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As has been apparent throughout March, the focus remains on US bond yields as they retain a bullish bias. The arrival of last week's Federal Reserve rate setting meeting did little to disrupt the trajectory of the bond markets as Fed leader, Jerome Powell continued to reiterate the committees dovish and cautionary stance in spite of the reaction seen in the bond markets as the bet on a quicker bounce in the economy, and a move to higher rates sooner than the Fed seem to want to let us know. There was the slightest shift from the fed as the future rate predictor dot plot alluded to a potential rate hike in 2022.



The Feds outlook fuelled inflation concerns especially with the US markets awash with stimulus money, with it expected that 30-40% of the cheques written Stateside expected to hit the stock market.



In the earlier part of last week the stock market surged with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones hitting new highs as the tech heavy Nasdaq lagged behind as investors rotated investment into value stocks, with fears of a Biden tech tax at some point nagging at investors minds.



The stock markets tailed off towards the end of the week starting Monday with a cautionary approach with politics and central banking going head to head in Turkey leading to President Erdogan dismissing the head of the central bank for an unexpected rate hike late last week, with the President having differing views on the control of inflation.



Such an aggressive move had a dramatic effect, as the Turkish Lira fell as much as 15% at the open and from a stock perspective the markets looked to see which global Banks and companies had exposure to Turkey, with Turkish credit default swaps being in heavy demand.



For the UK there was coverage in the press over the weekend that half of the UK’s adult population had now had at least one covid vaccine. Matt Hancock also updated that lower case targets were being met, meaning that the government's path or plan to unlock the nation and economy remain achievable.



There is a concerning article in the press this morning alluding to the fact the EU could block the supply of AstraZeneca produced vaccine and ingredients therin, until the manufacturer meets its EU order obligations, however this has subsequently been denied. For Europe, the path to vaccine remains fraught with issues, having had supply of the AZ vaccine cut when they were already behind the curve on vaccine delivery last weeks temporary banning of their vaccine after instances of blood clotting in Denmark will not have helped.



A statement from the EU health authorities on Friday claimed that the vaccine benefits far outweigh the risk has meant many countries have restarted the use of the drug. Many countries across Europe are also having to enter enhanced lockdowns and curfews, France, Italy and Germany acting in the last week as Europe appears to be entering/in a third wave of the pandemic.



Cases will have to be closely watched this week and with the public looking at the US, UK and Asia progress this will likely scar political populism in these countries.



Despite this the Euro has remained undamaged if we strip out the performance against the surging US Dollar, but the downside feels vulnerable.


Have a great week ahead!


The Week Ahead:


Tuesday - A big day of data for the UK with Unemployment, Average Earnings and Claimant Count Employment data, as well as Industrial Orders and Haldane, Bailey and Cunliffe speaking. In the US session the highlight is a testimony from Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Brainard and Williams speaking in the afternoon.



Wednesday - Australian Trade Balance and Japan's Manufacturing PMI comes early before UK CPI, RPI and PPI inflation data. Following that we get Manufacturing and Services from France, Germany, Europe, UK and laterly the US. From the States we also get Durable Goods and another Powell testimony. There is also Eurozone Consumer Confidence and the ECB’s Lagarde speaking before a host of Fed speakers.



Thursday - BOJ’s Kuroda talks early before German GfK Consumer Climate data. The ECB’s Economic Bulletin and Money Supply data comes in the am as well as Central Bank speakers in the BOE’s Bailey and Lagarde. In the US session we get GDP and weekly Unemployment, with Williams, Bostic, Evans, Clarida and Daly of the Fed all talking.



Friday - German import prices  and Ifo come early alongside UK Retail Sales with the EU Economic Summit running all day. In the US session we get PCE Price Index, Goods Trade Balance, Personal Income & Spending, Prelim Wholesale Inventories and UoM Consumer Sentiment and Inflation Expectations.


Duncan Donald


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