Dollar Sidelined, Krona Stabilizes, Rates Firm

The main development here in the last full week of October is the sharp
rise in bond yields.
US 10-year yields rose nine
bp this week coming into today’s session, which features the first look at Q3
GDP. The two-year yield is up four bp.
European 10-year benchmark yields mostly rose 11-17 bp. UK Gilts were are the
upper end of that range. Two-year yields are 3-5 bp higher.

The odds of a Fed hike in December has risen this week and depending on precise assumptions about where Fed funds
will trade, have risen around five percentage
points to be a little over 70%
. This does
not seem to adequately explain the rising long
end yields
.   We anticipate that a Fed hike would flatten the
curve as has often been the case in monetary tightening cycles, and was dubbed
the Greenspan conundrum in the last cycle in the early noughts.  

Equity markets were fairly resilient to the backing up of interest rates
though most major equity markets moved lower over the course of the week.
Losses were minor.  The UK appears to be the worst of major markets, with
the FTSE 250 off a little less than 2% before today’s loss brings it closer to
2.8%.  Enjoying a weaker yen, the Nikkei gained 1.5% for the week, with a
third coming today.  Despite today’s  0.75%-0.85% loss today, the Italy
and Spain are eking out minor equity gains. 

The US dollar is mostly softer today, but
the week it has edged up against most of the major currencies. 

The euro is the main exception.  A little over $1.0900, the single
currency is about 0.25% for the week.  The yen is the weakest of the
majors, off 1.4% this week.  After moving above JPY105 yesterday, the
dollar remained above it in Asia and Europe today.  The Swedish krona has
stabilized after yesterday’s (exaggerated ?) shellacking.  Its 0.5% gain
today, leave it off by 1.3% for the

Another feature of this week’s activity has been the rise of commodity
  Iron ore prices rose for the seventh day, the longest streak
since 2013.  The 10% gain this week is being attributed to Chinese demand
amid an increase in steel output (despite the declaratory policy to cut
capacity and output).  Aluminum prices have also rallied strongly this
week, for example, to five-year highs.   Oil prices are an important
exception.  They are off 2.5%. 

There has been a flurry of economic data released today beginning in
  Headline and core (excluding fresh food) CPI fell 0.5% as
expected, while the measure excluding food and energy slipped to 0 from
0.2%.  It had been expected to hold up better.  The unemployment rate
slipped back to 3.0% from 3.1%.   Household spending fell 2.1%
(year-over-year) improving from a 4.6% decline in August.  Although poor,
the report was better than the Bloomberg median of a 2.7% decline.  

France and Spain reported Q3 GDP figures.  France expanded by
0.2%, after contracting 0.1% in Q2.  This
still a bit disappointing, and
the details show that the swing in inventories accounts for the growth. On the
other hand, net exports were a 0.5% drag.  Spanish GDP rose 0.7%, in line
with expectations and a tad softer than the 0.8% pace seen in Q2.   The
year-over-year rate was steady at 3.2%.  The pace of French growth is
about 2/3 less at 1.1%.  

Germany, France, and Spain reported
October CPI figures.
  We are waiting for the national figure that will
be out shortly, but German states all reported an increased in the
year-over-year pace.  The national rate is expected to rise to 0.7% from
0.5%.  Spain also reported firm CPI figures.   The 0.5% year –
the over-year pace was more than expected
(~0.3%) after the flat reading in September.  Although still low, Spanish
inflation stands at a three-year high.  Recall as recently as August; Spain was still in deflation
(year-over-year decline in CPI). 

 French CPI was unchanged at 0.5%.  It was a little
disappointing as the median expected a tick up.  The aggregate figure for
EMU will be published Monday.  The
rise in energy prices will lift the headline, but the underlying rate will
still not be satisfying.  Many suspect the core rate needs to get closer
to 1.25% (from 0.8%) to make the ECB’s leadership more confident.  

In terms of prices, a talking point
today is news that Apple raised the price of some of its computers by
   Sterling has fallen 18.3% against the dollar since
the referendum. The decline in the pound, which does not look over, will boost
imported inflation and, given the UK’s trade deficit in goods, will filter into
higher CPI and lower real earnings.  Better than expected data this week,
including Q3 GDP, failed to give sterling
any traction.  At $1.2150, it is off 0.7% this week. 

The US reports Q3 GDP.   That is the highlight before the weekend.  Although the Atlanta
and NY GDP trackers are for closer to 2.0% growth, the market appears to be
looking for something closer to 2.5% (Bloomberg median 2.6%).   There
is some headline risk, but barring a significant surprise, look for the effect
to fade.  How the economy did in the July-September period has little if
any impact on what the Fed decides in December (next week’s FOMC meeting will
likely produce a statement very much like September). 

One of the most important developments this year has been the Federal
Reserve’s recognition that trend growth has slowed in the US.
  It now
estimates it at 1.8%.  This means
that despite what seems like slow growth relative
pre-crisis, trend growth is consistent with the gradual removal of


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