Result of Powell’s Speech
The Global markets try to digest and draw clues from Fed’s Jerome Powell first public speech. The US Dollar among the biggest gainers on yesterday’s session.
A Hawk at the Fed Chair
Fed’s Jerome Powell addressed Congress on Tuesday, detailing the central bank’s outlook for monetary policy and economic growth for the coming years. His view regarding the U.S. economy was optimistic and said recent data had strengthened his confidence on inflation.
Jerome Powell’s first official appearance signaled a more aggressive approach towards the future path of interest rate hikes in an effort to prevent the economy from overheating. Anxiety though was sparked among the equity traders.
When asked about likely catalysts for more than three rate hikes in 2018, Powell did not want to prejudge as the Fed members will be crafting a new “dot plot” rate path ahead of the March meeting. Their new projections would also be influenced by federal government’s ambitious fiscal policies including tax cuts. After his remarks, traders began pricing in about 33% possibility of a fourth hike within this year.
Fears of faster U.S. rate hikes have caused anxiety that other central banks will start hiking rates raising the borrowing costs. As a possible effect, corporate earnings could be hurt, blurring the outlook for what had been expected to be another solid year of global economic growth.
The Fed moved three times in 2017 and is seen as certain to do the same or more this year, with the first move expected in the next FOMC policy meeting in March.
Global markets shake off Powell’s remarks
The U.S. equities fell for the first time in four days after comments from new Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell sent rates higher. Global stocks climbed near three-week highs on Tuesday ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s, while they visited the red territory at their close digesting the clues from Powell’s remarks. A sharp rise in yields earlier this month sparked a widespread sell-off in equities, sending the Dow and S&P 500 into correction territory before partially recovering.
The Dow Jones futures fell almost 300 points Tuesday to close at 25,410, with Disney and Home Depot dragging down the 30-stock blue chip index. The S&P 500 fell 1.27% to finish at 2,744 as real estate and telecommunications pulled the market lower. The tech-heavy Nasdaq index fell 1.23% to close at 7,330 due to declines in Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google.
In the currency market, the US Dollar was among the biggest gainers during Fed’s new chair testimony on Tuesday. The dollar held on to gains after rallying against most major currencies. The USD hovered near a recent 1-1/2 month highs against the Australian dollar and held near a three-week high against the Euro at $1.2220. However, it did not perform that well against the Japanese yen, a perceived safe haven. The dollar was down 0.2% at 107.10 JPY.
Oil prices weighing down on weak Asian industry data
Chinese and Japanese industrial data triggered concerns of an economic slowdown that could lower oil demand.
China is the world’s second-biggest economy and the biggest importer of oil after surpassing the Unites States last year. Crude oil demand is highly correlated to economic growth. Traders believe the oil prices’ losses are mainly due to concerns of a slowdown in the global economy after China reported on Wednesday weak Manufacturing PMI data at 50.3 while the consensus was at 51.4 which was its lowest reading since July 2016.
In Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, industrial output in January took the biggest decline since the March 2011 devastating earthquake, pointing to a weak demand in oil.
India’s factory growth activity also slowed to a four-month low in February as new orders eased and weighed on output. Manufacturers though have raised prices at the fastest pace in a year, a business survey showed on Wednesday.
In the United States, the world’s biggest oil consumer, rising crude stockpiles weighed on prices. Data on Tuesday from the American Petroleum Institute showed that crude inventories rose by 933,000 barrels in the week to Feb. 23, to 421.2 million barrels.
The crude oil inventories data reported by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is due out later on Wednesday.