Risk correlated trades had a strong showing yesterday as banking stocks rallied and concerns over the inadequacies of the Stress Test dissipated. The USD lost ground to both the GBP and EUR while longs in JPY and CHF were equally cut. Risky trades continued to benefit throughout the trading day in spite of US Consumer confidence data coming in negative. We especially like the appreciation we saw in sterling. We suspect there has been a fundamental shift in GBP prospects due to the sturdy GDP reading last Friday and we anticipate further upside to sterling in the near-to-mid term.
Asian equity markets are having a roaring day and the positive effects are spilling over into European indexes. We are seeing other encouraging signs as VIX dropped below its 200-day moving average and Gold continues to come under heavy selling pressure. There has been a noticeable lack of 1st tier economic data and we are cautious in accumulating too much risk just yet. These are the dog days of the trading summer - as such, low liquidly and inconsistent participants will continue to be as important as real data.
During the Asian session, the big news was the disappointing Australian Q2 CPI reading which came in well below markets expectations. The market was quick to shift rate hike expectations from August to later in the fall (ACM expects a November hike). The AUDUSD dropped like a rock to .8923 from .9020 in response to the release. With the inflation rate now within the RBA's 2-3% target, markets now pricing in a late fall hike. The large AUD interest rate differential will further erode, which in turn will lend added support to currencies like CAD and NOK. Look for CAD & NOK to gain in the near term.
We are still highly constructive on the global economy and suspect commodities prices to trend higher which should give AUD a boost against the USD. With all the excitement around AUD, the CPI watchers will now be turning their gaze toward New Zealand.
In NZ, July business confidence and activity outlook surveys showed a significant deterioration from the June results. Analysts are in unanimous agreement that the RBNZ will raise the OCR 25 bps to 3.00% at its policy meeting tonight. Market and media interest will be focused on the accompanying statement released with the rate hike. Although recent NZ CPI readings have come in lower-than-expected, the markets are still pricing in roughly 75 bps worth of hikes between now and the year's end.
We believe that the RBNZ statement will sound slightly more dovish, signaling a minor shift in interest rate trajectory as policy makers prepare for a global economic slowdown later this year. The sudden adjustment in rate path should translate into short-term NZD weakness, especially against the AUD.
As for today, US Durable Goods data is due to be released as investors continue to look for directional signals for the US recovery. The Fed's Beige Book will likely reflect recent data softness.
Today's Key Issues (time in GMT): 00:00 EUR GER Jul HICP - prelim, +0.2% m/m, +1.1% y/y exp; prior unch, +0.8%. 07:00 EUR ESP Jun retail sales; prior -1.9% y/y. 08:45 GBP BoE Gov King, other MPC member testimony before Parliament. 10:00 GBP Jun Land Registry house prices. 12:30 USD Jun durable goods orders, +2.9% m/m exp; prior -0.6%. 12:30 USD Jun - ex-transport, +1.0% m/m exp; prior +1.6%. 18:00 USD Fed Beige Book release. 18:30 USD Senate vote on Fed nominees 21:00 NZD RBNZ interest rate announcement, % 3.00% exp, 2.75% prior