Assessing the event risk and potential land mines for the week ahead:
In the US we hear from 9 Fed speakers including Fed chair Jay Powell (Thursday) who gets in with potential market-moving guidance just before the Fed’s blackout period. The market will be watching this speech closely, so watch USD, XAU and Nasdaq exposures here.
Staying in the US, we also receive consumer confidence, Case Shiller house price index (which caused some big market moves last month), core PCE, personal income and the ISM manufacturing report. While we still have several economists’ forecasts to be received, the current consensus sits at 49.8, which would be the first contraction in manufacturing since May 2020. Is bad manufacturing data good news for risk? I’d argue that would be the case in the NonFarm payroll report, but a downside miss on manufacturing and the market might de-risk.
The highlight of the week will be key labour market reads, with the JOLTS job opening report and US non-farm payrolls (NFP). The NFP is the marquee event risk for the week, where we see expectations of 200k jobs created and an unchanged U/E rate of 3.7%. Average hourly earnings should pull to 4.6%. A cooling of the labour market is certainly good news for risky assets here, so a weak print and the Nasdaq and gold fire up, with good sellers in the USD. USDJPY has been one for the radar and we watch for a break of 138.46.
In Australia we get the second monthly CPI read, where headline CPI is eyed at 7.6% (from 7.3%) and we get speeches from Reserve Bank of Australia governor Lowe (to the Senate) and RBA member Jonathan Kearns. It was a solid week for AUDUSD, where we see price threatening a break of clear resistance at 0.6800, ahead of the 200-day Moving Average at 0.6934. The market is pricing 22bp of hikes from the RBA on the 6 Dec, so a 25bp hike is almost fully priced.
The focus remains on the future with a the daily Covid case count now above 40k, a more stringent lockdown regime and rising protests and unrest. The market will probably sidestep the manufacturing and services PMI (both due Wed). While the Chinese government looks at lockdowns, the PBoC supports with a 25bp cut to banks’ Reserve Ratio Requirements (announced Friday), injecting some RMB500b in liquidity into the economy and raising the prospect of a cut in the Prime Rate (due 20 Dec). Monetary easing is obviously supportive of Chinese equity markets, but the uncertainty around Covid measures outweigh and offer a negative bias early this week in CHINAH, the Hang Seng50 and China50. I’m happy to sell weakness in the HangSeng50 on a break below 17,290. Conversely, the preference is to place buy stops orders above 18,500 as a momentum play.
We also see underlying upside momentum in USDCNH and an elevated prospect that the cross kicks above 7.20, and that may limit USD selling against other G10 pairs. Let’s see what we get on a monetary support level.
In Europe, while we get a raft of European Central Bank speakers, the highlight is the EU CPI inflation estimate (Wednesday), with French and German CPI. For the EU estimate, the market expects a slight drop to 10.4% (from 10.7%). Given we see 60bp of hikes priced for the 15 DEC ECB meeting, the CPI print could greatly influence the 50bp or 75bp debate.
EURUSD tracks above the 200-day MA but needs to kick. Long EURCAD is a trade I’ve been riding and will stay with that for 1.40+. I said at the start of the week that the DAX40 was the strongest market on the radar, and I remain skewed long, as is the case with the CAC40.
There’s not much to watch in the UK this coming week. We get a spluttering of housing data – Nationwide House prices, mortgage approvals and consumer credit. We also hear from Bank of England economist Pill and Catherine Mann. The market prices 57bp of hikes from the BoE on 15 Dec, and again it’s hard to see this week’s UK data impacting this pricing too intently. A 50bp hike seems the most likely scenario. GBPCAD has been in beast mode, largely in line with GBP, but one to watch for the momentum traders.
Crude focus – OPEC summit
We a great trader focus on crude ahead of the weekend OPEC summit on 4 Dec, there are a lot of moving parts with China Covid dynamics, and price caps on Russian crude are the subject of increasingly intense debate with Poland objecting to the proposed $65 p/b limit. Earlier talk of output increases to be announced at this forum were later denied by the Saudis, so we’ll see how that goes. Generally, WTI and Brent are both heavy and selling rallies is preferred. Last week’s 4.4% drop saw crude extend its run to 3 consecutive weeks of losses. The 26 September swing low of $76.61 is the big level to watch. OPEC aside, China Covid news flow likely a key driver here.
Core themes central to the narrative:
- Month-end flows: it’s always a fool’s errand attempting to trade month-end pension fund rebalancing flow and one really has little edge doing so. Consider, however, the USD is -5% MTD and having its worst month since Sept 2010, with NZDUSD +7.5% to be the best performing G10 pair. The S&P500 is +4% Month To Date, while US Treasury futures are up 2.2% MTD. Chinese/HK equity indices have rallied some 20%, big moves as we eye a data-heavy December
- Key technical levels being tested: With the DXY eyeing a test of its 200-day MA (105.01), USD bears will want GBPUSD to push above its 200-day (1.2183) and USDJPY below its respective average (133.96) this week. EURUSD has managed to close above its 200-day MA, with EU CPI firmly in focus this week. We question whether traders continue to sell USDs in month-end and what will be a lively December.
- China Covid case trends and lockdown measures: policy easing from the PBoC part offsets the impact of ever-more stringent lockdowns, where cities considered ‘high-risk’ areas account for just under two-thirds of China’s GDP.
- The equity ‘melt-up’…. The break of the bull flag on the S&P500 daily suggests a target of 4280. A closing break of the 200-day MA (4043) would accelerate this view as active funds chase and CTAs add length
- Is bad news good news for risk? With terminal fed funds pricing at 5.02% and US 5YR real rates at 1.49%, bad US economic data this week should see both variables move lower and result in a positive performance to equities and further selling in the USD. Bad news is good news in many cases for risky assets.
- Increased dispersions in policy from G10 central banks: as the Fed looks to step down to 50bp in the December FOMC, we’ve seen 75bp hikes from the RBNZ, Riksbank and the market is pricing a 40% chance of a 75bp hike from the ECB in its 15 December meeting.
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