European Outlook: The positive mood on stock markets continued in Asia overnight as investors focused on the dovish side of Yellen’s testimony yesterday, which already saw U.S. and European markets closing with gains yesterday. In Japan though TSE and Nikkei erased early gains as banks and insurers weighed. Still, U.S. and European stock futures are also moving higher, even if the BoC’s rate hike yesterday was a reminder that global central banks are eying exit steps, which means dovish central bank comments can temporarily halt, but are unlikely to stop the gradual rise in yields going ahead.
Fed Chair Yellen: reiterated the economy grew at a moderate pace, in her prepared remarks, while the labor market continued to strengthen. She also said she and the committee expect that the “evolution of the economy will warrant gradual increases in the federal funds rate.” She also repeated policy is not on a preset course. There was also a repeat of the paragraph on uncertainties in the outlook, and she noted inflation, possible changes in fiscal and other government policies, and regarding the global economy. Bonds and stocks have rallied on these comments, and the dollar has gyrated, even though the gist of her remarks were already released in the Monetary Policy Report last Friday. Yellen on the whites of inflation’s eyes: she side-stepped a question on the exact timing of balance normalization, and whether the soft inflation path could impact the FOMC’s decisions. She added that the Fed has laid out plans to normalize balance sheet in a transparent way and reiterated it’s likely to begin this year and “relatively soon,” echoing the remarks from the policy statement. The Fed overlooked the weaker inflation and real sector data back in June when it hiked rates, suggested another is likely this year, and outlined balance sheet normalization details, and that view still seems to hold currently. Also, Yellen indicated the Fed has tried to outline the balance sheet runoff, and indeed, that was an addendum to last month’s FOMC policy statement. She expects the unwind process to go smoothly as the Fed has been methodical in informing the public.
Bank of Canada: raised rates 25 bps to 0.75%, matching widespread expectations. Recent data have boosted the Bank’s confidence in its outlook for above potential growth and the absorption of excess capacity in the economy. They acknowledge the recent softness in inflation but judge it to be temporary. Given the lag between policy action and future inflation, they decided it was appropriate to raise rates. As for future moves, they will be “guided by incoming data as they inform the Bank’s inflation outlook.”. Hence a follow up hike in September is likely if the economic data remains encouraging and maintains the broadening among regions and sectors seen this year. An October hike (with no change in September) would send a more gradualist message, but given their U-turn in tone and rate hike yesterday, taking it slow is perhaps not a priority. BoC Poloz said that he does not “doubt that rates will move higher” in the full course of time. There is not a pre-determined path, with policy moves data dependent, he said. He responded to a question on if today’s hike was to remove the 50 bp in 2015 cuts or the start of a series of steps upward. Not surprisingly, he did not classify yesterday’s move as either of the two scenarios. The economy, he said, can handle well the move today. Another two hikes in 2018, in January and April.
German Jun HICP was confirmed at 1.5% y/y national CPI at 1.6% y/y. No surprises there, and although the slight uptick in the headline rate over the month was against the general trend in the Eurozone, even the German HICP is clearly below the ECB’s definition of price stability. Lower oil prices are playing a key factor as annual energy price inflation has now turned negative and stood at -0.1% y/y in June, down from 0.8% y/y in May and compared to 2.8% y/y at the start of the year. Prices for light heating oil rose merely 0.9% y/Y in June, after still rising 11.7% y/y in May and a staggering 42.5% y/y in January. So base effects from energy prices are now holding back the headline rate, and indeed the ECB already cut back its inflation projection on the back of lower than anticipated oil prices. More arguments then for the doves at the council, who are eager to reassure markets that nothing has changed so far, although that QE tapering will start early next year is almost certain.
Main Macro Events Today
- US PPI – June PPI data is out today and should post a -0.2% headline decline with a 0.2% core increase. This follows May figures which had a flat headline and a 0.3% core index. There is some downside risk to the headline as WTI oil prices dipped 7.0% on the month.
- US Jobless Claims – Initial claims data for the week of July 8 are out today and are expected to post a decline to 245k from 248k last week and 244k the week prior.
- Fedspeak – Yellen’s testimony today on the Senate Banking Committee will highlight.
- BOC NHPI – Canada’s calendar has New Housing Price Index which expected to decline 0.3% m/m in May after the 0.8% in April.
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