Monday, May 10, 2021

Capital Markets: "The Dollar Remains on the Defensive"

From Marc Chandler at Bannockburn Capital:

Overview: Last week's cyberattack on the largest US gasoline pipeline continues to lift oil and gasoline prices. The June gasoline futures gapped higher to extend last week's 2.4% gain but has subsequently moved lower to enter the gap. June WTI is firm and holding above $65. The supply disruption is key, but iron ore prices soared 10% on strong Chinese demand. More broadly, the CRB Index settled last week at six-year highs. Led by South Korea, Asia Pacific equities markets moved higher, and Australia's ASX rose to a new record high. Europe's Dow Jones Stoxx 600 is up fractionally but sufficient to also set a new record high. US futures are narrowly mixed, with the NASDAQ trailing. The US 10-year yield recovered smartly after the sharp and quick drop on the back of the weak jobs data. It is steady today near 1.58%. European yields are narrowly mixed. The UK Gilt yield is up a couple of basis points, while Australia and New Zealand saw their 10-year yield rose three basis points. The dollar is mostly softer. Sterling and the dollar bloc are leading the majors, while the yen is softer. The South Korean won is leading emerging market currencies higher. The eastern and central European currencies are laggards, though the Hungarian forint is more resilient. The JP Morgan Emerging Market Currency Index is advancing for the fourth consecutive session. Last week's 1.7% gain was the most since last November. Gold is firm but below the pre-weekend high (~$1843.50). The yellow metal may be pausing ahead other $1850 area, which is where the 200-day moving average is found.

Asia Pacific
The yen rose to two-week highs at the end of last week but has come back offered today.
The exchange rate remains hyper-sensitive to US rates. Meanwhile, the formal state of emergency for Tokyo and three other prefectures was extended at the end of last week through the end of the month. The emergency declaration was broadened to the industrial regions in Aichi and the prefecture of Fukuoka. It now covers around 40% of the economy and most major urban centers. The latest poll (JNN) found support for Prime Minister Suga fell to its lowest level of his eight-month tenure. His support was at 40%, down from 44.4% last month. Nearly 2/3 of the respondents (63%) said there disapproved of the government's handling of the pandemic, a 13 percentage point rise. A separate poll (Yomiuri) found 60% want the Olympic games canceled. Suga will face a leadership contest within the LDP in September ahead of the national election, which must be held by the end of October.

The PBOC set the dollar's reference rate weaker than expected, and the gap between the fix and the market expectations (e.g., median projection in Bloomberg's survey of bank models) was particularly wide. Bloomberg calculates it was the widest since January (CNY6.4425 vs. forecast for CNY6.4370). As we detected in the pre-weekend fix as well, Chinese officials appear to be trying to slow the yuan's rise. The yuan is at a three-year high today, with the greenback approaching CNY6.4100.

Tomorrow Australia's government will announce its budget. In many respects, it will look like the Us approach with strong infrastructure measures, social spending, and extended tax income-tax breaks for low and middle-income households. The faster-than-expected growth and the surge in iron ore prices boost the government's revenues, allowing it to record a smaller than expected budget deficit. Meanwhile, Australia's vaccine rollout out so far has been slow, and before the weekend, the Trade Minister warned international visitors may remain restricted well into H2....