European Outlook: Asian stock markets moved mostly higher, as USD steadied. The ASX is outperforming despite ongoing strength in AUD and FTSE 100 futures are rising in tandem with U.S. futures. Long yields picked up in the U.S. and Japan, but the September Bund contract moved higher in after hour trade yesterday, suggesting opening gains in Bund futures, after yesterday’s sharp drop in European yields. Oil prices are slightly down, but the front end WTI future is holding above USD 46 per barrel. Today’s European calendar is quiet, with a German 30-year auction and Eurozone construction output the only highlights, leaving the focus firmly on U.S. political events and the ECB meeting tomorrow.
ACA reform: A smattering of healthcare headlines in wake of the ACA reform abandonment and now chorus of outright repeal calls suggests the debate appears to be disintegrating further. Republican senators Collins, Portman and Capito indicated that they would vote against a repeal without a replacement plan. In contrast, Vice President Pence said he and Trump would “fully support” leader McConnell’s decision to move forward with a bill that only repeals Obamacare in a “fresh start.” Pence warned that congressional inaction “is not an option and congress needs to do their job.” Senate Democratic leader Schumer said an Obamacare repeal without replacement would be a “disaster.” Meanwhile, House Budget Chairwoman Black said she expects the Republican budget to pass the panel and full House vote. Trump’s postscript on ACA reform was aired live and he confirmed that he was “disappointed” that after hearing repeal/replace on healthcare for 7-years that the votes weren’t there. He didn’t consider the renegade votes “disloyal,” but said that more effort would need to take place to get more Republicans in seats in 2018. Trump then reiterated his fallback plan of letting Obamacare fail and predicted the Dems would come back at that point to replace it or come up with something else.
U.S. reports: import prices fell 0.2% in June, with export prices off 0.2% as well. The 0.3% decline in May import prices was revised up to -0.1%, while May export prices were nudged to -0.5% from -0.7% previously. Petroleum import prices dropped another 2.2% (a fourth straight monthly slide) versus -1.2% previously (revised from -3.9%). As for export prices, agriculture prices dropped 1.5% from -1.6%, with foods, beverages at -1.6% from -2.0%, with industrial supplies flat from -1.3%. Excluding ag, export prices were flat. Slowing inflation remains the theme into the summer months and that should support Treasury gains. U.S. NAHB homebuilder sentiment index fell 2 points to 64 in July, below expectations, after falling 3 points to 66 in June (revised from 67). It’s the lowest since 63 in October, and below the 67 6-month average, but it is well up from the 58 a year ago. The current single-family sales index dropped 2 points 70 from 72 last month. The future sales index also declined 2 points to 73 from 75. The index of prospective buyer traffic slid to 48 after dropping 2 ticks to 49 previously. The NAHB indicated tariffs on Canadian lumber are weighing.
Eurozone: UK June CPI unexpectedly softened to 2.6% y/y after May’s cycle-high rate of 2.9% y/y. The median forecast had been for an unchanged 2.9% outcome. The ebb is in sync with the directional pattern seen in inflation readings in other key economies in June, although price pressures in the UK remain relatively more elevated due to the inflationary consequences of the sharp y/y sterling decline following the Brexit vote at the end of June last year. A decline in motor fuels was a key factor driving the headline rate lower, along with the prices of recreational and cultural goods and services. German ZEW investor confidence weaker than expected, with the expectations reading falling back to 17.5 in July from 18.6 in the previous month. Expectations had been for a correction in sentiment amid the realization that global central bank support has peaked, but the dip is still more pronounced than anticipated, especially as the current conditions indicator also fell back. More arguments then for the doves at the ECB who are eager not to let markets price in tapering steps too early and we expect Draghi to try and calm nerves at this week’s council meeting, which will be the last ahead of a summer break, with the next meeting only scheduled for September.
Main Macro Events Today
- US Housing Starts – Housing starts are forecast rising to a 1,160k pace in June following the 5.5% drop to 1,092k in May. However, a rise in construction jobs last month suggests upside risk.
- Canada Manufacturing – Manufacturing shipments, due today, are expected to reveal a 1.0% m/m gain in May after the 1.1% rise in April. Forecast is supported by a 1.3% improvement in export values during May. However, gold shipments to the U.K. were a driver of total exports, suggesting some downside risk for our manufacturing shipments projection. An as-expected rebound in shipments would be supportive of the “improving” narrative for Canada’s economy this year, and hence underpin expectations for one more rate hike this year.
- Japanese Trade – Data includes the June trade report. The balance expected to flip to a JPY 500.0 bln surplus, from the JPY 204.2 bln shortfall in May. The Exports and Imports expected to fall by 5.4% and 3.2% respectively.
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