After a dramatic end to the APEC summit in Papua New Guniea which concluded in disarray, without agreement on a joint communique for the first time in its history amid the escalating rivalry between the United States and China, U.S. index futures initially traded sharply lower as investors digested signs that America-China trade tensions are set to persist, however they staged a modest rebound around the time Europe opened, and have traded mixed since amid subdued volumes as a holiday-shortened week begins in the US.
Last Friday, US stocks jumped after President Trump said that he might not impose more tariffs on Chinese goods after Beijing sent a list of measures it was willing to take to resolve trade tensions. However, tensions between the two superpowers were clearly on display at the APEC meeting over the weekend where Vice President Mike Pence said in a blunt speech that there would be no end to U.S. tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods until China changed its ways.
“The comments from Trump were seen as offering a glimmer of hope that further tariff action could be held in abeyance,” said NAB’s head of FX strategy, Ray Attrill. “The exchange of barbs between Pence and Chinese President Xi Jinping in PNG on the weekend continues to suggest this is unlikely.”
US Futures were also pressured following a report by the WSJ that Apple has cut iPhone production, creating turmoil for suppliers and sending AAPL stock 1.6% lower and pressuring Nasdaq futures.
Yet while early sentiment was downbeat following the APEC fiasco, US futures staged a rebound as shares in both Europe and Asia rose while Treasuries declined, the dollar faded an initial move higher as traders focused on the Fed’s new-found concerns over the global economy, and the pound advanced amid speculation that the worst may be over for Theresa May, since the potential for a vote of no confidence in May may be losing traction: the Sun reported that 42 lawmakers have sent letters of no confidence to Graham Brady, 6 more are needed to trigger a leadership challenge
Asia took a while to warm up but made a strong finish, with the Shanghai Composite closing 0.9% and Japan’s Nikkei 0.7% higher, helping Europe start the week off strong too as a 1 percent jump in mining, tech and bank stocks helped traders shrug off last week’s Brexit woes. At the same time, stocks fell in Australia and New Zealand, where the Aussie and kiwi currencies dropped after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence attacked China at the weekend APEC summit.
Telecommunications and construction shares pushed Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index higher, along with stocks in Italy, where Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio said the government is ready for dialog with the European Commission over the country’s budget, which however seems just more semantics as Italy refused to concede to European budget demands.
Meanwhile, in addition to confusion over trade, the outlook for U.S. interest rates was also uncertain. While Federal Reserve policymakers are still signaling rate increases ahead, they also sounded more concerned about a potential global slowdown, leading markets to suspect the tightening cycle may not have much further to run and Morgan Stanley to write that “We Sense A Shift In Tone From The Fed.”
Goldman Sachs also chimed in, saying it expected the pace of U.S. economic growth to slow toward the global average next year. The bank now sees a broad dollar decline next year, and revised its long-standing bearish view on the Japanese yen and tipped Latin American currencies, the Swedish krona, the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand dollars and the Israeli shekel to rise.
“We see several changes to the global economic backdrop which, combined with a few negative medium-run factors, point to more downside than upside to the broad dollar in 2019,” Goldman economists said in an outlook report. Goldman’s bearish tilt will focus attention on an appearance by New York Fed President John Williams later on Monday to see if he echoes the same theme. As Reuters notes, investors have already cut odds of further hikes, with a December move now priced at 73%, down from over 90%. Futures imply rates around 2.74% for the end of next year, compared to 2.93% early this month.
As a result, yields on 10-year Treasurys declined to 3.08 percent, from a recent top of 3.25 percent while the currency market saw the dollar fade early gains while the pound rebounded from sharp losses last week as Theresa May prepared to appeal to business leaders to help deliver her Brexit deal as the premier fights almost insurmountable Parliamentary opposition.
May said on Sunday that toppling her would risk delaying Brexit as she faces the possibility of a leadership challenge from within her own party. With both pro-EU and pro-Brexit lawmakers unhappy with the draft agreement, it is not clear that she will be able to win the backing of parliament, increasing the risk that Britain will leave the EU without a deal.
Elsewhere, the Australian and New Zealand dollars held on to their declines after Mike Pence’s attack on China this weekend fueled concern Sino-U.S. trade tensions will worsen; the yen neared a month-to-date high on the risk-aversion, onshore yuan weakened for the first time in five days.
Treasuries slipped while European bonds were mixed, with core notes slipping and peripherals rising led by Italy. In the U.S., trading activity may be thinned before the Thanksgiving holiday later this week.
In commodity markets, gold found support from the drop in the dollar and held at $1,1220.19. Oil prices suffered their sixth straight week of losses last week, but climbed toward $57 a barrel in New York on Monday. Bitcoin dropped further below $6,000, at one point touching a one-year intraday low.
- S&P 500 futures down 0.2% to 2,738.50
- STOXX Europe 600 up 0.5% to 359.37
- MXAP up 0.4% to 152.43
- MXAPJ up 0.2% to 488.43
- Nikkei up 0.7% to 21,821.16
- Topix up 0.5% to 1,637.61
- Hang Seng Index up 0.7% to 26,372.00
- Shanghai Composite up 0.9% to 2,703.51
- Sensex up 0.9% to 35,758.30
- Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.6% to 5,693.66
- Kospi up 0.4% to 2,100.56
- German 10Y yield rose 2.4 bps to 0.391%
- Euro up 0.04% to $1.1419
- Italian 10Y yield unchanged at 3.119%
- Spanish 10Y yield fell 0.4 bps to 1.632%
- Brent futures up 0.4% to $67.05/bbl
- Gold spot down 0.3% to $1,219.37
- U.S. Dollar Index down 0.1% to 96.41
Top Overnight News from Bloomberg:
- Theresa May will appeal to business leaders to help deliver her Brexit deal, as she fights almost insurmountable opposition in Parliament and a possible leadership challenge. You do the math: Can May get her Brexit deal through Parliament?
- Vice President Mike Pence sharpened U.S. attacks on China during a week of summits that ended Sunday, most notably with a call for nations to avoid loans that would leave them indebted to Beijing
- An Asia- Pacific summit ended in tumult after the U.S. and China failed to agree on language in a final statement, the latest sign that a trade war between the world’s biggest economies won’t end anytime soon
- The European Central Bank shouldn’t rush to spell out how long it plans to reinvest proceeds from bonds maturing under its asset-purchases program, said French policy maker Francois Villeroy de Galhau
- President Donald Trump said he wouldn’t stop acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker if he curtails special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion by Trump campaign officials with Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election
- U.K. house asking prices fell from a year earlier for the first time since 2011, led by declines in London and among the most expensive properties.
- President Donald Trump said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has denied to him perhaps five times any role in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and the U.S. may never know whether he was involved in the murder
- Trump’s famously opaque business will face a bracing new reality next year when House Democrats hit it with a flurry of subpoenas for the first time
- The European Central Bank shouldn’t rush to spell out how long it plans to reinvest proceeds from bonds maturing under its asset-purchases program, said French policy maker Francois Villeroy de Galhau
- The European Union is hammering out the first bloc-wide rules to prevent foreign investments from threatening national security, as Chinese acquisitions foster political unease
- Hedge funds’ wagers against West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude soared for a seventh straight week, the longest global short-selling streak in data going back to 2011
Asian equity markets began the week somewhat cautious on lingering trade concerns and after disunity at the APEC summit over the weekend which failed to agree on a joint communique for the first time in history due to US-China tensions. ASX 200 (-0.6%) and Nikkei 225 (+0.6%) traded mixed in which nearly all of Australia’s sectors were in the red aside from miners, while Nikkei 225 was positive as participants digested mixed trade data which showed a jump in imports. Elsewhere, Hang Seng (+0.7%) and Shanghai Comp (+0.9%) were choppy amid trade-related uncertainty following the verbal jabs between US and China in which Chinese President Xi warned that countries which embraced protectionism were doomed to fail and US Vice President Pence later commented the US could more than double the tariffs imposed on Chinese goods. Finally, 10yr JGBs futures rose to match the YTD high as they tracked the recent upside in T-notes and with the BoJ also present in the market for JPY 800bln of JGBs in the belly to the short-end of the curve. APEC summit ended without an agreement on a joint communique for the first time in its history after China refused to sign amid US-China tensions, while there had been comments from Chinese President Xi Jinping that countries which embraced protectionism were “doomed to failure” and US Vice President Pence later commented that he was prepared to “more than double” the tariffs imposed on Chinese goods.
Top Asian News
- China’s Ping An Buys Stake in German Fintech Incubator Finleap
- Japan Bank Shares Fall Most in Month After U.S. Yields Drop
- Asian Markets Come out of Their Torpor as Stock Gains Accelerate
- An Accountant Stirs Debate as India Central Bank Board Meets
Major European indices are in the green, with the outperforming FTSE MIB (+1.1%) bolstered by news that Luigi Gubitosi has been appointed as the new CEO of Telecom Italia (+4.3%). The SMI (-0.2%) gave up initial gains and is lagging its peers, weighed on Swatch (-4.0%) and Richemont (-1.4%) following unfavourable price outlook for both by Bank of America Merill Lynch. Sectors are mostly all in the green, with outperformance in telecom names, while energy names are lower given pullback in oil prices in recent trade and consumer discretionary names are weighed on by Renault (-7.0%), with the company shares extending losses following reports that Nissan’s boss has been arrested in Japan regarding allegations of financial violations. Renault shares are hit given the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. Elsewhere, BPost (-5.7%) shares are hit following a downgrade at HSBC, while Tele2 (+1.8%), are near the top of the Stoxx 600 after being upgraded at Berenberg.
Top European News
- Villeroy Sees No Need to Define Reinvestments Length in December
- U.K. Housing Woes Deepen With First Asking-Price Drop Since 2011
- EU Set to Tighten Rules on Foreign Investment to Fend Off China
- New Telecom Italia Boss Deepens Activist Shareholder’s Clout
In FX, the Greenback has regained some composure following its downturn at the end of last week amidst soft US data and cautious if not concerned or outright dovish Fed rhetoric (Clarida conscious about contagion from slower global growth, Kaplan envisaging headwinds from rising debt and Harker opposed to a December rate hike), but the DXY remains capped below a key Fib level (96.590) and the Dollar overall is mixed vs major counterparts.
- NZD/AUD/CAD – All on the back foot against their US peer and underperforming other G10 currencies, with the Kiwi retreating below 0.6850 and undermined by cross flows as Aud/Nzd rebounds further from recent lows towards 1.0700 and Aud/Usd holds above 0.7300 in wake of last week’s strong Aussie jobs data.
- GBP – The Pound has derived some comfort, or is simply just relieved that the Tory uprising and challenge to UK PM May has not reached the minimum level required to trigger a no confidence vote and adding another potential spanner in the Brexit works. However, the situation remains far from stable and certain given that Parliament still has to vote on the Withdrawal Agreement and the room for further renegotiation with the EU looks limited at best ahead of Sunday’s Summit and more meetings planned in the run up to try and sound out whether there is scope to tweak elements of the draft. Cable has tested and marginally breached last Friday’s peak at 1.2877, but far from convincingly amidst supply ahead of 1.2900, and with the 21 DMA also representing formidable tech resistance just above the big figure (1.2918-20). Meanwhile, Eur/Gbp has not pulled back too far below 0.8900, as the single currency holds firm in its own right.
- EM – The Rand has made an encouraging start to the week, with a break through 14.0000 vs the Usd exposing recent peaks and momentum to re-test 13.8700 ahead of 13.6000 (50% Fib).
In commodities, Brent (+0.5%) and WTI (+0.1%) are in positive territory, albeit off highs, following market expectations that Saudi Arabia will steer OPEC and Russia to cut oil supply. Meanwhile, Russian Energy Minister Novak said the country is planning to sign an output agreement with OPEC at their December 6th meeting in Vienna. Overnight gains in the complex were driven by reports that Saudi is said to want oil prices around USD 80.00/bbl. Elsewhere, Iranian President Rouhani emerged on state TV and stated that the US has failed to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero and Iran will continue to sell their crude. Conversely, Gold (-0.2%) prices fell this morning, with traders citing profit taking from last week’s gains, while Palladium is nearing parity with gold as an all-time high of USD 1185.4/oz was hit on Friday. Separately, copper is lower following tension between the US and China at the APEC summit which ended without an agreement on a joint communique for the first time in its history.
It’s a fairly quiet start to the week on Monday with the only data of note being the Euro Area and the November NAHB housing market index reading in the US. Away from that, the Fed’s Williams is due to speak in the afternoon, while BoJ Governor Kuroda, Bank of France Governor Villeroy de Galhau and his predecessor, Noyer, will all speak at the Europlace Financial Forum. Euro Area finance ministers are also due to gather in Brussels to seek to make progress on Franco-German plans to shore up the currency union.
US Event Calendar
- 10am: NAHB Housing Market Index, est. 67, prior 68
- 10:45am: Fed’s Williams Speaks in Moderated Q&A in the Bronx
DB’s Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap
Brexit was left in a bit of phoney war this weekend. We’re no closer to a leadership contest for Mrs May but it could still happen at any point. The Sun -citing their “extensive investigation” – has concluded that 42 lawmakers have sent letters of no-confidence in the PM (48 needed). Overall though more Conservative MPs are disliking the deal – and will vote against it – than will ask for a leadership battle in our opinion. The consensus that is forming amongst the Conservative MPs who dislike the Withdrawal Agreement is that it can be improved upon. This time next week we will have just had the Sunday EU summit to sign off their side of the deal but its not clear how meaningful tweaks could be made before this and before the agreement goes before UK Parliament in the next 2-3 weeks. The only thing that could be fleshed out is more on the future relationship between the UK and Europe as Mrs May travels to Brussels this week to try to progress on this. That might appease some MPs but likely not enough to help the vote pass. As such my personal view is that May stays on as leader, the EU offer no concession, the vote doesn’t get through Parliament and then the fun and games start. The UK may go back to Europe and ask for specific concessions at this point or we may end up with a path towards a hard Brexit or a second referendum. Quite binary options. For the EU maybe the gamble is to offer nothing and assume the UK Parliament eventually offers a second referendum and voters eventually decide to stay. This increases the risk of a cliff-edge hard Brexit but also one where no Brexit happens at all. This story has a lot of legs left in it.
There was lots in the press this weekend about Brexit but interestingly for me as a credit strategist by day, there was also a fair bit of negative press about credit with some of the more sensational articles suggesting that credit could soon blow up financial markets due to (amongst other things) the weight of US BBBs about to swamp the HY market, record levels of Cov-lite issuance and due to record high US corporate leverage. For us there needs to some perspective. We have been on the underweight side of credit all year, more weighted to a US underweight of late but that’s been more of a valuation play than over too much concerns about immediate credit quality. The US economy remains strong and credit deterioration is likely to remain idiosyncratic until it rolls over. At that point we will have big problems though and last week’s activity made us more confident liquidity will be bad when the cycle turns as we moved a fairly large amount on nervousness as much as anything else. GE, PG&E, plunging oil and the factors discussed above provided a jolt but we don’t think this is enough for now to impact the economy so credit will probably stabilise. However once there is actual broad economic weakness, this last week will be a dress rehearsal for the problems ahead and there will be little two-way activity with spreads gapping wider. However that’s for further down the cycle. For now credit’s main problem
has been it hadn’t responded enough to the pick up in vol. The good news is that this is starting to catch-up and correct. Last week, EU non-fin. IG spread widened by 13bps and HY by 45bps while those on US IG by 14bps and HY by 49bps. Big moves relative to a small down week in equities.
Looking ahead to the highlights for this week, I’d imagine if you’re in the US this will revolve around family, friends and perhaps Turkey as you sit down for Thanksgiving on Thursday. Outside of that we get the flash PMIs around the globe on Friday which in a period of nervousness about the global growth outlook will be scrutinised in thin post holiday trading. Black Friday will also mark the start of Xmas shopping season for retailers. Also worth noting is the European Commission’s opinions on the budget plans of the Euro Area countries on Wednesday. While the EC formally has three weeks to provide an opinion on Italy’s new fiscal plan following their budget resubmission last week, it’s possible that they will issue this for Italy alongside this and thus kick starting the EDP process.
This morning in Asia, markets have kicked off the week on a positive note with the Nikkei (+0.48%), Hang Seng (+0.40%) and Shanghai Comp (+0.22%) all up along with most Asian markets. Elsewhere, futures on S&P 500 (-0.33%) are pointing towards a weaker start. In terms of overnight data releases, the UK Rightmove house prices index fell -0.2% yoy (-1.7% mom), first dip since 2011, led by declines in London (-2.4% yoy). Japan’s October adjusted trade balance stood at –JPY 302.7bn (vs. –JPY 48.3bn) as growth in imports (+19.9% yoy vs. +14.1% yoy expected) outpaced the growth in exports (+8.2% yoy vs. +8.9% yoy expected).
In other news, the US Vice President Pence delivered some sharp rhetoric on China over the weekend where he called upon countries to avoid taking debt from China as that would leave them indebted to China. He also added that the US wasn’t in a rush to end the trade war and would “not change course until China changes its ways.” Elsewhere, the APEC summit ended in disarray on Sunday after the US and China failed to agree on a joint statement, reflecting tensions due to the ongoing trade war. This is the first time since the summit began in 1993 that no joint statement was issued.
Looking back briefly now to last week before we focus on the full day-byday week ahead. Friday was an eventful day for market-moving rhetoric from policymakers, highlighted by Fed Vice Chair Clarida and President Trump. First, the dollar shed -0.52% after Clarida discussed the global economy and said there “is some evidence it’s slowing.” Two-year treasury yields rallied -3.8bps (-11.0bps on the week) and the market removed 6bps of Fed hikes through the end of next year (priced out a total of 16bps on the week). This came despite Clarida’s other remarks, which emphasised the strong US economy and his support for moving policy to a “neutral” level, consistent with the FOMC’s projections. Later in the session, Chicago Fed President Evans said that he too wants to move policy to neutral, and then another 50bps or so beyond that level.
Later on Friday, President Trump injected optimism on the trade policy front by telling reporters that China wants to make a deal and that he may not institute further tariffs. China has apparently offered a list of potential concessions, which could prove to be the basis of a trade deal at the 30 November G20 summit. Even though unnamed White House sources subsequently tried to soften expectations, the market rallied with the S&P 500 up +0.22% (-1.31% on the week). The DOW and Russell 2000 closed -2.22% and -1.42% on the week, though they both rallied on the President’s comments as well (+0.22% and +0.49% on Friday, respectively). After Pence’s weekend comments we should probably discount some of the above optimism.
Other markets were already closed when President Trump’s comments boosted sentiment. The STOXX 600 closed the week -2.20% (-0.20% on Friday), while UK equities outperformed marginally, with the FTSE 100 shedding only -1.29% on the week (-0.34% Friday). This reflected the weaker pound, which retreated -1.13% versus the dollar (+0.41% Friday) and -1.83% versus the euro (its worst such week since July 2017, and -0.38% on Friday). Asian equities were mixed, with the Shanghai Composite advancing +3.09% (+0.41% Friday) on trade optimism and the Nikkei down -2.56% (-0.57% Friday). German Bunds rallied -4.0bps last week, while peripheral spreads widened slightly with Italy leading the way. BTPs sold off +8.8bps (flat on Friday) as the government continued to escalate its confrontation with the European Commission.
It’s a fairly quiet start to the week on Monday with the only data of note being September construction output data for the Euro Area and the November NAHB housing market index reading in the US. Away from that, the Fed’s Williams is due to speak in the afternoon, while BoJ Governor Kuroda, Bank of France Governor Villeroy de Galhau and his predecessor, Noyer, will all speak at the Europlace Financial Forum. Euro Area finance ministers are also due to gather in Brussels to seek to make progress on Franco-German plans to shore up the currency union.