Futures An Unamiliar Shade Of Green On Chinese Taper Fears As Li Hints At Stimulus Curbs
This morning US futures are an unfamiliar shade of green, as the market is poised for its first red open in recent memory (then again the traditional EURJPY pre-open ramp is still to come). One of the reasons blamed for the lack of generic monetary euphoria is that China looked likely to buck the trend for more monetary policy support. New Premier Li Keqiang said in a speech published in full late on Monday that adding extra stimulus would be more difficult since printing new money would cause inflation. "His comments are different from what people were expecting. This is a shift from what he said earlier this year about bottom-line growth," said Hong Hao, chief strategist at Bank of Communications International. Asian shares struggled as a result slipping about 0.2 percent, though Japan's Nikkei stock average bounced off its lows and managed a 0.2 percent gain. However, in a world in which the monetary tsunami torch has to be passed every few months, this will hardly be seen as supportive of the "bad news is good news" paradigm we have seen for the past 5 years.
More from Reuters:
In one of the few occasions when a top official has specified the minimum level of growth needed for employment, Li said calculations show China's economy must grow 7.2 percent annually to create 10 million jobs a year. That would cap the urban unemployment rate at around 4 percent, he said.
"We want to stabilize economic growth because we need to guarantee employment essentially," Li was quoted by the Workers' Daily as saying on Monday. His remarks were made at a union meeting two weeks ago but were only published in full this week, just days before a pivotal Communist Party plenum to set policy opens.
Yet even as authorities keep an eye on growth, Li sounded a warning on easy credit supply, which he said had topped 100 trillion yuan ($16.4 trillion) in the world's second-biggest economy.
"Our outstanding M2 money supply has at the end of March exceeded 100 trillion yuan, and that is already twice the size of our gross domestic product (GDP)," Li was quoting as saying.
"In other words, there is already a lot of money in the 'pool'; to print more money may lead to inflation."
His comments echoed the government's hawkish stance on inflation, analysts said, and were separately affirmed on Tuesday by the central bank, which promised to keep policy prudent with appropriate fine-tuning as well as to "resolutely repress" property speculation.
Still, Li's remarks underscore the fine line China must walk to create economic growth and jobs for social stability, while guarding against excesses that may hurt itself in the long run.
In other news, the latest European "recovery" may be over before it started, if only in the minds of gullible pseudopundits, when the European Commission downgraded growth prospects for 2014 from 1.2% to 1.1%, on the heels of the recent shocking inflationary numbers, with Spain and France revised down the most. Not helping matters was the UK PMI which like the recent Chicago PMI, printed at a ridiculous 62.5, above 60.3 previously and well above the 59.8 expected - the highest print since 1997, making it increasingly less likely the BOE will inject liquidity in the short-run.
On today's US docket there are more central bank speakers including Asmussen from the ECB; and Williams and Lacker from the Fed. Elsewhere the European Commission releases its latest growth forecasts which as noted was merely the latest haircut. In terms of data, the US ISM nonmanufacturing is the main reports to look out for on this planet.
Main US events
- US ISM non-manufacturing, cons 54.0 (9:00 CST)
- US IBD/TIPP economic optimism, cons 41.8 (9:00 CST)
- API Inventory release (15:30 CST)
- Fed speakers: Lacker, Williams
Overnight news bulletin from Bloomberg and RanSquawk
- EU sees 2014 Euro-area economic growth at 1.1% vs. Prev. est. 1.2%, maintained 2013 forecast for Euro-area contraction of 0.4%.
- UK Services PMI (Oct) M/M 62.5 vs. Exp. 59.8 (Prev. 60.3) - highest since May 1997.
- Chinese HSBC Services PMI (Oct) M/M 52.6 (Prev. 52.4) - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has reiterated the country's 7.5% GDP growth target for 2013 stays in tact, but weak export sales are a risk.
- Treasuries steady before ISM Services, speeches from Fed’s Lacker and Williams after Rosengren and Powell yesterday said policy should remain stimulative for “some time.”
- Market focused on Friday’s nonfarm payrolls (est. 120k from 148k, unemployment rate 7.3% from 7.2%
- The EU trimmed its forecast for euro-area growth next year to 1.1% from 1.2%, raised unemployment est. to 12.2% from 12.1%
- A gauge of U.K. services rose to 62.5 in Oct. from 60.3 in September, the fastest pace in 16 years as the economy showed signs of pulling away from the rest of Europe
- Reserve Bank of Australia left rates unchanged at its policy meeting; AUD fell after Governor Glenn Stevens said the currency is “uncomfortably high”
- Mizuho Securities Co. said Bank of Japan dominance has killed the JGB market, leaving it unable to reflect either the success of stimulus policies or fiscal risks
- Japan’s government needs to do more to shore up its books to stave off a bond crisis should inflation return, said former Ministry of Finance official Takatoshi Kato
- U.S. Senate Democrats are packing the calendar this month with bills appealing to the party’s base as they seek a distraction from Obamacare’s troubled start
- Sovereign yields mostly higher, EU peripheral spreads narrowing. Nikkei +0.2%, Shanghai gains 0.1%. closed for Japanese holiday; European stocks, U.S. equity-index futures fall. WTI crude, gold, copper lower
Market Recap from RanSquawk
Despite the cautious sentiment which resulted in stocks trading lower in Europe this morning, Bunds remained under pressure, which saw the 10y yield rise above 1.7% in the process, as market participants positioned for a raft of supply. Basic Materials and health care sectors outperformed, with Fresenius trading up over 2.5% following earnings and Shire up over 1% after the company announced positive top-line results for Vyvanse. Looking elsewhere, this morning also saw market participants digest the latest EU macroeconomic forecasts, which saw the European Commission downgrade growth projections for next year to 1.1% vs. Prev. est. of 1.2%, with GDP projections for France and Spain revised down the most. This together with the release of much better than expected UK services PMI reading which came in at its highest level since May saw EUR/GBP fall to its lowest since early October. The move lower was also exacerbated by touted leverage names selling, which in turn resulted in GBP/USD outperform EUR/USD. Going forward, market participants will get to digest the release of the latest ISM non-manufacturing report and the latest set of API data after the closing bell on Wall Street.
Chinese HSBC Services PMI (Oct) M/M 52.6 (Prev. 52.4)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has reiterated the country's 7.5% GDP growth target for 2013 stays in tact, but weak export sales are a risk.
EU & UK Headlines
UK Services PMI (Oct) M/M 62.5 vs. Exp. 59.8 (Prev. 60.3) - highest since May 1997.
UK services PMI new business component 63.4 in October vs 60.6 in September, highest since series began in 1996.
NIESR raised its UK growth forecast to 1.4% for 2013 and said that the BoE unemployment target is subject to considerable uncertainty, adding that the knock-out related to financial stability risks will probably lead to a rate increase in H2 2015.
EU sees 2014 Euro-area economic growth at 1.1% vs. Prev. est. 1.2%, maintained 2013 forecast for Euro-area contraction of 0.4%. Raises 2014 jobless forecast to 12.2% from 12.1%.
- Keeps 2014 CPI forecast at 1.5%.
- Sees UK economy expanding 1.3% in 2013, 2.2% in 2014.
- Sees French economy expanding 0.2% in 2013, 0.9% in 2014.
- Sees German economy expanding 0.5% in 2013 and 1.7% in 2014.
EU's Rehn says sees increasing signs economy has reached turning point.
UK DMO sold GBP 1.25bln in 0.25% I/L 2052 Gilts, b/c 1.96 and avg. real yield 0.032%. While Austrian debt agency sold EUR 1.5bln worth of bonds vs. Exp. EUR 1.65bln.
Goldman's top economist Jan Hatzius says his baseline expectation is that at the March 2014 Fed meeting, the FOMC will lower the level at which it would start considering rate hikes.
Fed's Powell (Voter, Neutral) said US monetary policy is likely to remain highly accommodative for some time and timing of when the Fed will trim pace of bond buying is necessarily uncertain and depends on evolution of economy. At the same time, Fed's Rosengren (Voter, Dove) said the Fed can be patient on adjusting policy because taper in December versus April is not too significant to the balance sheet.
Risk averse sentiment dominated the price action in Europe this morning, as market participants positioned for a raft of key risk events due to take place later on in the week. As a result, health care sectors was among the best performing in Europe, also supported by solid earning by Fresenius and also Novartis, which advanced at the open following reports that the company has identified its animal-health business as a top candidate for a sale.
GBP/USD outperformed this morning, supported by the release of yet another encouraging macroeconomic data from the UK, with UK Services PMI for the month of October rising to its highest level since May 1997. In addition to that, NIESR said that the knock-out related to financial stability risks will probably lead to a rate increase in H2 2015.
The RBA kept rates unchanged, alongside expectations, at 2.50%. However, the RBA signalled concern over AUD stating that AUD is still uncomfortably high and that a lower AUD is likely needed to achieve balanced growth. The central bank added that the setting of monetary policy remained appropriate and that the full impact of past cuts are still to be felt.
China 2013 gold output may rise 6.7% Y/Y to reach a record high of around 430 tons, according to Deputy General Manager of China National Gold Group Corp. Du Haiqing.
State Dep. spokesman Harf said US Secretary of State Kerry asking Congress to halt movement on new sanctions adding that Iran progress on nukes could lead to limited relief. Harf said US not calling for existing sanctions.
Anadarko Petroleum are set to take over operations at Chevron's Coronado discovery in the US Gulf Of Mexico's Shenandoah mini-basin following the co. increasing its stake.
SocGen's Ken Broux summarizes the key overnight macro news
ECB president Draghi will offer concluding remarks today at 14:30 cet at a scheduled event in Frankfurt, but this comes only two days before the monthly ECB council meeting so it is unrealistic to expect him to make off-the-cuff comments on last week's inflation data and whether it changes the nature of the discussion at this Thursday's meeting. The autumn macroeconomic forecasts from the EC are due this morning and may give the market a heads up on the inflation (and growth) outlook in the euro area in 2014.
The currency and bond markets are waiting on tenterhooks not just for the ECB meeting but also for the advance estimate of US Q3 GDP, which coincides with the start of Draghi's press conference on Thursday, and for the US employment report on Friday. The UST 10y yield backed off 3bp yesterday, returning below 2.60%, but we are over 10bp above the low (2.469%) registered the day after the delayed September payrolls data was released. The non-manufacturing ISM and its employment component will be in the spotlight today as we look for anecdotal hiring data during and immediately after the government shutdown. Given the low 125k consensus estimate for payrolls on Friday, one could wonder why yields are not lower than they are. A greater degree of scepticism over the state of the US economy is evident in the currency markets, where the USD surrendered partial gains made over the last 24 hours and PLN, HUF, BRL and ZAR outperformed.
The RBA left rates unchanged as expected overnight. However RBA Governor Stevens' comment saying the Aussie is still “uncomfortably high” knocked AUD/USD back below 0.9500 after the pair traded a 0.9521 high earlier. For EUR/AUD, having dropped 1.9% already since last week, a test of 1.4128 now looks on the cards and could tempt tactical bears to push for a pullback below 1.40 depending on the ECB's signal on Thursday. It is a similar story for EUR/GBP, where a strong UK services PMI this morning could force a test of Fibo support at 0.8429. In EM, Romania's central bank was forecast to cut its benchmark rate by 25bp to 4.0% and USD/RON rallied back over 3.31 yesterday, its highest level since 30 September.
We conclude with DB's overnight recap by the comprehensive Jim Reid:
Yesterday we heard three Fed speeches, all from FOMC members, but perhaps the most interesting comments came from the St Louis Fed’s James Bullard in an interview on CNBC. Bullard who is considered a centrist on the dove-hawk scale, said that “preconditions for tapering” had been met but that he was willing to be patient because inflation remains low. He also said that he was in no hurry to taper because the Fed “had room on the balance sheet”. Pressed on this point, Bullard pointed that the size of Fed’s balance sheet relative to US GDP was in the low twenties (in percentage terms) and was behind Japan, Europe and the UK on that measurement. Bullard once again dismissed the notion that a low participation rate in the labour market was a signal of a weaker employment picture than the headline unemployment rate indicated. The Boston Fed’s Rosengren, who is usually dovish, compared two "hypothetical" approaches to QE: one in which the rate of buying is unchanged until April 2014; and another fairly aggressive approach in which the buying is reduced to $75 billion in December, $50 billion in January, $25 billion in March, and completed altogether by April. "Start dates differing by a quarter or two would generate only relatively small changes in the overall size of the Fed's balance sheet,"
Rosengren said, which led him to conclude that it was better to be patient before reducing the pace of QE. Jerome Powell described the timing of the Fed’s tapering as “necessarily uncertain” because it depends on the strength of the recovery. But then he went on to say that the Fed is likely to push on with stimulus for some time. So it seems from yesterday’s comments that the Fed is willing to err on the side of caution with respect to policy accommodation, which probably helped 10yr UST yields stabilise at 2.60% yesterday (-2bp) after ticking higher for three consecutive days.
While the markets debate the Fed and the ECB’s next moves, stocks continue their march higher. Indeed, after passing the 1700 mark just a little more than a month ago the S&P500 is now only 34 points away, or less than 2% from the 1800 mark. Indeed, the S&P500 has been on an impressive run since its most recent bottom on the 8th October. Since that day, the index is up almost 7% and there has only been four negative days out of the last 19. Reports continue to suggest strong inflows into the equity asset class, mostly at the expense of fixed income funds. Data from earlier in the week from TrimTabs showed that there were $54.2bn into all equity mutual funds/ETFs in October, the third-largest inflow on record. On the other hand, bond mutual funds and ETFs redeemed $13.5bn in October, almost triple the outflow of $4.9bn in September. Bond funds posted five consecutive monthly outflows for the first time since late 2003.
Looking at overnight markets, some of the underperformance in Asian EM yesterday has been reversed this morning, helped by the halt to the slide in US treasuries. After gapping wider yesterday, buyers of Indonesian paper are returning, and bonds are generally about half a point firmer while 5yr CDS is around 5bp tighter. EM currencies are generally trading with a firmer tone including the Korean Won (+1.1%) and Malaysian Ringgit (+0.1%). AUDUSD is trading 0.4% lower after the RBA described the AUD as “uncomfortably high” in its policy statement this morning. Chinese equities are the notable underperformer overnight (HS China Enterprises index -0.7%, CSI300 -0.7%) led by banking stocks (-1.2%). There have been a number of reports as to why Chinese banks are lagging. The first is that the Chinese government may issue the first batch of private bank licenses next year as part of financial sector reforms (Bloomberg). There are also reports that the PBOC is preparing to once again drain cash from onshore money markets to suppress inflation and prevent an oversupply of liquidity (SCMP).
Coming back to yesterday, though the S&P500 and Stoxx600 added 0.36% and 0.31% respectively, there was notable underperformance in financials on both sides of the Atlantic (European banks -0.2%, US banks -0.2%). Swiss banking groups UBS (-5.3%) and Credit Suisse (-6.7%), were the standout laggards after the country’s finance minister hinted that current leverage ratios of around 4% were too low. The prospect of higher capital levels perhaps explained some of the outperformance in the European senior and subordinated financial credit indices which tightened 3bp and 4bp respectively, against a 1bp tightening in the broader European iTraxx.
Looking at the day ahead, we have more central bank speakers on the cards including Asmussen from the ECB; and Williams and Lacker from the Fed. Elsewhere the European Commission releases its latest growth forecasts. In terms of data, Spanish unemployment, UK services PMIs and the US ISM nonmanufacturing are the main reports to look out for on this planet. Who knows what's going on elsewhere in the Milky Way.
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