David Fuller and Eoin Treacy's Comment of the Day
Category - General

    Oil Set for Biggest Weekly Gain Since 2016 on Saudi Supply Cut

    This article by Grant Smith for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    “Underpinning this wave of buying is mounting evidence that Saudi Arabia has taken an axe to its oil production,” said Stephen Brennock, an analyst at PVM Oil Associates Ltd. Oil’s positive start to 2019 follows its worst quarter in four years and a 20 percent annual loss driven by panic over a growing glut of crude. While OPEC’s output plunged by the most in almost two years last month and producers have pledged to curb supplies through the first half of 2019, concerns about oversupply prevail as stockpiles at America’s main storage hub show signs of swelling.


    The majority of oil executives surveyed by the Dallas Fed are still planning to boost spending in the next year, even after a plunge in prices. Saudi Arabia raised pricing for most crude grades to Asia and for all blends to buyers in the U.S. for delivery in February as the world’s biggest exporter cuts output to clear a global oil glut. As the new year begins, the oil market looks set to be dominated by big shifts in production. A few months ago, investors were struggling to comprehend just how much cash the largest oil companies were about to dump on them. Those mountains of money have now been reduced to mere hills.

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    Will Winter of Discontent Make Summer of Slowdown?

    Thanks to a subscriber for this report from Douglas Porter for BMO focusing on the Canadian market. Here is a section:

    In normal times, it’s Canada’s turn to shine at this later stage in the cycle—typically benefitting from rising commodity prices and still-solid global growth. But the TSX was bludgeoned this year (down double-digits) by trade tensions, a housing slowdown and weak domestic oil prices. Next year’s growth outlook is dulled by oil production cuts, slower U.S. spending, slipping auto sales and the overhang of record consumer debt. Providing a mild offset will be the new LNG project, mildly stimulative fiscal policy in the lead-up to the October federal election, as well as (presumably) some certainty on the North American trade front. But with the big interest-sensitive sectors still gearing lower, we look for 2019 Canadian GDP growth to simmer down to a 1.8% pace following this year’s as-expected 2.1% advance. With population growth recently clocking in at 1.4% y/y, this points to quite modest per capita gains.

    Even this more restrained GDP growth will tighten the labour market further, producing the lowest unemployment rate seen in Canada since the early 1970s. This will be the key ingredient convincing the Bank of Canada to tighten further in 2019, tempered somewhat by Governor Poloz’s view that there is still some hidden slack in job markets—surprisingly sluggish wage growth recently lends serious credence to that opinion. Overall, we look for the Bank to hike rates two times (50 bps) in 2019, following a year when policy actually met expectations to a T. Curiously, 10- and 30year Canadian bond yields are now only slightly above year-ago levels, and the GoC curve is even flatter than the flat Treasury curve; bonds clearly expect cooler Canadian growth next year as well. That view also appears to be built into the Canadian dollar, which spent most of the year on the defensive amid trade tensions and wobbly WCS prices. We look for only a mild recovery in 2019 for the loonie amid firmer oil prices and if/when the USMCA is ratified.  

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    Email of the day on bank excess reserves

    Happy New Year to you and your family in California

    Thank you for responding to my question, directly on the daily commentary .

    In that commentary you said that banks still prefer to hold a reserve at the FED in their balance sheet rather than holding Treasuries (as a result of the balance sheet reduction) , although both have same credit rating (i.e. the credit rating of the US government)

    I don’t understand the last point. Why should banks prefer holding a lower yielding reserve asset  than a higher yielding Treasury bond, if we isolate the duration difference between the 2?  I am struggling to understand why balance sheet reduction is so bad a thing for banks (as liquidity providers as you point out) if they exchange one asset for the other. Their lending power is not impaired as a consequence. Or am I wrong? actually lending activity by commercial banks in the US has been picking up until end of 2018 notwithstanding the equity markets gyrations

    Btw. I am attaching a link of chart showing the increase of Treasuries and Government agency papers + MBS by commercial banks in US. They are picking up.  They have accelerated in December so much that the new 10 years yield now discounts only one rate hike for 2019.  Very bearish an implicit scenario.

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    Cuts Banks' Reserve Ratio to Ratchet Up Support for 2019

    This article from Bloomberg news may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    This may in part be a reaction to the bad PMI data and the equity market sell-off we have seen," said Michelle Lam, a greater China economist at Societe Generale SA in Hong Kong.

    “They’re trying to restore market confidence and need to ease credit conditions to boost lending to the private sector and because of high seasonal demand for cash.” China’s manufacturing purchasing managers index fell into the contraction territory last month, the weakest since early 2016. Early indicators for December signal the economic slowdown is deepening, after official data showed industrial production growth was the weakest in a decade and industrial profits fell
    for the first time in almost three years in November.

    Stimulus Pledge
    Chinese financial stocks surged Friday as Premier Li Keqiang visited the nation’s biggest banks and pledged more support for the economy. Li said China will strengthen the scale of its counter-cyclical adjustments of macro policies and further cut taxes, while urging banks to take full advantage of tools including reserve ratio cuts, and to support private and small businesses’ financing needs.

    “How much can this help the economy remains to be seen,” said Tao Dong, vice chairman for Greater China at Credit Suisse Private Banking in Hong Kong. “The central bank has been handing liquidity to the banks, but the banks are unwilling to lend. This is a classic case of banking disintermediation amid the
    down cycle.”

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    Surge, Algos Set Off 'Flash-Crash' Moves in Currency Market

    This article by Ruth Carson and Michael G. Wilson for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    “It looks more like a liquidity event with the move happening in the gap between the New York handover to Asia,” said Damien Loh, chief investment officer of hedge fund Ensemble Capital Pte., in Singapore. “It was exacerbated by a Japan holiday and retail stops getting filled on the way down
    especially in yen crosses.”

    As a result, the yen surged against every currency tracked by Bloomberg, and was up 1 percent against the dollar at 107.78 by 9:30 a.m. in London.

    The haven asset has strengthened against all its major counterparts over the past 12 months as concerns over global economic growth mounted and stocks tumbled. It rose 2.7 percent against the dollar last year, the only G-10 currency to gain versus the greenback.

    “Yen strength has been omnipresent since mid-December, cementing the status of the yen as the only true safe haven these days amid political risks elsewhere,” said Christin Tuxen, head of currency research at Danske Bank A/S.

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    Brazilian Assets Soar as Bolsonaro Starts to Deliver on Promises

    This article by Mario Sergio Lima and David Biller for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a sectionBrazilian Assets Soar as Bolsonaro Starts to Deliver on Promises

    In a speech at his swearing-in ceremony in Brasilia on Wednesday, Guedes promised a sweeping overhaul of the country’s state apparatus and business environment to unleash corporate potential and free future generations from debt.

    "Private-sector pirates, corrupt bureaucrats and creatures from the political swamp have conspired against the Brazilian people," he said. "Excessive spending has corrupted Brazil." Bolsonaro has tapped Guedes, a graduate of the University of Chicago, to manage economic policy in a country hamstrung by rising debt, a gaping fiscal deficit and slow growth. Bolsonaro won the October election by a wide margin as part of a popular backlash against crime, corruption and economic malaise.

    In his comments Wednesday, Guedes highlighted the urgency of the task ahead. "Our business class is chained down by interest rates, high taxes and labor costs," he said, adding that he believed the ideal tax burden would be around 20 percent of gross domestic product, rather than the current rate of 36

    Earlier in the day, the new energy minister, Bento Albuquerque, said Brazil would deliver on plans to capitalize Eletrobras, prompting shares in the state-run company to jump as much as 9.7 percent. He added that he would seek a lower tax burden and few subsidies in the electricity sector.

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