Sterling HOD, FTSE weaker as markets digest slightly hawkish BoE

After a bit of time to digest the Bank of England decision, it looks to have provided that hawkish pivot we’d anticipated. But I would not say it’s enough to really tell the market that it will fulfil its mandate to keep inflation in check and ensure longer-term inflation expectations remain in check. A missed opportunity, I would say, to get a better grip on inflation expectations.

Key points

• MPC votes 7-2 to maintain QE, unanimous on rates
• Ramsden joins Saunders in voting to scale back the QE programme to £840bn, ending it immediately
• CPI inflation is expected to rise further in the near term, to slightly above 4% in 2021 Q4 – and the BoE signalled greater risk it would be above target for most of 2022
• Overall, Bank staff had revised down their expectations for 2021 Q3 GDP growth from 2.9% at the time of the August Report to 2.1%, in part reflecting the emergence of some supply constraints on output
• Shift in forward guidance: MPC noted ‘some developments … [since the August Monetary Policy Report] … appear to have strengthened’ the case for tightening monetary policy.
• Rate hikes could come early, even before end of QE: “All members in this group agreed that any future initial tightening of monetary policy should be implemented by an increase in Bank Rate, even if that tightening became appropriate before the end of the existing UK government bond asset purchase programme.”

Market reaction thus far

• GBPUSD has rallied to highest since Monday off a month low and is looking to hold above 1.37, having risen one big figure today. Needs 1.3740 for bulls to regain control, big test here with trend support recently tested at the neckline. Question is this mildly hawkish pivot is enough to put the floor under GBP. I would still argue for softer dollar into year end allow GBP (and EUR) some scope to strengthen, particularly if the BoE is progressing towards raising rates sooner than previously thought.
• That sterling strength sent the FTSE 100 lower after a solid morning session, leaving the blue chips flat on the session, around 45pts off the highs of the day. Looking now for a lift from Wall St with US futures indicated higher: S&P 500 around 4420, Dow Jones at 34,460.
• 2yr gilt yields jumped to +0.3435% from around 0.28% earlier in the day as markets moved expectations for the first 15bps rate hike forward to Feb 2022.

GBPUSD chart 23.09.2021

Summary view

The BoE trying to tell what we already know without telling us what we already know; ie, that inflation is way stickier than they thought it would be. The BoE said “there are some signs that cost pressures may prove more persistent. Some financial market indicators of inflation expectations have risen somewhat”. Somewhat what? It’s all a bit wishy washy. The problem is the dogma of transient inflation is hard to shake without admitting that they were plain wrong on a very basic assessment of the economic outlook. “The committee’s central expectation continues to be that current elevated global cost pressures will prove transitory,” the statement from the BoE said.

Earlier, PMIs show across Europe and Britain growth momentum is waning, inflation is sticking. The UK composite PMI revealed further loss of growth momentum as output slowed to the weakest in 7 months, whilst the rate of input cost inflation accelerated and charges raised to the greatest extent on record.

Taken together with the PMIs this morning and the Fed last night we are presented with a very simple picture: growth is slowing, supply constraints are deepening, inflation is proving way more persistent than central banks anticipated. This could have important consequences for monetary policy going forward, but for now the CBs are still waiting it out and getting further behind the curve. A bitter pill today has been avoided, but the medicine required will be harder to swallow when it finally comes. Rates are going to need to rise to tame inflation.

Week Ahead: NFPs plus BOE & RBA rate decisions

Week Ahead

Nonfarm payroll data comes this Friday. We’ve seen the US economy surge back to life in March, so we’ll see if the major momentum keeps going.

Rate decisions are on their way too from the Bank of England and Reserve Bank of Australia, but as is the theme for this year, we’re expecting no major changes in direction. It’s still earnings season.

Hundreds of large caps are reporting in on what’s been a bumper quarter for some.

US Nonfarm Payrolls – Can April match March’s blockbuster figures?

April’s Nonfarm payrolls are released on Friday. All eyes will be on the US job market after March’s data blew past expectations, signalling a US economy roaring back to life.

NFPs surged 916,000 in March – smashing the Dow Jones estimate of 675,000. Biggest gains were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector, adding 280,000 new monthly hires.

Construction built on previous month’s success with 110,000 payrolls added in the month. Education experienced a boom upon US school reopenings. Local, state and private education institutions combined to hire 190,000 more employees for the month.

Economic growth signs abound. Business activity is drawing close with pre-pandemic levels, reaching 93.4% on Jefferies JeffData US economic activity tracker. GDP growth prospects are high too.

ISM manufacturing PMI data is also on tap this week, adding to the mix of inbound economic indicators, following excellent performance in March. The index rated 64.7% last month, showing a substantial rise in manufacturing activity compared with last year.

The onus is on sustaining momentum in these vital economic areas.

No change for Bank of England policy this month

Don’t expect any change to monetary policy at the Bank of England’s May 6th meeting, however the much brighter economic outlook certainly points to the Bank being able to wind down its emergency mode earlier.

With QE running at a pace of slightly more than £4bn in gilt purchases weekly, the focus will be on at what point the MPC chooses to signal it will slow this down later this year.

The contraction in GDP in the first quarter was not as bad as feared as the economy showed far greater resilience to lockdown 3 than lockdown 1, whilst the success of vaccinations is becoming abundantly clear and means lifting of all restrictions by June 21st is looking more and more likely.

Therefore, there is a risk that the Bank announces plans to taper asset purchases at this meeting, sooner than the market is maybe anticipating. This would likely be positive for sterling since FX markets continue to under-price MPC hawkishness.

The Bank forecast a 4% decline in Q1 (quarter-on-quarter), however the data so far indicates that the contraction was milder than the February projection. Growth estimates for the full year may well be revised higher from the current 5% level. This may provide ammunition for an earlier taper, however the MPC may prefer to wait longer (say June, when the extent of the reopening will be better appreciated) in order to engineer a steeper taper in the second half of the year.

No cash rate change for RBA but QE extension possible

Mirroring the BOE, The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected not to make any major shifts in policy when Philip Lowe and co. make the month’s rate statement this week.

“The Board will not increase the cash rate until actual inflation is sustainably within the 2 to 3%. For this to occur, wages growth will have to be materially higher than it is currently,” said RBA Gov. Philip Lowe said in March’s statement. The rate is staying put at 0.10% for the foreseeable.

Significant gains in employment and a tighter overall labour market are the factors that will force Lowe’s hand. Right now, the RBA doesn’t forecast those returning until 2024 at the earliest.

Instead, we may see an extension to Australia’s quantitative easing programme. Westpac analysts think a third $100bn bond buying regime is on the way, in a move designed to “complement the decision to extend the Yield Curve Control (YCC) Policy to purchase the November 2024 bond at the cash rate of 0.1%”.

Overall, the RBA sentiment is good.

In its March statement, the Central Bank said: “The economic recovery in Australia is well under way and is stronger than had been expected. The unemployment rate fell to 5.8 per cent in February and the number of people with a job has returned to the pre-pandemic level.

“GDP increased by a strong 3.1 per cent in the December quarter, boosted by a further lift in household consumption as the health situation improved. The recovery is expected to continue, with above-trend growth this year and next. Household and business balance sheets are in good shape and should continue to support spending.”

The earnings barrage continues on Wall Street

Large caps are preparing for another Wall Street earnings blitz this week.

So far, it looks like it’s been higher performing quarter for reporting firms across the board. Companies have so far reported aggregate earnings 23.6% above expectations, according to FactSet’s Earnings Insight report dated April 23rd.

Big hitters like Apple and Alphabet have gone and posted strong quarters, although some major tech players like Spotify and Netflix, have seen key subscriber and user metrics underperform.

Looking forward to this week though, there’s an assortment of large caps reporting in. Tech firms PayPal and Square are at the head of the que, as is Covid-19 vaccine pioneer Pfizer. Its vaccine rollout has been instrumental in helping economies return to normality, so we’re likely looking at a successful quarter for the pharmaceutical firm.

See below for a roundup of large cap firms reporting earnings in the week ahead.

Major economic data

Date  Time (GMT+1)  Currency  Event 
Mon 03-May  3.00pm  USD  ISM Manufacturing PMI 
       
Tue 04-May  5.30am  AUD  Cash Rate 
  5.30am  AUD  RBA Rate Statement 
  Tentative  AUD  Annual Budget Release 
  11.45pm  NZD  Employment Change q/q 
  11.45pm  NZD  Unemployment Rate 
       
Wed 05-May  10.00am  EUR  EU Economic Forecasts 
  3.00pm  USD  ISM Services PMI 
  3.30pm  USD  US Crude Oil Inventories 
       
Thu 06-May  12.00pm  GBP  BOE Monetary Policy Report 
  12.00pm  GBP  MPC Official Bank Rate Votes 
  12.00pm  GBP  Monetary Policy Statement 
  12.00pm  GBP  Official Bank Rate 
  3.30pm  USD  US Natural Gas Inventories 
       
Fri 07-May  1.30pm  CAD  Employment Change 
  1.30pm  CAD  Unemployment Rate 
  1.30pm  USD  Average Hourly Earnings m/m 
  1.30pm  USD  Nonfarm Employment Change 
  1.30pm  USD  Unemployment Change 

Key earnings data

Date  Time (GMT+1)  Currency  Event 
Mon 03-May  3.00pm  USD  ISM Manufacturing PMI 
       
Tue 04-May  5.30am  AUD  Cash Rate 
  5.30am  AUD  RBA Rate Statement 
  Tentative  AUD  Annual Budget Release 
  11.45pm  NZD  Employment Change q/q 
  11.45pm  NZD  Unemployment Rate 
       
Wed 05-May  10.00am  EUR  EU Economic Forecasts 
  3.00pm  USD  ISM Services PMI 
  3.30pm  USD  US Crude Oil Inventories 
       
Thu 06-May  12.00pm  GBP  BOE Monetary Policy Report 
  12.00pm  GBP  MPC Official Bank Rate Votes 
  12.00pm  GBP  Monetary Policy Statement 
  12.00pm  GBP  Official Bank Rate 
  3.30pm  USD  US Natural Gas Inventories 
       
Fri 07-May  1.30pm  CAD  Employment Change 
  1.30pm  CAD  Unemployment Rate 
  1.30pm  USD  Average Hourly Earnings m/m 
  1.30pm  USD  Nonfarm Employment Change 
  1.30pm  USD  Unemployment Change 

European markets tumble in catchup trade, Trump bashes China

Morning Note

On the plus side, the UK is sketching out how it plans to end the lockdown. On the minus side, it’s going to take a long time to get back to normal. This, in a nutshell, is the problem facing the global economy and it is one reason why equity markets are not finding a straight line back to where they were pre-crisis.

Indices on mainland Europe are catching up with the losses sustained in London and New York today, having been shut Friday. The DAX retreated 3% on the open to take a look again at 10,500, whilst the FTSE 100 extended losses to trade about 20 points lower. Hong Kong turned sharply lower ahead of its GDP report.

Whilst monetary and fiscal stimulus sustained a strong rally through April – the best monthly gain for Wall Street since 1987 – it’s harder to see how it can continue to spur gains for equity markets. Moreover, US-China tensions are resurfacing as a result of the outbreak, which is weighing on sentiment. Donald Trump spoke of a ‘very conclusive’ report on China – the demand for reparations will grow, and trade will suffer as the easiest policy lever for the White House to pull. This is an election year so I’d expect Trump to beat on the Chinese as hard as he can without actually going to war. Trade Wars 2.0 will be worse than the original.

And as I pointed out in yesterday’s note, equity indices are showing signs of a potential reversal with the gravestone doji formations on the weekly candle charts looking ominous.

Warren Buffet doesn’t see anything worth investing in. Berkshire Hathaway has $137bn in cash but the Oracle of Omaha hasn’t found anything attractive, he said on Sunday’s shareholder meeting. His advice: buy an index fund and stop paying for advice.

In FX, today’s slate is rather bare but there are some European manufacturing PMIs likely to print at the low end. The US dollar is finding bid as risk appetite weakens, favouring further downside for major peers. EURUSD retreated further having bounced off the 100-day SMA just above 1.10 to find support around 1.09250. GBPUSD has further pulled away from 1.25 to 1.2460.

Front month WTI retreated further away from $20. CFTC figures show speculative long trades in WTI jumped 35% – the worry is traders are trying to pick this market and the physical market is still not able to catch up with the speculators. The move in speculative positioning and price action raises concerns about volatility in the front month contract heading into the rest of May.

BT Group shares dropped more than 3% on reports it’s looking to cut its dividend this week. Quite frankly they ought to have cut it months ago. I rehash what I said in January: Newish CEO Philip Jansen should have done a kitchen sink job and cut the dividend from the start. The cost of investment in 5G and fibre is crippling, despite the cutbacks and cost savings. Net debt ballooned to more than £18.2bn – up £7.2bn from March 31st 2019. How can BT justify paying over £1bn in dividends when it needs to sort this debt out, get a grip on the pension deficit and do the kind of capex needed for 5G and mass fibre rollout? Given the current environment, a dividend cut seems assured.

What to watch this week

NFP – Friday’s nonfarm payrolls release is likely to be a history-making event. Last month’s -701k didn’t reflect many days of lockdown, so the coming month’s print will be seismic. However, this is backward looking data – we know that in the last initial jobless claims have totalled around 30m in six weeks – the NFP number could be as high as 22m according to forecasts. The unemployment rate will soar to 16-17%. The main focus remains on exiting lockdown and finding a cure.

BOE – The Bank of England may well choose this meeting to expand its QE programme by another £200bn, but equally it may choose to sit it out and simply say that it stands ready to do more etc. The Bank will update forecasts in the latest Monetary Policy Report, with the main focus likely to be on how bad they think Q2 will be. Estimates vary, but NIESR said Thursday the contraction will be 15-25%.

RBA – The Australian dollar is our best risk proxy right now. The collapse in AUDJPY on Thursday back to 68.5 after it failed to break 70 was a proxy for equity market sentiment. We will wait to see whether the Reserve Bank of Australia meeting on Tuesday gives any fresh direction to AUD, however there is not going to be a change in policy.

Week Ahead: Nonfarm payrolls, China PMIs and Eurozone inflation on tap

Equities
Forex
Week Ahead

Welcome to your guide to the week ahead in the markets. China trade talks are ushered in by PMI data, Eurozone inflation results and US nonfarm payroll reports.

US nonfarm payrolls 

The set-piece US labour market report on Friday is the main eco event for market watchers. Signs of a slowdown in employment growth are showing, supporting the doves’ case for further rate cuts. Will we see stronger wage growth though? The NFP report missed expectations on the headline number with employers adding just 130k last month versus the 160k expected. 

China data ahead of trade talks 

The week gets a kickstart with more economic data from China likely to give more clues about the impact of the trade war. The official manufacturing and services PMIs will be followed by the closely-watched private Caixin manufacturing survey in the early hours of Monday. 

Eurozone inflation 

The European Central Bank has cut rates, so what now? Inflation has proved stubbornly weak in the Eurozone, with headline inflation in August of just 1%, while core inflation was a meagre 0.9%. Market expectations for inflation remain subdued. There seems little hope that inflation will start to tick higher and give the ECB some breathing space. Euro area CPI preliminary readings will be delivered on Tuesday morning. 

Brexit 

MPs are back to business, but we don’t know where this leaves the only thing that matters for sterling right now – will there be a deal or not? GBP pairs will remain exposed to headline risk as the market tries to figure out which way the wind is blowing. 

RBA  

The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to cut interest rates again when it convenes on Tuesday. Speaking last week, governor Philip Lowe gave a very strong signal that rates would be cut again from the current record low 1%.  

Corporate Diary

There are several corporate data releases this week, here are the main ones to put in your diary.

Oct 1stFerguson FY 19 Full Year Results
Oct 1stGreggsQ3 Trading Update
Oct 2ndTesco Interim Results
Oct 3rdPepsicoQ3 Earnings
Oct 3rdTed Baker Interim Results
Oct 3rdH&M GroupQ3 Results

Coming Up on XRay

Don’t miss our upcoming video streams on XRay. You can watch them live directly through the platform or catch-up afterwards when it suits you.

07.15 GMTSept 30thEuropean Morning Call
15.00 GMTSept 30thCharmer Trading talks Forex
15.45 GMTOct 1stAsset of the Day: Oil Outlook
19.00 GMTOct 1stLive Trader Training
18.00 GMTOct 3rdThe Stop Hunter’s Guide to Technical Analysis (part 5)
12.30 GMTOct 4thLIVE Nonfarm Payrolls Coverage

Key Economic Events

There’s a lot of data coming out in the next few days, particularly at the start of the week.

01.00 GMTSept 30thChina Manufacturing and Services PMIs
01.00 GMTSept 30thANZ Business Confidence
01.45 GMTSept 30th China Caixin PMI
08.30 GMTSept 30thUK Final QoQ GDP
12.00 GMTSept 30th Germany CPI Inflation YoY
03.30 GMTOct 1stRBA Interest Rate Decision and Statement
08.30 GMTOct 1stUK Manufacturing PMI
09.00 GMTOct 1st Eurozone Preliminary CPI
14.00 GMTOct 1stUS ISM Manufacturing PMI
12.15 GMTOct 2ndUS ADP Nonfarm Employment
14.30 GMTOct 2ndUS Crude Oil Inventories
08.30 GMTOct 3rdUK Services PMI
12.30 GMTOct 4th US Nonfarm Payrolls

CySEC (EU)

  • Client’s funds are kept in segregated bank accounts
  • FSCS Investor Compensation up to EUR20,000
  • 1,000,000 insurance cover** 
  • Negative Balance Protection

Products

  • CFD
  • Share Dealing
  • Strategy Builder

Markets.com, operated by Safecap Investments Limited (“Safecap”) Regulated by CySEC under licence no. 092/08 and FSCA under licence no. 43906.

FSC (GLOBAL)

  • Clients’ funds kept in segregated bank accounts
  • Electronic Verification
  • Negative Balance Protection
  • $1,000,000 insurance cover** 

Products

  • CFD
  • Strategy Builder

Markets.com, operated by Finalto (BVI) Ltd by the BVI Financial Services Commission (‘FSC’) under licence no. SIBA/L/14/1067.

FCA (UK)

  • Client’s funds are kept in segregated bank accounts
  • FSCS Investor Compensation up to GBP85,000
    *depending on criteria and eligibility
  • £1,000,000 insurance cover** 
  • Negative Balance Protection

Products

  • CFD
  • Spread Bets
  • Strategy Builder

Markets.com operated by Finalto Trading Ltd. Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) under licence number 607305.

ASIC (AU)

  • Clients’ funds kept in segregated bank accounts
  • Electronic Verification
  • Negative Balance Protection
  • $1,000,000 insurance cover**

Products

  • CFD

Markets.com, operated by Finalto (Australia) Pty Ltd Holds Australian Financial Services Licence no. 424008 and is regulated in the provision of financial services by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (“ASIC”).

Selecting one of these regulators will display the corresponding information across the entire website. If you would like to display information for a different regulator, please select it. For more information click here.

**Terms & conditions apply. Click here to read full policy.

Marketsi
An individual approach to investing.

Whether you’re investing for the long-term, medium-term or even short-term, Marketsi puts you in control. You can take a traditional approach or be creative with our innovative Investment Strategy Builder tool, our industry-leading platform and personalised, VIP service will help you make the most of the global markets without the need for intermediaries.

La gestión de acciones del grupo Markets se ofrece en exclusiva a través de Safecap Investments Limited, regulada por la Comisión de Bolsa y Valores de Chipre (CySEC) con número de licencia 092/08. Le estamos redirigiendo al sitio web de Safecap.

Redirigir

Are you lost?

We’ve noticed you’re on the site. As you are connecting from a location in the you should therefore consider re-entering , which is subject to the product intervention measures. Whilst you’re free to browse here on your own exclusive initiative, viewing the site for your country will display the corresponding regulatory information and relevant protections of the company you choose. Would you like to be redirected to ?