putin

  • Russia’s weekend mutiny cast doubts on Putin’s grip on power.
  • No major impact on markets but keep a lookout on Gold, which bounced off the key support zone of US$1,913/1,896 per ounce.
  • Stern FX verbal intervention from Japan’s top currency official. Watch USD/JPY key near-term support at 142.50/25.
  • US banking stocks tumbled ahead of annual key Fed’s banks’ stress test results

 

Before the start of this new trading week, market participants were being jolted from their weekend leisure activities to shift their focus to the internal coup in Russia that may put President Putin’s power grip in jeopardy.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner Group, a Russian key independent military contractor that has played a significant role in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine territorial conflict voiced displeasure with Russia’s top leadership in handling the Russia-Ukraine situation, took over two Russian cities and order his mercenaries to march towards Moscow on Saturday.

 

Fed Expectations Amid Mixed Data: Wishful Thinking or Practical Pause?

Japanese Yen (JPY) Being Healed, Nikkei Has Added 11%, Wheat Has Decreased By Ca. 8%

Marc Chandler Marc Chandler 30.03.2022 14:18
March 30, 2022  $USD, BOJ, China, Currency Movement, German, Inflation, Japan, Russia, Spain, Ukraine, Yield Curve Overview:  A pullback in US yields yesterday and the Bank of Japan's stepped-up efforts to defend the Yield Curve Control policy helped extend the yen's recovery.  This spurred profit-taking on Japanese stocks, where the Nikkei had rallied around 11% over the past two weeks.  Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan led the regional advance.  However, facing a surge in inflation (Spain and German states) and a jump in European natural gas prices (~9%) is snapping the Stoxx 600's three-day advance.  US futures are trading with a heavier bias.  The US 10-year yield has edged a little higher to 2.40%, while the two-year that briefly traded above the 10-year yield yesterday is off about four basis points.  European benchmark yields are 3-6 bp higher.  The greenback is trading lower against all of the major currencies, led by the yen's recovery.  After poking above JPY125 to start the week, the dollar fell to around JPY121.30 today before steadying.  The Canadian and Australian dollars are the laggards with minor gains.  Among emerging market currencies, the Turkish lira is the notable exception, and is posting a modest decline.  Gold appeared to post a bullish hammer pattern yesterday but there has not been much follow-through and the yellow metal is in around a $6 range on either side of $1922.  May WTI is also in a narrow range--mostly $105-$107 today. Copper and iron ore are trading firmer.  Wheat is still soft after losing around 8% over the past couple of sessions.   Asia Pacific The Bank of Japan stepped-up its efforts to cap interest rates earlier today.  It increased the amount of bonds it bought at its regular scheduled operation.  It offered to buy JPY600 bln (instead of JPY450 bln) 3–5-year bond, and JPY725 bln (instead of JPY425 bln) of 5-10-year bonds, in addition to the pre-announced defense of the 0.25% cap on the 10-year bond.  It did not increase the amount of longer-term bonds.  Tomorrow, the BOJ is expected to announce next quarters asset purchase plans.  Although BOJ Governor Kuroda, who met with Prime Minister Kishida earlier today, does not seem concerned about the yen's weakness, Finance Minister Suzuki seemed more cautious.  He suggested continuing to check if the yen's weakness is harming the economy.  For example, the weaker yen is aggravating the surge in energy prices, which Kishida was to cushion the blow to households and businesses. If intervention is best understood as an escalation ladder, as we suggest, then this might be seen as a low rung.  Separately, Japan reported that retail sales fell by 0.8% in February, which was more than twice the decline expected by the median forecast in Bloomberg's survey.  It also drove the year-over-year rate below zero (-0.8%) for the first time since last September.  Beijing has offered some economic support for Shanghai, but the surge in Covid there, and lockdowns there and elsewhere, are seeing economists slash growth forecast and lift inflation projections.  China's March PMI will be released tomorrow. A poor report is expected, and the risks are on the downside.  Thus far, though, officials have used targeted measures and have not provided the overall economy with new support. The dollar did not trade for long above JPY125 on Monday, but it seems to have completed something and the greenback has traded down to JPY121.30 today.   The (38.2%) retracement of this month's rally is around JPY121.10 and the next retracement (50%) is a little below JPY120.  Month-end and fiscal-year end considerations may also be at work but is often used as a catch-all narrative.  Note that reports suggested that Japanese retail accounts were beginning to buy yen toward the end of last week.  The Australian dollar bounced off four-day lows slightly below $0.7460 yesterday and settled above $0.7500.  It is firm today but below this year's high set Monday near $0.7540.  It still feels like it is consolidating.  The broad US dollar weakness was evident against the Chinese yuan today.  It is trading nearly 0.25% lower, the most in about two weeks.  The greenback is trading at a nine-day low near the 20-day moving average, slightly below CNY6.35.  That is also around the middle of this month's range (~CNY6.3080-CNY6.3860).  The PBOC set the dollar's reference rate at CNY6.3566.  The median projection in Bloomberg's survey was CNY6.3560.   Europe The common narrative now is that Putin initially anticipated a quick overwhelming victory over Ukraine and as it has stalled, he is falling back on Plan B.  Plan B is to secure the territorial claims of the two separatist regions and later incorporate them into Russia. Russia is curtailing the use of Hryvnia in the occupied areas and introducing the rouble. This military objective has not been met. Turning Clausewitz on his head, the political negotiations are a continuation of the war by other means. Putin has already achieved a key strategic goal; Ukraine will foreswear joining NATO.  One cannot help but wonder that if Zelenskiy accepted this more than a month ago, the course of events may have been different. The date for the next round of negotiations have not been set.  In a war, the losing side is more anxious for negotiations by definition. After consolidating its forces and enlarging the field of control of the separatist regions, Russia can then be in a position to negotiate.  This seems to be the key to the timeline that can lead to a sustainable cease-fire.  The cost of rebuilding Ukraine, which had serious developmental challenges before the war, will fall to the EU, IMF, World Bank, and UN.   A surge in eurozone inflation was expected, but the Spanish and German state figures are over the top. The market (Bloomberg median forecast) was for a strong 1.3% monthly increase in Spain, instead the national figure jumped 3%. The harmonized measure surged 3.9% this month and lifted the year-over-year rate to 9.8% from 7.6% in February.  Details are sparse in the initial estimate, but the Economic Minister suggested that three-quarters of the rise was due to food and energy.  Still, the core rate rose by 0.4% on the month. Most of the German states reporting CPI figures today showed a 2.6%-2.7% month-over-month increase in their CPI. The national and harmonized figures are due shortly.  There seems to be upside risk to the expectations that the year-over-year rate of the harmonized measures (HICP) will accelerate to 6.8% from 5.5% in February.  The aggregate preliminary estimate for the euro area is due Friday.  The euro rallied yesterday on the hopes that the Russian invasion of Ukraine may be near the endgame and is extending the gains today amid further positioning squaring.  We note that that the US premium over Germany on two-year money has reversed sharply lower.  It peaked on Monday above 245 bp and is testing 230 bp today.  The German two-year yield is up around seven basis points today and is again trying to secure a foothold above zero for the first time since 2014.  Yesterday's attempt was rebuffed.  The surging inflation will strengthen the hawks’ hands, many of whom see scope for two hikes this year that could bring the deposit rate to zero. The euro is trading at its best level since March 1, which was the last time it traded above $1.12. Its gains have now retraced a little more than half of this month's decline (~$1.1150).  The next technical target is the $1.1200-$1.1230 area.  Sterling is a laggard.  It is trading inside yesterday's range (~$1.3050-$1.3160). There may be scope for additional gains, albeit marginal, as the intraday momentum indicators are stretched.  We suspect the $1.3180-$1.3200 cap may suffice today.   America The US 2-10-year yield curve briefly inverted yesterday before finishing around three basis points.  It is drawing a great deal of attention, but like any statistic it needs to be placed in a context. Few believe the US is recession-bound.  The median forecast in Bloomberg's survey has the US economy growing 3.5% this year and 2.3% next year.  This is still above the Fed's estimates of the long-term growth trend (1.6%-2.2%.). The most pessimistic forecasts in Bloomberg's survey do have growth less than 1% this year or next.  That said, there are those who are warning of a recession, including ourselves, and the yield curve did not enter the picture.  Interest rates are not waiting for the Fed's meetings to increase, as the 93 bp increase in the 2-year yield this month.  The halving of the deficit (as a percentage of GDP) this year still strikes us as an under-appreciated drag.  The rise in energy and food prices cuts the purchasing power of households.  US inflation expectations are not just a function of what the Fed is or is not doing.  The correlation of the change in the 10-year breakeven (the difference between the yield of the inflation protected security and the conventional note) and oil (the front-month light sweet crude oil contact, WTI) over the past 30-days is nearly 0.65, the highest in seven months. The 60-day correlation is almost 0.55, a five month-high. The price of May WTI has risen by almost 25% ($20 a barrel) net since the US warned that a Russian attack could happen at any moment on February 11.  OPEC+ meets tomorrow and there still seems little chance that it will boost output.  Most of OPEC's spare capacity is in Saudi Arabia (~1.6 mln barrels a day) and the UAE (~1.3 mln barrels a day).   Today's ADP private sector jobs estimate is the data highlight. We remind that it is not a particularly useful guide to the BLS estimate for the particular month, though it gets the larger trend fairly right.  The median estimate for Friday's nonfarm payroll report has crept up in recent days to stand at 490k. The US also reports another revision to Q4 21 GDP.  It may be left at 7.0%.  With Q1 22 nearly over, the market will not be sensitive to Q4 data.  The economy is expected to have slowed to around 1.0%-1.5% this year from 7% last.  The Fed's Barkin and George speak today. While George is a voting member of the FOMC this year, Barkin, like Harker and Bostic, who spoke yesterday, do not.   Mexico reports February unemployment today.  It may have ticked up slightly.  Canada's economic calendar is light, but there is much talk about Ontario's imposition of a 20% tax on foreign purchases and real estate in the province.  The "speculation levy" is meant to slow the surge in house prices. Lastly, late yesterday Chile hiked its overnight target rate 150 bp to 7.0%.  This was a bit less than expected and the central bank indicated that it may not need to make such big moves going forward. Latam countries hiked rates early and many aggressively, and ideas that the tightening cycles may end later this year appears to be encouraging flows into local bond markets.  That said, the swaps market has about 300 bp of additional hikes over the next six months before a cut in rates toward the end of the year or early 2023.    The US dollar is near the recent trough against the Canadian dollar (~CAD1.2465-CAD1.2475).  Below there is the year's low around CAD1.2450.  A break targets the CAD1.2400 area. However, the intraday momentum indicators suggest the greenback may bounce first in early North American activity and a retest of CAD1.2500-CAD1.2515 would not be surprising.  Meanwhile, the greenback is slipping to new lows for the year against the Mexican peso (~MXN19.9120).  The next notable chart support is closer to MXN19.85, a shelf from last September. Here, too, the intraday momentum indicators favor a US dollar bounce in the North American morning.     Disclaimer
Increase In Interest Of Nuclear Energy Around The World

Decision On Closing Three German Nuclear Plants Is Not Made Yet. In France Wind Generation And Hydropower Stations Results Are Below Norms

Marc Chandler Marc Chandler 17.08.2022 15:00
Overview: The biggest development today in the capital markets is the jump in benchmark interest rates.  The US 10-year yield is up five basis points to 2.86%, which is about 10 bp above Monday’s low.  European yields are up 9-10 bp.  The 10-year German Bund yield was near 0.88% on Monday and is now near 1.07%.  Italy’s premium over German is near 2.18%, the most in nearly three weeks.  Although Asia Pacific equities rallied, led by Japan’s 1.2% gain, but did not include South Korea, European equities are lower as are US futures.  The Stoxx 600 is struggled to extend a five-day rally.  The Antipodeans are the weakest of the majors, but most of the major currencies are softer. The euro and sterling are straddling unchanged levels near midday in Europe.  Gold is soft in yesterday’s range, near its lowest level since August 5.  While $1750 offers support, ahead of it there may be bids around $1765. October WTI is pinned near its lows around $85.50-$86.00.  The drop in Chinese demand is a major weight, while the market is closely monitoring developments with the Iranian negotiations.  US natgas is edging higher after yesterday 6.9% surge to approach last month’s peak.  Europe’s benchmark is 4.5% stronger today after yesterday’s 2.7% pullback.  Iron ore fell (3.9%) for the fourth consecutive decline. The September contract that trades in Singapore is at its lowest level since July 22.  September copper is a little heavier but is still inside Monday’s range.  September wheat is extending its pullback for the fourth consecutive session.  It had risen in the first four sessions last week. It is moving sideways in the trough carved over the past month.    Asia Pacific   The Reserve Bank of New Zealand delivered the anticipated 50 bp rate hike and signaled it would continue to tighten policy    It did not help the New Zealand dollar, which is posting an outside day by trading on both sides of yesterday's range.  The close is the key and below yesterday's low (~$0.6315) would be a bearish technical development that could spur another cent decline.  It is the RBNZ's fourth consecutive half-point hike, which followed three quarter-point moves.  The cash target rate is at 3.0%.  Inflation (Q2) was stronger than expected rising 7.3% year-over-year.  The central bank does not meet again until October 5, and the swaps market has a little more than a 90% chance of another 50 bp discounted.    Japan's July trade balance deteriorated more than expected    The shortfall of JPY1.44 trillion (~$10.7 bln) form JPY1.40 trillion in June.  Exports slowed to a still impressive 19% year-over-year from 19.3% previously, while imports rose 47.2% from 46.1% in June.  The terms-of-trade shock is significant in both Japan and Europe.  Japan's ran an average monthly trade deficit of about JPY1.32 trillion in H1 22 compared with an average monthly surplus of JPY130 bln in H1 21.  The eurozone reported an average shortfall of 23.4 bln euros in H1 22 compared with a 16.8 bln average monthly surplus in H1 21.  The two US rivals, China, and Russia, have been hobbled by their own actions, while the two main US economic competitors, the eurozone and Japan are experiencing a dramatic deterioration of their external balance,     The 11 bp rise in the US two-year yield between yesterday and today has helped lift the US dollar to almost JPY135.00, a five-day high   It has met the (50%) retracement target of the downtrend since the multiyear peak in mid-July near JPY139.40.  The next target is the high from earlier this month around JPY135.60.  and then JPY136.00.  Initial support now is seen near JPY134.40.  After recovering a bit in the North American session yesterday, the Australian dollar has come under renewed selling pressure and is trading at five-day lows below the 20-day moving average (~$0.6990).  It has broken support in the $0.6970-80 area to test the trendline off the mid-July low found near $0.6965.  A break could signal a move toward $0.6900-10.  The gap created by yesterday's high US dollar opening against the Chinese yuan was closed today as yuan recovered for the first day in three sessions.  Monday's high was CNY6.775 and yesterday's low was CNY6.7825.  Today's low is about CNY6.7690.  For the second consecutive session, the PBOC set the dollar's reference rate a little lower than the market (median in Bloomberg's survey) expected (CNY6.7863 vs. CNY6.7877).  The dollar has risen to almost CNH6.82 in the past two sessions and still trading a little above CNH6.80 today but was sold to nearly CNH6.7755 where is has found new bids.      Europe   The UK's headline CPI accelerated to 10.1% last month from 9.4% in June    It was above market expectations and the Bank of England's forecast for a 9.9% increase.  Although the rise in food prices (2.3% on the month and 12.7% year-over-year) lifted the headline, the core rate, which excludes food, energy, alcohol, and tobacco rose to 6.2% from 5.8% and was also above expectations (median forecast in Bloomberg's survey was for 5.9%).  Producer input prices slowed, posting a 0.1% gain last month for a 22.6% year-over-year pace (24.1% in June).  However, output prices jumped 1.6% after a 1.4% gain in June.  This puts the year-over-year pace at 17.1%, up from 16.4% previously.  The bottom line is that although the UK economy contracted in Q2 and the BOE sees a sustained contraction beginning soon, the market recognize that the monetary policy will continue to tighten.  The market swaps market is fully pricing in a 50 bp hike at the mid-September meeting and is toying with the idea of a larger move (53 bp of tightening is discounted).    What a year of reversals for Germany    After years of pressure from the United States and some allies in Europe, Germany finally nixed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline with Russia.  Putin also got Germany to do something that several American presidents failed to achieve and that is boost is defense sending in line with NATO commitments. The energy crunch manufactured by Russia is forcing Germany to abandon is previous strategy of reducing coal and closing down its nuclear plants.  Ironically, the Greens ae in the coalition government and recognize little choice.  A formal decision on three nuclear plants that were to be shuttered before the end of the year has yet to be made, but reports confirm it is being discussed at the highest levels.     Germany's one-year forward electricity rose by 11% to 530.50 euros a megawatt-hour in the futures market years, a gain of more than 500%     France, whose nuclear plants are key to the regional power grid, is set to be the lowest in decades, according to reports.  France has become a net importer of electricity, while the extreme weather has cut hydropower output and wind generation is below seasonal norms.  The low level of the Rhine also disrupts this important conduit for barges of coal and oil. Starting in October, German households will have a new gas tax (2.4-euro cents per kilowatt hour for natural gas) until 1 April 2024. Economic Minister Habeck estimated that for the average single household the gas tax could be almost 100 euros a month, while a couple would pay around 195 euros.  Also, starting in October, utilities will be able to through to consumers the higher costs associated with the reduction of gas supply from Russia.  This poses upside risk to German inflation.     The euro held technical support near $1.0110 yesterday and is trading quietly today in a narrow (~$1.0150-$1.0185) range today    Yesterday was the first session since July 15 that the euro did not trade above $1.02.  The decline since peaking last week a little shy of $1.0370 has seen the five- and 20-day moving averages converge and could cross today or tomorrow for the first time since late July. We note that the US 2-year premium over German is testing the 2.60% area.  It has not closed below there since July 22.  Sterling held key support at $1.20 yesterday and traded to almost $1.2145 today, which met the (50%) retracement objective of the fall from last week's $1.2275 high.  The next retracement (61.8%) is closer to $1.2175.  The UK reported employment yesterday, CPI today, and retail sales ahead of the weekend.  Retail sales, excluding gasoline have fallen consistently since last July with the exception of October 2021 and June 2022.  Retail sales are expected to have slipped by around 0.3% last month.     America   The Empire State manufacturing August survey on Monday and yesterday's July housing starts pick up a thread first picked up in the July composite PMI, which fell from 52.3 to 47.7 of some abrupt slowing of economic activity  The Empire State survey imploded from 11.1 to -31.3.  Housing starts fell 9.6%, more than four-times the pace expected (median Bloomberg survey -2.1%).  It was small comfort that the June series was revised up 2.4% from initially a 2.0% decline.  The 1.45 mln unit pace is the weakest since February 2021 and is about 9% lower than July 2021.  However, offsetting this has been the strong July jobs report and yesterday' industrial production figures.  The 0.6% was twice the median forecast (Bloomberg's survey) and the June decline (-0.2%) was revised away. The auto sector continues to recover from supply chain disruptions, and this may be distorting typically seasonal patterns.  Sales are rose in June and July, the first back-to-back gain in over a year. To some extent, supply is limiting sales, which would seem to encourage production.  Outside of autos, output slowed (year-over-year) for the third consecutive month in July.     Today's highlights include July retail sales and the FOMC minutes     Retail sales are reported in nominal terms, which means that the 13% drop in the average retail price of gasoline will weigh on the broadest of measures.  However, excluding auto, gasoline, building materials, and food services, the core retail sales will likely rise by around 0.6% after a 0.8% gain in June.  The most important thing than many want to know from the FOMC minutes is where the is bar to another 75 bp rate hike.  The Fed funds futures market has it nearly 50/50.     Canada's July CPI was spot on forecasts for a 0.1% month-over-month increase and a 7.6% year-over-year pace (down from 8.1%)     However, the core rates were firm than average increased.  The market quickly concluded that this increases the likelihood that the central bank that surprised the market with a 100 bp hike last month will lift the target rate by another 75 bp when it meets on September 7.  In fact, the swaps market sees it as a an almost 65% probability, the most since July 20.  Canada reports June retail sales at the end of the week.  The median forecast in Bloomberg's survey is for a 0.4% gain, but even if it is weaker, it is unlikely to offset the firm core inflation readings.     The dollar-bloc currencies are under pressure today, but the Canadian dollar is faring best, off about 0.25% in late morning trading in Europe     The Aussie is off closer to 0.75% and the Kiwi is down around 0.5%.  US equities are softer. The greenback found support near CAD1.2830 and is near CAD1.2880.  Monday and Tuesday's highs were in the CAD1.2930-5 area and a break above there would target CAD1.2985-CAD1.3000.  However, the intraday momentum indicators are overextended, and initial support is seen in the CAD1.2840-60 area. The greenback has forged a shelf near MXN19.81 in recent days.  It has been sold from the MXN20.83 area seen earlier this month.  It has not been above MXN20.05 for the past five sessions.  A move above there, initially targets around MXN20.20.  The JP Morgan Emerging Market Currency Index is off for the third consecutive session. If sustained, it would be the longest losing streak since July 20-22.     Disclaimer   Source: Markets Look for Direction
Industrial Metals Outlook: Assessing the Impact of China's Stimulus Measures

Podcast: Forex Market Is Focus On The Yen, Power Prices In EU

Saxo Bank Saxo Bank 08.09.2022 11:45
Summary:  Today we ponder whether yesterday's bounce in sentiment after technical support once again survived offers room for at least tactical optimism. Certainly, investor sentiment in the US is in the dumps, nearly matching record low levels according to at least one survey. Elsewhere, we breakdown the impact of EU proposals to cap power prices, particularly on alternative energy equities, the latest on crude oil and Putin boosting wheat prices with threats to revisit Ukraine export deal. In FX, the focus is on the JPY as officialdom there is getting religion on the need to do something soon and on the EUR as the ECB is likely set to hike 75 basis points today. Today's pod features Peter Garnry on equities, Ole Hansen on commodities and John J. Hardy hosting and on FX. Listen to today’s podcast - slides are found via the link. Follow Saxo Market Call on your favorite podcast app: Apple  Spotify PodBean Sticher If you are not able to find the podcast on your favourite podcast app when searching for Saxo Market Call, please drop us an email at marketcall@saxobank.com and we'll look into it.   Questions and comments, please! We invite you to send any questions and comments you might have for the podcast team. Whether feedback on the show's content, questions about specific topics, or requests for more focus on a given market area in an upcoming podcast, please get in touch at marketcall@saxobank.com. Share       Source: https://www.home.saxo/content/articles/podcast/podcast-sep-8-2022-08092022
Saxo Bank Podcast: The Risk Of An Escalation In The US-China Confrontation, The Risk Of An Escalation In The US-China Confrontation And More

Market Focus Will Likely Be On Putin’s Warnings To The West, Nike (NKE) Reported Slightly Better Revenues And More

Saxo Bank Saxo Bank 30.09.2022 08:37
Summary:  Fresh lows return in US equities with more hawkish Fed comments and fear of earnings downgrades picking up as the Q3 earnings season draws closer. Cable extended its rally despite UK PM’s commitment to fiscal plan and weakening BOE hike expectations, while the EUR gained strength on the back of hot German CPI and uptick in ECB rate hike expectations. Talks of OPEC+ production cuts are gaining momentum, and focus today will be on China PMIs. Also watch for Eurozone CPI, US PCE data as well as Putin’s speech in the day ahead. What is happening in markets? Nasdaq 100 (USNAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I) fall to 22-month lows US stocks sank to their lowest levels since November 2020 after another round of Fed speakers continued with hawkish remarks, while oil maintained gains on expectations of OPEC+ cuts. Nasdaq 100 was down almost 4% at one point, but trimmed the losses before closing 2.9% lower, while the broader S&P500 met a similar fate nearing 3,600 before ending 2.1% down. All 11 sectors of the S&P 500 dropped, with Utilities falling the most and followed by Consumer Discretionary. Retail favorites Tesla (TSLA) and Apple  (AAPL)  led the declines falling 6.8% and 4.9% while chip makers followed with AMD (AMD) down 6.2% with PC demand falling away. On the upside, oil stocks like Devon Energy (DVN), and Diamondback Energy (FANG) and Occidental (OXY) moved higher. Separately the European Commission announced an eight package of sanctions that would include a price cap on Russia’s oil exports. U.S. treasury yields (TLT:xnas, IEF:xnas, SHY:xnas) climbed again After plunging sharply the day before on the Bank of England move, yields of U.S. treasury securities rose, with the 10-year note yields rising 6bps to 3.79% on Thursday.  Yields initially crept higher on bounces of U.K. Gilt yields and higher German regional CPI data, but paring their rise in the afternoon.  Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HSIU2) and China’s CSI300 (03188:xhkg) Hong Kong and mainland equity markets opened higher on Thursday and pared the gain through the day and settled moderately lower, with the Hang Seng Index down by 0.5%, and CSI300 little changed. The news of the imposition of a 3-day mandatory PCR test in the financial district, Lujiazui in Shanghai due to one new Covid-19 case triggered some fears among investors. In spite of PBoC’s supportive statement coming out from its quarterly monetary meeting saying that the central bank will expand its special lending program to ensure the delivery of delayed housing projects, Chinese developers declined, with Country Garden (02007:xhkg) plunging 11.6%, Longfor (00960:xhkg) down by 7.5%, and CIFI (00884:xhkg) tumbling 16.3%.  Chinese EV maker, Zhejian Leapmotor (09863:xhkg), tumbled 33.5% in its first day of trading after an IPO priced at the bottom of a guided range.  XPeng (09868:xhkg) dropped 5.3%.  Trading in the China Internet space was mixed with Alibaba outperforming (+2.9%). Australia’s ASX200 (ASXSP200.1) likely to follow Wall Street lower: futures suggest a 0.3% fall today, aluminum stocks to be bright spark As above, on the ASX today, it’s worth keeping an eye on aluminum related stocks on the ASX including Rio Tinto (RIO) and Alumina (AWC). Meanwhile, diversified miners including the major retail favorites, like BHP (BHP) are worth watching after the Iron Ore (SCOA) price remains supported with China ramping up housing support. This morning the iron ore price (SCOA, SCOV2) pushed up ~1.1% to US$96.50. In NY BHP closed 0.6% higher, implying the ASX primary listing of BHP will likely move up, especially after the aluminum and iron ore prices rose. Cable stays bid and Euro follows The US 10-year yields as well as the dollar could not catch a strong bid on Thursday, which helped other G10 currencies gain some ground. Sterling was the strongest on the G10 board, with GBPUSD now testing 1.12 in early Asian hours. BOE’s emergency bond-buying measures however hints at a push lower in gilt yields, and GBP will likely come back under pressure if the surge in global yield resumes. This will need a focus shift back on Fed tightening as we think there is still some room for upward repricing of terminal rate Fed expectations and higher-for-longer rates. Meanwhile, expectations for an ultra-aggressive BOE hike in November cooled slightly. EURUSD also surged above 0.98 with ECB rate hike expectations for October meeting picking up after the hot German inflation, and with the ECB downplaying the chance of an emergency move to prop up Italian bonds. EURGBP was however lower from 0.8950 to 0.88. Aluminum and aluminum stocks on watch It’s worth watching aluminium related shares across the Asian-Pacific region today after the record jump in Aluminum price on the LME after Bloomberg reported plans to discuss a potential ban on new Russian metal supplies. The metal jumped 8.5% (its biggest intraday jump in record) before paring back. Crude oil (CLU2 & LCOV2) prices maintain gains Crude oil prices maintained the momentum with OPEC+ production cuts becoming a key factor going into the next week’s meeting. OPEC+ commenced discussions around an output cut with one saying it a cut is “likely”, according to Reuters sources. This comes after previous reports that Russia will likely propose OPEC+ reduces output by around 1mln BPD. Demand conditions are likely to weaken as global tightening race heats up, and this has prompted expectations for a supply cut as well. Brent futures touched $90/barrel mark but reversed slightly later, while WTI futures rose to $83/barrel before some decline later in the session.   What to consider? German inflation sparks EZ inflation fears German inflation touched double digits, as it came above consensus at 10.9% YoY for September from 8.8% YoY previously. Germany is also preparing to borrow an additional €200 billion to finance a plan to limit the impact of soaring energy costs, which could keep consumption high even as shortages loom. Up today will be the September eurozone inflation print. Expect a new record which will increase the pressure on the European Central Bank to hike interest rates by at least 75 basis points in October. The economist consensus expects that the headline harmonized index of consumer prices (HICP) will reach 9.7% YoY against 9.1% in August. The core rate is expected to climb to 5.6% YoY against 5.5% previously. The spread between the headline and the core inflation figures is mostly explained by a decrease in oil and natural gas prices in recent months. However, this is clear that inflation is becoming broad-based, including in the services sector. This means that inflation is here to stay for long. The HICP is likely to continue increasing in the coming months. A peak in inflation in the eurozone is possible in the first quarter of 2023, in our view. This is much later than in the United States. Fed speakers push for more hikes Loretta Mester remains more hawkish than the Fed’s median dot plot, and said that rate are not in restrictive territory yet and more rate hikes will be needed. No signs of concern on economy or dollar strength were noted, while inflation remained the key point of concern for her. James Bullard also made some key comments on ‘bad idea to mess’ with the inflation target while the labor market conditions remain tight and recession is only a risk. Mary Daly was more cautious, saying officials should work to avoid "inducing a deep recession." However, she still raised the bar on expectations on the Fed funds rate saying that she is comfortable with median Fed rate path projection of 4%-4.5% by year end, 4.5%-5% in 2023 (pointing to upside risks as the dot plot suggested 4.6%, or 4.5-4.75% if we talk in ranges). US initial claims come in strong again Initial claims came in lower than expected at 193k with last week’s also revised lower to 209k from 213k. Continued claims cooled to 1.347mln from 1.376mln despite the expected rise to 1.388mln. The data shows how tight the labour market is in the US and Fed's Bullard labelled today's claims metric as "super low". Meanwhile, the third estimate of Q2 GDP was confirmed to decline 0.6%, notably with consumer spending revised higher to 2% from 1.5% previously. Australian inflation rose 7% in the year to July, based on new monthly CPI At this rate it doesn’t appear CPI will peak at just shy of the 8% the RBA forecasts, given price pressures have resumed this month from the largest inflation contributors. Based on the ABS’s new monthly CPI print, some of the largest price jumps year-on-year to July were in fuel (+29.2%) and fruit & vegetables (+14.5%). The concern is that, with La Nina set to hit Australia and population growth continuing, food and housing (rent) prices will continue to rise apace. In September alone, contributors to food prices have risen markedly, as the global supply outlook has weakened amid poor crop conditions. This could tilt the RBA back toward a more hawkish stance. Australian rents to drive higher, adding to inflation woes Australia’s population growth resumed after borders reopened and business employment remains strong for the time being, at 50-year highs. New office and residential supply is expected be subdued in 2023 as interest rates rise; which supports the notion of falling vacancy rates. According to Colliers and the ABS, Sydney CBD rents rose 3.6% to $5.22 per square foot in the June quarter, driven by competition for top-quality office space. China’s manufacturing PMIs are expected to stay in the contractionary territory China’s September official NBS Manufacturing PMI and Non-manufacturing PMI as well as the Caixin China Manufacturing PMI are scheduled to release today. The median forecast of, economists surveyed by Bloomberg for the NBS Manufacturing PMI is 49.7 for September, a modest improvement from August’s 49.4 but remains in contraction territory.  Economists cite the lockdown of Chengdu and restrictive measures in some other cities during most part of the month and the weak EPMI released earlier as reasons for expecting the NBS Manufacturing PMI to stay below 50.  The Caixin Manufacturing PMI, which has a larger weight in coastal cities in the eastern region, is expected to remain at 49.5 as export-related manufacturing activities and container throughput were weak.  The consensus estimate for the NBS Non-manufacturing PMI is 52.4, staying in the expansionary territory, supported by infrastructure construction but slowing slightly in September from August’s 52.6 due to weakness in the housing sector.  On the other hand, steel production and demand data in September suggest the PMIs may potentially surprise the upside. Buying activity up in food and Agricultural instruments, stocks and ETFs Food prices are supported higher as the global crop outlook dampens for 4 reasons; concern lingers over Ukraine’s exports being cut off, South America has been hit by rains and frosts, the US has been plagued by drought and dry conditions and as Hurricane Ian made landfall in the, US conditions are likely to go from bad to worse. And lastly - La Nina is expected to hit Australia for the third year in a row. So we are seeing clients buy into Wheat and Corn. Both prices are up 20% off their lows. Secondly, buying has been picking up in agricultural stocks like General Mills (GIS) and GrainCorp (GNC). And lastly, clients are biting into agricultural ETFs like Invesco DB Agriculture Fund (DBA) and iShares MSCI Agricultural Producers ETF (VEGI). Fed preferred inflation measure, US PCE, on the radar today The Fed’s preferred inflation measure, the PCE is due today, and it will likely echo the same message as given by the last strong CPI number which has made the Fed even more hawkish in the last few weeks since the Jackson Hole. Headline numbers may be lower due to the decline in gasoline prices, but the price pressure on services side will likely broaden further. Last week, the Fed also raised its forecasts for inflation, with the central bank now seeing core PCE at 4.5% by the end of this year (it previously projected 4.3%), moderating to 3.1% next year and at 2.1% at the end of its forecast horizon in 2025, but thinks that headline PCE prices will be at its 2% target by then. Putin's speech due today after Russia annexed parts of Ukraine Vladimir Putin will address legislators after Russia signs treaties today to absorb four occupied regions, with Ukrainian forces threatening to encircle a pocket of the Donbas region. There is also growing resistance to Putin’s decision to call up 300,000 reservists. Market focus will likely be on Putin’s warnings to the West about any potential threats of using nuclear weapons, which may mean risk aversion getting another leg up. Nike sank on concerns about inventory build-up and margins Nike (NKE) reported slightly better than expected revenues and inline earnings but below expectation gross margins and a 65% surge in inventories for the North American market.  In the earnings call, the company’s CFO pledged to take “decisive action to clear excess inventory” and such efforts will have “a transitory impact on gross margins this fiscal year”.  Investors took note of the implication on demand and profitability and sold stock to more than 9% lower in the extended hour trading. Apple fell on analyst downgrade After being sold on the company’s announcement to back off plans to increase iPhone production this year on the day before, Apple’s shares fell another 4.9% yesterday after an analyst downgrade from a U.S. investment bank.  In this Market Daily Insights piece yesterday, we mentioned the warnings from Peter Garnry, Saxo’s Head of Equity Strategy, about the likelihood that Apple’s revenue could slip into negative growth for the current quarter ending Sep 30 and you can find more details of his analysis from here. In his note, Peter also warns that analysts may be way off in their estimates for the S&P 500 for Q3 and it is highly probable that there will be significant misses to the downside followed by gloomy comments from company management about the outlook on margins.     For a week-ahead look at markets – tune into our Saxo Spotlight. For a global look at markets – tune into our Podcast. Source: https://www.home.saxo/content/articles/equities/market-insights-today-30-sept-30092022
Oil Could Be Ready To Pop, The Bank Of England Market Pricing Is More Mixed

The Barrel Of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) Gained More Than 3%

TeleTrade Comments TeleTrade Comments 05.10.2022 13:01
USD/CAD gathered bullish momentum early Wednesday following two-day slide. WTI trades in negative territory as markets wait for OPEC+ to unveil output strategy. The dollar benefits from safe-haven flows amid escalating geopolitical tensions. After having lost nearly 300 pips in a two-day slide, USD/CAD reversed its direction and climbed toward 1.3600 on Wednesday. As of writing, the pair was trading at 1.3570, where it was up 0.45% on a daily basis. WTI turns south ahead of OPEC+ decision The sharp upsurge witnessed in crude oil prices helped the commodity-sensitive loonie outperform its rivals earlier in the week. On reports claiming that OPEC+ could reduce crude oil production by as much as 2 million barrels per day, the barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) gained more than 3% and climbed to its highest level since mid-September at $87 on Tuesday.  The negative shift witnessed in the risk mood, however, seems to be causing oil prices to edge lower mid-week and doesn't allow the CAD to preserve its strength. OPEC+ is set to unveil its output strategy later in the day and the European Union is expected to introduce a new sanctions package against Russia that will most likely include a cap on oil prices. Meanwhile, US stock index futures are down sharply as geopolitical tensions continue to escalate. Russian President Vladimir Putin is reportedly planning to address the nation and announce a change in the status of the "special operation." Russia's ambassador warned earlier in the day that the US' decision to send more military aid to Ukraine would raise the danger of a direct clash between Russia and the west. In the second half of the day, the US economic docket will feature the ADP's private sector employment data and the ISM's Services PMI survey. 
Japan's Prime Minister Tested Covid Positive. Gazprom Confirmed Gas Shipment Would Be Stopped!

Baltic Pipe Is Alternative Energy Source For Poland

Kamila Szypuła Kamila Szypuła 21.02.2023 11:46
In an interview with the IMF, Piotr Naimski explains why the Baltic Pipe is important not only for Poland but for the whole of Europe. In this article: Ant Group and NBA partnership Putin blames West The Baltic Pipe Ant Group and NBA partnership The NBA is one of the most popular cultural exports from the United States to China. Chinese fintech giant Ant Group said on Tuesday that it had entered into a strategic partnership with the NBA in China. Fans in China would be able to access NBA video content on Alipay, the hugely popular payment app owned by Ant Group. Collaboration with the Chinese business arm of the professional basketball league will also cover areas such as joint marketing campaigns and digital collectibles. NBA, Ant Group launch strategic partnership in China https://t.co/3OPNvYdBAE pic.twitter.com/jWr7LUNjRz — Reuters Business (@ReutersBiz) February 21, 2023 Read next: Amazon Will Pay Employees A Lower Salary Due To Lower Stock Prices, Declining Demand For 5G Equipment Will Result In The Loss Of 1,400 Jobs At Ericsson| FXMAG.COM Putin blames West Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 after a fraudulent referendum. The invasion was widely condemned by the international community and resulted in a series of Western sanctions against Russian officials. On February 24, it will be a year since Russia launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, starting a ground war in Europe that Putin still calls a "special military operation." Putin on Tuesday discussed the Donbass, saying the Kremlin saw an increase in threats in the disputed region ahead of the February 24 invasion. The US administration on Saturday formally concluded that Moscow had committed "crimes against humanity" Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday used a widely watched speech to deny responsibility for the war in Ukraine and attack his opponents. In a speech lasting more than an hour, Putin stated that Russia was trying to let the citizens of the disputed region of Donbass speak their "own language" and was seeking a peaceful solution. He also cited NATO expansion and new European missile defense systems as provoking Russia 'They started the war': Russia's Putin blames West and Ukraine for provoking conflict https://t.co/deJPZ6uDji — CNBC (@CNBC) February 21, 2023 The Baltic Pipe The countries of Europe, and especially Eastern Europe, were largely dependent on Russia for energy. Russia's aggression against ukraine has caused tensions and the need for independence. Although Poland has coal deposits, they want to leave for ecological reasons and decide to import other energy resources. In order to become independent from Russia, Poland decided to supply supplies from Norway, and for this purpose, The Baltic Pipe was launched. The Baltic Pipe will have a capacity of 10 billion m3 per year. This is roughly half of the Polish demand and will replace 100 percent. Russian supplies. This action is important because Poland will be free from hostile Russian gas manoeuvres. This is especially important today, when Europe has to face the Russian armament of hydrocarbon supplies. .@PiotrNaimski, mastermind behind the Baltic Pipe, is on a mission to find alternative energy sources for Poland. Read his interview in F&D. https://t.co/DvqFkcjRyF pic.twitter.com/kVNC7490Km — IMF (@IMFNews) February 21, 2023
Incoming Government Faces Challenges Amid Slowing Spanish Economy

BNP Paribas Sued For Providing Financial Services To Companies That Allegedly Contribute To Deforestation Of The Amazon Rainforest

Kamila Szypuła Kamila Szypuła 27.02.2023 10:57
You hear more and more often that companies are sued for actions that threaten the climate, but this is the first time you hear about a lawsuit against a bank. In this article: Lotte Group and Polygon Ukraine war updates French bank BNP Paribas sued by NGOs Lotte Group and Polygon Lotte Group, South Korea's fifth-largest conglomerate with manufacturing, hotel and e-commerce businesses, plans to expand its non-fungible token (NFT) business globally through a partnership with the Polygon blockchain. The Lotte Group has assets of more than 121 trillion Korean won (US$92.3 billion). The rebranded collection will be called "BellyGom NFT Season 2". The company is still working on the project and there is no release date for the collection. Polygon is the third largest blockchain in NFT sales in the last 30 days. . The Polygon platform is compatible with Ethereum, and Polygon has signed partnership agreements with global brands such as Starbucks, Adidas and Prada. NEWS: Lotte Group, a South Korean conglomerate, has announced partnership plans with Polygon (#MATIC) to expand its #NFT business globally.📰 https://t.co/iJVTndtwvR pic.twitter.com/h9w2QsnoEN — CoinGecko (@coingecko) February 27, 2023 Read next: Pfizer Is In The Early Stages Of An Acquisition Of Biotech Company Seagen, Twitter's Staff Has Shrunk Since Elon Musk Took Over| FXMAG.COM Ukraine war updates After a year of war, the conflict has no end. Ukraine is supported by Western countries. Meanwhile, Ukraine received support and financial assistance this weekend from an unlikely source: Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Chief of the Cabinet of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak were present at the signing ceremony of the agreement and the memorandum of understanding worth USD 400 million in aid for Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised Saudi Arabia on Sunday after a high-level diplomatic visit that saw the Middle Eastern kingdom, Russia's ally for its ties to oil production. On the other side of the clash, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow needs to consider NATO's nuclear capabilities and reiterated that the West wants to eliminate Russia. Putin said that the West is complicit in the "crimes" committed by Ukraine by supplying the country with weapons, with the ultimate goal of destroying and dividing Russia. Putin has repeatedly blamed the West for causing the conflict in Ukraine. In a speech last week ahead of the first anniversary of the outbreak of war, Putin tried to justify the Russian invasion by claiming it was trying to allow citizens of the disputed Donbass region in eastern Ukraine to speak their "own language". Russia has to take NATO's nuclear capabilities into account, Putin says; Ukraine gets Saudi support https://t.co/4mvxAu4Zai — CNBC (@CNBC) February 27, 2023 French bank BNP Paribas sued by NGOs The Brazilian NGO Comissão Pastoral da Terra and the French group Notre Affaire À Tous said they filed a lawsuit in a Paris court last week alleging that BNP Paribas failed to carry out proper checks before agreeing to provide financial services to companies that allegedly contribute to deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. Destruction of forests is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Brazil, and climate activists are increasingly using lawsuits to force large companies to move to a low-carbon economy. French companies have become of particular interest due to a 2017 French law that requires them to identify and prevent threats to human rights and the environment French bank BNP Paribas sued by NGOs over Amazon deforestation link https://t.co/o7Uu0v0Ztz pic.twitter.com/iCQ74p7bEP — Reuters Business (@ReutersBiz) February 27, 2023
Russia's Weekend Mutiny and Gold's Bounce off Support Raise Concerns; Verbal Intervention in USD/JPY and US Banking Stocks Tumble Ahead of Fed's Stress Test Results

Russia's Weekend Mutiny and Gold's Bounce off Support Raise Concerns; Verbal Intervention in USD/JPY and US Banking Stocks Tumble Ahead of Fed's Stress Test Results

Kelvin Wong Kelvin Wong 26.06.2023 15:57
Russia’s weekend mutiny cast doubts on Putin’s grip on power. No major impact on markets but keep a lookout on Gold, which bounced off the key support zone of US$1,913/1,896 per ounce. Stern FX verbal intervention from Japan’s top currency official. Watch USD/JPY key near-term support at 142.50/25. US banking stocks tumbled ahead of annual key Fed’s banks’ stress test results Before the start of this new trading week, market participants were being jolted from their weekend leisure activities to shift their focus to the internal coup in Russia that may put President Putin’s power grip in jeopardy. Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner Group, a Russian key independent military contractor that has played a significant role in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine territorial conflict voiced displeasure with Russia’s top leadership in handling the Russia-Ukraine situation, took over two Russian cities and order his mercenaries to march towards Moscow on Saturday.   Russia’s weekend mutiny started fast and ended fast Upon reaching 200 km within Moscow, Prigozhin’s troops halted and made a U-turn back to their field camps. In addition, Putin dropped earlier treason charges on the Wagner Group and allowed Prigozhin to head to Belarus, Russia’s western neighbour for exile. In less than 48 hours, the mutiny in Russia is over without any clear details on what has transpired that led to Prigozhin’s retreat as Putin has not made any official speech or press conference yet. US Secretary of State Blinken commented that the weekend’s uprising by Prigozhin, a former Putin royalist has posed a direct challenge to Putin’s grip on power in Russia and provided a battlefield advantage to Ukraine. On the other hand, several geopolitical commenters have analyzed the situation to be in favour of Putin in which Wagner Group’s mutiny may be used as a cover for Putin to remove the top brass in Russia’s Ministry of Defence; Shoigu, the defence minister and Gerasimov, chief of the general staff as they posed a threat to Putin’s rule. Thus, the change of Russia’s military leadership may be part of the “deal” package that the Kremlin and Prigozhin agreed on.   No significant movements in markets but watch gold In today’s Asian session, both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures were up slightly by around +0.20% after posting their worst weekly losses last week in three months. Major Asian stock indices were mixed at this time of the writing, Nikkei 225 (-0.24%), Kospi 200 (+0.60%), Hang Seng Index (-0.14%), Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (+0.13%), and CSI 300 (-0.70%). The US dollar is almost unchanged on average with the US Dollar Index inching down by a meagre -0.1%. Gold, a traditional safe haven asset that tends to benefit in light of major geopolitical risks upheaval in the past has exhibited some interesting price actions movement from a technical analysis perspective.     Gold’s decline has managed to bounce off from a key support zone of US$1,913/1,896 per ounce   Fig 1: Gold (XAU/USD) medium-term trend as of 26 Jun 2023 (Source: TradingView, click to enlarge chart) Last week’s decline seen in Gold (XAU/USD) has led its price actions to hit a crucial medium-term pivotal support zone of US$1,913/US$ 1,896 per ounce (printed an intraday low of US$1,910 last Friday, 23 June) which is being defined by a confluence of elements; the lower boundary of the medium-term ascending channel in place since 3 November 2022 low, 38.2% Fibonacci retracement of the prior medium-term up move from 3 November 2022 low to 4 May 2023 high, and approximately the downside price objective of recent “Descending Triangle” bearish breakdown. Momentum has also improved as the daily RSI oscillator has managed to stage a bounce off the key corresponding support at the 36 level. Watch the US$1,896 key medium-term pivotal support and a clearance above US1,940 intermediate resistance sees the next resistance coming in at US$1,990 (also the 50-day moving average).   FX verbal intervention from Japan After a strong upside movement seen in the USD/JPY that recorded a weekly gain of +1.3% last week which outperformed other major USD crosses, the US Dollar Index only rose by +0.56% over the same period, Japan’s Vice Finance Minister Masato Kanda, a top currency official that has oversight over foreign exchange market matters has sounded the alarm in today’s morning Asian session. Based on a Reuters report, Kanda said that the authorities will respond to any excessive moves in the foreign exchange market, warned that the recent yen moves were rapid and will not rule out any chance of an FX intervention. He said, “Regardless of the direction, it’s generally not good for the economy if exchange rates move excessively in a way that deviates from economic fundamentals.” Today’s verbal intervention was the most pronounced made by any of Japan’s finance ministry officials in the past month when USD/JPY sailed past the prior 141.00 and 142.00 psychological levels “effortlessly”. USD/JPY has shed -0.2% intraday and broke key near-term support at 143.45 at this time of the writing, the next support to watch will be at 142.50/25 (former swing highs of 11/21/22 November 2022).     Fed’s annual banks stress test results out on Wednesday The US Federal Reserve will unveil the results of its annual stress tests on the 23 biggest US banks on Wednesday, 28 June. The key focus will be on a section of the test, labelled as “exploratory market shock”, this is the first time such a test is being conducted on the trading books of the largest US banks. The urgency and significance of the “exploratory market shock” stress test come after the US regional banks’ turmoil. Hence, monitoring of fixed income duration risk is paramount now given that the latest Fed’s hawkish monetary policy guidance is to keep interest rates higher for a longer period. Last week, the US banking stocks shed by -6.80% as indicated by the SPDR S&P Bank exchange-traded fund, its worse weekly performance in seven weeks and underperformed the S&P 500.     Fig 2: S&P 500 major trend with VIX as of 26 Jun 2023 (Source: TradingView, click to enlarge chart) If the “exploratory market shock” stress test results come in unfavourable, it may put more downside pressure on US banking stocks which in turn may trigger a volatility upside breakout in the VIX, a measurement of implied volatility on the S&P 500 as it has compressed to a low level of 13.44 not seen since early February 2020 before the pandemic. A sudden spike in VIX may dampen the current bullish mood for US stock indices.  
Russia's Weekend Mutiny Raises Concerns About Putin's Power Grip; Market Highlights: Gold Support, FX Intervention, and Fed's Stress Test Results

Russia's Weekend Mutiny Raises Concerns About Putin's Power Grip; Market Highlights: Gold Support, FX Intervention, and Fed's Stress Test Results

Kelvin Wong Kelvin Wong 27.06.2023 10:32
Russia’s weekend mutiny cast doubts on Putin’s grip on power. No major impact on markets but keep a lookout on Gold, which bounced off the key support zone of US$1,913/1,896 per ounce. Stern FX verbal intervention from Japan’s top currency official. Watch USD/JPY key near-term support at 142.50/25. US banking stocks tumbled ahead of annual key Fed’s banks’ stress test results   Before the start of this new trading week, market participants were being jolted from their weekend leisure activities to shift their focus to the internal coup in Russia that may put President Putin’s power grip in jeopardy. Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner Group, a Russian key independent military contractor that has played a significant role in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine territorial conflict voiced displeasure with Russia’s top leadership in handling the Russia-Ukraine situation, took over two Russian cities and order his mercenaries to march towards Moscow on Saturday.     Russia’s weekend mutiny started fast and ended fast Upon reaching 200 km within Moscow, Prigozhin’s troops halted and made a U-turn back to their field camps. In addition, Putin dropped earlier treason charges on the Wagner Group and allowed Prigozhin to head to Belarus, Russia’s western neighbour for exile. In less than 48 hours, the mutiny in Russia is over without any clear details on what has transpired that led to Prigozhin’s retreat as Putin has not made any official speech or press conference yet. US Secretary of State Blinken commented that the weekend’s uprising by Prigozhin, a former Putin royalist has posed a direct challenge to Putin’s grip on power in Russia and provided a battlefield advantage to Ukraine. On the other hand, several geopolitical commenters have analyzed the situation to be in favour of Putin in which Wagner Group’s mutiny may be used as a cover for Putin to remove the top brass in Russia’s Ministry of Defence; Shoigu, the defence minister and Gerasimov, chief of the general staff as they posed a threat to Putin’s rule. Thus, the change of Russia’s military leadership may be part of the “deal” package that the Kremlin and Prigozhin agreed on.     No significant movements in markets but watch gold In today’s Asian session, both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures were up slightly by around +0.20% after posting their worst weekly losses last week in three months. Major Asian stock indices were mixed at this time of the writing, Nikkei 225 (-0.24%), Kospi 200 (+0.60%), Hang Seng Index (-0.14%), Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (+0.13%), and CSI 300 (-0.70%). The US dollar is almost unchanged on average with the US Dollar Index inching down by a meagre -0.1%. Gold, a traditional safe haven asset that tends to benefit in light of major geopolitical risks upheaval in the past has exhibited some interesting price actions movement from a technical analysis perspective.   Gold’s decline has managed to bounce off from a key support zone of US$1,913/1,896 per ounce   Fig 1: Gold (XAU/USD) medium-term trend as of 26 Jun 2023 (Source: TradingView, click to enlarge chart) Last week’s decline seen in Gold (XAU/USD) has led its price actions to hit a crucial medium-term pivotal support zone of US$1,913/US$ 1,896 per ounce (printed an intraday low of US$1,910 last Friday, 23 June) which is being defined by a confluence of elements; the lower boundary of the medium-term ascending channel in place since 3 November 2022 low, 38.2% Fibonacci retracement of the prior medium-term up move from 3 November 2022 low to 4 May 2023 high, and approximately the downside price objective of recent “Descending Triangle” bearish breakdown. Momentum has also improved as the daily RSI oscillator has managed to stage a bounce off the key corresponding support at the 36 level. Watch the US$1,896 key medium-term pivotal support and a clearance above US1,940 intermediate resistance sees the next resistance coming in at US$1,990 (also the 50-day moving average).   FX verbal intervention from Japan After a strong upside movement seen in the USD/JPY that recorded a weekly gain of +1.3% last week which outperformed other major USD crosses, the US Dollar Index only rose by +0.56% over the same period, Japan’s Vice Finance Minister Masato Kanda, a top currency official that has oversight over foreign exchange market matters has sounded the alarm in today’s morning Asian session. Based on a Reuters report, Kanda said that the authorities will respond to any excessive moves in the foreign exchange market, warned that the recent yen moves were rapid and will not rule out any chance of an FX intervention. He said, “Regardless of the direction, it’s generally not good for the economy if exchange rates move excessively in a way that deviates from economic fundamentals.” Today’s verbal intervention was the most pronounced made by any of Japan’s finance ministry officials in the past month when USD/JPY sailed past the prior 141.00 and 142.00 psychological levels “effortlessly”. USD/JPY has shed -0.2% intraday and broke key near-term support at 143.45 at this time of the writing, the next support to watch will be at 142.50/25 (former swing highs of 11/21/22 November 2022).     Fed’s annual banks stress test results out on Wednesday The US Federal Reserve will unveil the results of its annual stress tests on the 23 biggest US banks on Wednesday, 28 June. The key focus will be on a section of the test, labelled as “exploratory market shock”, this is the first time such a test is being conducted on the trading books of the largest US banks. The urgency and significance of the “exploratory market shock” stress test come after the US regional banks’ turmoil. Hence, monitoring of fixed income duration risk is paramount now given that the latest Fed’s hawkish monetary policy guidance is to keep interest rates higher for a longer period. Last week, the US banking stocks shed by -6.80% as indicated by the SPDR S&P Bank exchange-traded fund, its worse weekly performance in seven weeks and underperformed the S&P 500.     Fig 2: S&P 500 major trend with VIX as of 26 Jun 2023 (Source: TradingView, click to enlarge chart) If the “exploratory market shock” stress test results come in unfavourable, it may put more downside pressure on US banking stocks which in turn may trigger a volatility upside breakout in the VIX, a measurement of implied volatility on the S&P 500 as it has compressed to a low level of 13.44 not seen since early February 2020 before the pandemic. A sudden spike in VIX may dampen the current bullish mood for US stock indices.    

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