Worries about potential growth, oil and some commodities increased as a cargo ship got stuck in the Suez Canal. With Asian trade data continuing to provide positive surprises out of Taiwan and South Korea markets quickly calibrated that an extra week or 2 in delivery times would not significantly derail the growth story and so the story submerged.
The PBOC left policy rates unchanged, as expected, and said a few words to calm markets surrounding the expectations surrounding liquidity withdrawal.
European lockdowns increased in response to the increasing number of COVID infections, with global levels increasing for 5 weeks now this looks to have the potential of slowing the short term rebound in growth.
The week closed with large block trades going through the equity markets as equity prime brokerages looked to be in a race against each other to sell stock held on margin by an unknown number of clients – who are now assumed to have shuttered their funds.
US: USA Feb PCE Core Deflator +0.1% MoM (0.1% exp., 0.3% prev.) and +1.4% YoY (1.5% exp., 1.5% prev.) demonstrating the FOMC’s challenge in achieving its mandate. A Fed manufacturing survey was positive and jobless claims continued its positive trend. Fed speak from voting member Evans left the market in no doubt that the committee would be comfortable with 2.5% inflation for a year. Dividend and buyback restrictions for banks were lifted and the Powell / Yellen testimony to congress occurred without market impact.
Canada: No tier 1 data.
Eurozone PMIS were positive with manufacturing exceptionally strong. Consumer confidence was negative but better than expectations. German PMIs were better than expected, with the composite and manufacturing numbers both above 50. The IFO measures of confidence ticked higher. French PMIs were better than expected, but only manufacturing was above 50 and measures of confidence ticked higher. Italian measures of confidence ticked higher.
Sweden: No tier 1 data.
Norway: Norwegian Mar unemployment rate disappointed at +4.2% (4.0% exp., 4.3% prev.)
Switzerland’s March meeting of SNB left policy rates unchanged at -0.75% (-0.75% exp., -0.75% prev.) with little else of interest except a noting of the slight depreciation of the Franc.
Mar Tokyo core CPI +0.3% YoY (0.2% exp., 0.2% prev.)
Inflation measures, due to the recent reforms, now come in 3 flavours with Feb CPIH +0.7% YoY (1.0% exp., 0.9% prev.), core CPI +0.9% YoY (1.4% exp., 1.4% prev.) and RPIx +1.6% YoY (1.7% exp., 1.6% prev.) PMIs were both stronger and expansionary, data prints on unemployment were mixed and Feb core retail sales +2.4% MoM (1.7% exp., -8.8% prev.) and -1.1% YoY (-1.7% exp., -3.8% prev.)
Australia: Australian PMIs were better than expected and previous prints.
New Zealand: New-Zealand consumer confidence and credit card spending was a little weaker than expected, but not significantly so.
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