Global markets have been incredibly quiet across all major asset classes overnight. US index futures and the FTSE are flat while the Dax and WTI are down 0.4% and gold is up 0.3%. The only big move has been in the Nikkei which fell 1.1%.
There has been more chatter in oil markets about the potential for some kind of deal to sort out production. Iran appears to be open to talking once it regains lost market share while the Saudis seem to think the market is sorting itself out on its own. With US inventories rising this week, deal speculation may not be enough to carry oil higher without more serious action to back it up. Talk is cheap.
An eerie calm has descended over markets with traders singularly focused on Fed chair Yellen's speech today. Last night, KC Fed President George, host of the conference, maintained her hawkish stance but this is not a surprise as she voted for an increase in July. Comments from other Fed speakers were mixed as usual after strong durable goods orders Thursday confirmed a strong US economy increasing pressure on the Fed to act on rates.
Generally speaking, comments out of the Fed have been mixed lately with the street trying to reconcile the short term and long term prospects for interest rates. Although it looks like rates are going to top out this cycle at a much lower level than previous cycles, which can be seen as dovish and supportive of liquidity, it also looks like the Fed could still raise interest rates at least once this year.
Earlier this month, NY Fed President Dudley indicated September remains a live meeting for a rate hike in what looked like a bid to bring back Fear of the Fed and keep doves from getting too carried away. Other Fed members have spoken from both the dovish and hawkish camps. In some ways, the increased transparency from the Fed has become a double edged sword with contradictory comments confusing the markets and eroding the central bank’s credibility.
The spotlight now turns to Fed Chair Yellen’s speech to the Jackson Hole Conference, a forum Fed Chairs have used frequently in recent years to signal monetary policy direction. Although the street is looking for clarity, she’s likely to use the speech to keep the Fed’s options open, and is unlikely to commit to a move in September. I continue to expect that the Fed will try again to use economic forecasts and the dot plot in September to signal a move in December after the election.
With so many traders focused on the speech, we could see significant trading action in bonds, indices and currencies depending on whether she is seen as hawkish, dovish or neutral. Bond market expectations for a September rate increase have risen to about 32% from 20% about a week ago and 0% in early July.
There have been no major corporate announcements this morning.
France GDP update 1.4% as expected
Spain retail sales 4.9% vs street 4.3%
UK GDP update 2.2% as expected
Japan consumer prices (0.4%) as expected
Japan core CPI 0.3% vs street 0.4%
Singapore industrial production (3.6%) vs street 0.8%
Upcoming significant economic announcements include:
8:30 am EDT US Q2 GDP update street 1.1%
8:30 am EDT US Q2 personal consumption street 4.2%
8:30 am EDT US Q2 core PCE inflation street 1.7%
8:30 am EDT US advance goods trade balnce street ($63.0B)
10:00 am EDT FOMC Chair Yellen speaks to Jackson Hole Conference
10:00 am EDT US consumer sentiment street 90.8
1:00 pm EDT US Baker Hughes drill rig count previous 491
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