European Outlook: Asian stock markets headed south, after the Fed hiked rates and tweaked reinvestments. Financials and exporters were under pressure, while defensive stocks held up. There is speculation that the BoJ could make some inference to exit strategies at its upcoming meeting, which could boost the Yen and hurt exporters. Still, the -0.35% drop in the Nikkei is modest, compared to the sell offs in Hang Seng and ASX 200, which both lost more than 1%. Investors trying to place funds into superannuation accounts in a bid to avoid regulatory changes coming into effect on July 1 were said to have underpinned yesterday’s rally in the ASX, but with AUD on the rise, stocks are under pressure. U.K. and U.S. stock futures are also down. The Fed may have been less dovish than some expected, while U.S. data release yesterday were disappointing and sparked fresh concerns about the health of the global economy. With the Fed turns out of the way, the focus turns to BoE and SNB meetings today, with both central banks expected to keep policy steady. The data calendar has final May HICP from France and Italy, as well as U.K. retail sales and EMU trade data.
FOMC hiked the funds rate band by 25 bps, as widely expected, to a 1.00% to 1.25% band. In a surprise, however, the Fed outlined details on balance sheet normalization, stating it intends to start the unwinding process this year if the economy evolved as anticipated, Yellen said that the Fed could implement the balance sheet unwind “fairly soon,” if the economy continues to perform as expected. The Fed also outlined it’s initial cap sizes. The dot plot was also little changed from March, and suggests yet one more tightening this year. The statement noted the economy continues to expand moderately, and while job gains have moderated, they have been solid nevertheless. Household spending has picked up, and business investment has continued to expand. The Fed noted the recent decline in inflation, but said it’s expected to stabilize around the 2% objective over the medium term. Risks are roughly balanced but the Committee will monitor inflation closely. The dove Kashkari dissented in favor of an unchanged stance. The tone of the statement, and the fact that the Committee still plans to start balance sheet normalization this year, is a tad less dovish than the market had priced in after the CPI and retail sales data.
U.S. reports: revealed a weak round of May retail sales and CPI data. The US May CPI drop by 0.1% while U.S. retail sales underperformed with a 0.3% May headline and ex-auto drop, following tiny revisions that were upward in April but downward in March. We also saw a 0.2% April business inventory drop, though this decline was expected. For retail sales, we saw 0.3% May headline and ex-auto drops after small prior tweaks that should allow an uptick in the savings rate to 5.4%, as consumers remain reluctant to spend despite heightened confidence. For CPI, a 0.1% May headline drop with a 0.1% core price rise rounded up from respective figures of -0.144% and 0.063%, with weakness in apparel and medical care alongside the expected 2.7% energy price drop.
Main Macro Events Today
- UK Retail Sales & BoE MPC’s Policy meeting – The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street is widely expected to leave policy settings unchanged. The tone of the minutes will interest, and given the tricky political backdrop will likely show a stepped-up degree of dovishness while remaining in the bounds of an overall neutral policy stance. We will see also today retail sales contracting by -0.8% m/m in official May data, after a stellar 2.3% m/m gain in April.
- CAD Manufacturing Shipments – Shipments expected to expand 0.7% m/m in April after the 1.0% gain in March. Manufacturing employment was nearly flat in April (-0.6k) after a 24.4k rise in March, while the latest jobs report revealed a 25.3k bounce in May.
- US Data – May trade price data is out today and should show import prices unchanged while export prices rise by 0.1% on the month. WTI prices decline by 5.1% in May which should weigh on import prices. Philly Fed index is seen falling to 24.0 in June from 38.8. Initial jobless claims are expected to dip 3k to 242k for the June 10 week; industrial production is forecast to be flat in May, while capacity use holds steady at 76.7%. NAHB housing market index may slip to 69 in June from 70.
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