European Outlook: Asian markets mostly higher despite fresh concerns about Trump’s ability to pass his fiscal agenda. The Hang Seng continued to outperform on earnings optimism and amid strong volumes as markets reopened after a Typhoon interruption. The ASX is little changed as commodity profits offset Trump Concerns, but the Nikkei was weighed down by steelmakers. FTSE 100 futures are moving higher and U.S. futures are heading south as the Jackson Hole meeting draws nearer. European peripherals have been feeling the chill of tapering concerns after better than expected PMI readings and amid concerns that Draghi will use tomorrow’s speech to commit to a tapering schedule. This will likely ensure Bund outperformance versus peripherals, while Gilts as well as the FTSE 100 are underpinned by a weakening Pound. Today’s calendar focuses on the second reading of U.K. Q2 GDP as well as the CBI distributive trade survey.
Fedspeak: Yesterday Fed’s Kaplan reiterated balance sheet runoff should begin soon, while he also repeated he wants to be patient on further rate hikes. He was holding a Q&A session at a Permian Basin Petroleum Association luncheon. He wants more information on inflation trends. He attributed some of the softness in prices is likely the result of technological breakthroughs. But, he also believes that tight labor market conditions do argue for removal of some accommodation. On the oil markets he added that the they are in a fragile equilibrium currently. Shale and African drillers are offsetting OPEC cuts. But, there is a good chance of a global under-supply in 5 or 7 years. Notable is the fact that Kaplan is a voter who’s recently become more worried about the slowing in price pressures.
US reports: a big 9.4% U.S. July new home sales drop to a 571k rate followed 46k in upward revisions over the prior three months to leave a stronger than expected report overall. A modest Q2-Q3 unwind of a big Q1 sales boost from a mild winter. New home sales have risen 111% from the 273k record-low in February of 2011, alongside smaller cyclical climbs of 44% for pending home sales and 60% for existing home sales from lows in 2010. Meanwhile, U.S. August Markit manufacturing PMI fell 0.8 points to 52.5 in the preliminary print, unwinding some of the 1.3 point gain to 53.3 in July. It was 52.0 a year ago. However, the services index jumped 2.2 points to 56.9 after rising 0.5 points to 54.7 in July. This is the highest since April 2015. It was 51.0 a year ago.
Eurozone: Draghi hailed QE at a conference yesterday in Germany and forward guidance as success, saying that research showed that while forward guidance is “a useful instrument” “its effectiveness can be improved with other non-standard monetary policies”. Speaking at a conference on economic science Draghi said “research has confirmed that central banks are not powerless at the effective lower bound”, but stressed that policy makers must continue “preparing for new challenges”, and that “when the world chances”, policies and “especially monetary policies need to be adjusted”. Nothing there that directly refers to the future of QE. On Economic data prospective, Eurozone PMIs suggested inflation is on the mend, with Markit reporting that the “recent trend of easing inflationary pressures came to an end in August, with cost inflation picking up for the first time since February”. At the same time, the manufacturing PMI showed that manufacturing orders were boosted by “the fastest rise in exports for six-and-a-half years”. So quite a bit there to boost the arguments of the hawks at the ECB and dampen concerns about the strong EUR.
Main Macro Events Today
- Jackson Hole – The symposium begins today and the markets will be wary of comments coming out of the annual central banker gather. Most important will be Friday’s speeches from Fed Chair Yellen (10ET) and ECB President Draghi (13 ET). However, past performance (at Jackson Hole) is no guarantee of future results. So, while monetary authorities have often used this venue to hint, or even outline, new policy measures, it is not expect that to be the case this time. There isn’t much new that Yellen can say given the recent update in the FOMC minutes and via Fedspeak and data. It looks as though balance sheet unwinding is a done deal for the fall. And it’s too early, and inappropriate for her to presage rate action over the rest of the year. Meanwhile, the ECB has indicated Draghi will have nothing new to say and will focus on the theme of the symposium, “Fostering a Dynamic Global Economy.”
- UK GDP- Q2 GDP data is likely to confirm growth at 0.3% q/q , half the Eurozone growth figure for the same quarter.
- US Initial Jobless Claims – Initial jobless claims expected to rebound 6k to 238k for the August-19 week.
- US Existing Home Sales – July existing home sales data is out today and should post a 1.4% headline improvement to a 5.570 mlnpace after a 1.8% dip to 5.520 mln in June. Other housing measures weakened in July with the NAHB dipping to 64 from 66 in June and housing starts dropping to 1,155k from 1,213k in June.
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