A decline in US 3-month libor below 0.50% coupled with solid Q2 company earnings have buoyed demand for carry trade strategies, driving high yielding and commodity currencies through key resistance levels vs the USD. • Market Outlook
= Carry trade sought, but dangers loom
A decline in US 3-month libor below 0.50% coupled with solid Q2 company earnings have buoyed demand for carry trade strategies, driving high yielding and commodity currencies through key resistance levels vs the USD. It is debateable how long momentum can be sustained in a context of faltering momentum in the US. The idea that additional policy stimulus by the Fed could be required and would re-flate risk assets appears misplaced when elsewhere fiscal stimulus is withdrawn and liquidity is unwound. With the EU bank stress tests finally behind us, we look ahead to a G10 calendar next week dominated by the MPC testimony to the TSC and the first estimates of US Q2 GDP. Month-end implies currency and bond portfolio rebalancing. In five of the last six months, the re-weighting resulted in EUR/USD firming an average 0.5%. GBP/USD only gained in month-end fixings in March and May.
• The recap for fx this week reads very similar to that of two weeks ago. A rally in global equities propelled the AUD to the top of the G10 table, helping the currency to gains of 3.3% vs EUR, 2.6% vs USD and 2.5% vs GBP. A 1.1% q/q jump in UK Q2 GDP boosted GBP and helped the pound to record a 1.3% gain vs the JPY and 1.2% vs the EUR. GBP/USD ended the week above 1.5350, having traded as high as 1.5450. EUR/USD was equally unable to cling on to the best levels above 1.29 as profit taking emerged on the release of the EU bank stress tests following earlier bidding on a 3-year high for the German IFO.
• UK Q2 GDP surpassed the most bullish estimates as the ONS reported a 1.1% q/q jump in output vs 0.3% in Q1. This still leaves the economy 4.7% below the starting point of the recession in 2008, and will not tempt the MPC to change its view that the economy may weaken in the second half of 2010. The MPC minutes were remarkably more dovish on growth and members Posen and Dale did not hold back to warn of the dangers ahead. Retail sales also beat consensus estimates by climbing 1% in June. A marked decline in the retail deflator to 1.3% and a fall in inflation expectations back below 3% will comfort the MPC about the inflation outlook. Public finances recorded a bigger deficit in June, with borrowing reaching £14.5bln and data for May revised up to £17.0bln.
• A good start to the week for UK rates reversed on Friday on the strong GDP release, causing yields to end the week on a high. 5y swaps climbed to 2.47%, up 6bp on the week. 10y yields rose above 3.40% to a 3.43% high. A deceleration in inflation pressures should keep yields capped going into August, with downside risk to the US macro data providing better levels to buy. The 3mth Libor/Ois spread widened one bp to 24bp. The 2y/10y swap spread widened 2bp to 198bp, and 10y swap spreads stayed flat at 2bp. A disappointing 2016 gilt sale drew lower than previous cover of 1.38x (1bp tail).