Marketmind: Bonds droop as inflation cheer fades

by | Aug 10, 2023 | Business

A look at the day ahead in European and global markets from Tom Westbrook

How do you put the cork back in a bottle of champagne? Perhaps ask your friendly bond dealer, as traders in the world’s deepest market quickly got over their excitement at steadying inflation, which held at 0.2% month-on-month.

Maybe markets were hoping for a surprise on the downside. Maybe a much bigger-than-expected budget deficit frightened prospective buyers, who stayed away at Thursday’s 30-year Treasury auction and left the Street holding the paper.

Primary dealers took their largest slice of the sale since February. Yields went up along the curve, even if markets took the risk of another rate hike next month down a little. Stocks gave up gains and might be in need of a new source of optimism.

Data is driving markets’ fine tuning of the rates outlook and today’s batch brings British growth data at 0600 GMT, which is expected to show annual growth inched along at 0.2% last quarter, and U.S. producer prices and consumer confidence data.

In Asia, Treasuries went untraded as Tokyo desks closed for Mountain Day – a public holiday aimed at enjoying mountains.

Yet the U.S. dollar held gains made overnight and took the yen back near levels that prompted intervention last year.

Joe Biden had overnight called China a “ticking time bomb” because of its economic challenges. Stocks there were back under pressure during Friday, with Alibaba handing back gains on its solid result and property stocks sliding.

China’s largest private property developer Country Garden is the focus of worry presently, as it struggles to make coupon payments, and its shares plunged to a record low on Thursday after the company forecast a $7.6 billion loss for the first half.

In Australia, a closely-watched dispute at major gas fields deepened with the national labour regulator allowing workers at two Chevron facilities to vote on whether to strike.

The prospect of disruption there and at another Woodside facility, which together account for 10% of the liquefied natural gas market has lately roiled prices in Europe.

Outgoing Aussie central bank chief Philip Lowe, meanwhile, struck a dovish tone in an appearance before lawmakers saying recent data are consistent with the economy finding the “narrow path” to falling inflation without big rises in joblessness.

Lowe’s term ends in about a month, when he hands over to deputy Michelle Bullock and he said his focus would switch to lowering his golf handicap.

Key developments that could influence markets on Friday:

British GDP

U.S. consumer confidence


(Editing by Jacqueline Wong)


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