Investor Sentiment Dulled as USD Gains Momentum
ETFS Multi-Asset Weekly Investor Sentiment Dulled as USD Gains Momentum
OPEC in focus, but production cuts unlikely.
European equities stutter despite Greek payment deferral.
USD rebounds as Euro crisis lingers ahead of the ECB meeting.
Drawn out negotiations over Greek finances and the potential for contagion of a Eurozone exit has dulled investor sentiment, in turn weighing on European equity. Volatility remains the focus for Chinese equities as concern over inflated valuations prompted a sharp sell-off, offsetting optimism of further stimulus from policymakers. Meanwhile, US policymakers have put rate hikes back on the agenda, and the stronger US Dollar has responded. Ahead of jobs numbers this week, we expect further USD gains. At the margin the rising USD is likely to continue to weigh on commodity markets, but a key focus will be the OPEC meeting.
OPEC in focus, but production cuts unlikely. The premature gains in oil prices that we had seen since March 2015 started to unravel last week with WTI and Brent falling 5% and 6% respectively. A firmer US dollar had weighed on all commodities. With rig counts stabilizing, it appears that US shale producers have little incentive to tighten supply at current prices. Added to that is a growing consensus that OPEC will not cut production at its June 5th meeting. Industrial metals have shrugged off concern over softening Chinese economy, and the stronger US dollar, as supply side issues are expected to lead to shortages in a variety of metal markets in 2015. Zinc and nickel in particular should remain well supported in coming months.
European equities stutter despite Greek payment deferral. The threat of a Greek default is hanging like Damocles sword above European equity markets. The June 5th payment deferral has given Greece some breathing space, but until there is clarity over whether Greece will stay in the Eurozone, equity benchmarks will struggle to progress. Another Greek bailout remains critical, but an agreement seems some way off after IMF chief Lagarde indicated that a Grexit remains a possibility. Meanwhile, Chinese equities lost ground as investors responded to increased margin requirements and the central bank draining excess liquidity from money markets. Chinese equity markets have been trading in a volatile manner and we expect that is unlikely to disappear in the near term, until investors see a more stable underlying economic environment. Softer economic numbers are likely to keep Chinese policymakers firmly in stimulus mode and both the Reserve Requirement Ratio and official rates could be lowered in coming months, alongside announcements surrounding additional infrastructure programs.
USD rebounds as Euro crisis lingers ahead of the ECB meeting. Recent indications from the US Fed have put the potential for rate hikes firmly on the agenda. While Q1 US growth disappointed, a host of temporary factors, like weather and port strikes had a significant impact. Going forward, this week’s US jobs data is likely to show continued improvement in the US labour market, a key indicator that the US Fed is looking at to give it justification for tighter policy. We expect that the USD will continue to gain momentum as rising rates are quickly factored in. With growth in other developed markets, like the Eurozone and Japan struggling to gain a foothold, the risk is for further currency declines as the central banks continue to flood markets with liquidity. The ECB will also give its view on the outlook at its meeting this week.
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