(Craig Erlam – MarketPulse)
It’s been a mixed start to trade on Tuesday, similar to what we saw in Asia overnight, and as we await the return of the US after the long bank holiday weekend.
Europe in particular was rattled on Monday by the Gazprom announcement that came after the close on Friday in relation to Nord Stream 1. The latest move in the apparent weaponisation of energy supplies has once more created huge uncertainty ahead of the winter. Conveniently the announcement came hours after the G7 agreed to a Russian price cap and as Europe was boasting about being ahead of schedule on filling gas stores.
RBA signals more hikes ahead
The Reserve Bank of Australia raised the cash target rate by 50 basis points to 2.35% on Tuesday, in line with expectations, as it continues to aggressively push back against soaring inflation. The central bank reiterated that it is not on a pre-set path but will continue hiking interest rates with markets of the belief that there’s still plenty more to come including another 50bps next month and 25 at each of the following three.
Of course, forecasting even that far ahead has become far more challenging in such an uncertain global environment but it’s clear that central banks around the world still have a massive job on their hands and the coming months will be tough. That said, the RBA is of the belief that inflation will peak later this year before returning to 3% in 2024.
PBOC desperate to support CNY
The PBOC once again set a stronger yuan fix today as it continues to push back against its decline. Controlling the decline in the yuan has clearly become a huge priority, with the 2% cut in the FX reserve requirement ratio intended to support that initiative. Rather than stop a decline in the yuan, these efforts may simply slow it with a move above 7 against the dollar looking like a matter of when rather than if, given the relentless rally in the greenback.
Hit the ground running
Liz Truss will be sworn in as Prime Minister today and will have to hit the ground running as the UK prepares for a brutal winter. Reports claim the new PM intends to freeze energy bills this winter at a cost of up to £130 billion, a move that would certainly fall into the bold category. The question is what impact it will have on inflation and gas demand. This will be a core part of what will need to be a much greater package to shield the economy from the grim forecasts we’ve seen in recent weeks.
Brent steadies after OPEC+ boost
Brent crude is a little lower today after seeing decent gains at the start of the week following the OPEC+ output announcement. The decision to reverse the 100,000 barrel per day increase in September was more symbolic than fundamentally significant, in that it doesn’t really change the dynamics in the market but it will make traders think twice about driving prices lower in the way they have recently.
The disturbing global economic outlook combined with the prospects for a nuclear deal between the US and Iran created a bearish case for oil prices, something that hasn’t been the case for much of the year. But the cartel has sought to quash that quickly by not just signalling a willingness to cut output but also leaving the door open to emergency meetings in order to address market volatility. In other words, if the market tries to drive the price much lower again, or the fundamentals change, the group will cut again and it won’t wait until 5 October.
As far as Brent is concerned, that may have reinforced support around $90, with the group clearly favouring a price closer to $100. It will be interesting to see if the market tries to test the group’s resolve again or if this initial warning shot will prove enough.
Recovering but for how long?
Gold is enjoying a bit more of a recovery today, this time aided by a pullback in the US dollar. The greenback has been a strong headwind for the yellow metal and, along with rising yields, has driven it back towards $1,680 where it has once again run into firm support. While some may be encouraged by the rebound we’ve seen, I wonder how much appetite there’ll actually be for a significant and sustainable rebound.
We’re seeing it face its first test now around $1,730 which until recently was a key area of support. If it overcomes this, further resistance could be found around $1,750-1,760 which would be a big test. A move above here could inspire some optimism but in this environment, that will be easier said than done.
Struggling for rally momentum
Bitcoin pushed briefly back above $20,000 today but is struggling to build on that. Broadly speaking, it’s trading in a range between $19,500 and $20,500 as it has for a little over a week now but rallies do appear to be increasingly struggling which may be a slightly bearish signal. A break of $19,500 would confirm that although with trading currently so choppy, it’s tough to read too heavily into today’s moves so far. The broader market environment also remains quite risk averse which could work against cryptos.
Why oil gains remain limited despite OPEC output cut? [Video]
(Ipek Ozkardeskaya – Swissquote Bank Ltd)
The European natural gas futures jumped 30% yesterday, the euro fell further against a broadly stronger US dollar, and crude oil climbed above the $90pb mark, as OPEC decided to cut production by 100’000 barrels per day, to the August levels, as they wanted to ‘stabilize’ oil prices after the longest price decline since the beginning of the pandemic.
For now, the barrel of US crude couldn’t clear the $90 resistance, as the US-Iran nuclear deal is still a possibility to boost supply, and no one really knows what could happen in the complex politics of the oil market. Also, the recession worries weigh on the demand outlook.
In the UK, Liz Truss won the PM race. Cable first fell to a fresh low, on the back of a broadly stronger US dollar, but the pair rebounded.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) raised its policy rate by 50bp as expected today. China boosted stimulus.
The US is back from Labor Day holiday. US futures are in the positive, but winds could rapidly change direction.