Natgas Fought Back And Now Have A Solid Position! Iron And Copper Are Out Of Fashion!?

Saxo Bank Podcast: Natural Gas On Colder Weather, Wheat And Coffee Under Pressure, JPY Weaker And More

Overview: After retreating most of last week, the US dollar has extended yesterday’s gains today. The Canadian dollar is the most resilient, while the New Zealand dollar is leading the decline with a nearly 0.75% drop ahead of the central bank decision first thing tomorrow. The RBNZ is expected to deliver its fourth consecutive 50 bp hike. Most emerging market currencies are lower as well, led by central Europe. Equities in Asia Pacific and Europe are mostly higher today. Japan and Hong Kong were exceptions, and China was mixed with small gains in Shanghai and Shenzhen composites, but the CSI 300 slipped. Europe’s Stoxx 600 is stretching its advance for the fifth consecutive session. It is at two-month highs. US futures are softer. The US 10-year yield is slightly firmer near 2.80%, while European benchmark yields are mostly 2-4 bp higher, but Italian bonds are under more pressure and the yield is back above the 3% threshold. Gold is softer after being repulsed from the $1800 area to test $1773-$1775. A break could signal a test on the 20-day moving average near $1761. October WTI tested last week’s lows yesterday near $86 a barrel on the back of the poor Chinese data. It is straddling the 200-day moving average (~$87.95). The market is also watching what seems like the final negotiations with Iran, where a deal could also boost supply. US natgas prices are more than recouping the past two days of losses and looks set to challenge the $9 level. Europe’s benchmark leapt 11.7% yesterday and is up another 0.5% today. Iron ore has yet to a base after falling more than 5.5% in the past two sessions. It fell almost 0.65% today. September copper has fallen by almost 2.5% over the past two sessions and is steady today. Lastly, September wheat is slipping back below $8 a bushel and is trading heavily for the third consecutive session.

Asia Pacific

Japan's 2.2% annualized growth in Q2 does not stand in the way of a new government support package

 Prime Minister Kishida has been reportedly planning new measures and has instructed the cabinet to pull it together by early next month. He wants to cushion the blow of higher energy and food prices. An extension of the subsidy to wholesalers to keep down the gasoline and kerosene prices looks likely. Kishida wants to head off a surge in wheat prices. Without a commitment to maintain current import prices of wheat that is sold to millers, the price could jump 20% in October, according to reports. Separately, and more controversially, Kishida is pushing for the re-opening of nine nuclear plants that have passed their safety protocols, which have been shut since the 2011 Fukushima accident. 

The minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia's meeting earlier this month signaled additional rate hikes will be forthcoming

 After three half--point hikes, it says that the pace going forward will be determined by inflation expectations and the evolving economic conditions. The minutes noted that consumer spending is an element of uncertainty given the higher inflation and interest rates. Earlier today, the CBA's household spending report shows a 1.1% jump month-over-month in July and a 0.6% increase in June. The RBA wants to bring the cash target rate to neutral (~2.50%). The target rate is currently at 1.85% and the cash rate futures is pricing in about a 40% chance of a 50 bp hike at the next RBA meeting on September 6. It peaked near 60% last week. On Thursday, Australia reports July employment. Australia grew 88.4k jobs in June, of which almost 53k were full-time positions. The median forecast in Bloomberg's survey envisions a 25k increase of jobs in July. 

The offshore yuan slumped 1.15% yesterday

 It was the biggest drop since August 2019 and was sparked by the unexpected cut in rates after a series of disappointing economic data. The US dollar reached almost CNH6.82 yesterday, its highest level in three months. It has steadied today but remains firm in the CNH6.7925-CNH6.8190 range. China's 10-year yield is still under pressure. It finished last week quietly near 2.74% and yesterday fell to 2.66% and today 2.63%. It is the lowest since May 2020.

As we have noted, the dollar-yen exchange rate seems to be more sensitive to the US 2-year yield (more anchored to Fed policy) than the 10-year yield (more about growth and inflation)

 The dollar is trading near four-day highs against the yen as the two-year yield trades firmer near 3.20%. Initial resistance has been encountered in Europe near JPY134.00. Above there, the JPY134.60 may offer the next cap. Support now is seen around JPY133.20-40. The Australian dollar extended yesterday's decline and slipped through the $0.7000-level where A$440 mln in options expire today. It also corresponds with a (50%) retracement of the run-up form the mid-July low (~$0.6680). The next area of support is seen in the $0.6970-80 area. The greenback rose 0.45% against the onshore yuan yesterday after gapping higher. Today it gapped higher again and rose to almost CNY6.7975, its highest level since mid-May. It reached a high then near CNY6.8125. The PBOC set the dollar's reference rate at CNY6.7730, slightly less than the median in Bloomberg's survey (CNY6.7736). The takeaway is the central bank did not seem to protest the weakness of the yuan.


The euro has been sold to a new seven-year low against the euro near CHF0.9600

The euro has been sold in eight of the nine weeks since the Swiss National Bank hiked its policy rate by 50 bp on June 16. Half of those weekly decline were 1% or larger. The euro has fallen around 7.4% against the franc since the hike. Swiss domestic sight deposit fell for 10 of 11 weeks through the end of July as the SNB did not appear to be intervening. However, in the last two weeks, as the franc continued to strengthen, the Swiss sight deposits have risen, and recorded their first back-to-back increase in four months. This is consistent with modest intervention.

The UK added 160k jobs in Q2, almost half of the jobs gain in the three months through May, illustrating the fading momentum

 Still, some 73k were added to the payrolls in July, well above expectations. In the three months through July, job vacancies in the UK fell (~19.8k) for the first time in nearly two years. Average weekly earnings, including bonuses, rose 5.1% in Q2. The median forecast was for a 4.5% increase. Yet, real pay, excluding bonuses and adjusted for inflation slid 3% in the April-June period, the most since at least 2001. The ILO measure of unemployment in Q2 was unchanged at 3.8%. The Bank of England warns it will rise to over 6%. The market still favors a 50 bp hike next month. The swaps market has it at a little better than an 80% probability.

The euro is extending its retreat

 It peaked last week, near $1.0365 and tested this month's low near $1.0125 in the European morning. The intraday momentum indicators are stretched, and that market does not appear to have the drive to challenge the 1.2 bln euros in options struck at $1.0075 that expire today. With yesterday's loss, the euro met the (50%) retracement objective of the bounce off the mid-July 22-year low (~$0.9950). The next retracement objective (61.8%) is near $1.0110. Nearby resistance may be met near $1.0160-70. Sterling has been sold for the fourth consecutive session. It approached the $1.20-level, which may be the neckline of a double top. If violated it could signal a return to the low seen in mid-July around $1.1760. Sterling is holding in better than the euro now. The cross peaked before the weekend in front of GBP0.8500 and is approaching GBP0.8400 today. A break would look ominous and could spur a return to the GBP0.8340 area.


The Empire State manufacturing survey and the manufacturing PMI line up well

 Both bottomed in April 2020 and peaked in July 2021. The outsized decline in the August Empire State survey points to the downside risks of next week's preliminary August manufacturing PMI. Recall that the July manufacturing PMI fell to 52.2, its third consecutive decline and the lowest reading since July 2020. There was little good in the Empire survey. Orders and shipments fell dramatically. Employment was also soft. Prices paid softened to the lowest this year, but prices received edged higher.

The US reports housing start and permits and industrial output today

The housing market continues to slow from elevated levels. Housing starts are expected to have fallen 2% in July, matching the June decline. It would be the third consecutive decline, and the longest declining streak since 2018. Still, in terms of the absolute level of activity, anything above 1.5 mln units must still be regarded as strong. They stood at almost 1.56 mln in June. Permits fell by 10% in April-May before stabilizing in June. The median forecast in Bloomberg's survey projects a 3.3% decline. Permits were running at 1.685 mln in June. From April 2007 through September 2019, permits held below 1.5 mln.

The industrial production report may attract more attention

Output fell in June (-0.2%) for the first time this year, and even with it, industrial product has risen on average by 0.4% a month in H1 22, slightly above the pace seen in H1 21. Helped by manufacturing and utility output, industrial production is expected to rise by around 0.3%. In the last cycle, capacity use spent four months (August-November 2018) above 80%. It had not been above 80% since the run-up to the Great Financial Crisis when it spent December 2006 through March 2008 above the threshold and peaked slightly above 81.0%. Last month was likely the fourth month in this cycle above the 80% capacity use rate. Note that the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow tracker will be updated later today. The update from August 10 put Q3 GDP at 2.5%.

Housing starts in Canada likely slow last month, which would be the first back-to-back decline this year

 The median forecast (Bloomberg's survey) calls for a 3.6% decline after an 8.4% fall in June. Still, the expected pace of 264k is still 10% higher since the end of last year. On Monday, Canada reported that July existing home sales fell by 5.3%, the fifth consecutive decline. They have fallen by more than a third since February. Canada also reports its monthly portfolios. Through May, Canada has experienced C$98.5 bln net portfolio inflows, almost double the pace seen in the first five months last year. However, the most important report today is the July CPI. A 0.1% increase, which is the median forecast in Bloomberg's survey would be the smallest of the year and the year-over-year pace to eased to 7.6% from 8.1%. If so, it is the first decline since June 2021. Similar with what the US reported, the core measures are likely to prove sticky. After the employment data on August 5, the swaps market was still leaning in favor a 75 bp hike at the September 7 meeting (64%). However, since the US CPI report, it has been hovering around a 40% chance.

While the US S&P 500 rose reached almost four-month highs yesterday, the Canadian dollar found little consolation

 It held in better than the other dollar-bloc currencies and Scandis, but it still suffered its biggest decline in about a month yesterday. The greenback reached almost CAD1.2935 yesterday and is consolidating in a narrow range today above CAD1.2890. The next important chart point is near CAD1.2975-85 and the CAD1.3050. After testing the MXN20.00 level yesterday, the US dollar was sold marginally through last week's low (~MXN19.8150). It is consolidating today and has not been above MXN19.8850. It has come a long way from the month's high set on August 3 near MXN20.8335. The greenback's downside momentum seems to have eased as it stalls in front of MXN19.81 for the third consecutive session.





Source: Greenback Remains Firm

Saxo Bank Podcast: Natural Gas On Colder Weather, Wheat And Coffee Under Pressure, JPY Weaker And More

Marc Chandler

Marc Chandler has been covering the global capital markets for more than 30 years, including stints as the global head of currency strategy for both HSBC and Brown Brothers Harriman. Chandler recently joined Bannockburn Global Forex as a Managing Director and Chief Market Strategist in 2018.

A prolific writer and speaker, Chandler appears regularly in the financial media. He is often quoted in the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Bloomberg, and the Washington Post, among others. Marc also provides his insights and commentary on the markets on the most widely watched financial news channels, including CNBC, Bloomberg TV, CNN, and Fox Business.

Marc’s first book, Making Sense of the Dollar, was published by Bloomberg Press in 2009 and received a Bronze Award from Independent Publishers. Chandler's second book, Political Economy of Tomorrow, was published in February 2017.

Chandler is also an honorary fellow of the Foreign Policy Association and has been named a Business Visionary by Forbes.

Currently, Chandler teaches at New York University Center for Global Affairs, where he is an associate professor. He is also an honorary visiting professor at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.

Though a Chicago native, and lifelong Cubs fan, Chandler currently resides in New York City with his wife, Jeannine, and son, Nathan.