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Markets welcome the blackout

Another Fed governor speaks, another wild night in markets. Thankfully for battered investors the market reaction was positive, and the Fed officials are now in blackout ahead of next week’s FOMC meeting. This clears the way for China to return to the centre of local focus as important data drops mid-session today.

The wild swings in share markets since Friday highlights the downside of allowing Fed officials to voice individual views. Rather than present a united front, the Fed washes its economic laundry in public. This practice is difficult to reconcile with the Fed’s mandate to support price stability. The latest missive, from governor Brainard, appeared to reverse more hawkish statements last Friday, supporting share prices. Of concern to doves was the lack of any reaction in bond and currency markets, meaning share market selling could return during the blackout period.

The release of retail sales and industrial production data in China is a potential market mover today, especially as many regional markets were on holiday yesterday. Both are expected to come in flat or show modest improvement on the previous month. Any weakness in these numbers could hit commodities in particular, while strength would see “hard-landing” bears remain in their dens.

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