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Clearly it’s a risk-off environment. Against that background, it’s no surprise that the commodity currencies did badly and the “safe haven” JPY and CHF did well. AUD was particularly hard hit, for two reasons: first off, it’s often traded as a more free-floating proxy for CNY, and secondly, Australia’s economy would be hardest hit by a slowdown in the Chinese economy. USD fell, as is to be expected in a trade war that’s likely to take an increasing toll on the US economy (see Mr. Bostic’s comments below).
So far the “trade war” has been confined to trade. The fear however is that it may spill over into the financial world. Specifically, China could start selling off some of its massive holdings of Treasury bonds. The country owns some $1.18tn of Treasuries, or 30% of all foreign official holdings of Treasuries, which is not to mention their holdings of agency bonds and others.
Of course to some degree it would be shooting themselves in the foot to sell these bonds aggressively, because once the market realized what was happening, bond prices would plunge. However, US mortgage rates would soar as a result, and China might feel the pain was worth it to make middle-class US voters sit up and take notice.
Would that be good or bad for the dollar? Oddly enough, it might be good for the dollar. As you can see, in general USD has risen and fallen along with US yields over the past several years.
We had some interesting Fedspeak yesterday, with two voting members presenting quite different assessments of the outlook.
Atlanta Federal Reserve System (Fed) President Raphael Bostic said, “I began the year with a decided upside tilt to my risk profile for growth, reflecting business optimism following the passage of tax reform. However, that optimism has almost completely faded, replaced by concerns about trade policy and tariffs. In contrast, incoming NY Fed President John Williams said, “Our economy’s in great shape; we’re in the second-longest expansion in history,and economic data from both the United States and countries around the world continue to trend upwards.” So a mixed view on the FOMC.
A relatively quiet schedule today.
In Europe, European Central Bank (ECB) President Draghi will be giving the opening speech at the ECB’s forum in Sintra, Portugal on Price and wage-setting in advanced economies. His speech is to last 30 minutes. Then, ECB Chief Economist Peter Praet will chair the first session, on Macroeconomics of price and wage setting. Participants include St. Louis Fed President James Bullard. They break for lunch at 13:30 local time and that’s it for the day.
The only major data out from the US today is housing starts and building permits. The market is looking for a 1.9% mom increase in starts, a rebound from the fall in the previous month, but a 1.0% mom decrease in permits. A fall in permits of that degree wouldn’t be particularly worrisome though as the upward trend seems to be still in place. This could be positive for USD.
Overnight, New Zealand announces its current account balance for Q1. It’s expected to be slightly in surplus. However, the 4-quarter calculation of the current account as a percent of GDP will show a slightly wider deficit, because the Q1 2017 surplus, which now falls out of the calculation, was a bit larger than the Q1.
Early in the European day Wednesday 20th of June 2018, Bank of France Governor and ECB Board Member Villeroy de Galhau will hold a press conference on the Annual Report of the Banque de France. According to Google Translate, he’ll talk about the economic situation of France and the Eurozone. We might get more insights into the ECB’s recent decision.
The Fundamental Analysis is provided by Marshall Gittler who is an external service provider of Claws and Horns (Cyprus) Limited, an independent analytical company. Any views and opinions expressed are explicitly those of the writer. Any information contained in the article, is believed to be reliable, and has not been verified by STO and is not guaranteed to be accurate. References to specific products, are for illustrative purposes only and are not a form of solicitation, recommendation or investment advice. Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance.
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