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Tirgus panorāma. 26 Maijs 2017

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I. Market focus:

26/05/2017

The beginning of the final session of the week in the currency market was quite volatile. The volatility leaders were the yen, the British pound, and the U.S. dollar.

The Japanese currency appreciated after the release of inflation data in Japan, which were generally in-line with economists’ average forecasts.

The British pound came under pressure after the latest opinion polls showed that the Conservatives' advantage over Labour had narrowed to just five points. The polls put the Conservatives on 43 percent and Labour on 34 percent. Previous polls indicated a more confident leadership of the British Prime Minister's party, putting it ahead of Tories 44 percent to 34 percent. The Early general election in Great Britain will be held on June 8.

As for the dollar, the U.S. currency strengthened significantly, as the latest statements of the Fed’s two officials, San Francisco Fed President John Williams and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, gave investors more confidence the Fed would be further tightening its monetary policy. Mr. Williams announced his view that three rate hikes this year is appropriate, while Mr. Bullard confirmed the reductions in the Fed's balance sheet are to start in the second half of this year.

On Friday, the main events will be the U.S. macroeconomic statistics, coming out in the second half of the session. The U.S. data on durable goods orders and revised estimate on GDP for the second quarter will be released at 12:30 GMT, while the report on consumer sentiment from Reuters/Michigan will be published 14:00 GMT.

 

II. The market highlights are:

  • OPEC and other major producers, including Russia, agreed to extend their current six-month deal to limit oil production for another nine months until March 2018. The deal was agreed on Thursday during oil producers’ meeting at cartel's headquarters in Vienna. Saudi Arabia’s oil minister Khalid al Falih said in a press conference shortly after the meeting, "We considered various scenarios, from six (months) to nine to 12 and we even considered options for a higher cut... All indications are solid that a nine-month extension is the optimum and should bring us within the five-year average by the end of the year."

  • The data from the Labor Department revealed Thursday the number of applications for unemployment benefits rose less than expected last week, continuing to point to a tightening labor market. According to the report, the initial claims for unemployment benefits grew by 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 234,000 for the week ended May 20. It was the 116th straight week that claims remained below the 300,000 threshold, the longest streak since 1970. Economists had expected 238,000 new claims last week. Claims for the prior week were revised upwardly to 233,000 from the initial estimate of 232,000. Meanwhile, the four-week moving average of claims fell by 5,750 to 235,250 last week, the lowest level since April 1973.

  • San Francisco Federal Reserve President John Williams announced his view that three rate hikes this year is appropriate. Given the fact inflation remains below the Fed's 2-percent target and has softened lately, there is no pressure to do more than the two further rate hikes this year that he and most other Fed officials expect, Williams said. He also noted he believed that the U.S President Donald Trump's fiscal policy might only bring small short-term gains and little for the longer term.

  • St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said Friday he favored the reductions in the Fed's balance sheet to start in the second half of this year. He also added that he did see this process is to have a minimal impact on long-term bond yields. The official also noted it was good to cap the amount of mortgage-backed securities allowed to run off the regulator’s balance sheet, but he was indifferent to what the size of the cap should be.

  • The Japanese government reported on Friday that country’s consumer prices rose 0.4 percent y-o-y in April, accelerating from 0.2 percent y-o-y increase in March and matching economists’ forecast. The nationwide core consumer price gauge, which excludes volatile fresh food prices, grew 0.3 percent y-o-y in April, accelerating from a 0.2 percent y-o-y advance in the prior month, but missing economists’ forecast for a 0.4 percent gain. Meanwhile, core consumer prices in Tokyo, available a month before the nationwide data, inched up 0.1 percent y-o-y in May after dropping 0.1 percent y-o-y in March, while economists forecast a flat reading. Overall, Tokyo consumer price index rose 0.1 percent y-o-y in May, exceeding economists’ expectations for a flat reading following a 0.1 percent y-o-y fall in April.

 

III. Market Situation
Currency Market
The currency pair EUR/USD traded slightly lower as the U.S. dollar strengthened. Market participants continued to take the lead from the latest statements of the Fed’s officials, which added to the confidence the Fed would be further tightening its monetary policy. San Francisco Federal Reserve President John Williams expressed his view that three rate hikes this year is appropriate. Given the fact inflation remains below the Fed's 2-percent target and has softened lately, there is no pressure to do more than the two further rate hikes this year that he and most other Fed officials expect, Williams said. Meanwhile, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said he favored the reductions in the Fed's balance sheet to start in the second half of this year. He also added that he did see this process is to have a minimal impact on long-term bond yields. The official also noted it was good to cap the amount of mortgage-backed securities allowed to run off the regulator’s balance sheet, but he was indifferent to what the size of the cap should be. Fed-funds futures now show an 87.7 percent probability of rate increase in June compared to 83.1 percent recorded yesterday and 73.8 percent a week earlier (on May 19). It is possible that during this session, this probability may change somewhat in response to the U.S. reports on GDP, durable goods orders, and consumer sentiment as well. Resistance level – $1.3000 (psychological level). Support level – $1.1075 (low of May 18).

The currency pair GBP/USD fell sharply, reaching its lowest level since May 16. The catalyst for such dynamics was the results of polls, which showed that the advantage of the British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party over the opposition Labour Party had narrowed to just five points after Manchester Arena attack. The polls put the Conservatives on 43 percent and Labour on 34 percent. Previous polls indicated a more confident leadership of the British Prime Minister's party, putting it ahead of Tories 44 percent to 34 percent. The Early general election in Great Britain will be held on June 8. The pound also remained depressed after yesterday’s release of revised data on the UK’s GDP for the first quarter, which showed Britain's economy suffered a worse-than-expected slowdown at the start of the year. According to the ONS report, GDP grew just 0.2 percent q-o-q in the first quarter of 2017, less than the 0.3 percent published in April’s estimate and down from 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016. On an annual basis, GDP expansion was also lower at 2 percent, down from a flash first estimate of 2.1 percent, but above 1.9 percent in the final three months of 2016. Resistance level - $1.3013 (high of May 25). Support level - $1.2888 (low of May 18).

The currency pair AUD/USD dropped markedly, approaching its low May 19, due to a fall in commodities prices, as well as the strengthening of the U.S. currency in response to the increased likelihood the Fed will hike its rates next month. Investors also priced in the outcomes of yesterday's meeting of OPEC and non-cartel oil producers, at which they agreed to hold back oil production for another nine months until March 2018. The deal was widely expected by the market participants. At the same time, the fact the producers did not deepen the cuts frustrated some of them. Resistance level - AUD0.7515 (high of May 23). Support level - AUD0.7326 (low of May 9).

The currency pair USD/JPY traded moderate lower, near its low of May 24. Experts note that demand for the yen, typically considered a safe-haven, increased as the oil prices fell, imposing a negative impact on equities of commodity companies. The yen also was supported by the latest official report on inflation in Japan. The Japanese government reported on Friday that country’s consumer prices rose 0.4 percent y-o-y in April, accelerating from 0.2 percent y-o-y increase in March and matching economists’ forecast. The nationwide core consumer price gauge, which excludes volatile fresh food prices, grew 0.3 percent y-o-y in April, accelerating from a 0.2 percent y-o-y advance in the prior month, but missing economists’ forecast for a 0.4 percent gain. Meanwhile, core consumer prices in Tokyo, available a month before the nationwide data, inched up 0.1 percent y-o-y in May after dropping 0.1 percent y-o-y in March, while economists forecast a flat reading. Overall, Tokyo consumer price index rose 0.1 percent y-o-y in May, exceeding economists’ expectations for a flat reading following a 0.1 percent y-o-y fall in April. Resistance level - Y112.10 (high of May 24). Support level - Y110.23 (low of May 18).

 

Stock Market

Index

Value

Change

S&P

2,415.07

+0.44%

Dow

21,082.95

+0.34%

NASDAQ

6,205.26

+0.69%

Nikkei

19,686.84

-0.64%

Hang Seng

25,639.27

+0.03%

Shanghai

3,110.16

+0.08%

S&P/ASX

5,751.66

-0.66%


U.S. stock indexes closed higher on Thursday for the sixth session in a row, helped mainly by strong reports of the companies in the retail sector.  Investors’ sentiment also gained momentum after the minutes of the Fed's May meeting signaled that the U.S. central bank's officials had good confidence in the economic outlook and expected to raise interest rates soon. On the data front, investors assessed weekly report on initial claims. The Labor Department reported the number of applications for unemployment benefits rose less than expected last week, continuing to point to a tightening labor market. According to the report, the initial claims for unemployment benefits grew by 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 234,000 for the week ended May 20. It was the 116th straight week that claims remained below the 300,000 threshold, the longest streak since 1970. Economists had expected 238,000 new claims last week. Claims for the prior week were revised upwardly to 233,000 from the initial estimate of 232,000. Meanwhile, the four-week moving average of claims fell by 5,750 to 235,250 last week, the lowest level since April 1973.

Asian stock indexes closed mixed on Friday, as a slump in oil prices weighed on energy shares. Oil fell as some market participants were disappointed by the fact OPEC stuck to the most predictable outcome in its plans to limit production. Recall, the world’s largest oil producers led by OPEC agreed to extend the existing oil cuts until the first-quarter of 2018, the move, which was the base-case scenario for the market. But many in the market had hoped that cartel would take a more aggressive stance against the global oil oversupply by deepening cuts to production. The Japanese shares were also pressured by the fact as the yen strengthened against the U.S. dollar, hurting the Japanese export-oriented companies.

European stock indexes are expected to trade mixed in the morning trading session.

 

Bond Market
Yields of US 10-year notes hold at 2.25% (-1 basis points)
Yields of German 10-year bonds hold at 0.36% (0 basis points)
Yields of UK 10-year gilts hold at 1.04% (0 basis points)

Commodity Markets
Light Sweet Crude Oil (WTI) futures traded lower. Crude oil for delivery in July settled at $48.62 (-0.57%). The crude oil prices continued to decline after yesterday's collapse by about 5%, triggered by the outcomes of the meeting of OPEC and other major producers, including Russia. At the meeting, the world’s largest oil producers agreed to extend their current six-month deal to limit oil production for another nine months until March 2018. Meanwhile, some investors hoped that they would take a more aggressive stance against the global oil oversupply by deepening cuts to production. Market participants are now awaiting weekly data on the U.S. oil rig count from Baker Hughes.

Gold traded at $1258.20 (+0.20%). Gold prices rose slightly as the negative dynamics on Asian stock exchanges and the oil market increased investors' demand for safe assets, including gold. Meanwhile, further growth of gold prices was limited by the strengthening U.S. currency. The index, measuring the value of the U.S. dollar relative to a basket of six major currencies, rose by 0.06 percent to 97.31. Since gold prices are tied to the dollar, a stronger dollar makes the precious metal more expensive for holders of foreign currencies.

 


IV. The most important news that are expected (time GMT0)

 

07:00

Eurozone

ECB's Benoit Coeure Speaks

12:30

U.S.

Durable Goods Orders

12:30

U.S.

GDP (revised)

12:30

U.S.

PCE price index (revised)

14:00

U.S.

Reuters/Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index (finally)

17:00

U.S.

Baker Hughes Oil Rig Count

 

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