tax reform bill

Mar. 17, 2018 (Allthingsforex.com) – The USD managed to post gains against the CHF after the Swiss National Bank decided to leave rates unchanged at the record low -0.75% and promised to “remain active in the foreign exchange market as necessary, while taking the overall currency situation into consideration.” In other words, expect the ultra-accommodative monetary policy to remain unchanged for quite some time and that the central bank is ready to ease further or to intervene should market and economic conditions warrant such actions.

As a result, the USD targeted last week’s resistance at 0.9535 and even managed to overshoot it by 12 pips to 0.9547. The readers familiar with The Quarters Theory would already know that such move should not yet be considered as a decisive breakout. However, if we continue to see more attempts at the 0.9550 area in the week ahead, we might eventually witness an actual breakout that could extend the USD rally towards the next Large Quarter Point at 0.9750. Of course, this is all provided there are no news from Washington or elsewhere in the world that spook investor sentiment and trigger a flight to safety, strengthening the CHF.

For those who care to read the official monetary policy statement as published by the SNB, please see below:

Monetary policy assessment of 15 March 2018

Swiss National Bank leaves expansionary monetary policy unchanged

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) is maintaining its expansionary monetary policy, with the aim of stabilising price developments and supporting economic activity. Interest on sight deposits at the SNB is to remain at –0.75% and the target range for the three-month Libor is unchanged at between –1.25% and –0.25%. The SNB will remain active in the foreign exchange market as necessary, while taking the overall currency situation into consideration.

Since the last monetary policy assessment in December, the Swiss franc has appreciated slightly overall on the back of the weaker US dollar. The Swiss franc remains highly valued. The situation in the foreign exchange market is still fragile and monetary conditions may change rapidly. The negative interest rate and the SNB’s willingness to intervene in the foreign exchange market as necessary therefore remain essential. This keeps the attractiveness of Swiss franc investments low and eases pressure on the currency.

The SNB’s conditional inflation forecast has shifted slightly downwards as a result of the somewhat stronger Swiss franc. The forecast for the current year has decreased marginally to 0.6%, from 0.7% in the previous quarter. For 2019, the SNB now expects inflation of 0.9%, compared to 1.1% last quarter. For 2020, it anticipates an inflation rate of 1.9%. The conditional inflation forecast is based on the assumption that the three-month Libor remains at –0.75% over the entire forecast horizon.

The international economic environment is currently favourable. In the fourth quarter of 2017, the global economy continued to exhibit solid, broad-based growth. International trade remained dynamic. Employment registered a further increase in the advanced economies, which is also bolstering domestic demand.

The SNB expects global economic growth to remain above potential in the coming quarters. Given the robust economic situation, the US Federal Reserve plans to continue its gradual normalisation of monetary policy. In the euro area and Japan, by contrast, monetary policy is likely to remain highly expansionary.

In Switzerland, GDP grew in the fourth quarter at an annualised 2.4%. This growth was again primarily driven by manufacturing, but most other industries also made a positive contribution. In the wake of this development, capacity utilisation in the economy as a whole improved further. The unemployment rate declined again slightly through to February. The SNB continues to expect GDP growth of around 2% for 2018 and a further gradual decrease in unemployment.

Imbalances on the mortgage and real estate markets persist. While growth in mortgage lending remained relatively low in 2017, prices for single-family houses and owner-occupied apartments began to rise more rapidly again. Residential investment property prices also rose, albeit at a somewhat slower pace. Owing to the strong growth in recent years, this segment in particular is subject to the risk of a price correction over the medium term. The SNB will continue to monitor developments on the mortgage and real estate markets closely, and will regularly reassess the need for an adjustment of the countercyclical capital buffer.”

 

 

 


USA 

Mar. 16, 2018 (Western Union Business Solutions) - The U.S. dollar was back on the defensive Friday after logging its first winning session in 5 days Thursday. The buck was modestly weaker versus the euro and sterling, down less than 0.2%, while it slipped more than 0.6% against the safe haven yen. The otherwise weaker greenback maintained a gain against Canada, keeping the U.S. unit near mid-2017 highs. White House woes have the dollar in the doghouse. More personnel changes are expected from the White House, keeping political uncertainty elevated. Should the president soon fire national security adviser H.R. McMaster, it would mark the loss of another moderate voice following the firing of the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, and the resignation of chief economic adviser Gary Cohn. Other weights on the dollar include worries over U.S. trade policy and moderating economic optimism with consumer spending in a slump. Market attention remains on Washington where the Fed meets next week.

EUR

The euro strengthened on the back of the weaker greenback Friday but otherwise kept on a leash after another dovish salvo from Mario Draghi this week. The central bank president sounded the dovish alarms again by affirming that the ECB would be “patient, persistent and prudent” about paring back stimulus with inflation remaining stubbornly low. Underscoring anemic inflation, consumer prices unexpectedly got revised downward to a 1.1% increase in February, a wrong turn from the ECB’s just below 2% goal.

CAD

Canada’s dollar maintained a defensive posture after sinking to fresh 8-month lows this week. Trade friction between the U.S. and Canada has weighed, along with receding expectations for the Bank of Canada to raise interest rates in the months ahead following weaker readings on the economy. President Trump this week took exception with what he characterized as a U.S. trade deficit with Canada. The loonie has a heightened sensitivity to trade matters given Canada’s export-oriented economy.

GBP

Sterling firmed Friday, boosted by the weaker dollar and reports of progress between Britain and Brussels on granting the former a transitional deal to help smooth its exit from the 28-country bloc next year. Next week looms large for the pound with U.K. reports Tuesday on inflation and Wednesday on unemployment. If that’s not enough, retail sales and a Bank of England interest rate decision highlight Thursday trade. The BOE is not expected to raise rates but it could hint at the likelihood of action in the spring.

USD

The dollar was hit by political and economic crosswinds that had the U.S. unit on its back foot. Dollar sentiment is suffering from the perception of the White House shifting in a more hawkish direction with respect to trade that has concerns on the rise about a potential global trade war. Meanwhile, expectations for U.S. first quarter growth have moderated after data this week showed the American consumer in a three-month slump. Consequently, the Fed next week, while it’ expected to raise interest rates by 25 basis points to roughly 1.6%, might be inclined to temper any hawkish message and stop short of signaling a fourth rate hike this year.

Dec. 3, 2017 (by Ozerov/Suwanapruti at Goldman Sachs Research) - As we wind down 2017, analysts at GS Research see the potential for stronger global growth in 2018 that could boost emerging market currencies and could create USD, SGD and JPY short opportunities against the BRL, INR, and IDR.

“One of our core macro views for next year is for the strong and synchronous global expansion to continue, surprising consensus expectations to the upside. Healthy global growth and trade generally favours emerging market assets — and EM currencies often push beyond ‘fair value’. Two of our Top Trade recommendations capture the currency implications of stronger global and EM growth using baskets in two regions: Asia and Latin America. Top Trade #6 (long INR, IDR, KRW vs. short SGD and JPY) aims to benefit from the ‘equity-centricity’ of Asian currencies, and some country-specific catalysts in India, Indonesia and South Korea. Funding out of SGD and JPY should help mitigate rate risk given the elevated sensitivity of JPY to increases in global interest rates. Top Trade #7 (long BRL, CLP, PEN vs. short USD) is predicated on the expected upside in metals prices, undervalued currencies and still early innings in the Latin America growth recovery.”

 

European Economics Analyst: When regions fail

“At the international level, Europe’s productivity performance has disappointed. Consider the evolution of average output per worker since 1990. The United States started higher and grew faster. At the national level, there is evidence of catch-up convergence among countries within Europe. Less productive countries have tended to exhibit faster post-war productivity growth than their more productive peers. But the degree of dispersion in productivity across European countries has increased over the past decade, despite having fallen for fifty years in the run-up to EMU. At the sub-national level, there is some evidence of productivity divergence between regions within countries. In France and Sweden, for example, regions in which labour productivity was low in 2000 tended to exhibit slower productivity growth between 2000 and 2015 than regions in which labour productivity was high.”

 

US Economics Analyst: Losing My Deduction

“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) now making its way through Congress is likely to restrict the federal deductibility of state and local taxes. We now expect a repeal of the federal deductibility of state and local (S&L) income taxes as well as a $10k cap on the property tax deduction. Under current law, the ability to deduct taxes paid from taxable income lowers the effective S&L tax rate. While eliminating this deduction would raise substantial federal revenues, the sharper regional differences in effective tax rates would also make it harder for S&L governments to raise income and property taxes.”

Dec. 1, 2017 (Tempus Inc.) - The U.S. Dollar has been swinging within tight ranges and closed the week in similar fashion as markets awaited the chance of tax reform legislation passing the Senate.

USD

Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee is said to be an obstacle towards voting and maintaining confidence of necessary support. Any headlines that provide guidance into proceedings will drive markets one way or the other.

Additionally, market participants are paying attention to news of a potential exit by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is said to be threading on thin ice with the White House. In terms of data, manufacturing gauges like PMI and New Orders will be released at 9:45AM while Construction Spending at 10AM. We think positivity could help recover some of this week’s losses.

EUR

The Euro is trending in favorable ranges as focus remained on U.S. political developments. However, this may change in upcoming weeks as Chancellor Angela Merkel continues to run into problems as she negotiates building a coalition. Nevertheless, the balance for the shared currency came in as news of slightly than expected Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index figures.

Economics are keeping the Euro afloat, but the potential unstable situation in the largest economy of the Euro-bloc is cause for concern. Italy also faces the prospect of new anti-establishment leadership going into 2018.

CAD

The Canadian Dollar improved by over 1.0% meriting appreciation on the basis of solid Gross Domestic Product Growth during the month of September. Data showed a 0.2% expansion over the estimated 0.1%, bringing the yearly average to 3.3%, a level that satisfies the Bank of Canada’s outlook. Oil prices also being on the way up as winter sets in and OPEC extends production cuts could result in further gains before the year ends.