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Strong US Retail Sales may Help Extend the Dollar's Recovery

Started by PocketOption, Apr 03, 2024, 05:41 am

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Strong US Retail Sales may Help Extend the Dollar's Recovery

Overview: We have put emphasis on today's US retail
sales report. A recovery from the weather-induced weakness in January should
underscore the resilience of US demand after another 200k jobs were created and
personal income jumped 1%. While the dollar has traded firmer in the first half
of this week, given the 25 bp jump in the US two-year yield, its performance is
somewhat disappointing. It is narrowly mixed in the European morning against
the G10 currencies. The dollar bloc, sterling- and the Norwegian krone enjoy a
slightly firmer bias. The euro, yen, and Swiss franc are nursing minor losses. Most
emerging market currencies are softer, but for the second consecutive session,
the Hungarian forint is recovering and leading the advancers. 

Equity markets are firm, with
the notable exception of China and Hong Kong. Most of the other large markets
in the Asia Pacific region advanced. Europe's Stoxx 600 is rising for the third
consecutive session and is extending its move into record territory. US index
futures are also trading with an upside bias. A strong reception to the US
Treasury's sale of 30-year bonds yesterday did not prevent the 10-year US yield
from edging higher for the third session in a row yesterday. It is slightly
firmer today testing 4.20%. It settled last week below 4.08%. European
benchmark yields are narrowly mixed today, with the periphery outperforming the
core. Gold is consolidating inside yesterday's range, which was inside
Tuesday's range (~$2150-$2185). It is beginning to look vulnerable to a
downside correction. Oil is extending yesterday's recovery and April WTI is
pushing back above $80 a barrel. The recent highs were around $80.65-85. A
drone strike on a large n refiner yesterday and the first drawdown of US
inventories in seven weeks helped support prices. Today, OPEC+ warned that the
oil markets may face a supply deficit this year.

Asia Pacific

Most of Japan's spring wage
negotiations (shunto) concluded yesterday. 
Several large companies agreed to the
biggest pay increases in more than 30 years. Observers see an average of more
than 4% pay increase. Last year's average pay increase was slightly less than
3.6% when small companies are included. Note that small and medium-sized
Japanese companies employ around 70% of Japan's workers. Japan's CPI peaked in
January 2023 at 4.3% year-over-year. In January 2024, it stood at 2.2%. Tokyo's
February CPI warns that the national reading could rise back to 2.8%. The BOJ
did not buy equity ETFs earlier this week even though the Topix had tumbled 2%
Monday morning, which seemed to have triggered such operations in the past. The
Topix was near 34-year highs, which may have deterred the BOJ, but others see
it a sign that it is exiting the extraordinary monetary policy. There is some
speculation that the BOJ may abandon its effort to cap the 10-year yield at
1.00%. The 10-year yield set the high for the year on Tuesday slightly shy of
0.80%. It peaked last November around 0.97%. 

There are two ways foreign
demand can be met: Exports and direct investment.
 Exports are the traditional
approach. However, a combination of protectionism and an overvalued dollar
spurred US direct investment strategy--build and sell locally. This was also a
developmental strategy. It was driven by long-term capital flows (buying and
building points of production and distribution) and led to the transfer of
technology and employment. For more 60 years, the local sales by majority-owned
affiliates of US multinational companies outstrips US exports by magnitudes.
Japan's production moved offshore in the 1980s and 1990s were essentially the
same reason, and the local sales of affiliates of Japanese companies outstrips
Japanese exports. Protectionism, and to some extent, rising labor costs in
China are forcing Chinese companies on the same path. The US may balk at direct
investment from Chinese companies, but not so in the Global South. Starting in
late 2022, Chinese exports to other developing countries surpassed shipments to
developed countries and direct investment is also rising.

The dollar spent most of
yesterday in a JPY147.50-JPY148.00 range and it remains in that range today. 
It pulled back from the session high set
in early Europe on Tuesday and settled little change. A Bloomberg survey out
earlier this week showed a majority expected the BOJ to standpat next week. A
strong US retail sales report, and the higher yields that may result, could
help lift the dollar further against the yen. Above the cap around JPY148.20,
could target the JPY148.70-JPY149.20 area. The Australian dollar held
above Tuesday's low (~$0.6585) but could not muster the strength to push above
Tuesday's high (~$0.6640). 
Still, the Aussie posted its highest close
(~$0.6625) in two months. It is consolidating inside yesterday's range, which
is also inside Tuesday's range (~$0.6585-$0.6640). The price action looks
constructive and there is little to deter a run at the high set at the end of
last week near $0.6670. The greenback is firm, but little changed
against the Chinese yuan.
The PBOC set the dollar's reference rate at
CNY7.0974 (CNY7.0930 yesterday). The average in the Bloomberg survey was
CNY7.1882 (CNY7.1769 yesterday). The dollar has held barely below CNH7.20
against the offshore yuan. It has not closed above it for the past four


The eurozone economy was
flat in Q1 23, expanded by 0.1% in Q2 and contracted by 0.1% in Q3 before
stagnating again in Q4 23. 
There was some hope of a better 2024, but the dramatic 3.2% plunge
in January industrial production reported yesterday suggests a poor start to
the year. Moreover, despite the meme of German de-industrialization, the slide
in the aggregate industrial output came despite the 1% rise in German output
(0.6% expected). French industrial output had been expected to slip by 0.1% but
instead fell by 1.1%. In December industrial production rose 0.4% not 1.1% as
had initially been reported. Italy has yet to provide its numbers, but Spain's
industrial output rose 0.4%, which was slightly more than expected, while the
December contraction was 0.6%, twice as much as initially reported. The
Netherlands reported its January manufacturing output tumbled 4.7%, giving back
a large chunk of the 6.8% gain in December.

The euro traded firmly
yesterday after $1.09 held on Tuesday. 
Session highs were reached near $1.0965 in early afternoon
trading in North America. It settled firmly, at its best level in two months.
It has taken a great deal of energy to lift the euro from $1.07 in mid-February
to $1.0980 at the end of last week. Momentum indicators are getting stretched
and the upper Bollinger Band is near $1.0975. It appears many short-term and
momentum traders are long euros, and we suspect there is some pressure to
square up ahead of next week's FOMC meeting, where the risk is asymmetrical. It
is more likely that the Fed signals fewer rather than more rate cuts this year
than three the median thought at the FOMC meeting at the end of last year. We
had been looking for a euro pullback after last week's US employment report and
we are not convinced it is over. Sterling was as quiet as it has been
this year, trading in a third-of-a-cent range above $1.2775.
 It was in
less than half of the range seen in the last 4-5 sessions. In the three
sessions through Monday, sterling settled above $1.28. While it has remained
within striking distance these past two sessions, it has stalled and settled
below $1.28. It is straddling $1.28 today, straying less than a fifth-of-a-cent
from it. Nearby resistance is seen near Tuesday's high (~$1.2825).


The combination of the
February employment report and CPI has seen the market pare back wagers of a
June Fed cut. 
On the
eve of the jobs report, a June rate cut seemed like a done deal and the Fed
funds futures implied 96% chance. The odds have fallen for the past four
sessions before steadying today, ahead of the US retail sales report. It is
near 75% now. If the Fed does not cut rate in June, the market will likely
downgrade the chances of four cuts this year. Recall that the day before the
jobs report, the Fed funds futures had discounted three rate cuts and about a
62% chance of a fourth cut. The odds of a fourth cut increased after the jobs
data (~80%). Its probability has fallen in the first three sessions of this
week to stand at about 22%.

The risk is that adjustment
may be extended with today's US data. 
The most important of which is the February retail sales.
February was the third consecutive month of more than a 200k increase in
nonfarm payrolls, and recall personal income surged by 1.0% in January, but
consumption rose by a milder 0.2%, We know that auto sales improved in February
and the average retail price of gasoline rose by 5.75%. A winter storm appears
to have depressed January retail sales. A strong recovery, which speaks to
demand. Separately, but at the same time, February PPI will be released. The
headline rate is expected to accelerate above 1.0% for the first time since
last September. The core rate has been trending low since peaking at 9.7% in
March 2022. There have been two exceptions, July 2023, and January 2024. It is
expected to slip to 1.9% from 2.0% in January. Weekly jobless claims will get
little notice given the retail sales and PPI report. Business inventories are
typically not the kind of data that moves the markets. Recall that businesses
rebuild inventories in Q3, and this added 1.3 percentage points to GDP. In Q4
23, inventories contributed 0.1 percentage points to GDP.

The US dollar probed
three-day lows against the Canadian dollar yesterday (~CAD1.3460).
 This met the (61.8%) retracement of
the greenback's rally from last Friday's low (~CAD1.3420) to Tuesday's high
(~CAD1.3525). A break of CAD1.3460 would set up a retest on the CAD1.3400-20
support. The Mexican peso's climb has been relentless, it has
risen in 11 of the past 13 sessions. It is the strongest currency in the world
here in Q1 24, with a 1.7% gain against the dollar. The greenback slipped
slightly below MXN16.6600 yesterday as it draws closer to the multiyear low set
last July near MXN16.6265. The dollar's downtrend has accelerated. It has not
closed above the five-day moving average for the past 12 sessions. It is near
MXN16.7520 on a closing basis today. 



Source: Strong US Retail Sales may Help Extend the Dollar's Recovery