Weekly Outlook: Nov 01 — Nov 05: RBA, FOMC and BoE Enter the Spotlight
Following the ECB, the BoC, and the BoJ decisions last week, we have three more major central banks announcing their own policy decisions this week. Those are the RBA, the FOMC, and the BoE. No policy change is expected from the RBA, but participants are eager to find out whether officials will change their forward guidance. The FOMC is widely expected to start trimming its QE purchases, while the financial community sees an 80% chance for the BoE to hit the hike button.
Monday is a relatively light day, with the only releases on the agenda worth mentioning being the final Markit manufacturing PMIs for October from the UK and the US, which are just expected to confirm their preliminary estimates, and the ISM manufacturing index for the month, which is forecast to have declined somewhat, to 60.5 from 61.1.
On Tuesday, during the Asian session, the first central bank decision of the week will be announced, and this will be from the RBA. Last month, policymakers of this Bank kept all their policy settings unchanged and repeated that they will continue to purchase government securities at the current pace until at least mid-February. They also maintained the view that interest rates are unlikely to rise before 2024.
Having said that though, according to the ASX 30-day interbank cash rate futures yield curve, recently market participants have raised bets that interest rates could start rising at some point in the middle of next year, and following the last week’s acceleration in underlying inflation metrics, they now even see the benchmark rate hitting 1.25% by the end of next year. Another point of interest is that, on Friday, the RBA declined to defend its bond-yield target, which may have been a signal that it now intends to tighten monetary policy much faster than previously thought. Therefore, although we don’t expect any policy change at this gathering, we will pay extra attention to the accompanying statement to see whether the forward guidance on interest rates has changed or not. In our view, the risks surrounding the Aussie’s reaction are tilted to the downside. Even if officials signal that they now expect to start lifting rates next year, they may not match market bets on subsequent hikes. The market is already very hawkish, and this leaves ample room for a disappointment.
As for Tuesday’s data, we have Eurozone’s final manufacturing PMI and Switzerland’s CPI, both for October.
On Wednesday, the central bank torch will be passed to the FOMC. When they last met, US policymakers kept their policy untouched, but in the statement accompanying the decision, it was noted that “If progress continues broadly as expected, the Committee judges that a moderation in the pace of asset purchases may soon be warranted.” What’s more, the new “dot plot” pointed to 9 members in favor of rate increases to start next year, and 17 supporting higher rates in 2023. Remember that back in June, the respective numbers were 7 and 13.
Since the latest gathering, several policymakers have been adding fuel to expectations over a November tapering start, while the better-than-expected earnings results suggested that the US economy was not affected by the latest bottlenecks as many may have believed. This, combined with the fact that inflation continued to accelerate in September, well above the Fed’s objective of 2%, allowed market participants to consider a tapering start at this meeting as a done deal, while they brought forth their bets with regards to the first interest rate hike. According to the yields of the Fed funds futures, they now nearly fully pricing in a 25bps hike to be delivered in August 2022, while a few weeks ago, such a move was expected in the first months of 2023. So, with all that in mind, we do expect the Committee to begin tapering this week, and bearing in mind that at the prior press conference Chair Powell noted that a gradual tapering process could concludes around the middle of next year, we expect a pace of USD 20bn. Now, given that a tapering is largely anticipated by the financial community, all the attention is likely to fall on the statement accompanying the decision and Powell’s press conference for comments on inflation and hints on interest rates. Anything suggesting that inflation could stay elevated for longer than previously anticipated and that interest rates could start rising soon after the tapering is over could support the US dollar. The opposite may be true in case policymakers try to push back against interest-rate pricing.
As for the rest of Wednesday’s events, during the Asian session, we do get New Zealand’s employment report for Q3. The unemployment rate is forecast to have slid to 3.9% from 4.0%, but the employment change is expected to have slowed to +0.4% qoq from +1.0%. That said, the labor cost index is anticipated to have risen to +2.6% yoy from 2.2%, which combined with a downtick in the unemployment rate would paint a relatively positive picture. So, following the RBNZ’s decision to hike rates at its latest meeting and signal that further removal of policy stimulus is expected over time, a decent report could strengthen the case for more rate hikes and thereby prove positive for the Kiwi.
Japanese markets will stay closed due to the Culture Day, while from China, we get the Caixin Services PMI for October, but for which no forecast is available. Later in the day, we have the final Markit services and composite PMIs for October from the UK and the US, as well as the ISM non-manufacturing index for the month. The final Markit prints are expected to confirm their initial estimates, while the ISM index is anticipated to have increased to 62.1 from 61.9.
On Thursday, it’s the turn of the BoE to decide on monetary policy. Back in September, this Bank kept all its policy settings unchanged as well, but in the statement accompanying the decision, it appeared very confidence on interest rate increases. Officials noted that some developments have strengthened the case of some modest tightening over the forecast period, and added that this should come in the form of a rate hike, even if that becomes appropriate before the QE end.
Recent data showed that inflation in the UK slowed more than anticipated in September, but both the headline and core rates stayed well above the BoE’s objective of 2%. This, combined with the fact that Governor Andrew Bailey and MPC member Michael Saunders have expressed willingness to push the hike button very soon, prompted market participants to assign an 80% chance for a 15bps hike to take place at this gathering, according to the UK OIS forward yield curve. Therefore, a 15bps hike by itself is unlikely to move the pound much. We believe that if indeed the Bank lifts rates, market participants will quickly turn their attention to the statement, the meeting minutes, the Bank’s updated economic projections, but also on the voting over a hike. If the decision is a close call, and the language and projections point to a slower rate path than the OIS curve suggests, then the pound could pull back. There is also a chance that, due to the recent supply shortages in the UK that appeared to have left their mark on the economy, officials refrain from hitting the hike button now and perhaps wait until next month, a decision that could result in a stronger selloff in the pound. In our view, for the pound to rebound, the BoE may have to appear more optimistic than the current market pricing suggests. In other words, it has to deliver a hike and signal that more are on the cards in the months to come. So, overall, we see the risks surrounding the pound’s reaction to the meeting as tilted to the downside.
Elsewhere, we have Australia’s trade balance and retail sales for September and Q3 respectively, as well as Eurozone’s final services and composite PMIs for October.
Finally, on Friday, the main item on the agenda may be the US employment report for October. Nonfarm payrolls are forecast to have rebounded to 413k after falling to 194k in September, while the unemployment rate is expected to have ticked down to 4.7% from 4.8%. Average hourly earnings are expected to have slowed somewhat on a monthly basis, to +0.4% from +0.6%, but the yoy rate is forecast to have risen to +4.9% from 4.6%.
Overall, the numbers point to a decent report, but how the market will respond may be conditional upon the FOMC decision. If indeed the Fed signals that inflation could stay elevated for longer than they have previously assumed and that this could lead to rates rising sooner, a good employment report could add credence to that view and allow some more US buying. However, the big question is: How will the stock market respond? Will it slide due to expectations of faster rate hikes, which could hurt profitability of firms, or will it rise on signs that the US economy is performing better than many may have recently feared due to the latest supply shortages. In our view, although the former has been the case in the past, we believe that lately, it’s been the latter. Thus, we expect decent jobs data to help stocks drift further north.
At the same time with the US NFPs, we get the employment report for October from Canada as well. Expectations are for the unemployment rate to have slid to 6.8% from 6.9%, but for the net change in employment to show that the economy has added fewer jobs than in September. With the BoC unexpectedly ending its QE program last week, officials may be now scratching their heads on when the appropriate time for a rate increase may be. The financial world anticipates such a move early next year, and in our view, a slowdown in jobs growth for just a month is unlikely to change that, especially if the unemployment rate indeed slides.
Therefore, we believe that the Canadian dollar will stay largely linked to oil prices, and the next event concerning the energy market is the gathering between the OPEC+ group, which is scheduled for Thursday. That said, the official outcome could become public on Friday. Although the group is under pressure from the US to increase supply, several members appear unwilling to do so, with one of the latest headlines pointing to Algeria saying that output should not exceed the current agreement of 400k bpd because of market uncertainty and risks. Therefore, the base-case scenario is for no change, which is unlikely to affect oil prices much. In our view, it will just allow the current uptrend to slowly continue. For oil prices to slide notably, the group may need to surprise the markets by announcing an increase in its quotas. There is also chatter that they may double production in November, but keep it unchanged in December. However, we don’t see this as a material change and we would expect the effect, if any, on oil prices to be temporary.
The content we produce does not constitute investment advice or investment recommendation (should not be considered as such) and does not in any way constitute an invitation to acquire any financial instrument or product. The Group of Companies of JFD, its affiliates, agents, directors, officers or employees are not liable for any damages that may be caused by individual comments or statements by JFD analysts and assumes no liability with respect to the completeness and correctness of the content presented. The investor is solely responsible for the risk of his investment decisions. Accordingly, you should seek, if you consider appropriate, relevant independent professional advice on the investment considered. The analyses and comments presented do not include any consideration of your personal investment objectives, financial circumstances or needs. The content has not been prepared in accordance with the legal requirements for financial analyses and must therefore be viewed by the reader as marketing information. JFD prohibits the duplication or publication without explicit approval.
There are risks involved with trading of cash equities. Past performance is not indicative of future results. You should consider whether you can tolerate such losses before trading. Please read the full Risk Disclosure.
Originally published at https://www.jfdbank.com.