G20 Summit goes to plan: Financial market participants will be relieved by the outcome of the Trump-Xi meeting at the weekend’s G20. They’ve effectively received what they’d been expecting: no-deal of course, but a pledge to restart talks and not increase tariffs in the interim. As has been discussed by many, this is likely to be just the latest chapter of what’s going to be an epic tale for US-China relations. And it doesn’t, in the shorter-term, completely remove the headwinds faced by the glo
The Trade War Spreads to More Critical, Global Growth Organs
We have been unofficially engaged in a global trade war since March 2018. That is when the United States moved forward with a tariff on imported metals (steel and aluminum) from any destination outside of the country. Since this opening salvo, there have been small actions against countries outside the singular focus of China, but the incredible escalation between Washington and Beijing has drawn most of the global attention. Wit
Shares in Asia fell more than 2% amid growing fears that a recession is on the horizon, Japan's Topix was impacted the most as the index dropped 2.5% at the close. The Hang Seng, ASX 200 and the Shanghai Composite followed and all fell by at least 1%.
Numerous reports over the weekend suggested that senior ministers were plotting to oust Theresa May as doing so could enhance support of her Brexit deal, although this has been denied. Mrs May is set to meet cabinet ministers today to update
Global growth the primary issue right now: The monumental tug-of war between improving financial conditions and deteriorating economic conditions continues. On Friday, it was the latter that took home the points, if only this time around. Both variables truly sit diametrically opposed, and as far as market participants are concerned, which force will prevail remains speculative. It’s written into the mixed-messages markets have been signalling in the last several weeks. It must be said, with the
Markets trade-off Friday overhang: Markets traded in something of a vacuum Monday. The themes driving price action were more-or-less those that had determined activity to end last week. The effects of this were pronounced in the Asian session, but much less so in Europe and North America. It stands to reason: Asian markets were still to digest Friday night’s abysmal European PMI figures. That data’s impact is still rippling through the market. Anxieties about global growth and the likelihood for
A “Goldilocks” end to the week: Sentiment was nicely boosted to end the week last week. US Non-Farm Payrolls printed as closely to a so-called "goldilocks" figure for risk assets as you're ever liked to see. The data revealed the US economy added 196,000 jobs last month, against an expected figure of 172,000. It was enough to keep the unemployment rate to its very low levels of 3.8 per cent. But the real kicker for market-bulls was the earnings component: wage growth missed estimates, revealing
What are Central Banks Attempting to Achieve at This Point?
Over the past two weeks, we have seen major central banks loosen the reins on monetary policy or otherwise set the stage to move further into unorthodox policies. The most notable moves were made by the European Central Bank (ECB) and Federal Reserve. The latter cut its benchmark by 25 basis points to bring its range down to a high level of 2.00 percent – though it maintained its increasingly dubious position that it expects no fu
Waiting, waiting, waiting: Another uneventful night in global markets, traders have apparently occupied themselves positioning for the ramp-up in economic data in the next 24 hours. Equity indices pulled back in North America and Europe, as global safe-have bonds caught a bid. Commodities fell across the board, naturally with the exception of gold, which ticked higher on haven-demand. The G10 currency complex was lifeless, with the Japanese Yen edging higher as the carry trade was unwound on ant
Politics and Markets
There are numerous, open political fissures around the world – including the approaching Brexit deadline; the ongoing flux of Euro-area stability and Chinese social pressure arising from economic concerns. Each of these represents significant headline fodder both within their respective country as well as in the international press. Yet, as many newspaper column inches or top headlines in online news aggregators these issues may represent, they don’t naturally adapt to
The see-sawing market: The one-day-up, one-day-down pattern of trade on Wall Street continues. It’s playing-out so elegantly, it’s almost absurd. Yesterday was a “down” day, as market participants evacuated equity markets to seek shelter in safe-haven government bonds. In contrast to the day prior, breadth has been universally low, with practically every sector in the S&P500 trading lower. The same simple binary that’s driven market activity for weeks is behind this dynamic: a competition be
Today was a good day: The term risk-on can be a little overused in financial markets at times. When short-on-time, and confronted with something complex, suggesting it’s been a “risk-on” or “risk-day” is a simple way to say market participants feel pretty good. At the risk of oversimplifying: the first day of the new quarter was certainly a “risk-on” day. It’s likely given the context of yesterday’s trade that makes this so. Concerns about a global economic slowdown have been their most sensitiv
ASX to keep trading on its own themes: SPI Futures are presently indicating an 18-point jump at the open for the ASX200. Once again, Australian equities look as though they’ll march to the beat of their own drum today. It comes on the back of a reasonably solid day for the ASX yesterday – though admittedly it was another day of relatively low activity. A general driver for the session’s activity was hard to pinpoint, perhaps fortunately, with the market trading much more on the basis of the myri
Amid Extreme (Low) Volatility, Determine Your Approach and the Eventual Change
Volatility continues to sink into extreme levels of doldrums – and this is a theme that all traders should take time to appreciate at regular intervals. Low volatility is a defining feature of a financial landscape. Whether fundamentals catalyze a cascade of value repricing or a technical cue is capable of triggering an avalanche of entry/stop orders is predicated on the conditions first laid out by the depth an
Traders have plenty to catch up on: As one might expect after (effectively) four days-off, there’s plenty of macro-economic news for Australian market participants to catch-up on following the Easter-holiday break. Chinese and Japanese markets have traded without interruption; while the US jumped back in to action overnight. And although price action won’t be the cause of any conniptions across trading floors this morning, there’s still enough information there to inspire a few novel ideas in th
Is This a US-China Trade War Turn We Can Rely In?
The market was struck with a broad sense of enthusiasm through the second half of this past week. There were a number of developments – or expectations for forthcoming events – that contributed to this buoyancy. The theme stirring the most optimism was anticipation that the United States and China were finally making progress in their 15-month trade war. Just before the New York close on Friday, officials announced that indeed they had foun
Another Massive Escalation of the US-China Trade Wars
The White House continues to double down on its aggressive posturing against China in a bid to force the county to yield to its demands at the negotiation table. This approach follows a few patterns in economics, sociology and debate whereby the commitment to escalation persists despite growing risks and diminishing return when or if a compromise is struck – such as the ‘escalation of commitment’ behavior. Late this past week, President
China GDP Refocuses Speculative Attention from Monetary Policy to Growth
Last week, it was fairly clear that a particular fundamental theme had stepped up to take command of our attention. Monetary policy has garnered greater traction recently owing largely to speculation that the Federal Reserve will have to reverse its course of normalizing extreme accommodation and subsequently cap the responsibility for global investors to bear the exceptional risks in our financial markets on their own
Flow exits equities: Global stocks fell on Monday. The losses were very broad based, as equity traders caught up on the information that had already, effectively, been baked into rates markets. The ASX200 was one of the worst performing major share indices: it shed 1.17 per cent, with market breadth a lowly 17.5 per cent. Wall Street has performed stronger overnight, with the S&P500 giving up half-a-per cent. That’s lead SPI Futures to climb roughly 10 points, suggesting a bounce for the ASX
UK Parliament Votes to Delay Brexit Deal, Now What?
Heading into the weekend, overnight implied volatility behind the Cable and other Pound crosses had charged to their highest level in over two years. That reflected well the fundamental weight represented by the first Saturday sitting in the Commons in 37 years. Parliament convened to debate the government’s withdrawal agreement bill which Prime Minister Boris Johnson managed to hash out with European negotiators during the EU leaders sum
Markets spinning in circles as trade-talks get underway: It’s been a slightly dizzying 24-hours for the financial markets. Speculation is on overdrive regarding the likeliest outcomes for the US-China trade talks. Though it seems like chaos, it all amounts to little more than noise, as short-term traders have fun with trying to profit from the swings in sentiment. Fundamentally, little about the talks can be known yet. However, it seems investors’ cautiousness is turning to hope once again. Amid
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