Asian markets have opened weaker today following the declines in US and European equity market trading last week after the Federal Reserve (US central bank) decided to leave rates on hold. The Fed’s emphasis on...
subdued inflation and the spillover effects of a slowdown in the Chinese economy drove cyclical markets lower. Investors will be assessing the implications of the Greece election, where Alexis Tsipras’ Syriza party on a mandate to govern. Their victory is anticipated to clear the way for reforms tied to the €86bn third bailout. Gold held near the highest level in more than two weeks as global cyclical markets extended their decline.
Gold gains on the back of dollar weakness. The Fed’s decision to hold off on raising rates helped renew gold’s safe haven status as it headed for its first weekly advance in a month signalling concerns over the fragility of global economic growth.
Gold rose 1.9% on Friday. The surprising decline in US crude oil stocks reported by the American Petroleum Institute coupled by the weaker greenback lent support to crude oil prices. US oil inventories surprisingly contracted against expectations of a rise, helping WTI oil gain 1.5% last week. Forecasts for a delayed start to the fall heating demand season pushed natural gas futures towards a weekly decline. Copper advanced to the highest level in eight weeks after an earthquake in Chile, the world’s biggest copper producer, forced some mines to halt work as a precaution. Strategie Grains has forecasted the weakest EU Corn crop in eight years of just 57.4mn tons.
Fed’s dovishness takes markets by surprise. Although futures markets had correctly anticipated that the Fed would hold off raising rates, the extent of the emphasis that the Federal Open Market Committee had placed on global risks, took the market by surprise. The epicentre of concern is the potential spill-over effects from China, which could see a disorderly unravelling unless it regains a firm grip on its reform plan that was designed to ensure growth stability. Chinese equities declined a further 4.1% last week. Although the Fed improved its labour market projections, it also notched down its inflation and growth expectations for 2016. Federal fund futures market cut the prospects of a December rate rise to below 50%.
Dollar extends losses as Fed points to global growth concerns. The greenback fell against most of its major peers after FOMC kept rates unchanged, citing low inflation and the impact of global risks on economic activity. EUR remains supported
in the wake of broad US dollar weakness and an election victory for Syriza in Greece that is likely to see austerity measures implemented. A rise in UK wages at 2.9%, the fastest rate in six years coupled with hawkish comments by BOE Governor Carney lent support to the GBP. The Canadian dollar continued to suffer the brunt of weaker oil prices despite the inline CPI print. Yen’s safe haven demand is gaining momentum amidst a dovish FOMC and global risk off sentiment.