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May Day Fed Day

Started by PocketOption, May 28, 2024, 04:44 am

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May Day Fed Day

Overview: Much of Asia and Europe are off for the
May Day labor holiday. The dollar is mostly softer in the thin activity. However,
the dollar has edged higher against the yen and approached JPY158. The euro
initially fell to $1.0650, a six-day low and where a billion euros in options
expire later today. It has recovered to almost $1.0675. Emerging market
currencies are subdued. Central European currencies, the South African rand,
and Mexican peso are sporting slightly firmer profiles.

Asia Pacific equity markets that were open
today (e.g., Japan, Australia, New Zealand) fell after the large losses seen in
the US yesterday. European equities are closed but the UK's FTSE is slightly
firmer. US index futures continue yesterday's retreat. The 10-year UK Gilt
yield is near 4.38%, up three basis point today to a new three-month high. The
US 10-year Treasury yield is hovering slightly below 4.70%. The US two-year
yield reached a new high for the year yesterday after the Employment Cost Index
report almost 5.05%. It near 5.03% now ahead of the bevy of US data before the
outcome of the FOMC later today. Gold fell to almost four-week lows near $2281
before catching a bid today and recovering through $2290. The upside in North
America looks limited today. June WTI has extended its recent losses and near
$80.50 is at its lows since late March amid rising US inventories and some
hopes of a cease-fire in the Middle East. The June contract has not closed
below $80 since mid-March.

Asia Pacific

Even with the March rise in Japan's
industrial output, it will be a drag on Q1 GDP. 
Similarly, housing starts slipped slightly
in Q1 (~2.2%). Japan's Q1 GDP is due mid-May and the median forecast in
Bloomberg's monthly survey looks for a 0.2% contraction after growing 0.4% in
Q4 23. Household energy subsidies will be halved in May before ending in June
when income tax cuts will be implemented. The net effect will likely be higher
inflation and stronger growth.

The BOJ projected yesterday that
commercial banks' deposits with it likely dropped by JPY7.56 trillion. 
Last week, money-market brokers had
projected a JPY2 trillion decline. The JPY5.5 trillion difference is consistent
with intervention of around $34.6 bln, and the upper end of estimates. Many observers argued that after Friday's dollar advance to nearly JPY158.45,
that Japan would have to intervene or lose credibility. However, we argue that
the only thing worse that not intervening would be failed intervention.
Intervening ahead of the FOMC meeting outcome (hawkish hold widely expected)
and the US jobs report (median expectation in Bloomberg's survey is for a 240k
increase in nonfarm payrolls) strikes us a risky undertaking. 

The dollar gradually edged higher
yesterday, and by the end of the North American session, it had recovered more
than half of the intervention-inspired losses, reaching almost JPY157.85 
The (61.8%) retracement objective is near
JPY158.00, which dollar has held ever slightly below, so far today. A move
above JPY158 targets the high from the end of last week (~JPY158.45). We
suspect support is building near JPY157. The Australian dollar
recovered from the year's low set on April 19 (~$0.6365) to slightly above
$0.6585 on Monday. 
Disappointing Australian retail sales and a broadly
higher greenback saw the Aussie fall to $0.6475 yesterday and $0.6465 earlier
today. It gave back a little more than half of its bounce. The next retracement
is near $0.6450. There are options for more than A$1 bln that expire there on
Friday. Initial resistance is seen near $0.6485-90. Disappointing New Zealand
labor data (larger than expected rise in Q1 unemployment and an unexpected loss
of jobs) saw the Kiwi extend yesterday's losses initially but recovered fully
before stalling near $0.5890. Chinese mainland markets are closed for
the rest of the week. 
The trading band as of Tuesday for the dollar
against the onshore yuan was CNY6.9642-CNY7.2484. The greenback traded mostly
above the band against the offshore yuan yesterday. It is in a range today of
about CNH7.2435 to CNH7.2550. The April peak was set in the middle of the month
near CNH7.2830.


The May Day holiday thins European
activity today. 
the eurozone will see the final April manufacturing PMI reading. Recall that
the preliminary estimate showed the third monthly decline. It fell to 45.6 from
46.1 in March. It had jumped to 46.6 in January after finishing last year at
44.4. The new information will be from the periphery, and here the signal is
clear. Italy and Spain manufacturing sectors are faring better than Germany and
France. German and French manufacturing sectors are contracting, according to
the PMI, while Spain and Italy are expanding. That said, German and French
national figures on industrial production have fared better than the PMI
appears to suggest. German industrial output (which includes construction) rose
2.1% in February after a 1.3% gain in January. The March data is due May 8.
French manufacturing output fell 1.5% in January and rebounded by 0.9% in
February. The March update is due at the end of the week.

Despite stronger than expected Q1 growth
in the eurozone and firmer than expected April CPI, the euro struggled to
sustain even modest upticks against the dollar yesterday, especially after US
labor costs (Q1) rose more than anticipated. 
The euro fell to the lower end of its
recent range near $1.0670. The losses have been extended to $1.0650 today.
There are options for a little more than a billion euros that expire today at
$1.0650 and another set expire for roughly the same amount on Thursday at
$1.0670. The $1.0660 area corresponds to the (61.8%) retracement of the bounce
from this year's low set on April 16 (~$1.06). Sterling fell a little
more than the euro yesterday, but it recorded an inside day, as it managed to
hold above Monday's low (~$1.2480)
. However, follow-through selling today
saw it slip to almost $1.2465. It recovered to almost $1.25 in early and thin
European turnover, where it appears to have run of steam. A band of support
extends toward $1.2450, and a break could target $1.2400. The daily momentum
indicators look constructive, but the market seems to lack much conviction. 


On tap today, ahead of the FOMC meeting
outcome is the ADP private sector job estimate, JOLTS report on job openings,
March construction spending, and the ISM manufacturing report. 
Auto sales will trickle out over the
course of the session. It is too early in the quarter to have much confidence
in GDP projections, but the Atlanta Fed is beginning off at 3.9%, and will
update after today's reports. The market is less sanguine and the median
forecast in Bloomberg's survey is for 1.5% growth.

The market is focused on two aspects of
the FOMC meeting. 
nearly everyone looks for a "hawkish pivot" that will be expressed in
the statement and reinforced by comments by Fed Chair Powell. The recent string
of inflation and consumption data have shaken the growing confidence Powell had
previously noted that inflation was moving back toward its target. The pendulum
of market sentiment has already swung hard. In middle of January, the Fed funds
futures strip has nearly 170 bp of cuts discounted for this year. Currently,
there are a little less than 30 bp discounted (one quarter-point cut and a 20%
chance of a second cut). Now, it is arguably data dependent. A disappointing
employment report at the end of the week could signal that the pendulum has
swung far enough for the time being. Recall that in Q4 23, US headline CPI rose
at a 2% annualized rate and the core rate rose by about 3.2% annualized. In Q1
24, the headline rate rose at more than twice the Q4 23 pace (or ~4.4%) and the
core rate accelerated to an annualized pace of around 4.8%.

The second issue is the Fed's balance
In the past,
the Fed estimated that ample reserves are between $2.8 trillion and $3.4
trillion. As of last week, reserves stood at $3.8 trillion. The Fed has already
signaled that it will likely taper the balance sheet unwind. Remember, the Fed
is not selling assets from its balance sheet. Rather, it is simply not
replacing the full maturing amount. Ostensibly, the Fed has said it will allow
up to $95 bln a month in maturing Treasuries and Agencies not to be replaced.
In practice it has averaged about $77.6 bln a month this year through this
month after it averaged around $102 bln in the last four months of 2023. The
Fed could announce intentions to formally begin slowing the unwind, with the
first step being reducing it by around half. We suspect it can be implemented
as soon as the middle of next month. 

Nothing turned right for the
Canadian dollar yesterday and it suffered the biggest loss of the year (~-0.85%). 
February GDP disappointed (0.2% vs. 0.3% median forecast in
Bloomberg's survey) and January's growth was shaved to 0.5% from 0.6%. The
risk-off mood was seen in the around 1.5% loss in the Dow Industrials and the
S&P 500, with the NASDAQ cratering 2%. The Dollar Index rose by 0.60%, its
biggest rise in since April 12. Oil was on the defensive, and the June WTI
contract slipped below $81 a barrel to test last week's low. The US two-year
premium over Canada rose for the fourth consecutive session. The Canadian
dollar gave back in full the gains scored over the past five sessions. The
greenback rose to CAD1.3785, meeting the (61.8%) retracement of its losses
since the April 16 when the high for the year was set near CAD1.3845. The US dollar is trading in a narrow range slightly below yesterday's high. There may be initial
resistance near CAD1.38. Tomorrow and Friday, there are around $2 bln options
expiring at CAD1.3850-55. The dollar fell to a four-day low against the
Mexican peso near MXN16.96 and was snapped up. 
Mexico's GDP rose 0.2%
in the first quarter, slightly more than expected, but the year-over-year rate
of 1.6% disappointed expectations for 2.3%. The dollar reached MXN17.1450 and
MXN17.1655 in thin dealings today. Nearby resistance is seen in the
MXN17.18-MXN17.20 area. One-month implied volatility briefly slipped below 11%
for the first time since the flash crash but settled near 11.4%, on session
highs. Lastly, as widely expected Colombia delivered a 50 bp rate cut, which
brought the repo rate to 11.75%. It was the fourth cut in the cycle that began
last December from 13.25%. The Colombian peso is the fourth best performing
emerging market currency this year, having lost about 1.65% to the greenback. The
Mexican peso has fallen slightly less than 1%. The Hong Kong dollar is off
about 0.15% and the Indian rupee has lost a little more than a quarter of




Source: May Day Fed Day