April 1 2017

Apr. 1, 2017 (Commerzbank AG) – Euro zone – boost from the East

Corporate sentiment in the euro zone has improved massively in recent months, probably due mainly to demand from Asia picking up again. The main thrust seems to be coming from China. Despite that country’s continuing structural problems, the boost from the East should continue for the time being, and thus prevent a marked drop in sentiment indicators. However, since high private-sector debt levels are still weighing on domestic demand in the euro zone, there is probably only limited upward scope for Ifo and other indicators.

Further topics:

Turkey: Stable lira is a sham

The Turkish lira has stabilized since the beginning of the year, but there is no reason to sound the all-clear for the lira. It has benefited from improved sentiment against emerging markets currencies of late which has driven other EM currencies markedly up.

Outlook for the week of 3 to 7 April 2017

  • Economic data: Yet again, March will probably have seen no change in the US in the gap between the upbeat mood throughout the economy and no more than average hard data. The employment report should continue to trace a positive though not overwhelming development.
  • Bond market: With speculation on early ECB rate hikes subsiding, Bunds look well underpinned going into next week.
  • FX market: The sharp rise in EUR-USD should be over for now. Not only sentiment but hard data as well are arguing for downside potential.
  • Equity market: US monetary indicators such as the strong M1 money growth and the relatively steep US$ yield curve indicate that the S&P 500 bull might run further.
  • Commodity market: The price of Brent is unlikely to change much in the week ahead, distinctly above the 50 USD mark.


USA 

March 31, 2017 (Tempus, Inc.) – The U.S. Dollar sustained most of its gains overnight and is looking to perhaps improve this morning based on solid economic data that once more signals inflation growing and consumption being steady. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index grew by 1.0% thus far this week, but the “buck” may be under pressure. Investigations over Russian ties to President Trump have taken a turn since last night when former U.S. National Security Adviser Mike Flynn said that he’d be willing to speak to interested authorities if promised immunity in the case. Political meddling between nations is a serious matter and that may keep the U.S. Dollar subdued.

Personal Income and Spending data this morning showed consistency as expected. Inflationary growth continues to rise as Personal Economic Expenditures grew 1.8% over the expected 1.7% estimate while also being revised upward from the prior month. Other Fed members will speak today, but we’ll keep close eyes mostly on headlines over Brexit negotiations, which might get ugly quick and the potential for scandal in the world’s highest office.

EUR

The Euro fell 1.8% this week, based on European Central Bank dovish commentary and now deflationary pressures. The Euro-zone’s inflation slowed to 1.5% last month, way below expectations of 1.8%, a figure closer to the desired 2.0% target set by the ECB. Although the political risk of France going rightist is fading according to polls that show Emmanuel Macron, the pro-further-globalization candidate, could win with a comfortable margin, there are growing doubts over Brexit talks and the future of the EU.

The Portuguese government is saying that Brexit shows the EU needs to be reformed, echoing the sentiment of other troubled nations that feel squeezed by austerity measures placed on them to prevent defaulting on debt. The struggles are very real with an economic recovery that may need further help from the ECB next year and political uncertainty across the continent. EUR could have room for losses in the next week, maybe beyond.

GBP

The Pound fell this morning based on underwhelming data revealing that fourth quarter GDP in 2016 negatively affected consumer spending as inflation rose quickly. Trade as a result of a weakened Pound benefited, but this means only the bigger players in the economy saw growth. Although prices may be on the rise for some products, they are falling where it matters most.

Housing prices in the UK fell for the first time in two years, a worrisome figure considering that the housing and property industry suffered the most after the Brexit referendum. In terms of Brexit talks, the European Union now looks committed to holding a united front against any UK perks, saying that Britain will not decide its fate when it comes to how the full separation will take place. Friction is in the air, certainly not love.