Sunset

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Daily Market Overview

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Markets

• ECB chief economist Lane spent most of today’s speech in Paris reminiscing on the ECB’s “successful” monetary policy response to the pandemic. He took the opportunity as net asset purchases under the Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme officially end after today. The ECB will have bought over €1.7tn out of its €1.85tn PEPP-portfolio. This compares with around €3.2tn cumulative asset purchases under the APP-umbrella, accumulated since the end of 2014. Turning to recent developments, Lane points out that current high inflation rates reflect to a large extent a very substantial surge in energy prices and global bottlenecks for manufactured goods. Both factors, conditional on the appropriate conduct of monetary policy, should not be a source of persistent inflation. “Transitory” echoed throughout his speech. The chief economist thinks it is plausible that medium-term inflation will not revert to the pre-pandemic below-target equilibrium but rather may stabilise around the ECB’s 2% target. The ECB will nevertheless closely monitor them and make sure that high spot inflation rates won’t become entrenched in higher inflation expectations. It’s part of his two-sided guidance going forward. On the one hand, the ECB should ensure that policy settings are adjusted if de-anchored inflation expectations, an intensification in catch-up wage dynamics or a persistent deterioration in supply capacity threaten to keep inflation above target. On the other side, they should also be fully prepared to appropriately revise monetary policy settings if the energy price shock and the Russia-Ukraine war were to result in a significant deterioration in macroeconomic prospects and thereby weaken the inflation outlook. Lane, like ECB president Lagarde yesterday, attached more attention to the downside growth risks stemming from the war compared to the tone of the March 10 policy meeting.
 
• Lane’s speech wasn’t directly responsible for today’s market moves, but added to the mood. Core bonds recovered from the fierce sell-off recently. Bunds (-5.9 bps) outperformed US Treasuries (-1.6 bps). The move started from the European bell in a reaction function which we’ve already seen on Tuesday: significantly lower oil prices dampen inflation expectations and thus the need for central banks to act even more aggressively than already priced. Today’s drop in crude prices came in response to rumours that the US will release around 1/3rd of its Strategic Petroleum Reserves in coming months. Stocks and EUR/USD (loss of interest rate support) drifted south in a move which slightly accelerated ahead of the US opening bell after Russian President Putin warned to halt gas contracts if payers don’t pay rubles. Main European indices lose up to 0.5%. EUR/USD drifted back below the 1.11 big figure. EUR/CZK fluctuates around 24.40 after the CNB raised its policy rate by 50 bps, to 5% in a 5-2 vote. Significant inflationary risks remain around the forecast with a need to keep policy tighter for a longer time.
 
News Headlines

• According to the UK Nationwide Building Society, annual housing growth in the UK in march increased from 12.6% Y/Y to 14.3%. This marks the fastest annual pace since 2004. Prices increased 1.1% M/M. The latter was the eight consecutive monthly increase (on a seasonally adjusted basis). The report concludes that the average price of a property reached a record level of £265 312. According to Nationwide’s Chief Economist ‘the continued buoyancy of housing demand may in part be explained by strong labour market conditions. The significant savings accrued during lockdowns is also likely to have helped prospective homebuyers raise a deposit’. The society estimates that households accrued the equivalent of around £6500 deposits above the pre-pandemic trend since early 2020. In the coming quarters, NBS expects the housing market to slow down.
 
• The Norges Bank announced that it will buy the countervalue of NOK 2bn/day in FX on behalf of the government in April. The Norwegian government receives revenues in NOK and FX from petroleum activities. Some revenues are used to finance the government deficit. The remainder is saved in FX in the Government Pension Fund Global. The amount of FX the NB announced today was bigger than expected. The NOK weakened from EUR/NOK 9.56 to 9.70.

Graphs & Table

Brent crude: oil prices drop after US SPR release rumours

EUR/USD: euro loses interest rate support today

German 10-yr yield: more profound correction ahead after failing to really extend rally higher over the past days?

EUR/CZK: koruna can’t really profit from (expected) 50 bps rate CNB rate hike in combination with hawkish guidance

Note: All times and dates are CET. More reports are available at KBCEconomics.be which you may sign up to.

This document has been prepared by the KBC Economics Markets desk and has not been produced by the Research department. The desk consists of Mathias Van der Jeugt, Peter Wuyts and Mathias Janssens, analists at KBC Bank N.V., which is regulated by the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA).
These market recommendations are the result of qualitative analysis, incorporating room for past experiences and personal assessments. The views are based on current market circumstances and can change any moment. The most prominent input comes from publicly available data, financial news, economic and monetary policies and commonly used technical analysis.
The KBC Economics – Markets desk has used reasonable efforts to obtain this information from sources which it believes to be reliable but the contents of this document have been prepared without any substantive analysis being undertaken into these sources.
It has not been assessed as to whether or not these insights would be suitable for any particular investor.
Opinions expressed are our current opinions as of the date appearing on this material only and can be opposite to previous recommendations due to changed market conditions.
The authors of this recommendation do not warrant the accuracy, completeness or value (commercial or otherwise) of any recommendation. Neither are the authors liable to those who receive these recommendations for the content of it or for any loss or damage arising (whether in tort (including negligence), breach of contract, breach of statutory duty or otherwise) from any actions or omissions of the authors in reliance on any recommendation, or for any claim whatsoever in respect of the content of, or information contained in, any recommendation. Any opinions expressed herein reflect the judgement at the time the investment recommendation was prepared and are subject to change without notice.
Given the nature of this advice (linked to currencies and interest rates) , the advice is overall not specific in nature.   As such there is no reference to any corporate finance contract and as such there is no 12 month overview based on the different advices.
This document is only valid during a very  limited period of time, due to rapidly changing market conditions.

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