Oil rallied Tuesday after Turkey shot down a Russian jet. The Australian dollar was the top performer while sterling lagged. Australian construction data and the BOJ's Shirai are due later. Appropriately, the best trade of the Premium Insights' 4 profitable trades has been the GBPAUD short, which is currently over 170 pips in the green.
Russia promised 'a package of measures' to respond to Turkey after a Russian jet was shot down near the Turkey-Syria border. However the defense minister stopped short of calling it an act of war and instead said it was a 'hostile act.' That helped to calm nerves and US stocks erased an early fall to finish slightly higher. The oil market was more skeptical, with Brent finishing up $1.20 to $46.04.
The FX market reaction to violent geopolitical developments is virtually always to buy then yen. It kicked higher when the headlines hit but without any follow-through. That could change if Russia responds with might or some other escalation of the conflict. But the easier way out is to continue to bomb Turkmen in Northern Syria to arm Assad's forces and use them to retaliate while disrupting natural gas supplies.
In any case, rhetoric surrounding geopolitical violence among world powers almost always far exceeds the economic consequences. Russia is making efforts to disrupt Islamic State oil exports but even if that supply was totally eliminated, it's negligible on the world stage.
Crude retraced almost 50% of its November decline in the past three sessions but it's little more than an oversold bounce with nothing changing in the (over) supply picture. To underscore the downside, the API reported a 2.6 million barrel per day increase in storage last week compared to the 1.2 million expected in the official government data due Wednesday.
In the near term, Australian data is in focus. At 0000 GMT, Oct skilled vacancies data is due and 30 minutes later the Q3 construction work report is scheduled. The later is expected to show a 2.0% decline but a better reading would underscore a resilient economy and emphasize that the RBA is comfortably on the sidelines.
The other event to watch is at 0100 GMT when the BOJ's Shirai makes a speech in Matsue. Suggestions the BOJ is comfortable with the economy could weigh on USD/JPY.
|RBA Assist Gov Debelle Speech|
|Nov 25 10:20|
Will the Fed raise its discount rate at its previously unscheduled meeting for today? Thursday's post on the Federal Reserve's website that “an expedited, unscheduled meeting of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve to review the discount rate” will be held today (Monday) at 11:30 ET (16:30 London/GMT). The discount rate, the rate at which banks borrow from the Fed's discount window is set by the Board of Governors, rarely used by the banks. This must not be confused with the fed funds rates, which is set by the Federal Open Markets Committee.
Speculation that the discount rate will be raised today stems partly from the decision to schedule the meeting as recently as last Thursday. The other reason to expect a possible hike today is that 5 of the 12 district banks voted for a rate hike at the September meeting, with the hawks being the district banks of Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Kansas City, and Dallas. Will the balance be tipped in favour of a hike by New York and Atlanta?
The discount rate was last raised in February 2010, one month before the end of QE1, a program, which was followed by QE2 eight months later. Today, the discount rate stands at 0.75%, compared to the 0.25% for the funds target. If the Fed is intent on raising rates in December by 25 bps, it could well hike the discount rate to 1.00%, thus, maintaining the differential at 25 bps. Such strategy would bring about a highly telegraphed December hike in the Fed Funds rate, thereby, more likely to reduce any upward USD shock.
A rapid USD rally should be expected from a discount hike today–even if the rate is little utilized by banks—but it is uncertain whether such gains would last as the impact on equity markets must also be considered. If the discount rate is held unchanged today, the odds remain well above 65% for a December lift-off. But do not forget the upcoming reports on core PCE Price Index, the November jobs and the outcome from the ECB policy meeting.
I continue to expect a December rate hike is far from accomplished, regardless of today's decision on the discount rate.
Is it finally catching up with GBP? The British pound defied gravity during most of the week, shrugging disappointing figures on inflation, retail sales and the CBI trend survey. A somewhat hawkish speech by BoE MPC member Ben Broadbent on Wednesday may have been among the causes behind the gains. The pound even managed to rally against the US dollar on Tuesday and Wednesday ahead of an expectedly hawkish set of FOMC minutes. Eventually, GBP saw the peak on Thursday evening with GBPUSD giving up at the near confluence of the 55-DMA and 200-DMAs at $1.5312 and $1.5336. Unfortunately, our short GBPUSD trade in the Premium Insights (opened on Nov 6) was stopped out at $1.5330, only 6 pips below the high of the week. After that, GBPUSD shed 1.5 cent to settle near $1.5200.
The latest figures from speculative futures' commitment report show sentiment continued to worsen in the week ending on Tuesday, following the 8,500% collapse (from 188 net long contracts to 8,488 net shorts) in the aftermath of aggressive downgrade in the BoE's quarterly inflation report. More interestingly, note the clear divergence between the steadily improved futures positioning since April and the downtrend in the GBPUSD spot rate since late June, which extended until the last two weeks. And just as GBPUSD seemed to mount its own positive divergence, Friday's sell-off happens.
Fortunately, we had two additional shorts in GBP, one of which, was locked in at a gain, the other allowed to progress. As for GBPUSD, a new note/trade will be issued for our Premium Insights subscribers ahead of Tuesday's inflation report testimony by governor Carney and chief Economist Haldane. Stay tuned.
The rebound in the Japanese yen and pullback of US yields emerging after Wednesday's release of the Fed minutes has been attributed to various factors, such as “buying the USD rumour, selling the fact”, less dovish than expected minutes and/or the expectations that rates liftoff could be one-&-done rather than the start of a tightening cycle. This helped explain the corrective decline in the US dolla, bringing us to the persistent strength in equity indices and their reluctance to follow yields lower as seen in the charts below.
When the usually positive correlation between US 10-year yields and a major US equity index such as the S&P500 is halted during key releases or speeches, questioning the reason to the break or interruption opens new and old ideas. Yields failed to break above their 100-WEEK MA for the 3rd time since over the past 12 months, while S&P500 attempts to escape higher, chasing the elusive 2100 barrier.
The relationship between equities and bonds will be closely monitored over the next 3 weeks' release of US data on consumers, manufacturing, services, inflation and jobs. Later into the start of the Asia Friday session, a new trade shall be issued in the Premium Insights to capitalise on the above relationship fundamental rationale and technical charts.
|Fed's Bullard speech|
|Nov 20 14:00|