The Jackson Hole symposium has begun, and we have been hearing from central bank monetary policymakers. We also received the ECB’s meeting minutes which were scheduled for release today. Overall, the US data was underwhelming but the greenback is holding its ground, whereas the US equities are taking a bit of a hit.
The ECB minutes were released today with general agreement within the council. Forward guidance on asset purchases remained unchanged. Forward guidance for raising the interest rates now has 3 conditions to be met. Inflation should reach the target well in advance. Secondly, the council needs to be sure the level of inflation is sustainable, and thirdly the Governing Council should not consider raising rates unless underlying inflation was also judged to have made satisfactory progress towards two percent.
When you look to Turkey or Brazil, it is obvious that if you increase the rates, inflation picks up. Similarly, if you look to Japan who is desperate for inflation? Having not raised their rates they seem perplexed as to why inflation is non-existent. Maybe the ECB could try a bit of raising the rates first to see if they also get inflation.
The euro versus us dollar was not so impressed with the ECB minutes nor the Consumer confidence data out of Germany from Gfk, which decreased in August, and is set to decrease in September. The forecast went down by 0.8 points monthly to come in at negative -1.2 points.
"Significant higher incidence values, a slowdown in vaccination momentum, and discussions about how to deal with unvaccinated individuals in the future have caused noticeable uncertainty among consumers in Germany. They fear that restrictions could even be tightened again. This is obviously depressing consumer sentiment right now," GfK Consumer Expert Rolf Buerkle commented.
The US indices were all lower by around 0.30% at the time of writing as the US data out today was worse than expected. Along with the miss in expectations for GDP growth the US initial claims numbers rose.
The number of people filing initial jobless claims insurance rose to 353,000 in the most recent data according to the Department of Labor. The good news is that the 4-week moving average decreased by 11,500 from the previous week, the lowest level since March 2020.
The US dollar index is still making an attempt at a bull trend and a break of the recent highs would then be met with some strong resistance from the swing highs that formed between September and October last year. Should we get some bearish US dollar news tomorrow the bulls will puke their position most probably at the break of $91.80, which then has an easy run back down to the $90 and the base of the June FOMC impulsive candle?
A weaker US dollar and a tight oil market would suit the Brent crude which rejected the lower prices of $64-$65 and could be ready to test the $75 level. The probable sell-off due to COVID worries and profit-taking resulted in a break of the 3-day rally and some of the 10% gains.
There was strong demand for the $62bln of 7 year notes that were auctioned today, with a bid-to-cover of 2.34x which is above the six-auction average of 2.26x and above the previous auction which came in at 2.23x. Strong demand in the notes was also good for the 20-year bond ETF, as the TLT rose 0.22% today. I shall be keeping an eye on this market all day tomorrow to see the reaction to whatever Fed Chair Powell says from the virtual Jackson Hole Symposium. So far, we have heard from Fed Kaplan who said that the US would be a lot healthier if the Fed were to begin tapering. We also heard from the Fed’s Bullard who said he wants to get going with the tapering this year and have it completed by Q1 2022. Fed’s George would also be in favor of starting the QE taper this year, due to the good progress in the US economy.
The TLT chart is currently in a consolidation period with some room to the upside before it hits decent resistance. A break below 145.00 would see a more sustained sell-off and that would come with higher yields, and therefore higher future interest rates.