After two years of a Saudi-led strategy of all-out pumping, adopted to protect market share against the surge in U.S. shale oil, OPECand Russia are putting cooperation back on the table. As Bloomberg notes, their last attempt to do this - a proposal to freeze output in April - collapsed in acrimonybecause of rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. There may be four potential outcomes from the Algiers talks.
Following last week's disappointing Manufacturing ISM/PMI data, Services PMI printed a six-month-low 50.9 over the weekend "pointing to an annualised GDP growth rate of a mere 1%," according to Markit. Services jobs fell to their weakest since Dec 2014 but the ISM Services data collapsed to 51.4 - lowest since Feb 2010 with new orders imploding to their weakest since Jan 2014.
With the US taking the day off to celebrate the unofficial end of the summer, global markets have been relatively quiet, aside from the dramatic moves in the energy sector over the past few hours, where crude soared in early trading as reported previously on a much-hyped joint statement by the energy ministers of Saudi Arabia and Russia, only to see the spike fizzle.
The much anticipated payrolls day, expected to provide at least some more clarity on future Fed policy, has arrived and heading into today's report both price action and newsflow has been muted. U.S. equity index futures were fractionally higher, as European stocks rise 0.6% while Asia was flat. Gold fell as the dollar rose, while comments by Vladimir Putin which endorsed an OPEC oil production freeze while granting Iran an exemption, have pushed oil higher.
August Non-farm Payrolls have been weaker than consensus expectations in each of the last 5 years and in 14 of the last 18 years of available data. However, with all eyes focused on how Janet will see it, Goldman notes that it is possible that Fed officials would look through moderate weakness given 1) the strength of the June/July payroll gain, 2) their sub-100k estimate of the “breakeven” payroll gain, and 3) the well-publicized tendency for weak first prints in August.
ISM Manufacturing had already rolled over in July, but August's collapse (from 52.6 to a contractionary 49.4) has erased the dead cat bounce hopes of Q2. Across the board, ISM factors deteriorated with new orders plunging.
After a muted end to August, September started off on the strong foot overnight following a surprising beat in China's official manufacturing PMI print, which rose above 50 to the highest level in almost two years. That, together with a record rebound in the UK PMI, bolstered investor confidence, fueling gains in stocks and industrial metals. The dollar advanced against most of its peers while bonds retreated before Friday’s payrolls report.
After Friday's Jackson Hole repricing of Fed hike expectations, which made it clear that the fate of a September rate hike is now in the hands of the August payrolls number, the main risk event of the week is therefore this Friday's US NFPs for which consensus expects a reading of 180K, down from last month's 217K print. A number substantially above this will make a September hike virtually certain, and potentially risks roiling markets as good news will likely be bad news this time around.
While not as dire as the recent analysis by Deutsche Bank, overnight JPM released its latest recession probability analysis, and - somewhat unexpectedly following the last two stellar job reports and a full court political press that the recovery has rarely been stronger going into the election - now sees a 37% chance of a recession in the next 12 months. This is the highest recession probability calculated by Jamie Dimon's bank during the current economic cycle, and matches the odds first laid out in early July.
Following Manufacturing PMI's drop from a two-month bounce, Services PMI also tumbled. Against expectations of a rise from 51.4 to 51.8, Services dropped to 50.9 - lowest since Feb 2016. With the lowest jobs data in 20 months, new orders at their weakest since May, as Markit warns, "GDP growth is failing to accelerate in the third quarter from the weak 1.2% pace seen in the second quarter."
Global stocks declined broadly, led by European equities which fell for the first time this week while currency markets continued their subdued tone even as the recent 4-day rally in the USD appears to have topped out, as investors took to sidelines ahead of the Jackson Hole meeting which begins tonight. Japanese and Chinese stocks had suffered modest drops in Asia. S&P 500 Index futures slipped 0.2%, continuing yesterday's modest selloff.
Following the eurozone's disappointing drift lower in Manufacturing PMI (and weakness in German Services), August's US preliminary manufacturing PMI printed a disasppointing 52.1 (against expectations of 52.6). Weakness in Employment (lowest in 4 months) and New Orders underpin the drop from 52.9 to 52.1 as the 2 month hope-fueled bounce has faded...
While the summer doldrums continue, with little market-moving newsflow overnight and zombified volumes, US futures crept higher and European shares rose after EU PMIs printed modestly better than expected, while a return to dollar weakness pushed emerging markets higher, even if it failed to boost oil which as we noted last night was downgraded by Goldman on various fundamental reasons.
The key economic releases this week are new home sales on Tuesday and durable goods on Thursday. However, the main event in what is one of the slowest summer weeks, will be the Jackson Hole symposium starting this Friday, where focus will be on Yellen's speech who will be scrutinized to see if she can bring the Fed's message back on track after several conflicting statements by Fed speakers in recent weeks.