2,100 as well.
In the run-up to June, financial markets continue to be trapped within multi-month trading ranges: GT5 1.2-1.8%, DXY 92-100, ACWI 380-440, SPX 1850-2100, VIX 12-20. So what are the catalysts & “trades of the unexpected” should risk assets finally breakout or breakdown?
Hedge Fund Billionaire Slams Democracy, Says The "Tyranny Of The Majority Is An Unhealthy Development"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/27/2016 14:38 -0400
In his latest letter to investors, OakTree Capital's Howard Marks goes political (slamming Trump's tariffs and Bernie's minimum wage machinations), shedding some blinding light on the economic reality of America, the dismal failure (and increasing impotence) of central bankers, and the ongoing "tryanny of the majority" warning that if everyone wants to tax-the-rich, soon there will be no rich to tax. As he concludes, short-term fixes simply cannot create wealth out of thin air (see Venezuela), as Churchill once said "for a nation to try to tax [or stimulate or devalue] itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle."
In order to press his individual agenda of preserving optionality to intervene in the FX market and push the Yen lower (using increasingly more desperate measures), Japan's Prime Minister had just one task in the latest G-7 meeting: to have the Group of Seven leaders warn of the risk of a global economic crisis in the final communique issued as the summit wrapped earlier today in Japan. He failed. The reason why: "the G-7 is obviously aware of the ‘announcement effect’ the official communique has. In such a situation, warning of negative risks and sentiment can become self-fulfilling.""
"For our positions here at TGL… and we have had a terrible run this past week given that our largest position is and has been and shall continue to be gold and further given that we came into the week short of equities on balance and had to turn our trading ship around amidst this massive, violent rally that did indeed catch us off guard… we are up a scant 1.0% for the year-to-date"
In what has been another quiet overnight session, which unlike the past two days has not seen steep, illiquid gaps higher in US equity futures (the E-mini was up 3 points and accelerating to the upside as of this writing so there is still ample time for the momentum algos to go berserk), the main event was the price of Brent rising above $50 for the first time since November with WTI rising as high as $49.97.
The only way to understand inflation is through the prism of FX, and consumer goods.
Another day, another too-big-to-fail bank gets slapped on the wrist after being busted for blatant rigging of the market. The CFTC Order finds that from Jan 2007 to Jan 2012, Citibank on multiple occasions attempted to manipulate, and made false reports concerning, the U.S. Dollar International Swaps and Derivatives Association Fix (USD ISDAFIX), a global benchmark for interest rate products. Notably, while a handful of European banks have already settled criminal or civil claims tied to Libor rigging, Citi is the first U.S. bank to do so. Citi will pay a combined $425 million to resolve this manipulation, and as they proudly note in the press release, with today's actions, CFTC has imposed over $5.08 billion in penalties in 17 actions against banks and brokers to address rigging and manipulation in ISDAFIX, FX, and LIBOR benchmarks.
The single biggest event overnight was the PBOC's devaluation of the Yuan to the lowest since March 2011, setting the fixing at 6.5693, the highest in over 5 years and in direct response to a stronger dollar, which however if one looks at the DXY remains well below the recent highs in the 100 range, suggesting for China this is only just beggining. However, the fact that there was not more volatility in onshore and offshore overnight FX also comforted the market that at the same time as its was devaluing the PBOC was also intervening in the FX market, thus providing some assurance it would not allow runaway "risk off" sentiment prevail, nor would it promote another blitz round of capital outflows, leading to another gradual levitation in overnight risk.
Given the history of intervention and “stimulus”, and more so when it occurs and really re-occurs, any impartial observer would be forgiven if they believed that QEs were actually constant impediments to growth. The proliferation of “stimulus” after the Great Recession correlates only with this downshift in the Japanese economy that cannot be due to demographics. At best, QEs have accomplished nothing at all positive, leaving no trace of something actually being stimulated for all the sustained “stimulus”; at worst, QE is the cause of Japan’s further nightmarish descent.
Yesterday's weak dollar headfake has ended and overnight the USD rallied, while Asian stocks dropped to the lowest level in 7 weeks and crude oil fell as speculation returned that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates as early as next month. The pound jumped and European stocks gained thanks to a weaker EUR.
So far in May, base metals and Oil decoupled markedly. While the Oil price kept rising and moved closer to 50$, base metals fell off a cliff and descended below March lows. We believe that Oil is the errant outlier, helped by deep but temporary supply outages in Canada and Nigeria and all-time record speculative flows, and is more likely to catch down to other commodities going forward rather than the other way round. We look at Oil gyrations as short-term heavy volatility, within a long-term downward trend.
Abenomics was back in the spotlight tonight. Global trade with Japan has collapsed. Exports are down and imports are down even more. The result is an unexpected rise in Japan’s trade surplus, yet another failure of abenomics.