Europe must decide urgently

Nearly five years into the global credit crunch, you get a feeling for when something has reached the point of no return, when no amount of reassurance, promises or policies will fight the tide of markets. This is not to define markets as pure ‘speculators’, rather rational individuals and entities that are removing deposits from…

17 May @ 07:19

Dollar soars after Greek talks fail

News that ongoing talks amongst politicians in Greece have failed to come up with a coalition government and that new elections will need to be called, has triggered renewed fears that a Greek exit from the eurozone might not be too far away. In response, risk assets are again on the defensive with both traders…

16 May @ 07:07

Another bad hair day

Yet another bad hair day for risk assets yesterday amidst continuing concerns over a myriad of issues, including the unstable political situation in Greece and ongoing question marks around whether it will remain in the eurozone, the dire state of Spanish banking and sovereign finances, and a sense that the losses registered by the CIO…

15 May @ 07:12

A sea of red

Unfortunately, in financial markets at least, it is rarely the merry month of May. Last week was another sea of red, with equity markets on the slide, high-beta currencies heading south and core G4 bond yields declining. Spanish equities were singled out for the harshest treatment, falling another 3%, with the financials again hard hit….

14 May @ 07:13

More dark clouds over Spain

The week is ending in a similar fashion to which it began, namely with markets broadly in retreat from risk. There’s little reason to feel that today will be much different. The focus is on Spain and its expected announcement of just how bad the government believes the bad loans situation is for the banking…

11 May @ 07:11

Reality bites

The euro’s break below the 1.30 level has been sustained overnight and it’s notable that the dollar has risen in all but two of the past nine sessions, looking at the dollar index chart. The political events in Europe, both in France and Greece, have served to enhance the more risk-averse trend that was already…

10 May @ 07:42

Creeping political paralysis

The implications of events in both France, and more so Greece, are seeping through markets and have made themselves known within most asset classes. In FX, it’s created further pressure on the high-beta currencies, with AUD/USD nudging very close to parity in overnight trading. The Kiwi and Mexican peso are also notably softer. On commodities,…

09 May @ 07:00

Drawing the eurozone battle lines

After the initial weakening of the single currency on the back of the weekend’s political developments in both France and Greece, the euro crawled back through most of Monday’s session, although volumes were naturally muted by the London holiday. In France, there is a new President keen to rebalance the agenda in Europe towards growth…

08 May @ 07:33

Europe's austerity backlash

After the pounding meted out to risk assets overnight in response to the austerity backlash evident in both the French Presidential and Greek election results, both traders and investors can be forgiven for feeling quite unsettled. Although electoral disaffection with sustained harsh fiscal medicine is perfectly understandable, it is an open question as to what…

07 May @ 07:23

Caution ahead of payrolls

Markets face up to the US jobs data today in tentative mood, Asian stocks having softened by the greatest degree in nearly two weeks overnight and the past two days having seen high-beta currencies, such as the Aussie and Korean won the weakest performers of the majors. The recent trend in jobless claims, together with…

04 May @ 07:16

A dark and dismal Europe

A swathe of dismal economic news cast a long shadow across Europe yesterday, beating the single currency lower by nearly 1%. The manufacturing PMIs in the periphery for April were uniformly dreadful, Spain down to 43.6 and Italy to 43.8 (from 47.9 in March). For the latter, the new order balance saw the biggest monthly…

03 May @ 07:36

A trans-Atlantic good-news story

Genuinely positive stories on the economic front are relatively rare these days, with no fewer than ten of the EU’s 27 economies in recession and Australia’s central bank forced to cut rates by 50bp yesterday in part because the non-mining economy is contracting. Thankfully, both Germany and America continue to defy the global gloom. In…

02 May @ 07:42

RBA boldness should be applauded

Last night’s decision by the RBA to lower the cash rate by 50bp to 3.75% ought to be applauded. Faced with an economy which, outside the mining sector, is in recession and with inflation likely to be lower than expected, policy-makers rightly decided that financial conditions needed to be loosened considerably. Australia’s central bank would…

01 May @ 07:37

The dollar’s gentle descent

It has been exceedingly gradual, but the dollar has been drifting downwards over the past two weeks. Not that we are talking about a big move mind you – the dollar index is down by roughly 1.5% over that time. That said, some of the major dollar crosses are at levels not witnessed for some…

30 Apr @ 11:11

Japan goes further

It seems like some time ago now that Japan threw everything, including the kitchen sink, at the deflation problem. Now they are ripping out the plumbing and anything else they can find to try and escape the deflationary slump which the economy has been suffering from for the best part of the past fourteen years….

27 Apr @ 07:18

Cautious optimism from the Fed

The Fed decision last night was not expected to rock the boat, but the subtleties cannot be ignored given the reliance of many asset markets upon the Fed’s continued easy money stance. There was a subtle upgrading of the Fed’s growth outlook, the statement acknowledging an improvement in the longer-term picture. Although the Fed’s commitment…

26 Apr @ 07:20

China’s grim warning

In what can only be described as a remarkably candid assessment, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology overnight claimed that both domestic and external conditions were still ‘grim’ and that the economy was likely to endure further downward pressure. Companies in China are confronting growing operational difficulties, including much higher prices for energy and…

25 Apr @ 07:44

Seeing red

Yesterday proved to be a fairly tumultuous day in markets, in stocks especially. For Europe, it was a combination of the economic and political that conspired to put pressure on investor sentiment. Events in both France (a likely change in president) and the Netherlands (a backlash against austerity) impacted sentiment, as did the softer PMI…

24 Apr @ 07:14

Cautious pessimism

During April, markets have displayed a far more cautious tone to that seen through most of the first quarter. FX markets were earlier than most to adopt this tone, with high-beta currencies turning at the start of March, much earlier than most equity markets. As we enter the last full week of April, this approach…

23 Apr @ 07:14

More trouble and strife

Yesterday’s bond auctions might have gone well enough, but unfortunately other issues are brewing in Europe and moreover they are getting progressively worse. In Italy, as the economy reverses more rapidly than expected, the fiscal dynamics look increasingly problematic. Unsurprisingly, the IT/GER 10yr spread widened another 15bp to almost 400bp. Spain is in the doghouse…

20 Apr @ 07:00