It all started early last night when the front month oil contract dipped below $28 giving a taste of what was to come. It was all downhill from there.
First Chinese stocks ended the recent ramp higher, with the Shanghai Composite closing down 1% back under 3000, then Japan's rout accelerated with both the Nikkei (-3.7%) and the Topix Index sinking into bear markets, both falling more than 20% from their 2015 highs.
The rout then spilled over to Europe, where the Stoxx 600 is down 3% to the lowest level in 13 months, and finally making landfall in the US where the E-mini is down 1.8%, trading at 1840, meanwhile WTI is back under $28 while the USDJPY plunged to a one year low and barely rebounded despite an attempt at verbal intervention when an unknown Japanese government source said they are "closely watching currency movements", which lead to a 100 pip spike in the pair that was promptly faded.
In sum: the world is on the verge of a global bear market, exacerbated by an ongoing earnings deterioration which has sent the MSCI gauge of global equities to the brink of a bear market. But the biggest driver remains oil whose slump to a new 12-year low is ripping through markets. Just on Wednesday, Royal Dutch Shell Plc said profit may drop at least 42 percent in the fourth quarter. U.S. bonds now predict the slowest inflation since May 2009.
Commodity currencies were slammed with Russia’s ruble and Mexico’s peso falling to record lows, while bets mounted on an end to Hong Kong’s dollar peg.
Saudi Arabia also launched capital controls when it was reported overnight that it had ordered a halt to Riyal forward option trades.
Yields on 10-year Treasuries dropped below 2 percent and the yen jumped to a one-year high.
“It’s back to oil and that’s what is driving everything at the moment,” Barra Sheridan, a rates trader at Bank of Montreal in London told Bloomberg. “We can easily run more because it’s pure fear. I don’t know what we need to change this sentiment.”
Well a central bank intervention or two would help. For now, this is where the "running" has taken global assets as of moments ago:
- S&P 500 futures down 1.8% to 1840
- Stoxx 600 down 3% to 323
- FTSE 100 down 2.9% to 5706
- DAX down 3.1% to 9361
- German 10Yr yield down 6bps to 0.49%
- Italian 10Yr yield up 2bps to 1.57%
- Spanish 10Yr yield down 2bps to 1.69%
- MSCI Asia Pacific down 2.8% to 117
- Nikkei 225 down 3.7% to 16416
- Hang Seng down 3.8% to 18886
- Shanghai Composite down 1% to 2977
- US 10-yr yield down 9bps to 1.97%
- Dollar Index down 0.12% to 98.87
- WTI Crude futures down 2.8% to $27.65
- Brent Futures down 2.2% to $28.12
- Gold spot up 0.7% to $1,094
- Silver spot up 0.5% to $14.10
A quick jog through the markets:
Asian equity markets traded with heavy losses after the continued weakness in energy prices, with WTI Mar`16 futures falling below USD 29/bb dampening sentiment across the region. Subsequently, the MSCI Asia-Pac reached 4 year lows, while the Nikkei 225 (-3.7%) fell into bear market territory after falling 20% from August highs and ASX 200 (-1.3%) was also dragged lower by the energy complex, while the latter was also weighed by losses in basic materials after the index's 3rd largest Co. by market cap BHP Billiton cut its FY iron ore guidance.
Elsewhere, the Shanghai Comp. (-1.0%) conformed to the region's negative tone and declined back below the 3000 level, while the Hang Seng (-3.8%) was pressured by losses in large casino and energy names with CNOOC also lowering its capex and production guidance. Finally, 10yr JGBs remained relatively flat, with trade mostly uneventful despite the risk-averse tone and BoJ entering the market to purchase JPY 1.27TN bonds.
Top Asian News
- Hong Kong Dollar Forwards Sink to Weakest Since 1999 on Peg Bets: 3-mo. interbank lending rate climbs by most Since 2008.
- Hedge Fund That Called Subprime Crisis Says Yuan Should Fall 50%: Mark Hart of Corriente Advisors is betting against yuan.
- PBOC’s Ma Says New Tools Substitute for Bank Reserves Cuts: China’s central bank has added liquidity via market channels.
- Bad-Debt Buyers See Good Times as Rajan Cleans Up India’s Banks: Edelweiss, JM predict record stressed-asset sales this quarter.
- Saudi Arabia Said to Order Halt of Local Riyal Forward Options: Bets on devaluation reached highest in 2 decades this mo.
In Emerging Markets, the MSCI EM Index dropped the most in two weeks, sinking 2.8 percent to the lowest on a closing basis since May 2009. The gauge is down 12 percent this year, the worst start since records began in 1988. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng China Enterprises Index tumbled 4.2 percent as oil producers plummeted and a drop in the city’s dollar spurred concern over capital outflows. The Shanghai Composite Index slipped 1 percent.
Russia’s Micex Index slid 1.7 percent and the Bloomberg GCC 200 Index of equities in Gulf markets lost 3.2 percent. Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index declined 4.5 percent and Dubai shares sank 4.6 percent. Egypt’s benchmark slid 4.5 percent. Russia’s ruble weakened as much as 2 percent to a record 80.1790 against the dollar. The Mexican peso fell to a record 18.4775 per dollar and is down 6.5 percent this year, making it Latin America’s worst performing major currency.
Saudi Arabian banks are under orders to stop selling currency products that allow investors to make cheap bets on a devaluation of the riyal, according to five people with knowledge of the matter. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency told banks not to sell options contracts on riyal forwards at a meeting in Riyadh on Jan 18., the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.
In Europe, risk averse sentiment continues to gather pace in European trade, with USD/JPY hitting 1y lows and Bunds back above 160.00 level, while stocks are also broadly lower. The FTSE-MIB (-3.0%) is underperforming amid the ongoing focus on banks NPLs. Banca Monte dei Paschi shares are once again suspended from trading, after a fall of 18% in Milan. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index tumbled 3 percent at 6:05 a.m. in New York, with all industry groups declining. Shell slid 5.3 percent and BHP Billiton Ltd. dragged commodity producers lower, falling 6.7 percent after trimming its full-year iron ore output forecast. Zurich Insurance Group AG declined 8.1 percent after forecasting a second straight quarterly loss for its biggest unit.
In terms of fixed income, heading into the ECB policy meeting Citi have noted the EUR curve is currently pricing in very little in terms of additional near-term easing.
Top European News
- Aberdeen Is Loading Up on Stocks, Wants More If Rout Deepens: Scottish asset manager has increased its funds’ exposure equities by 0.5%-1%, says CIO Anne Richards.
- U.K. Unemployment Falls to Decade Low as Labor Market Tightens: Metric unexpectedly fell to lowest in almost a decade; wage growth slowed less than forecast.
- Zurich Plunges as General Insurance Faces Second Quarterly Loss: Oper. loss for division will probably be ~$100m in 4Q.
- Shell Profit Plunges at Least 42% as Oil’s Slump Deepens: 4Q adj. profit ex-items likely to be in range $1.6b-$1.9b.
- SocGen Said to Pull Back From U.S. Mortgage Bond Trading: Bank instructing traders of U.S. government-backed mortgage bonds to stop buying them: people familiar.
- Trans-Atlantic Derivatives Fight Nears End as Capital Rules Loom: EU, U.S. regulators nearing deal on oversight of $553t global derivatives markets that would prevent increase in EU capital requirements from hitting banks this year.
- Berlusconi’s EI Towers Said to Offer $1b for Inwit Stake: Unit made bid for stake in Telecom Italia’s wireless infrastructure unit of ~EU900m: people familiar.
- Intesa CEO Rules Out Takeover of Monte Paschi, Italian Banks: CEO Carlo Messina says no pressure from govt to purchase Paschi.
In FX, the yen strengthened 1.3 percent to 116.09 per dollar, and touched 115.98, the strongest level since Jan. 16, 2015. The USD/JPY was back below 117.00 as Europe came in, and it was not long before we took out 116.50 (barriers). Next up was 116.00, which eventually gave way also, but comments from Japan officials that FX markets were being closely watched saw shorts turned sharply
Japan’s currency appreciated 0.9 percent to 127.19 per euro. The euro climbed 0.5 percent to $1.0957. The Australian dollar slid 0.9 percent to 68.45 U.S. cents, extending this year’s decline to 6.1 percent. The kiwi touched the weakest level since Sept. 30.
The Canadian dollar, which has fallen every day this year, slipped to the lowest since 2003 amid speculation the central bank will cut its benchmark interest rate to a level last seen during the 2009 financial crisis. Fresh lows in Oil saw USD/CAD hit through the Monday highs to 1.4689. The Bank of Canada decides on interest rates today, and private-sector economists are almost evenly divided on whether it will cut the policy rate to 0.25 percent.
In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude lost as much as 4% to $27.32 a barrel before trading down 3.2%. Inventories probably increased by 2.75 million barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg survey before a report from the Energy Information Administration Thursday.
Industrial metals dropped on prospects for slower economic growth in China and sustained low oil prices. Copper fell as much as 1.1 percent. Gold rose as renewed losses in equities spurred demand for less risky assets, with Citigroup Inc. saying bullion’s rationale as a haven was now back in vogue and prices may be supported over the first quarter.
Top Global Headline News:
- Bernanke Says Dollar’s 2-Year Rally Is Running Out of Steam: “Much of the appreciation in the dollar may have already happened -- we may not see much more”: former Fed chairman
- IBM 2016 Profit Shows Struggle to Move Past Old Operations: 2016 profit forecast shows co. continues to struggle.
- Carlyle, Symantec Agree to Lower Price for Veritas Deal: Cos. revise price for biggest announced U.S. leveraged buyout of 2015 amid strains in debt markets.
- Netflix Investors Like What They See as Intl. Users Soar: Co. added 5.6m subscribers to its online streaming service in 4Q, including >4m from outside U.S.
- McDonald’s Revamps U.S. Management to Remove 2 Zone Presidents: As part of turnaround plan, co. will eliminate 2 of 4 zone-president jobs from its U.S. management ranks.
- Delta Will Rely on Partnerships to Expand Routes in Asia: Co. to exploit pacts with China Eastern Airlines, Jet Airways India to improve connectivity in Asia.
- Apple Seeks to Open Stores in India as Mobile Growth Slows: Co. applied to open its own stores in India, a strategy that may help it better target a fast-growing market.
- Merck to Submit Ebola Vaccine for Approval by End of 2017: Co. has signed an agreement with Gavi, world’s biggest funder of vaccines for developing countries.
- Banks Face Losing $150b to Startups, Oliver Wyman Says: Insurers, banks may lose revenue to fintech startups.
Bulletin Headline Summary From Bloomberg and RanSquawk
- Risk averse sentiment continues in European trade, with USD/JPY hitting 1y lows and Bunds back above 160.00 level, while stocks are in a sea of red
- Plenty of movement in FX as the stock markets turn sour once again. US equity gave up gains last night, leading to renewed losses in Asia
- Today's highlights include: US Housing Starts, Building Permits, CPI and the BoC Rate Decision
- Treasuries rally overnight with 10Y yield touching 1.951%, lowest intraday level since April 27, as global equities and commodities continue to slide.
- If it feels like rallies in U.S. stocks are getting shakier in 2016, they are. In the 11 trading sessions since New Year’s, the S&P 500 has fallen an average of 1.3% from its intraday high, more than double the decline last year
- Saudi Arabia plans to hold a debt auction next week to raise as much as 20b riyals ($5.3b), the first indication it will continue tapping the local debt market to fund a budget gap, forecasted by the IMF to be 14% of GDP this year
- Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency ordered lenders to halt sale of options contracts on riyal forwards amid mounting speculation the nation won’t be able to maintain the riyal’s peg to the dollar as revenue plunges
- The ruble plunged to a record low as the collapse in crude weighs on the economy of the world’s biggest energy exporter and surpasses every other obstacle the nation has endured, including being treated as a near pariah state under sanctions
- The four biggest U.S. banks -- Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo -- have set aside at least $2.5b combined to cover souring energy loans and have said they’ll add to that if prices stay low
- As the chattering chieftains of the global economy gather this week in Davos, Switzerland, they’re facing the darkest outlook since the financial crisis tipped the world into recession seven years ago
- U.K. unemployment unexpectedly fell to the lowest in almost a decade and wage growth slowed less than economists forecast as the labor market continued to strengthen
- Sovereign bond yields lower. Asian stocks and European stocks drop; equity-index futures falter. Crude oil and copper slide lower, gold rises
US Event Calendar
- 7:00am: MBA Mortgage Applications, Jan. 15 (prior 21.3%)
- 8:30am: Housing Starts, Dec., est. 1.2m (prior 1.173m)
- Housing Starts m/m, Dec., est. 2.3% (prior 10.5%)
- Building Permits, Dec., est. 1.2m (prior 1.289m, revised 1.282m)
- Building Permits m/m, Dec., est. -6.4% (prior 11%, revised 10.4%)
- 8:30am: CPI m/m, Dec., est. 0% (prior 0%)
- CPI Ex Food and Energy m/m, Dec., est. 0.2% (prior 0.2%)
- CPI y/y, Dec., est. 0.8% (prior 0.5%)
- CPI Ex Food and Energy y/y, Dec. 2.1% (prior 2%)
- CPI Index NSA, Dec., est. 236.672 (prior 237.336)
- CPI Core Index SA, Dec., est. 244.494 (prior 244.135)
- Real Avg Weekly Earnings y/y, Dec. (prior 1.6%)
- 9:45am: Revisions to Chicago Business Barometer
- 10:00am: Bank of Canada Overnight Lending Rate, est. 0.50% (prior 0.50%)
- 11:15am: Bank of Canada’s Poloz hold news conference
DB's Jim Reid completes the overnight wrap
Despite US stocks closing off their lows yesterday, it was another day of fading momentum in markets. The post China GDP rally in Asia extended into the European session and helped risk assets in the US get off to a decent start, only for the focus to switch over to another leg lower for WTI. Prices at one stage actually staged a bit of rebound, trending up past the $30/bbl mark around midday only then to trend lower as the session went on, falling another $2 into the close to hover around the $28 level. A lot was made of the latest damming IEA report. The headline in particular was enough to knock sentiment after the agency said that the global market could ‘drown in oversupply’ while at the same time firing warning signs about the return of increased supply from Iran.
After initially bouncing 1% at the open, the S&P 500 dipped as low as -0.82% as unsurprisingly the weakness in the energy sector which we are becoming accustomed to dragged the index lower. A late rally into the close (another trend we’ve noticed of late) did help the index close with a modest +0.05% gain however. Prior to this we had seen European bourses rebound with the Stoxx 600 (+1.31%) up strongly. European credit markets had a better session also (Crossover -14bps) while US credit indices finished little changed but again after a bit of a roundabout day of price action which saw CDX IG in particular trade in a 5bp range. In rates markets US 10y yields finished the session up 2bps at 2.057%, again in a volatile session following a 7bp range.
Onto the latest in Asia this morning. Any hope that the late momentum in the US session last night might continue has evaporated with steep losses across the bulk of the region as WTI plunges down below $28/bbl (currently $27.60). The significant fall has come for the Hang Seng (-3.74%) while there’s also been a steep drop for Hong Kong stocks listed in China (HS-China Enterprises index), down nearly 5% and at a six-year low. The weakness for Hong Kong stocks coming as the HKD has fallen to the weakest level in eight years. Meanwhile the Nikkei (-2.89%), Shanghai Comp (-1.37%), Kospi (-3.12%) and ASX (-1.35%) are also down sharply. There’s little relief in credit markets either where iTraxx indices in Asia and Australia are currently 6bps and 7bps wider respectively. US equity index futures are off 1.5% while Treasury yields are close to breaking below 2%.
Yesterday DB’s Chief China Economist, Zhiwei Zhang, dug deeper into the details of the GDP data. From a production perspective the slowdown in 2015 came primarily in the secondary sector (which accounts for around 40% of GDP). Secondary sector growth slowed from 7.3% in 2014 to 6.1% last year, while the primary sector (which accounts for 10% of GDP) was modestly lower at 3.9% from 4.1%. Tertiary sector growth actually picked up, from 7.8% from 8.3%. With regards to expenditure, Zhiwei highlights that investment was the clear drag reflecting a fall in real estate investment growth primarily, while consumption actually held up relatively well. Looking ahead, the current signals from leading indicators are generally mixed. Growth of property sales are slowing, while new housing starts are improving. Following the data, Zhiwei has downgraded his Q1 2016 GDP forecast from 7.0% to 6.8%, but maintains his baseline forecast for 2016 growth of 6.7%.
Moving on. In terms of the economic data the only release out of the US yesterday came in the form of the NAHB homebuilder survey which printed at 60 for this month (vs. 61 expected) and unchanged relative to the downwardly revised December level. In Europe there were no surprises to come out of the final December CPI prints for Germany (-0.1% mom and +0.3% yoy at the headline) or the Euro area (+0.2% mom headline, +0.9% yoy core). Interestingly there was a big tick up in the German ZEW current situations survey for January however, with the reading up 4.7pts to 59.7 (vs. 53.1 expected) and to the highest level since September. Saying that, the expectations survey did however decline nearly 6pts to 10.2 (vs. 8.0 expected).
Meanwhile in the UK we saw CPI during December come in a smidgen ahead of expectations at +0.1% mom for the month (vs. 0.0% expected). The headline YoY rate was nudged up to +0.2% while the core nudged up two-tenths to +1.4% yoy. This was put to one side however as the bigger news came in the form of some dovish commentary from BoE Governor Carney. The Governor highlighted concerns over global growth, UK growth slowing,and the impact of the recent sharp leg lower in oil meaning inflation ‘will likely remain very low for longer’. As such Carney tempered any hopes of a near term hike, saying that ‘the year has turned, and, in my view, the decision proved straightforward – now is not yet the time to raise interest rates’. Remember that Carney had previously said last summer that the decision on timing should come ‘into sharper relief’ around the turn of this year.
Elsewhere, the ECB bank lending survey covering Q4 2015 highlighted that changes in credit standards and loan demand continue to support a recovery in loan growth. Encouragingly, credit standards on loans to enterprises were said to have eased further last month and those on housing loans were now said to have returned to a net easing. Banks were also said to have reported a further strengthening of their capital positions and a reduction of risk-weighted assets mainly related to riskier loans during the second half of last year.
From the macro to the micro, yesterday saw a couple more US banks report with both BofA and Morgan Stanley coming in ahead of expectations for both earnings and revenue estimates. Cost cutting was a big theme for both, however attention was directed to the former where, much like the theme we’ve seen so far, BofA was said to have set aside $500m in reserves related to energy losses, with overall exposure said to be around $21bn (albeit a small percentage of total loans). As it stands currently, 42 S&P 500 companies have reported their latest results in this earnings cycle. The theme has been much like prior reporting periods with 76% beating earnings estimates but just 52% beating revenue estimates. Interestingly, all 12 financials stocks have beaten revenue estimations. Clearly though the overriding focus there has been on balance sheet exposure to oil as we’ve highlighted.
Before we take a look at the day ahead, yesterday also saw the IMF trim their global growth forecast for the third time in less than twelve months. The fund now expects global growth of 3.4% this year, which is down from the earlier 3.6% estimate. 2017 growth was cut to 3.6%, a cut of two-tenths also. While its forecast for growth in China was left unchanged at 6.3% this year, the fund did slash its forecast in Brazil to a 3.5% contraction (downgraded by 2.5pp). Russia is expected to contract by 1%.
There’s a busier day of data ahead of us to look forward to today. Kick starting the session in Europe this morning will be the latest PPI print out of Germany before we then get the latest labour market data docket for the UK including unemployment and weekly earnings. The highlight of this afternoon’s session in the US will of course be the December CPI print. Current expectations are running at 0.0% mom for the headline and +0.2% for the core, which are expected to lift the YoY rates for both to +0.8% and +2.1% respectively. Housing starts and building permits data are also due in the US this afternoon. The corporate earnings highlight today is Goldman Sachs, due to report at the open.