April 6, 2022
“Leal Brainard’s hawkish tone sent stocks down and Treasury Yields up to multi-year highs, as investors are starting to digest the implications of a more aggressive monetary policy tightening – several members of the Federal Open Market Committee, including fed chair Jerome Powell, have advocated larger than 25 basis-point hikes this year.”
Tim Hallinan – Trading Director
The Federal Reserve will begin a “rapid” reduction of its $9tn balance sheet as soon as its next policy meeting in May and is prepared to take “stronger” action when it comes to raising interest rates in order to bring down inflation, a senior US central bank official has said. Lael Brainard, who is currently awaiting Senate confirmation to become the next vice-chair, said yesterday that the central bank’s “most important task” was to moderate the recent rise in consumer prices, which had disproportionately burdened low and middle-income families. She added that, if warranted by the economic data, the Fed was prepared to take “stronger action” when it came to tightening monetary policy – suggesting tacit support for more aggressive moves, including doubling the pace at which the federal funds rate is raised and delivering half-point rate rises at forthcoming meetings.
Yesterday, Britain urged G7 and NATO nations to ban Russian ships from their ports, agree a timetable to phase out oil and gas imports from Russia, and further tighten sanctions on banks and key industries. In response to the invasion of Ukraine, Britain and international allies have already sanctioned Russian banks and wealthy elites and taken steps to cut Moscow off from the international financial system. Britain’s foreign secretary, Liz Truss, said existing sanctions had frozen $350 billion of Russian money and made over 60% of its foreign currency reserves unavailable. Speaking alongside Polish foreign minister Zbigniew Rau, Truss also said the two countries had agreed to step up sanctions and the supply of weapons to Ukraine. Britain did not immediately provide further details.
Sterling is stronger against euro and weaker against the dollar this morning. Shell paid no tax on its oil and gas production in the UK’s North Sea again last year even as a global energy crunch pushed prices for the fuels to record levels. The UK government has ordered a scientific review into fracking just over two years after imposing an effective ban on the controversial technique, as it insisted that “all possible” methods of producing energy domestically should be kept on the table following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. UK’s Johnson calls on Russians to share reports about “atrocities” committed by their troops in Ukraine, saying if people knew the truth, they would not support the war. England recorded its highest ever COVID-19 infection prevalence in March and cases were still increasing in the over-55s by the end of the month.
Euro is weaker than most major currencies in the early morning trade. The United States and its allies on Wednesday prepared new sanctions on Moscow over civilian killings, which President Volodymyr Zelenskiy described as “war crimes”, as heavy fighting and Russian airstrikes pounded the besieged port of Mariupol. Hungary’s foreign ministry summoned Ukraine’s ambassador today, over what it called offensive comments from Kyiv regarding Budapest’s stance on Russia’s invasion. President Emmanuel Macron is the clear favourite in France’s presidential race Sunday, yet a big unknown factor may prove decisive: an unprecedented proportion of people say they are unsure who to vote for or don’t intend to vote at all, bringing a large dose of uncertainty to the election.
The dollar is well bid against most major currencies overnight. US president Joe Biden said in a statement, with Australian prime minister Scott Morrison and UK prime minister Boris Johnson, that the allies would enhance co-operation in several areas, including hypersonic weapons, as part of their commitment to “a free and open Indo-Pacific.” Canada’s exports rose 2.8% in February to a record high, driven mostly by energy products, while imports climbed 3.9% from the previous month, data from Statistics Canada showed yesterday, with economists anticipating more gains for exports ahead. The Biden administration will soon start donating children’s doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine to poorer countries for the first time, although officials warn some might not reach their intended recipients because of a fight in Congress over pandemic funding.
A global bond selloff deepened today, and stocks wavered on the prospect of a swift reduction in the fed’s debt holdings as part of a stepped-up campaign of monetary tightening to tackle high inflation. The 10-year Treasury yield rose above 2.6%, taking it back into the ranges traded in 2018 and 2019, after jumping the most on Tuesday since the Covid crash in March 2020. Bonds in Australia and New Zealand also tumbled, while sovereign debt across Europe retreated. A gauge of the dollar’s strength was near a three-week peak. The Stoxx Europe 600 index dipped, and US index futures were little changed following a drop in Wall Street shares led by the technology sector. An Asia-Pacific share index fell over 1%, dragged down by Japan and Hong Kong, as the latter reopened after a holiday. Fresh sanctions on Russia are expected, including a US ban on investment in the country and a European Union proscription on coal imports.
Main Economic Data/Central Banks/Government (All Times CET)
8:00 a.m.: Germany Feb. factory orders
8:00 a.m.: Sweden Feb. industrial orders, household consumption, GDP indicator
9:00 a.m.: Riksbank’s Floden speaks
9:00 a.m.: ECB’s Guindos speaks
9:30 a.m.: Germany March S&P Global construction PMI
10:30 a.m.: U.K. March S&P Global/CIPS construction PMI
11:00 a.m.: Euro area Feb. PPI
12:00 p.m.: EU to sell bills
12:45 p.m.: ECB’s Lane Speaks
4:30 p.m.: EIA weekly report on U.S. oil inventories
6:00 p.m.: Russia weekly CPI
Poland base rate announcement
Oil executives testify on gasoline prices
Earnings: Levi Strauss, Schnitzer Steel, Tilray