Tag Archives: Central Banks / Central Bank Events

Trump Fed nominee Shelton hits bipartisan skepticism in Senate hearing

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal Reserve board nominee Judy Shelton faced deep skepticism from Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday, as lawmakers challenged her independence from President Donald Trump and characterized her thinking as too far outside the mainstream to trust with the nation’s economy.

After the hearing, three Republican senators indicated she had not fully alleviated their concerns – enough to sink her nomination in a committee divided between 13 of Trump’s fellow Republicans and 12 Democrats, who are unlikely to vote in her favor.

Over the course of the roughly two-hour hearing she found herself having to back away from prior views, explain that she would not pursue a common North American currency with Canada and Mexico if confirmed as a Fed governor, and even apologize for comparing a currency forger’s challenge of the federal government’s dominance over money to civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks’ challenge of segregation laws.

“I apologize for the comparison. I truly do,” Shelton said of an incident raised by Alabama Democratic Senator Doug Jones in which a North Carolina man issued millions of dollars of his own precious-metal backed currency. “I believe he was testing the idea” that money needed to be backed by gold and silver, Shelton explained.

“Is that something you want to test?” Jones shot back, summing up committee concerns about past Shelton writings seeming to support a return to something like a gold or other asset-backed standard to keep the value of the dollar stable.

“No, senator,” said Shelton, a member of the Trump transition team and a long-time conservative author and commentator on financial issues.

It was one of a series of pointed exchanges between senators and Shelton, an economist with a long track record criticizing the Fed and questioning, at least in theory, whether central banks can even do the job assigned to them.

NOT IN THE MAINSTREAM

Four previous Trump appointees to the Fed failed to clear the Senate, a sign of the weight Congress has put on keeping the country’s monetary policy as free as possible of political interference, given Trump’s open verbal attacks on the Fed and demand for lower interest rates.

Asked about Trump’s war-by-tweet against the Fed, Shelton responded “I don’t censor what someone says.”

But during the hearing Pennsylvania Republican Senator Patrick Toomey called her views about using the Fed to manage the value of the dollar against other currencies “a very very dangerous path to go down.” Trump has often blamed the Fed for a rising dollar, which he argues has hurt exports. Shelton has often written about the need for a “sound” dollar.

A spokesman for Toomey said afterwards that the senator was undecided and that Shelton’s answers “didn’t alleviate” his concerns.

Alabama Senator Richard Shelby also “has not decided at this point, I know he still has some concerns,” the senator’s communications director, Blair Taylor, told Reuters.

Shelton, who holds a doctorate in business administration and has been sharply critical of the Federal Reserve in her writings and commentary, pledged broadly that she would be an independent thinker who would work well with existing Fed officials.

“I pledge to be independent in my decision-making, and frankly no one tells me what to do,” Shelton said, deflecting questions about her past writings that, for example, characterized the Fed’s setting of a short-term interest rate as similar to Soviet central planning.

“I don’t claim to be in the mainstream of economists….I would bring my own perspective. But I think the intellectual diversity strengthens the discussion.”

Senate Democrats said flatly that they do not trust her.

“Shelton has flip-flopped on too many issues to be confirmed,” said Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown. “She is far outside the mainstream. She is outside the ideological spectrum.”

TWO NOMINEES

A second nominee, Christopher Waller, a career economist who is currently the research director of the St. Louis Federal Reserve, faced few questions about his views.

Both were nominated by Trump to fill vacant seats on the Fed’s seven-member Washington-based Board of Governors.

Both Waller and Shelton released opening statements on Wednesday ahead of their hearings that offered few clues about their views on monetary policy beyond promising to promote policies that support financial stability and help the Fed meet its goals of full employment and price stability.

The two emphasized the Fed’s accountability to Congress, which oversees the central bank.

Both said they agreed with many of the opinions held by current Fed officials, including a reluctance to use negative interest rates as some other central banks have done, and a willingness to renew Fed bond purchases and expand the Fed’s balance sheet to fight a future downturn.For Waller, that is an extension of his 11 years working at the Fed and helping shape current policy as a key adviser to St. Louis Fed President James Bullard.

FILE PHOTO: The Federal Reserve building is pictured in Washington, DC, U.S., August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

For Shelton, it was a seeming reversal from her earlier views that “quantitative easing” amounted to an inappropriate Fed intervention in markets that was inflating stock prices but doing little for the economy.

After cutting rates to zero, quantitative easing “is your only alternative,” Shelton said in response to a sharp and insistent series of questions from Louisiana Republican Senator John Kennedy on how she would respond to a downturn. Following the hearing, he remained undecided on whether to support Shelton’s nomination, according to an aide.

“It seems like you are taking a 180 degree position on all of this just to be appointed,” said Nevada Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. “Who are we getting?”

Additional reporting by Ann Saphir in San Francisco; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Dan Grebler and Andrea Ricci

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Trump touts stock market’s record run, but who benefits?

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(Reuters) – Donald Trump loves to trumpet the hot U.S. stock market as a key achievement of his presidency, and he was in full self-congratulatory mode on that front during Tuesday night’s State of the Union address.

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. February 4, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis/POOL

“All of those millions of people with 401(k)s and pensions are doing far better than they have ever done before with increases of 60, 70, 80, 90 and 100 percent and even more,” Trump said in his address to a joint session of Congress.

While pensions and retirement funds were lifted by the rise in stock markets, the president has avoided talking about one key point about who really benefits when the market rallies: Most of the gains go to the small portion of Americans who are already rich.

That’s because 84% of stocks owned by U.S. households are held by the wealthiest 10% of Americans, according to an analysis of 2016 Federal Reserve data by Edward Wolff, an economics professor at New York University. So when the stock market has a blockbuster year – such as the nearly 30% rise in the S&P 500 benchmark index in 2019 – the payoff primarily goes to people who are already rich.

“For most Americans, a stock price increase is pretty immaterial to their well-being,” said Wolff, who published a paper about wealth inequality in the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2017.

Roughly half of Americans own some stocks through a brokerage account or a pension or retirement fund. But for most people, the exposure is too small for market gains to be life-changing or leave them feeling much better about their finances, Wolff said. “They’ll see a small increase in their wealth, but it’s not going to be anything to write home about,” he said.

Graphic: The stock boom’s unequal gains png, here

What’s more, nearly 90% of families who own stock do so through a tax-deferred retirement account, meaning they can’t access the money until they reach retirement age, unless they pay a penalty, Wolff said.

So who owns most of the stock market? The majority of corporate equities and mutual fund shares are held by investors who are white, college educated and above the age of 54, according to an analysis from the Center for Household Financial Stability at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

The typical middle-class family gets the bulk of its wealth from the housing market. Households in the middle three quintiles of wealth held 61.9% of their assets in their principal residence in 2016, according to Wolff’s analysis. That compares to households in the top 1%, who held 7.6% of their wealth in their homes.

Because most consumers accumulate the majority of their wealth through their homes, a rise in property values can provide a more substantial boost to household wealth than a stock market rally, said William Emmons, lead economist at the St. Louis Fed’s Center for Household Financial Stability.

Still, the recent revival in the housing market, spurred in part by the Federal Reserve’s interest rate cuts, is not helping all Americans equally. Rising property values benefit homeowners but make it harder for aspiring home buyers to break into the market, said Eugene Steuerle, co-founder of the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture between the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution.

And some people who bought homes immediately before the recession hit may still be trying to recover their losses, Steuerle said. Their wealth may have been wiped out by foreclosure, meaning they then struggled to qualify for a new mortgage during the recovery, he said.

That’s in sharp contrast to well-off investors, whose overall wealth surged after the crisis thanks to strong returns on stocks, property and other investments. Some 72% of wealth accumulated between the third quarter of 2009 and the third quarter of 2019 went to the richest 10% of households, according to an analysis by Oxford Economics. Over that same time period, the poorest 50% of households reaped only 2% of wealth gains.

“There are a lot of families that have not yet recovered from the financial crisis,” Emmons said.

Some more evidence that the recent stock market boom is not making everyone feel richer: There has been little evidence of the “wealth effect,” which says that people tend to spend more when stock markets are up, said Lydia Boussour, a senior economist for Oxford Economics.

Since the recession, people have mostly continued to increase their savings even as the stock market rose. “Consumers are a lot more cautious,” she said.

Reporting by Jonnelle Marte; Editing by Dan Burns and Leslie Adler

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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On the spot View: U.S. September payrolls decrease than anticipated, jobless fee drops

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(Reuters) – U.S. job progress elevated reasonably in September, with the unemployment fee dropping to close a 50-year low of three.5%, which might assuage monetary market issues that the slowing economic system was on the point of a recession amid lingering commerce tensions.

KEY POINTS:

* Sept nonfarm payrolls +136,000 (consensus +145,000) vs Aug +168,000 (prev +130,000), July +166,000 (prev +159,000)

* Sept labor pressure participation fee 63.2 pct vs Aug 63.2 pct (prev 63.2 pct)

* Sept jobless fee 3.5 pct (consensus 3.7 pct) vs Aug 3.7 pct (prev 3.7 pct)

* Common hourly earnings all non-public employees unchanged (cons +0.Three pct) vs Aug +0.four pct (prev +0.four pct)

* Sept U-6 underemployment fee 6.9 pct vs Aug 7.2 pct (prev 7.2 pct)

* Sept non-public sector jobs +114,000 (cons +133,000), vs Aug +122,000 (prev +96,000)

* Authorities jobs +22,000 vs Aug +46,000 (prev +34,000)

MARKET REACTION:

STOCKS: S&P e-mini futures ESv1 flip barely larger and have been final up 0.18%, pointing to flat to barely larger open

BONDS: Treasury yields rose barely; 2- 12 months US2YT=RR at 1.4237% and 10-year US10YT=RR at 1.5477%

FOREX: The greenback index .DXY reversed slight losses and was about 0.05% larger

COMMENTS:

SHAWN SNYDER, HEAD OF INVESTMENT STRATEGY, CITI PERSONAL WEALTH MANAGEMENT, NEW YORK  

“Anytime you see the unemployment fee fall Wall Avenue goes to suppose it’s good.”

“Traders are on excessive alert for indicators of a recession … It doesn’t affirm the story. Optimistic payroll shouldn’t be in line with a recession.”

“It’s type of a goldilocks report. It’s not sturdy sufficient to maneuver the Federal reserve away from chopping charges on the finish of October however it’s not weak sufficient to make you involved concerning the labor market or the patron.”

SHAUN OSBORNE, CHIEF FX STRATEGIST, SCOTIABANK, TORONTO:

    “The quantity got here simply shy of expectations, however provided that market expectations have shifted after the ADP and ISM numbers, individuals have been bracing for one thing worse than this. So that is within the ballpark of what’s acceptable. Wage progress is a bit gentle, however unemployment dropped. In a broad sense, this was not that dangerous. It most likely provides the greenback a little bit of respiratory room after a little bit of a tough experience the final three or 4 days.”

JOSEPH SROKA, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, NOVAPOINT, ATLANTA

“The quantity got here up mild relative to consensus, however not too dangerous on the non-public information. However the fruits of the weak ISM information and the payrolls report is rising the percentages in traders mindset that the Fed has extra incentive to think about one other rate of interest discount on the subsequent assembly.”

“The economic system has been going by a low degree of deceleration during the last couple of months and whenever you take them in mixture some is trade-related and a few is time-related, which means you possibly can’t develop infinitely. The Fed’s been proactive on adjusting rates of interest earlier than we noticed the info like this month’s ISM. So possibly the problem that some modest fee adjustment from the Fed is sufficient to preserve the economic system from a deeper decline and lengthen growth, albeit at a slower tempo.”

SAMEER SAMANA, SENIOR GLOBAL MARKET STRATEGIST, WELLS FARGO INVESTMENT INSTITUTE, ST. LOUIS

“Headline job progress, non-public payrolls, and manufacturing payrolls, and wage progress all got here in weaker than anticipated and suggests some softening within the labor market.

  “This information most likely reinforces the case that the U.S. is now starting to really feel the results of the continuing international slowdown and doubtless strengthens the case for extra fee cuts, if the Fed chooses to go down that path.”

TOM PORCELLI, CHIEF U.S. ECONOMIST, RBC CAPITAL MARKETS, NEW YORK

“If individuals have been genuinely on the sting of the dialog about whether or not or not we’re slipping into recession or not, that is the sort of quantity that ought to pressure them to take a step again from that view. I by no means essentially thought that individuals must be holding that view, however I’m merely highlighting a market actuality. I believe that there was, from the market perspective, an actual threat that we have been slipping into recession. This isn’t a recessionary sort of quantity. This was a superbly sound report in most methods, not in each method. The one factor that I don’t like is that common hourly earnings have been flat. However however, the unemployment fee improved once more, we’re 3.5% on the unemployment report. This isn’t a dynamic that occurs with nice regularity in the USA, traditionally talking. The labor backdrop is definitely in actually fine condition, regardless of quite a lot of the noise that we proceed to listen to about these fears. This report throws quite a lot of chilly water on that.”

“I believe the Fed is locked stepping into October, virtually no end result was going to alter that. Whether or not the quantity was worse than anticipated and even fairly a bit higher than anticipated, I believe the Fed was going to go. The doves on the committee are clearly in management as a result of they’re the voters proper now.

KATHY JONES, CHIEF FIXED INCOME STRATEGIST, SCHWAB CENTER FOR FINANCIAL RESEARCH, NEW YORK

“I believe that the general image confirms the mild slowdown within the economic system that’s already priced into the bond market. However the lack of wage achieve, I believe, is a little bit of a shock. You’ll suppose that given the low degree of the unemployment fee, wages can be ticking up, however truly common hourly earnings have been down a bit. That may very well be a fluke, however they did peak in February…That raises quite a lot of questions – what’s the composition of jobs which can be being added? Is it that we’re pulling in quite a lot of people who’ve been on the margins and subsequently are extra low-wage jobs being added?”

“All in all, it’s not most likely a giant mover for the bond market, however it does go away the probability of a Fed fee minimize on the desk – maybe in October, maybe they’ll determine upon it in December and get extra information.”

“It’s fairly in line with what we noticed with the PMIs, the ISMs… The ISM was fairly gentle. The drop within the manufacturing payrolls was a affirmation of softness in there. We noticed a little bit of a drop in mining as properly, which isn’t stunning. Building, gentle. Total a gentle report, however that was anticipated.”

JOHN VELIS, GLOBAL MACRO STRATEGIST, BNY MELLON, NEW YORK

“Going into it and contemplating what we noticed with the 2 ISM surveys, it might have been so much worse. It’s most likely good for the market and never as dire as many individuals anticipated. It doesn’t imply that the economic system and the roles market are falling off a cliff. Then again, it’s not sturdy sufficient that it’s going to take out this extra Fed easing that has been priced into the curve the previous few days.”

DOUG DUNCAN, CHIEF ECONOMIST, FANNIE MAE, WASHINGTON

“The revisions being up is a optimistic as a result of sometimes when the employment market is slowing the revisions of prior months are down, and that has been the case for about 5 months. So, the truth that the revisions are up this time recommend that there’s not a precipitous slowing in unemployment. The truth that wage charges are holding is nice information, it’s help for the patron.

“There’s not a warning of a major slowdown within the economic system from these information. Our view is that with a purpose to keep the extent of unemployment steady we have to add someplace between 100,000 and 120,000 jobs a month, so this definitely matches that. It doesn’t recommend a major slowing in exercise at this level.

“I’d be stunned if there was a major response (from the market) in both course. What it does do is spotlight the variations of opinion on the Fed board about whether or not the economic system is slowing precipitously or not and also you had a number of dissents from the final fee minimize, that doesn’t assist make clear for them whether or not their disagreements are merited or not.”

JJ KINAHAN, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, TD AMERITRADE, CHICAGO

“There’s a lot to love, particularly given the revisions that occurred. Retail shedding as many roles because it did once more, I don’t suppose it’s a huge shock. We proceed to see that pattern, everyone seems to be making an attempt to determine it out, so to talk, and once more the world they misplaced them in being primarily in clothes.

“Manufacturing could also be somewhat bit regarding, down 2,000 jobs not an enormous factor total. It’s a must to bear in mind this didn’t embrace the GM strike due to timing. In order that one will present up within the subsequent report, however it’s nice that we received a 45,000 revision larger between July and August and that is among the issues individuals actually favored about this. The 2 areas which have been unbelievable being healthcare and enterprise to enterprise providers are simply stud sectors. Each single month these two sectors present up and we simply proceed to see that. The opposite factor that was vital was transportation and warehousing, so once more, areas that take items from one place to a different, up 16,000 jobs. Most of this was an actual optimistic for the economic system regardless of a few of the different numbers we’re seeing.

“We’ve had such a string of dangerous information, that something that exhibits the economic system is doing higher than maybe individuals have been speaking about is properly acquired. I don’t suppose it clarifies the image any which method (for the Fed). It’s another piece of grey thrown into the image.”

Americas Economics and Markets Desk; +1-646 223-6300

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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U.S. unemployment fee hits 3.5%; job development average

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WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – The U.S. unemployment fee dropped to close a 50-year low of three.5% in September, with job development growing reasonably, suggesting the slowing economic system may keep away from a recession for now regardless of commerce tensions which can be hammering manufacturing.

The Labor Division’s intently watched month-to-month employment report on Friday, nevertheless, contained reminders that the dangers to the longest financial enlargement on document remained tilted to the draw back. Wage development stagnated and manufacturing payrolls declined for the primary time in six months. The retail and utilities sectors additionally continued to shed jobs.

The report adopted a string of weak financial studies, together with a plunge in manufacturing exercise to greater than a 10-year low in September and a pointy slowdown in companies trade development to ranges final seen in 2016, that heightened fears the economic system was flirting with a recession.

“The unemployment fee normally rises forward of a recession, so a contemporary decline pushes out the timeline for any potential recession into late 2020 on the earliest,” mentioned Josh Wright, chief economist at iCIMS in New York.

The 2-tenths of a proportion level drop within the unemployment fee from 3.7% in August pushed it to its lowest stage since December 1969. The jobless fee, which had been caught at 3.7% for 3 straight months, declined at the same time as 117,000 folks entered the labor drive final month.

Nonfarm payrolls elevated by 136,000 jobs final month, the federal government’s survey of institutions confirmed. The economic system created 45,000 extra jobs in July and August than beforehand estimated. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls would improve by 145,000 jobs in September.

September’s job positive aspects have been under the month-to-month common of 161,000 this 12 months, however nonetheless above the roughly 100,000 wanted every month to maintain up with development within the working-age inhabitants. The smaller family survey from which the unemployment fee is derived confirmed a leap of 391,000 in employment in September.

With indicators that the Trump administration’s 15-month commerce warfare with China is spilling over to the broader economic system, continued labor market energy is a crucial buffer towards an financial downturn. The commerce warfare has eroded enterprise confidence, sinking funding and manufacturing.

There’s additionally political uncertainty in Washington after the Democratic-controlled U.S. Home of Representatives launched an impeachment inquiry towards President Donald Trump over accusations he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to analyze former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, a number one candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

These components, along with benign wage inflation, are prone to immediate the Federal Reserve to chop rates of interest a minimum of yet one more time this 12 months, economists mentioned. The U.S. central financial institution minimize charges final month after decreasing borrowing prices in July for the primary time since 2008, to maintain the financial enlargement, now in its 11th 12 months, on observe.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell reiterated on Friday that the economic system was “in a superb place,” including that “our job is to maintain it there so long as attainable.”

The greenback .DXY was little modified towards a basket of currencies. Costs of U.S. Treasuries rose marginally. Shares on Wall Avenue have been buying and selling increased.

STRONG GOVERNMENT HIRING

“We proceed to count on the Fed to chop its goal rate of interest later this month,” mentioned Michael Feroli, an economist at JPMorgan in New York. “We imagine it will have taken a a lot stronger quantity to persuade Fed management that they’ve already taken out sufficient insurance coverage towards draw back dangers.”

Financial development estimates for the third quarter vary from as little as a 1.3% annualized fee to as excessive as a 1.9% tempo. The economic system grew at a 2.0% tempo within the second quarter, slowing from a 3.1% fee within the January-March interval.

Slower development was bolstered by a report from the Commerce Division on Friday that confirmed the U.S. commerce deficit widened 1.6% to $54.9 billion in August.

A broader measure of unemployment, which incorporates individuals who need to work however have given up looking and people working part-time as a result of they can not discover full-time employment, declined to six.9% final month, the bottom stage since December 2000, from 7.2% in August.

Regardless of the tight labor market, common hourly earnings have been unchanged final month after advancing 0.4% in August. That lowered the annual improve in wages to 2.9% from 3.2% in August. The common workweek was unchanged at 34.Four hours.

Some economists imagine wage development is stalling as a result of firms are hiring inexperienced staff within the face of labor shortages. Others blame the slowdown on ebbing demand for staff.

“With demand for labor softening and plenty of firms contending with increased enter prices because the commerce warfare lingers and broadens, we don’t count on to see any significant strengthening in wage development within the coming months,” mentioned Sarah Home, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Hiring is slowing throughout all sectors, excluding authorities, which is being boosted by state and native authorities recruitment. Non-public payrolls elevated by 114,000 jobs in September after rising by 122,000 in August.

The three-month common acquire in personal employment fell to 119,000, the smallest since July 2012, from 135,000 in August.

Manufacturing shed 2,000 jobs final month, the primary decline in manufacturing unit payrolls since March, after a acquire of two,000 jobs in August. Manufacturing has paradoxically borne the brunt of the Trump administration’s commerce warfare, which the White Home has argued is meant to spice up the sector.

Final month’s decline in manufacturing payrolls was led by the automotive sector, which misplaced 4,100 jobs. Additional losses are possible if a strike by Basic Motors (GM.N) staff continues.

FILE PHOTO: A “Now Hiring” signal sits within the window of Tatte Bakery and Cafe in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photograph/File Photograph/File Photograph

Building employment elevated by 7,000 jobs after rising by 4,000 in August. Retail payrolls fell by 11,400 jobs, marking an eighth straight month-to-month drop.

Authorities employment elevated by 22,000 jobs in September after surging by 46,000 in August. Hiring was boosted by state and native governments. Just one,000 staff have been employed final month for the 2020 Census. Authorities payrolls have elevated by 147,000 over the 12 months, pushed by native governments.

Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Enhancing by Sandra Maler and Paul Simao

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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Divided Fed set to chop rates of interest this week, however then what?

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Deep disagreements inside the Federal Reserve over the financial outlook and the way the U.S. central financial institution ought to reply is not going to cease policymakers from chopping rates of interest at a two-day assembly that begins on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell testifies earlier than a Senate Banking, Housing and City Affairs Committee listening to on the “Semiannual Financial Coverage Report back to Congress” on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, U.S., July 11, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photograph

Whereas an oil worth spike after assaults on Saudi Arabian oil amenities over the weekend added to the checklist of dangers dealing with an financial system already slowed by ongoing commerce tensions and world weak spot, the deep divide evident across the Fed’s policymaking desk means additional charge cuts could possibly be removed from a accomplished deal.

At one finish of the Fed’s large boardroom sit St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, who’re anticipated to argue for a steep discount in borrowing prices to counter low inflation and an inverted Treasury yield curve.

Pushback from the alternative finish is prone to come from Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester, who opposed the Fed’s charge minimize in July, and Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker, who solely reluctantly supported it and says he needs to depart charges the place they’re “to see how issues play out.”

Fed Chair Jerome Powell, seated halfway down the desk, faces the fragile activity of taking over board these views and the disparate arguments of the opposite dozen policymakers to construct consensus.

(To chop or to not minimize? right here)

(Communications breakdown: right here)

A high problem: making sense of financial information that means the U.S. manufacturing trade could also be contracting and inflation stays weak, at the same time as households proceed to spend and employers total are including loads of jobs.

“The discord is extraordinarily seen,” mentioned Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics. “Should you take a look at the financial system right now, you take a look at an financial system that’s bifurcated … The important thing query is whether or not that weak spot seeps by means of the financial system, and whether or not that’s aggravated.”

For the reason that Fed’s 8-2 resolution to chop charges in July, a transfer that Powell referred to as a ‘mid-cycle’ adjustment, the financial information has delivered combined indicators.

Sturdy retail gross sales and continued wage progress might add to Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren’s confidence that present financial circumstances don’t justify additional coverage easing. He dissented within the July coverage resolution.

The continuing U.S.-China commerce battle makes Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan amongst others involved about slowing manufacturing unit output and a slide in enterprise funding. Kaplan supported July’s charge minimize.

‘MIXED OPINION’

The latest wild card to consider to the talk emerged unexpectedly in Saturday’s assaults on the Saudi oil amenities, which triggered the most important spike in oil costs in additional than 20 years. [nL5N2674W4][nL5N2672I3]

Fed officers might see the event both as a danger to an already fragile progress outlook, which might help the case for extra easing, or as a fine addition to inflation, which might again a case for standing nonetheless for now.

Merchants of futures contracts tied to the Fed’s coverage charge have been pricing in, as of Monday afternoon, a 65.8% probability that the central financial institution would minimize its benchmark in a single day lending charge by 1 / 4 of a proportion level to a variety of 1.75% to 2% on Wednesday.

And although the conviction for additional charge hikes has softened since final week, merchants total proceed to anticipate yet another discount in borrowing prices by the tip of the yr.

“If everybody was on the identical web page on the Fed I might perceive it,” mentioned Lee Ferridge, head of macro technique for North America at State Road World Markets.

“However clearly there’s disagreement on the Fed … If the Fed may be very cut up and Powell can’t give a powerful sign, doesn’t that indicate only a few strikes are possible, reasonably than these dramatic cuts?”

Fed policymakers will deliver to the assembly their very own views of the place charges ought to be by December. In June, the final time they printed their forecasts, about half of policymakers anticipated a complete of two charge cuts this yr; about half thought no charges can be applicable.

That divide within the so-called Fed “dot plot” has borne little relation to how coverage has truly formed up, but it surely might add to confusion over the speed outlook after the conclusion of this week’s assembly.

With extra dovish policymakers like Bullard, Kashkari and Chicago Fed President Charles Evans calling for extra easing, and extra hawkish policymakers like Mester, Harker and Kansas Metropolis Fed President Esther George extra skeptical, “anticipate the 2019 dots to mirror this combined opinion,” mentioned Jefferies economist Ward McCarthy.

Reporting by Ann Saphir; Enhancing by Dan Burns and Paul Simao

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.

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Waning ECB stimulus bets push bond yields higher

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LONDON (Reuters) – Global bond yields rose on Monday, amid growing caution over the extent to which the European Central Bank will add stimulus to boost an ailing economy this week and rising hopes that Berlin could loosen its purse strings.

FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, September 6, 2019. REUTERS/Staff/File Photo

Germany’s 30-year benchmark bond yield briefly broke into positive territory for the first time in more than a month, while U.S. Treasury yields climbed to 18-day highs.

Safe-haven assets have been caught up in the fixed income sell-off, with gold XAU= touching a one-month trough and Japan’s yen plumbing a five-week low. But equities failed to make gains, as weak Chinese producer prices data dampened the mood.

The bond moves comes as markets are gearing up for Thursday’s European Central Bank (ECB) meeting, which is widely expected to deliver a cut to interest rates and point to further bond-buying stimulus.

However, there is a growing chorus of opinion that ECB policymakers and other central banks with negative interest rates and sub-zero long-term sovereign bond yields are nearing the limits of stimulus policies.

Germany also starts to debate its 2020 budget in parliament later in the day, where Finance Minister Olaf Scholz’s speech will be scrutinized after Reuters reported Berlin was looking into creating a “shadow budget” to boost public investment and effectively circumvent limits set by its national debt rules.

“These stories have become more frequent in recent weeks,” said Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid. “Whilst the market always gets more excited by the headlines than is justified by hard evidence of any change in policy, it’s fair to conclude that market pressure and chatter on this story is building.”

Europe’s largest economy is teetering on the brink of recession, but strict national spending rules have tied policymakers hands on fiscal policy.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is also widely expected to cut interest rates next week as policymakers race to shield the global economy from risks, which also include Britain’s planned exit from the European Union.

With interest rates plumbing record lows in many countries and the effectiveness of further bond-buying muted by already record-low borrowing costs for governments, attention has turned to increased public spending or tax cuts to fire up growth.

A CHINESE CLOUD

The sell-off in fixed income markets failed to lift global stocks, where the mood was subdued amid concerns over the health of the world economy.

Data showing China’s mainland factory-gate prices shrank at their fastest pace in three years, as flagging demand at home and abroad forced some businesses to slash prices, saw Asian bourses slip lower.

In Europe, the pan-European stocks benchmark index STOXX 600 fell 0.4% in a second day of losses.

China-sensitive German stocks .GDAXI eased 0.3% while France’s CAC .FCHI dropped 0.6%.

“China inflation data was probably the worst combination of prints the market could have hoped for,” said Stephen Innes, Market Strategist AXI Trader.

“While the enormous slide in China factory gate prices reminded us of what we already know, U.S. tariffs are sinking the Chinese economy and at a much quicker pace than anyone could have imagined.”

However, climbing bond yields helped lift European banking stocks .SX7P 0.3% – one of the few sectors in the black.

U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street after the S&P 500 .SPX ended flat in New York on Monday.

In currencies, the rise in Treasury yields helped lift the dollar to touch a five-week high of 107.50 yen JPY=EBS. The euro EUR=EBS was flat at $1.104 after reaching an overnight high of $1.1067.

The pound GBP=D3 traded near a six-week high of $1.2385 after a law came into force demanding that Prime Minister Boris Johnson delay Britain’s departure from the European Union unless he can strike a divorce deal with the bloc.

Oil futures hit their highest level in six weeks in Asia after Saudi Arabia’s new energy minister confirmed he would stick with his country’s policy of limiting crude output to support prices.

U.S. crude traded at $57.97 a barrel after hitting the highest since July 31. Brent crude futures climbed to $62.67 a barrel.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, who became Saudi Arabia’s new energy minister on Sunday, told reporters there would be “no radical” change in Saudi’s oil policy. Saudi Arabia is OPEC’s de facto leader.

Reporting by Karin Strohecker in London, additional reporting and graphic by Sujata Rao in London, additional reporting by Stanley White in Tokyo; Editing by Lincoln Feast, Sam Holmes and Alex Richardson

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Trump heaps one other 5% tariff on Chinese language items in newest tit-for-tat escalation

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WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday lashed again at a brand new spherical of Chinese language tariffs by heaping a further 5% obligation on some $550 billion in focused Chinese language items within the newest tit-for-tat commerce struggle escalation by the world’s two largest economies.

FILE PHOTO: Containers are seen on the Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai, China August 6, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Tune

Trump’s transfer, introduced on Twitter, got here hours after China unveiled retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion value of U.S. items, prompting the president earlier within the day to demand U.S. firms transfer their operations out of China.

The intensifying U.S.-China commerce struggle stoked market fears that the worldwide financial system will tip into recession, sending U.S. shares right into a tailspin, with the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC down 3%, and the S&P 500 .SPX down 2.6%.

U.S. Treasury yields additionally declined as buyers sought safe-haven property, and crude oil, focused for the primary time by Chinese language tariffs, fell sharply.

Trump’s tariff response was introduced after markets closed on Friday, leaving doubtlessly extra injury for subsequent week.

“Sadly, previous Administrations have allowed China to get to this point forward of Truthful and Balanced Commerce that it has grow to be an awesome burden to the American Taxpayer,” Trump stated on Twitter. “As President, I can not enable this to occur!”

He stated america would increase its present tariffs on $250 billion value of Chinese language imports to 30% from the present 25% starting on Oct. 1, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the communist Folks’s Republic of China.

On the similar time, Trump introduced a rise in deliberate tariffs on the remaining $300 billion value of Chinese language items to 15% from 10%. The US will start imposing these tariffs on some merchandise beginning Sept. 1, however tariffs on about half of these items have been delayed till Dec. 15.

The U.S. Commerce Consultant’s workplace confirmed the efficient dates, however stated it will conduct a public remark interval earlier than imposing the 30% tariff price on Oct. 1.

U.S. enterprise teams reacted angrily to the brand new tariff hike.

“It’s inconceivable for companies to plan for the longer term in any such surroundings. The administration’s strategy clearly isn’t working, and the reply isn’t extra taxes on American companies and customers. The place does this finish?” stated David French, a senior vp for the Nationwide Retail Federation.

Trump is because of meet leaders of the G7 main economies at a summit this weekend in France, the place commerce tensions will likely be among the many hottest dialogue subjects.

ABRUPT RESPONSE

The president’s announcement, which adopted an Oval Workplace assembly along with his advisers, suits a sample of swift retaliation because the commerce dispute with China began greater than a 12 months in the past.

“He determined he wished to reply. He was given a couple of totally different choices on issues he may do and finally that was what he determined,” a senior White Home official stated.

“He’s not taking these things calmly, however he’s in a high quality temper and looking out ahead to the G7.”

One other individual conversant in the matter stated officers needed to scramble to provide you with choices after Trump caught them offguard with tweets promising a response within the afternoon.

Since taking workplace in 2017, Trump has demanded that China make sweeping modifications to its financial insurance policies to finish theft and compelled transfers of American mental property, curb industrial subsidies, open its markets to American firms and enhance purchases of U.S. items.

China denies Trump’s accusations of unfair commerce practices and has resisted concessions to Washington.

“We don’t want China and, frankly, could be much better off with out them. The huge quantities of cash made and stolen by China from america, 12 months after 12 months, for many years, will and should STOP,” Trump tweeted on Friday morning.

“Our nice American firms are hereby ordered to instantly begin on the lookout for an alternative choice to China, together with bringing your firms HOME and making your merchandise within the USA.”

It’s unclear what authorized authority Trump would be capable of use to compel U.S. firms to shut operations in China or cease sourcing merchandise from the nation. Specialists stated he may invoke the Worldwide Emergency Financial Powers Act used prior to now for sanctions on Iran and North Korea, or reduce offending firms out of federal procurement contracts..

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce rebuffed Trump’s name, urging “continued, constructive engagement.”

“Time is of the essence. We don’t need to see an additional deterioration of U.S.-China relations,” Myron Sensible, govt vp and head of the enterprise group’s worldwide affairs, stated in a press release.

Trump additionally stated he was ordering shippers together with FedEx (FDX.N). Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), UPS (UPS.N) and the U.S. Postal Service to go looking out and refuse all deliveries of the opioid fentanyl to america.

China’s Commerce Ministry stated that on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15 it’s going to impose extra tariffs of 5% or 10% on a complete of 5,078 merchandise originating from america and reinstitute tariffs of 25% on vehicles and 5% on auto components suspended final December as U.S.-China commerce talks accelerated.

It was unclear whether or not a brand new spherical of talks anticipated in September would go forward.

China Every day, an official English-language each day usually utilized by Beijing to speak its message to the remainder of the world, stated China’s tariff record is the results of “prudent calculation”.

“With the U.S. continuing at full throttle with its beggar-thy-neighbor coverage, China has no alternative however to battle again to guard its core nationwide and financial pursuits,” it stated in an editorial on Saturday.

“China has taken the countermeasures in order that U.S. decision-makers get up and scent the espresso. And recognize that till Washington follows the Osaka consensus, there will be no deal.”

AGRICULTURE, AUTO SECTORS HIT

The rising financial influence of the commerce dispute was a key cause behind the U.S. Federal Reserve’s transfer to chop rates of interest final month for the primary time in additional than a decade.

“The president’s commerce struggle threatens to push the financial system right into a ditch,” stated Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “The president is hoping that the Federal Reserve will … bail him out, but when he continues to pursue the struggle, the Fed gained’t be as much as the duty.”

Amongst U.S. items focused by Beijing’s newest duties have been soybeans, which will likely be hit with an additional 5% tariff beginning Sept. 1. China may also tag beef and pork from america with an additional 10% tariff, in addition to ethanol with a further 10% obligation from December 15.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping pose for a photograph forward of their bilateral assembly in the course of the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Picture/File Picture

Though the Trump administration has rolled out assist to farmers stung by China’s tariffs, there’s rising frustration in America’s agricultural belt, a key political constituency for Trump as he heads into his 2020 re-election marketing campaign.

“The view from a lot of farm nation is bleak and anger is boiling over. With bankruptcies and delinquencies rising and costs falling, the frustration with the dearth of progress towards a deal is rising,” the bipartisan Farmers for Free Commerce group stated in a press release.

Reporting by Judy Hua, Min Zhang, Se Younger Lee, Stella Qiu, Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton in BEIJING, Yilei Solar and Winni Zhou in SHANGHAI, David Lawder, David Shepardson, Doina Chiacu, Jeff Mason, Steve Holland in WASHINGTON and Koh Gui Qing in New York; Extra reporting by Jason Lange, Andrea Shalal and Humeyra Pamuk in WASHINGTON and Tom Polansek and Julie Ingwersen in Chicago; Writing by Paul Simao; Modifying by Alison Williams, Howard Goller and Sonya Hepinstall

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.

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IMF stands by yuan view; says China may need stimulus if commerce warfare worsens

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Worldwide Financial Fund on Friday stood by its evaluation that the worth of China’s yuan was largely according to financial fundamentals, however an IMF official stated the fund was encouraging China to pursue a extra versatile trade charge with much less intervention.

Indicators of Chinese language yuan and U.S. greenback are seen at a forex trade retailer in Shanghai, China August 8, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Music

James Daniel, director of the IMF’s China division, stated that an evaluation of China’s financial insurance policies discovered the yuan trade charge in 2018 to be “not considerably over-valued or under-valued.”

The IMF’s views on the yuan are at odds with these of its largest shareholder, america, which this week declared China a “forex manipulator” after it allowed the yuan to slide under 7 to the greenback to 11-year lows.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is searching for to interact the IMF to assist “right” an unfair commerce benefit from Beijing’s forex actions, however Daniel declined to say how the IMF was responding to the request.

“Our discussions with the U.S. Treasury are ongoing on a variety of points,” Daniel advised reporters on a convention name, echoing an earlier assertion from an IMF spokesperson.

The IMF stated within the report {that a} worsening of commerce tensions with america may put China’s financial and monetary stability in danger, making new fiscal stimulus measures from the federal government warranted.

The IMF stated if america had been to impose 25% tariffs on a remaining $300 billion checklist of Chinese language imports, this would scale back China’s progress by round 0.Eight proportion factors over the next 12 months, pushed by a pointy fall in demand and a tightening of economic circumstances. Destructive international spillovers might be vital, it added.

Daniel stated {that a} 10% tariff on this class of products — as U.S. President Donald Trump intends to impose on Sept. 1 — may lead to a 0.three proportion level lower to progress.

Weighed down by weak demand at residence and overseas, China’s progress slowed to six.2% within the second quarter, a close to 30-year low.

Extra trade charge flexibility may assist China cope with these exterior pressures, releasing up financial coverage to cope with home demand circumstances, Daniel stated.

He additionally stated the IMF was urgent China for structural reforms to its financial system, together with opening extra sectors to overseas competitors and lowering the position of the state in sure business — targets additionally broadly sought by the Trump administration.

“We see continued rebalancing and opening up by China and elevated trade charge flexibility as being in China’s personal pursuits and in addition benefiting the worldwide financial system.”

IMF administrators in an announcement agreed with employees assessments that China’s exterior place in 2018 was broadly according to fundamentals.

However in addition they known as for extra transparency in China’s trade charge insurance policies, the IMF stated, with some searching for disclosures of China’s overseas trade market interventions.

Reporting by David Lawder and Jonas Ekblom; Enhancing by Jonathan Oatis, Leslie Adler & Kim Coghill

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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Carmakers race higher, Johnson jitters for sterling

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LONDON (Reuters) – A speeding autos sector and hopes for even lower borrowing costs buoyed world stocks on Tuesday, while a brief sterling rally proved short-lived as hard-Brexit advocate Boris Johnson was confirmed as Britain’s new prime minister.

FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Staff/File Photo

Corporate results from oil bellwether Halliburton, Swiss bank UBS and Apple supplier AMS had all helped Europe’s morning mood though it was a 4% surge from the auto sector that provided the real torque. [.EU]

German parts makers Hella and French peer Faurecia surged as much as 6% and tire maker Continental leapt 5.8% despite another profit warning, putting the sector on track for its best day since Jan. [.EU]

The region-wide STOXX 600 benchmark added over 1% while Wall Street’s main markets were expected to open 0.3%-0.4% higher later after a flurry of largely upbeat earnings from the likes of Coca-Cola and United Technologies. [.N]

“The results are coming in and have helped the market today and we are still under the influence of interest rates,” said Francois Savary, the chief investment officer of Prime Partners, referring to expectations of U.S. and ECB rate cuts.

He also said Wall Street earnings had provided no scares so far and this week’s results from Facebook, Amazon.com and Google parent Alphabet would “drive the market up the road”.

Ahead of the U.S. open, the International Monetary Fund lowered its forecast for global growth this year and next, warning that more U.S.-China tariffs, auto tariffs or a disorderly Brexit could further slow the world economy.

Among currencies, the dollar reached a two-week high after U.S. President Donald Trump and congressional leaders agreed on Monday to a two-year extension of the U.S. debt limit, ending the threat a government default later this year. [/FRX]

The New Zealand dollar led G10 losses after its central bank said it had “begun scoping a project to refresh our unconventional monetary policy strategy and implementation”, although it added it was at a very early stage.

Britain’s pound was the other notable mover as it slid back towards the mid $1.24 region having briefly rallied after eurosceptic Johnson was elected as the replacement for outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May.

Concern that Britain will crash out of the European Union without a withdrawal agreement have grown since Johnson said he would pull Britain out on Oct. 31 “do or die”.

The pound traded 0.2% weaker at $1.2445, near last week’s 27-month low of $1.2382, having made it as high as $1.2481.

Credit ratings agency Moody’s and investment Goldman Sachs both warned the risk of a no-deal Brexit was now higher.

“With Boris Johnson at the helm, the tail risks are likely to intensify ─ well into October,” Goldman said.

“We raise our odds on a ‘no deal Brexit from 15% to 20%, and we reduce our odds on ‘no Brexit’ at all from 40% to 35%.”

The euro fell too to $1.1189, although rather than Brexit it was weighed down more by the likelihood of even more negative ECB interest rates in the coming months. The central bank meets on Thursday.

“It is going to take a bold stroke by the ECB to both satisfy markets clamoring for incremental easing and make a difference to the economy, all the while remaining inside its institutional setting and not destabilizing the financial system,” wrote Carl Weinberg, chief international economist at High Frequency Economics.

SUMMER HOT SPOTS

Europe’s government bonds barely budged, with investors largely happy to sit on their hands having seen their yields slumping since the start of the year.

U.S. yields did tick fractionally higher in response to the debt ceiling deal but Germany’s 10-year bond yield, the benchmark for the euro zone, was down a basis point, at minus 0.35% and not far from the record low -0.40% posted at the start of the month.

The next events to watch include a vote on Thursday in the Spanish parliament on the future government. Caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez failed in his first attempt on Tuesday to get parliament’s backing to form a government, leaving him two days to try and strike a deal with the far-left Unidas Podemos.

There was also a rumored meeting between the leaders of the two squabbling parties who make up Italy’s coalition government, 5-Star Movement’s Luigi Di Maio and League’s Matteo Salvini.

“Investors are waiting to see whether this government will survive,” said DZ Bank strategist Daniel Lenz. “One possibility is that the coalition continues but both agree to replace (Giuseppe) Conte as prime minister, which would be a very bad signal.”

Conte is widely seen as a moderating influence on the anti-establishment Italian government, particularly in terms of its relationship with Brussels.

FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

In commodities, Brent crude edged lower to reach $63 per barrel, having shot up 1.2% the day before on concern over possible supply disruptions after Iran seized a British tanker last week. [O/R]

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude slipped 23 cents to $55.99. “The response of oil prices to the seizure of a British oil tanker by armed Iranian forces near the Strait of Hormuz has been amazingly muted so far,” said Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank.

“It appears that the majority of market participants are convinced that there will be no open conflict between the West and Iran.”

Additional reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro in Tokyo, Alex Lawyer and Abhinav Ramnarayan in London, editing by Larry King and Frances Kerry

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Strong stock and bond markets at odds over global growth

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – It looks like something has to give in global markets.

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Stocks and bonds around the world have rallied atypically together since the start of the year, rewarding investors both bullish and bearish on the direction of global growth.

The main catalyst for the gains was the Federal Reserve’s surprise decision in early January to pause its tightening policy, after four interest rate increases in 2018 raised fears it was being too aggressive as the economy cooled and inflation remained minimal. Those fears helped send global markets into a tailspin in December.

Yet with the U.S. benchmark S&P 500 near a record level and corporate junk bonds notching new highs, the question stock and bond investors are asking is whether the Fed’s next move will be a rate cut that further propels risk assets or a rate hike that cuts into the stock market’s momentum.

A move by the Fed on interest rates or a communication misstep by the central bank would likely end either the rally in the stock market or in investment-grade bonds by the end of the year, restoring the traditional give-and-take between risk and safety, investors say.

“The Fed is between a rock and a hard place,” said Kathleen Gaffney, a portfolio manager at Eaton Vance Management in Boston. “They can’t go lower because there are signs that inflation is rising and they can’t go higher because of global political uncertainty. It leaves the market on pause.”

The U.S. central bank has said it will soon stop letting bonds bought during its “quantitative easing” period following the financial crisis roll off its balance sheet, which also helped push yields on safe havens like Treasuries lower and acted as a tailwind for riskier assets.

Gaffney said the Fed will likely have to raise rates again because of rising wages and other forms of inflation by the end of the year, adding that such a move will “pierce” the high valuations in both the stocks and bond markets.

TWIN RALLY

The rolling four-month percentage change in the price of the S&P 500 and the 10-Year Treasury note have both been positive for three straight months, according to a Reuters analysis. That is the longest such streak since a five-month run that ended in August 2017, it showed.

In that same 2017 period, the S&P 500 gained and 10-year Treasury yields fell as the market digested conflicting economic reports during the first year of the Trump administration, before the Federal Reserve in September began quantitative tightening that resulted in bond yields rising as the S&P 500 continued to rally.

Since January equity markets around the world have made up much of the ground they lost during a wrenching fourth quarter of 2018 that sent the U.S. stock market to the brink of a bear market.

The S&P 500 and Europe’s STOXX 600 are up almost 16% year to date, while stock indexes in China are up nearly 30%.

The ICE Merrill Lynch U.S. high yield index is up 8.6% year to date while the Merrill Lynch World sovereign bond index is up almost 1.5%.

World stocks vs bonds – tmsnrt.rs/2IrqXeF

A rally in benchmark 10-year Treasury notes, usually seen as a safe haven, undercuts the picture of a “risk on” market. Their yields have slid from 2.69% at the start of the year to as low as 2.34% in late March.

“At this point in the cycle, equity investors are trying to take any incremental news positively while fixed income investors are not,” said Jen Robertson, a portfolio manager at Wells Fargo Asset Management in London. “It’s quite delicate at the moment and any negative news out of first quarter earnings could impact this sharp bounce.”

Further uncertainty due to the economic impact of the UK leaving the European Union, which has now been pushed back to Oct. 31, or a deterioration in U.S.-China trade talks could be a “shock to the system” and derail both stocks and bonds, she said.

The spread between U.S. three-month bills and 10-year notes turned negative for the first time since 2007 in March, a bearish sign as a yield curve inversion has signaled an upcoming economic recession in the past.

The move initially boosted stock prices as investors predicted it would hem the Fed in from future interest rate hikes. But equities could fall soon if recession fears continue to grow, said Hiroaki Hayashi, managing director of Fukoku Capital Management in Tokyo.

“If you look at the past experiences, share prices have often rallied six to nine months after the yield curve initially inverted before entering a major correction. I believe we are exactly at such a phase now.”

Despite outsized gains this year, financial markets have not indicated investors have faith that the global economy can grow without historically low interest rates a decade after the end of the Great Recession, said Anwiti Bahuguna, head of multi-asset strategy at Columbia Threadneedle Investments.

“The bull market we’ve had for the past 10 years is essentially because of really low interest rates,” Bahuguna said.

“I don’t think that equilibrium will last much longer,” she added, saying rising inflation and low unemployment could soon test global markets’ ability to cope with tighter monetary policy.

Additional reporting by Hideyuki Sano in Tokyo and Terence Gabriel in New York.; Editing by Alden Bentley and Tom Brown

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