Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Capital Markets: "Is Turnaround Tuesday Nearly Over Already?"

From Marc to Market:
Corrective forces that took hold in the foreign exchange market yesterday extended their hold today. However, a cent bounce from yesterday's lows has seen new sales of euro and sterling emerge, and the greenback found bids below JPY111.00. There is a $600 mln option struck there that will be cut in NY today. There is a 1.1 bln euro option at $1.1850 that also expires today.

Corrective forces are also seen in other markets. Uncertainty spurred by Italian political developments triggered a dramatic sell-off of Italian assets over the past few sessions. They have been given a reprieve today. Italy's 10-year bond yield is off nearly nine basis points, and the premium over Spain has narrowed five basis points, and the spread against Germany is narrowing by 13 bp. Italian shares are also recovering. The 0.5% gain near midday in Milan is among the region's best performers today. The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 is up 0.1%. The CAC and DAX are struggling to sustain meaningful momentum. Both markets have rallied for eight consecutive weeks.

Most emerging market currencies are higher today, led by the South African rand's 1.1% rise and a 0.6% rise in the Russian ruble. The Turkish lira is moving a bit of its record low (~+0.25%), and the Malaysian ringgit is moved higher for the first time since May 3 (~0.3%).

The news stream is light and it won't pick up much in the North American session. The only US report is the Richmond Fed's Manufacturing Index. It is an early reading of May activity, and it is expected to improve sharply after falling dramatically into negative territory (-3) for the first time in 2 1/2 years. Still, it does not move markets in the best of times. No Fed officials are slated to speak. Canada reports wholesale trade, also typically with limited market impact.

South Korea President Moon is in Washington. Given how quick North Korea was to threaten to cancel next month's summit with the US, some suspect that Moon may have over-promised. However, the angle that may be more relevant for investors runs through China. Reports suggest that the US Administration sees China's hand behind North Korea's threats. Some link the US volte-face on trade with the desire to reach an agreement with North Korea.

The suspension of US sanctions on China and China dropping its investigation into US sorghum imports have signaled a de-escalation of tensions. After the mid-June summit, the US trade stance could harden again. In the meantime, a workaround for ZTE looks to be near. Some trade measures that China is taking, like reducing the import duty on autos to 6% from 25% will help non-US producers as well as Americans, one would think. The other point to note is how the de-escalation of trade tensions with China has spurred criticism from Trump's right (like Bannon), but also notably the left (like Schumer).

In Italy, the President Mattarella is being embraced as a check on the populist-nationalist government that is being formed. Reports indicate that he "expressed concerns" about the fiscal plans. Investors appear concerned over motivations as much as plans. A modification of the fiscal plans may appease Mattarella, but it may require more to ease investors concerns, where a Greek-like crisis is feared, and worse given the size of Italy's economy and market. Despite the recovery in Italian bonds, indicative prices for the five-year credit-default swap is trading firmer....