The pace of credit growth to households and businesses in the Eurozone edged lower in February, data from the European Central Bank showed Monday. The broad money measure, M3, rose 4.7 percent year-over-year in February, slower than the 4.8 percent climb in January, missing expectations for a 4.9 percent rise. The Eurozone money supply growth eased for the second straight month in February.

Within M3, the annual growth rate of deposits placed by households stood at 5.4 percent in February, down from 5.5 percent in January. While, deposits placed by non-monetary financial corporations registered a decline of 2.0 percent.

The ECB has maintained an ultra-loose monetary policy with low interest rates and stimulus measures which have helped bolster credit growth in the Eurozone over the last two years. The narrower aggregate M1, which includes currency in circulation and overnight deposits, remained unchanged at 8.4 percent in February.

Details of the report showed that the annual growth rate of total credit to euro area residents decreased to 4.3 percent in February from 4.6 percent in the previous month. The yearly growth rate of credit to general government moderated to 9.8 from 10.5 percent.

European Central Bank (ECB) executive board member Sabine Lautenschlaeger speaking on regulation and Brexit told a press conference on Monday that the central bank is prepared for any outcome from Brexit talks.

Lautenschlaeger said that there may probably be many banking groups coming in due to Brexit and to enable banks to comprehensively comply with requirements, ECB will grant bank-specific phase-in periods. She added that such periods can last months, possibly years, depending on individual circumstances.

Lautenschlaeger called for Basel -3 regulations to be finalized as quickly as possible and added that the committee is close to reaching an agreement.

Rotation from high yield into emerging markets is in evidence, on HY outflows versus EM inflows. Investment grade space sees a different rotation from government funds into corporate funds, with in particular large chunks of cash going into front end corporate funds of late. At the same time, long end government funds have seen resumed inflows, which should help to cover some duration shorts, leaving aggregate positioning more balanced (bearish).
Seven things learnt from latest flows data
1) There is evidence of rotation out of high yield space into emerging markets, as the latter continue to see steady cash inflows. No evidence of EM re-think as of yet.
2) Emerging markets hard currency funds have been the largest recipient of new money, and local currency funds have seen significantly more inflows than blend funds.
3) Some centres that had seen reduced investor allocations are now seeing a re-build in allocation, with for example Turkey and Mexico now seeing increased allocations
4) High yield inflows in the past couple of months have correlated with the risk-on theme seen in equity markets, and the recent pull back in equities is consistent with the maintenance of that generic correlation.
5) Valuation effects rationalise the recent rotation from high yield into emerging markets, whereas prior W Europe high yield outflows were more reflective of evidence of deceleration of issuance volumes.
6) Rotation from peripheral Eurozone government paper into corporates continues as evidenced from flows. The biggest of the corporate inflows have been into front end funds, which acts as something akin to “a front end haven with a spread”. 7) Government funds continue to see outflows, but there have been some reverse inflows to long end government funds in the past quarter. We read this as evidence of short covering, which should see positioning becoming more balanced ahead.

EM staying in strong demand. Despite easing commodity prices (Dalian iron ore futures sliding 6% to an 11-week low, rebar futures off by 4%, oil turning lower despite OPEC recommending extension of oil output cut, Baker Hughes US rig count rising to 652showing the 10th successive gain), EM currencies should remain in demand. Friday did see Colombia cutting rates by 25bp to 7%, with easing inflation rates providing monetary easing potential and China reported Jan-Feb industrial profits surging 31.5%Y due to faster growth in prices of coal, steel and crude. The spread between DM and EM inflation has fallen to its lowest level in 20 years, catapulting EM real rates higher. It is the EM supportive real rate differential keeping EM currencies supported despite currently falling commodity prices. In addition, declining foreign funding needs have reduced EM’s vulnerability should international funding costs rise. However, US long end bond yields have come off, pushed lower by investors scaling back on hopes of an early and aggressive US tax reform increasing US capital demand. Adding to the US yield downside pressure has been the sharp decline of USD funding costs signaled by USDJPY 3m cross currency basis tightening by 68bp from its November highs. Declining USD hedging costs have increased the attractiveness of investing into currency-hedged USD-denominated bond holdings for foreign investors, adding to the yield downward pressure.

Are investors right to be questioning Trump tax reforms? Maybe not Following a failed last-ditch attempt to secure backing, House Leaders opted to save face by pulling the vote on the GOP healthcare bill late on Friday. While the failure to repeal Obamacare has limited fiscal implications, investors are viewing this setback as a more broader loss of faith in the Trump administration’s ability to deliver on other campaign pledges – namely tax and spending policies which have underpinned risky asset prices since the US elections. Initial noise from the White House suggests that pushing through tax reforms will be the next order of business and in principle, this speculation alone could provide a backstop to the waning US reflation trade. But passing a tax bill will not be easy by any stretch of the imagination; GOP conservatives will want to ensure the package is close to revenue neutral, while any bipartisan deal would surely have to see the Trump team concede on concepts such as a border tax. Either way, a deflated $ will be looking for any glimpses of fiscal support this week and we would expect interest from $ bulls to increase as excessive negative expectations surrounding Trump tax reforms begin to tail off. One thing’s for sure, we don’t expect this EM “sweet spot” to last under the status quo; diminishing US growth expectations will weigh on global risk appetite and this spells bad news for EM assets in general. Watch for turning points in EM FX – in particular recent outperformers KRW and ZAR.

EZ focus will be on the flash Mar CPI estimate (Fri); our economists are looking for above consensus headline and core readings (the latter picking up to 1.0%), which could fuel the current hawkish ECB sentiment in markets. Investors might also be wise to keep an eye on the number of ECB speakers on show this week. Look for any EUR/USD clear out to be limited to the 1.0930-1.0940 for now.

Prime Minister Theresa May is set to trigger Article 50 this week (Wed); while we prefer to view this as more of a symbolic event – with nothing fundamentally changing in the UK’s economic outlook – markets will be looking for any clues to determine whether we’re on course for a soft or hard Brexit. For this, we place a greater focus on the initial response from Brussels – to be delivered by Donald Tusk within 48 hours – which could shed further light on the EU’s negotiating stance and priorities. Current GBP levels are not in our view pricing in the tail risk of a ‘cliff-edge’ Brexit – an automatic default to WTO rules – especially given talk from both sides in recent months over the need for a transition deal. Should EU leaders place greater weight on factors like the Divorce Bill – and demote the need for a smooth transition – then we would expect GBP to react negatively. We do see greater two-way GBP risk around this week’s Article 50 proceedings given the recent BoE-fuelled short squeeze and cleaner GBP positioning. With the two-year clock to strike a deal officially ticking, any initial political stalemate – or anything that pushes us closer towards a cliff-edge Brexit – may tip GBP/USD under the 1.20 level in the near-term and cautious real money investors may view this week’s events as a prompt to hedge for such an eventuality.

The Australian bonds sharply rebounded on the first trading day of the week Monday as investors poured into safe-haven assets tracking firmness in U.S. Treasuries amid losses in riskier equities and oil. Also, the lower-than-expected reading of the latter’s manufacturing PMI added to the upside sentiment.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to its price, slumped 6-1/2 basis points to 2.70 percent, the yield on 15-year note plunged nearly 7 basis points to 3.10 percent and the yield on short-term 2-year traded 5 basis points lower at 1.73 percent by 03:50 GMT.

The seasonally adjusted Markit Flash U.S. Composite PMI Output Index registered 53.2 in March, to remain above the 50.0 no-change value for the thirteenth consecutive month. However, the latest reading was down from 54.1 in February and signalled the slowest expansion of private sector output since September 2016.

Further, At 53.4, down from 54.2 in February, the headline seasonally adjusted Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) signalled the slowest overall upturn in business conditions since October 2016.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is expected to maintain status quo throughout this year, keeping the repurchase rate steady at 6.25 percent in 2017. However, beyond this year, the next move is likely to be a rate hike rather than a cut as the RBI policy committee remains keen to maintain price stability.

Apart from domestic considerations, the RBI will also keep an eye on global developments, especially the direction of US Fed policy. Further compression in the US and Indian long term rates, coupled with US dollar strength could induce volatility in the financial markets. Stability, therefore, will be a priority for the RBI, prompting a status quo stance on rates, DBS Bank reported in its latest research publication.

The central bank surprised on two counts in February. Benchmark rates were left unchanged in contrast to expectations for a cut. The policy stance was also shifted to a neutral bias from accommodative earlier, pulling the brakes on the easing cycle that started in early 2015.

“Under the flexible inflation targeting regime within +/-2 percent of the mid-point of 4.0 percent, the RBI will not be required to hike immediately in case of an overshoot. Nonetheless, the rate bias is tilted more towards hikes than cuts going forward,” the report said.

After the new healthcare bill that was supposed to replace the current bill, which is popularly known as the ‘Obama-care’ failed to pass through the congress last week, the relation between the US President Donald Trump and the House majority leader Paul Ryan has probably taken a turn for the worse. The new bill was expected to be put to voting on the House on last Thursday, a day marked by the seventh anniversary of the old bill. But the voting was initially postponed to Friday and then it was again canceled on Friday. As the opposition and the media targets ‘dealmaker’ Donald Trump for this failure, President Trump has allegedly showered his anger and frustrations towards Paul Ryan.

On March 25th, President Trump tweeted, “Watch @JudgeJeanine on @FoxNews tonight at 9:00 P.M.” He usually endorses shows via his tweeter account whenever he is either due to appear or appeared already in a show but in this one he wasn’t there. Instead, it was all about criticism against the Republican Party for failing to pass the new health care bill. In that show, Judge Jeanine Pirro called for the resignation of Paul Ryan from his post as the House leader.

A rift between Paul Ryan and Donald Trump is not a new phenomenon. There were clashes many a time during the campaign but after the election, they were getting along well and a rift between the White House and congress will be in nobody’s interest. Trump has also taken a jab towards congressional freedom caucus which remains allegedly behind the failure.

The Japanese government bonds remained flat in mild trading session Monday, following a slight global rout as concerns mounted over the United States President Donald Trump’s inability to overhaul the US healthcare system.

The benchmark 10-year bond yield, which moves inversely to its price, hovered around 0.05 percent, the long-term 30-year bond yields also remained flat at 0.83 percent and the yield on the short-term 2-year note also remained relatively unchanged at -0.25 percent by 06:40 GMT.

Further, Trading volumes were low as investors remained reluctant to stake out positions ahead of the looming March 31 domestic fiscal year-end. However, JGB futures did manage to eke out modest gains following the slump in Tokyo stocks as risk sentiment was hurt by Trump’s setback.

Lastly, markets will now be focusing on the February consumer price inflation data, scheduled to be released on March 31 for detailed direction in the debt market.

Last week, a couple of investment banks have scrapped their 2017 euro-dollar parity call. Citigroup called off its euro-dollar parity call saying that it no longer expects a big rally in the US dollar, which could push it to parity with the euro. The bank now expects the euro to decline to 1.04 against the dollar, revised from its previous forecast of 98 cents on the dollar. The euro is currently trading at 1.086 against the dollar and the bank suggests that it could jump to as high as 1.10 against the dollar over the next three months in the Front National candidate Marine Le pen gets beaten in the upcoming French election.

After Citi, it was Barclays. In a report on last Thursday scrapped the euro-dollar parity call noting that investors are breathing a sigh of relief after the Dutch election, where the euro-skeptic PVV party led by Geert Wilders failed to secure the top position. The bank is now forecasting the euro to reach 1.09 against the dollar in the second quarter of 2017 and drop to as low as 1.03 against the dollar in the fourth quarter and rebound to 1.05 against the dollar in early 2018. The bank now only sees modest US dollar appreciation likely to peak in the fourth quarter. The bank said in its report, “The cyclical advantage of the dollar might erode as more robust global growth and inflation materialize, while sideways moves appear more likely without a significant policy boost that shocks rates and equity risk premia higher. The path for the dollar is subject to uncertainty in fiscal and trade policies, which could lead to vastly different outcomes.”

The strength of the US dollar has recently come under strain as the financial markets pose doubts on the ability of the White House to pass its promises, the hope of which boosted the performance of the dollar since the US election.

Our euro-dollar parity call still remains active, which were given out at then exchange rate of 1.11 against the dollar. We have not scrapped it yet but closely monitoring the fundamental changes.

The EUR/PLN currency pair is expected to gradually edge higher towards a level of 4.35 in the coming quarter, following the National Bank of Poland’s relaxed monetary policy stance. The zloty appreciated in recent months, even outperforming peers such as the Hungarian forint, despite notable adverse political developments, Commerzbank reported.

Among recent developments, there was the awkward situation recently surrounding the PiS government’s opposition to the re-nomination of Donald Tusk for European Council President, and deterioration of EU relations as a result, when even allies, Hungary and the UK, voted against Poland.

Secondly, the Constitutional Tribunal probe is ongoing and could re-escalate at any time; this week, European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans remarked that the Polish government’s response to EC recommendations has been unacceptable — it could easily have triggered the use of the so-called Article 7 sanctions (which could strip Poland of its EU vote).

But, despite calls on him to activate this clause, Timmermans is resisting because of other political re-occupations in EU. Finally, the PO opposition has called for a vote of no confidence in the PiS cabinet and PM Beata Szydlo which will be held around April 5-7. Ruling PiS will be able to win the vote in the Parliament, no problem, but this is not to gloss over the fact that PiS’ approval ratings are no longer rising.

In fact, polls express greater public confidence in PO’s ability for foreign policy. All said, the zloty has remained unaffected, which probably reflects some kind of market ‘fatigue’ after constant debate and discussions of Polish political risks over the previous year, which ultimately led to nothing significant, the report added.

The final crucial election in the European continent will take place in Germany on September 24th. Incumbent German Chancellor Angela Merkel is hoping to become Germany’s longest serving chancellor by winning the fourth term as chancellor in September’s election. She herself has acknowledged that this year’s re-election is likely to the toughest she has faced since her first election as chancellor. Some of the polls suggest that she could be losing to her coalition partner’s candidate Martin Schultz could beat her to become the next chancellor of Germany. Also, the anti-establishment right wing party, Alternative for Germany (AfD) is set to enter parliament for the first time since its founding in 2013. They might become the third largest party in the general election.

However, the recent regional election in Saarland, Merkel’s CDU has received a major boost and it was the biggest setback for Mr. Schultz so far. Mrs. Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) secured 40.7 percent of all votes, an increase of 5.5 percent compared to the previous election. Mr. Schultz, who campaigned vigorously in this local election, received 29.6 percent of all votes, down from 30.4 percent in the previous election. The left party received 12.9 percent of all votes, while Germany’s newcomer Alternative for Germany (AfD) received 6.2 percent of the votes.

This election result demands anyone, who has been discounting Merkel’s win in September based on polls should have a second thought.

The German bunds bounced on the first trading day of the week after investors largely shrugged off higher-than-expected Ifo business climate index. Also, market participants are eyeing the European Central Bank (ECB) member Peter Praet’s speech, scheduled to be held on March 28 for further limelight in the debt market.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year bond, which moves inversely to its price, slumped nearly 3-1/2 basis points to 0.38 percent, the long-term 30-year bond yields plunged nearly 4 basis points to 1.11 percent and the yield on the short-term 3-year bond traded 1 basis point lower at -0.62 percent by 08:40 GMT.

German business morale brightened unexpectedly in March, a survey showed today, suggesting company executives in Europe’s largest economy are brushing off concerns about the threat of rising protectionism. The Munich-based Ifo economic institute said its business climate index rose to 112.3 from an upwardly revised reading of 111.1 in February.

“The political uncertainties don’t affect the German economy,” Reuters reported, citing Klaus Wohlrabe, Economist, Ifo, when asked about the policies of U.S. President Donald Trump, Britain’s decision to leave the European Union and the ongoing instability in Turkey.

Lastly, traders also remain skewed to watch the release of Germany’s and Eurozone’s consumer price inflation and the former’s labor market report, scheduled for later in the week.

The CBR meets to set interest rates today. Our team in Moscow look for a ‘dovish hold’ today as do a majority of participants, although there are a few analysts looking for a 25bp or even a 50bp cut. The arguments for a cut are that CPI is falling slightly quicker than expectations and the CBR has started to sound a little more dovish. This year we do see 150bp of rate cuts, taking the policy rate to 8.50%, but see the 50bp per quarter cuts starting in 2Q. Given recent strong flows into EM debt product, we doubt a surprise cut would impact the RUB too severely and 10 year OFZs might have a chance to break under 8%. Equally an on hold outcome is unlikely to alter market expectations much. Expect RUB to stay relatively supported, especially with large tax deadlines due early next week. We tend to favour a USD/RUB move to 56.50/57.00 short term.

Centrists at the ECB are continuing to downplay the prospects of early tightening, although markets continue to price a hike in Sep 18. Understandably the ECB is concerned that markets will overshoot on any early hint of early tightening. Look out for Eurozone PMIs today. These have been running strong and suggest Eurozone growth may be running at 2%. We’re still clinging to the view that the 1.0850 area is the top of the EUR/USD range, but that could be severely tested if the US healthcare bill fails in the House today.

Data from Statistics South Africa showed on Wednesday that the nation’s headline consumer inflation slowed to 6.3 percent year-on-year in February from 6.6 percent in the previous month, matching consensus estimate in a Reuters poll. This was the weakest inflation reading since September 2016, when prices had risen 6.1 percent.

On a month-on-month basis, inflation rose to 1.1 percent from 0.6 percent previously. The month-on-month rise missed expectations at 1.2 percent. Core inflation which excludes the prices of food, non-alcoholic beverages, petrol and energy, inched lower to 5.2 percent year-on-year in February from 5.5 percent and rose to 1.1 percent on a month-on-month basis from 0.3 percent.

Separate data from South Africa’s Reserve Bank on Wednesday showed South Africa’s current account deficit narrowed to 1.7 percent of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2016. The reading was the lowest shortfall in nearly six years, and compared to a revised deficit of 3.8 percent in the third quarter.

Analysts had expected a 3.5 percent deficit for the quarter. For the year as a whole, the current account deficit narrowed to 3.3 percent of GDP from 4.4 percent in 2015.

The New Zealand bonds closed modestly higher Thursday after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) maintained a neutral policy stance at its monetary policy decision, held earlier today.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year bond, which moves inversely to its price closed flat at 3.25 percent, the yield on 7-year note slipped nearly 1 basis point to 2.82 percent while the yield on short-term 2-year note traded 1/2 basis points higher at 2.12 percent.

The RBNZ left the Official Cash Rate (OCR) unchanged at 1.75 percent today, as was widely expected. Overall, there was little in the accompanying statement to suggest any shift in the RBNZ’s thinking, relative to the February Monetary Policy Statement and the Governor Graeme Wheeler’s speech in early March.

The bottom line is that the RBNZ expects the cash rate to remain low for a considerable period (the forecasts published in February suggested no change until late 2018). The outlook for the New Zealand economy remains positive, but the risks around the global environment are seen to the downside.

“We agree with the RBNZ that the OCR will remain on hold for some time. We have pencilled in two OCR increases in the first half of 2019, but the way we’d describe this more generally is that the first rate hike is too far away to be precise about the timing,” Westpac commented in its latest research report.

The Australian bonds snapped rally on the last trading day of the week, tracking weakness in the U.S. counterpart and as investors poured into riskier assets, including equities and crude oil. Also, upbeat retail sales data from the U.S. offset the rise in its initial jobless claims, lending further weakness in safe-haven assets.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to its price, rose 1 basis point to 2.77 percent, the yield on 15-year note also climbed 1 basis point to 3.17 percent and the yield on short-term 2-year traded 1/2 basis point higher at 1.78 percent by 05:00 GMT.

Investors unwound carry trades while watching to see whether the President Trump can push through a healthcare bill, as failure could signal problems to come pursuing his economic agenda. Financial markets’ immediate focus is on whether Trump can gather enough support at a vote later in the day to rollback Obamacare, one of his key campaign pledges.

Further, market participants remain worried that if the White House fails at this hurdle, progress on fiscal stimulus and tax cuts might be derailed. The jitters have hurt risk sentiment globally and undermined commodity prices, which is bad for Australia.

Data from Statistics South Africa showed on Wednesday that the nation’s headline consumer inflation slowed to 6.3 percent year-on-year in February from 6.6 percent in the previous month, matching consensus estimate in a Reuters poll. This was the weakest inflation reading since September 2016, when prices had risen 6.1 percent.

On a month-on-month basis, inflation rose to 1.1 percent from 0.6 percent previously. The month-on-month rise missed expectations at 1.2 percent. Core inflation which excludes the prices of food, non-alcoholic beverages, petrol and energy, inched lower to 5.2 percent year-on-year in February from 5.5 percent and rose to 1.1 percent on a month-on-month basis from 0.3 percent.

Separate data from South Africa’s Reserve Bank on Wednesday showed South Africa’s current account deficit narrowed to 1.7 percent of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2016. The reading was the lowest shortfall in nearly six years, and compared to a revised deficit of 3.8 percent in the third quarter.

Analysts had expected a 3.5 percent deficit for the quarter. For the year as a whole, the current account deficit narrowed to 3.3 percent of GDP from 4.4 percent in 2015.

German bunds trade higher ahead of ECB member lautenschlaeger’s speech, March manufacturing PMI
The German bunds trade higher Thursday as investors wait to watch the European Central Bank member Lautenschlaeger’s speech, scheduled for later in the day. Also, market participants remain keen to read the March manufacturing PMI, due on March 24, which will remain crucial in determining the future direction of the bond market.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year bond, which moves inversely to its price, slumped 1-1/2 basis points to 0.39 percent, the long-term 30-year bond yields also plunged 1-1/2 basis points to 1.12 percent and the yield on short-term 1-year bond also traded 3-1/2 basis points lower at -0.80 percent by 09:00 GMT.

The consensus expects the ECB to allocate EUR110bn via its target LTRO after allocating EUR62.2bln at its last operation. Given that this is the last TLTRO allocation, demand could be heavy and should the allocation exceed the EUR110 expectation,excess EUR liquidity will be parked at the front end of the EUR curve pushing rates lower, which at the margin is a EUR negative. However, for developing a more pronounced bearish impact on the EUR the liquidity boostneeds to impact the 2-year EUR swap. A decline of the German Schatz yield is not sufficient for driving the EUR lower. ECB’s Nouy (8am) and Lautenschlaeger (3pm) will speak today.

EM and risk outlook stays relatively supported but we see risk aversion alert signs across the board. While investors focus on US politics and especially on today’s vote on the repeal act of Obamacare, other developments should, in our view, not remain unnoticed: a research paper published by two Fed economists and released by the Brookings Institute suggesting US interest rates staying low with the Fed tolerating inflation overshooting targets, the ECB’s targeted LTRO allocations, and the continued fall of iron ore futures. Despite equity markets retracing some of the post-election rally, US monetary conditions have become more accommodative with the falling USD contributing most to this easing. Foreign conditions have turned from providing hefty headwinds as experienced from 2012-16 into tailwinds, helping US reflation gain momentum over time. Accordingly, we prepare for putting on FX trades that benefit from a steeper US yield curve. Short EURSEK and long USDJPY fall into this category. While short EURSEK should work from now, USDJPY’s current downward momentum suggests waiting for 109.50 or for a stabilisation above 112.50 before establishing longs.

US vote: Today markets will wait for the outcome of the vote but FX investors should note that the vote is not scheduled for a specific time. At the moment the vote count may be low so the Republican leaders need the time to gather votes, indicating why no specific time is provided. There is even a risk the vote may be delayed if the leaders feel the vote may not pass.

Watching iron ore. The PBOC-run Financial News newspaper highlighted that the recent rise of RMB money market rates should be put into the context of recent money market operations. China seems to be tightening its monetary conditions to deal with excessive leverage. Importantly, tighter RMB lending conditions have sparked China’s USD denominated loan demand, pushing its USD denominated liabilities up again. Should this loan-related USD inflow into China end up into a higher FX reserves (see chart below) – thus providing an additional signal that offshore USD liquidity conditions are on the rise – EM markets should see further inflows. Meanwhile, China has seen the ratio of mortgage loans to total credit of commercial banks reaching uncomfortably high readings. It has been China’s property and infrastructure investment driving commodity – including iron ore – demand. Authorities are now directing growth away from the property market which suggests that commodity prices may ease. Falling iron ore prices will not bode well for the AUD. Within this context we recommend using the AUD as a funding tool for high yield EM longs and for a long GBP position. GBPAUD has moved away from levels suggested by relative forward curves.

The Australian bonds traded in a tight range Tuesday as investors refrained from any major activity amid a light trading session. Also, the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) March monetary policy meeting minutes, painted a mixed picture of the economy, adding sluggishness to market sentiments.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, hovered around 2.82 percent, the yield on 15-year note also traded flat at 3.21 percent and the yield on short-term 2-year remained steady at 1.81 percent by 04:20 GMT.

The minutes of the RBA March board meeting continued to paint the picture of an RBA unwilling to move official interest rates anytime soon. The Board highlighted a range of positives, but concerns were also raised. The central bank was notably more upbeat about the global outlook and the flow on effect to higher commodity prices.

Concerns surrounding the outlook for the labor market were apparent, with the RBA noting that “conditions had remained mixed” and that “momentum in the labor market remained difficult to assess”. A further mixed picture on the labor market leaves the RBA between a rock and a hard place.

Lastly, markets will now be focussing on the RBA Deputy Governor Guy Debelle’s speech, scheduled to be held on March 22 for further direction in the debt market.

UK’s manufacturing output rose by 1.2 percent in the last quarter of 2016. Boost to competitiveness from sterling’s depreciation last year was probably a key driver of this upturn. The underlying trend is clearly upward, as is indicated by the 1.9 percent rise in Q4 production when compared to the same quarter a year ago, says Lloyds Bank.

Official data for the month of January showed a small fall in output in January and the February purchasing managers’ survey showed a modest decline in the level of the headline index from the previous month. Analysts at Lloyds Bank opine that the declines are probably just temporary retreats after outsized gains in previous months.

“With orders as measured by both the PMI and CBI surveys strong enough to point to further output gains over the next few months, the sector still seems on course for further expansion,” said Lloyds Bank in a report.

Fall in manufacturing investment, however, raises concerns about the sustenance of upside in the longer term. UK manufacturing investment probably fell by more than 4 percent last year, its weakest performance since 2009. The start of the Brexit negotiations will likely create more uncertainty which could hamper investments going forward. Continued sluggish investment growth may add to concerns about the UK’s modest productivity performance, adds Lloyds Bank.

The Westpac-McDermott Miller New Zealand consumer confidence index edged slightly lower in the March quarter. Survey showed that people grew wary about the short-term economic outlook, but extended the nation’s run of optimism to six years.

The Westpac McDermott Miller consumer confidence index fell 1.2 points to 111.9 in the March quarter, but remained above the long-run average of 111.4. The present conditions index decreased 0.2 points to 111.2 and the expected conditions index fell 1.9 points to 112.4.

“March’s slight fall in confidence mainly reflected some anxiety about the upcoming election. It might also reflect concerns around housing affordability or political developments offshore, both of which continued to hit the headlines in recent weeks,” said Westpac Banking Corp senior economist Satish Ranchhod.

The latest economic data showed GDP figures showed that on a per-capita basis, household spending rose by around 2 percent last year which reflected a healthy level of spending confidence. With a growing confidence of consumers in their own household financial security, and a positive outlook for the New Zealand economy we could expect continuing positive consumer sentiment to translate into sustained growth.

German producer prices data for February was released earlier today by German Statistics office Destatis. Data showed that German producer prices posted the strongest annual rise in over five years in February.

Germany’s producer prices rose 0.2 percent month-over-month and increased 3.1 percent on the year, the strongest year-over-year increase since December 2011. The annual rise in German producer prices beat economists’ expectations for a 2.9 percent rise and were in line with forecasts for the month.

A major contribution was seen from energy price developments, although prices in the category developed unevenly. Excluding energy prices, producer prices rose 0.3 percent on the month and increased 2.2 percent on the year.

Details of the report showed prices for light heating oil jumped 52.5 percent from February 2016, while prices for diesel fuel and electricity were up 21.2 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively. Natural gas prices, however, fell 7.5 percent from February 2016.

Finance ministers and central bank governors of the world’s 20 biggest economies at a meeting in Germany during the weekend failed to keep their commitment to endorse free trade in the G-20 communique. Finance ministers warned against competitive devaluations and disorderly FX markets but failed to agree on keeping global trade free and open.

G20 finance ministers and central bankers made only a token reference to trade in their communiqué on Saturday, a clear defeat for host nation Germany and for other countries which rely significantly on exports. The development led to warnings over the weekend on the outlook for trade, a key issue for host nation Germany, which fought the new US government’s attempts to water down past commitments.

“The weak wording on trade is a defeat for the German G20 presidency,” Ifo economist Gabriel Felbermayr said. “This is particularly true in the light of the fact that Germany is one of the world’s strongest export nations and relies on open markets to maintain its prosperity like hardly any other country.”

G20 finance ministers also removed from their statement a pledge to finance the fight against climate change. French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said he regretted that a G20 meeting had failed to reach satisfactory conclusions on climate change and trade.

Growth in Japan is holding up nicely and economic activity has gained momentum since 4Q16 with the pickup in the global capex and manufacturing cycle. Inflation has started to push back above the waterline. But as Governor Kuroda emphasized at a press conference last week, inflation expectations remain stuck, something highlighted by this year’s spring wage negotiation projected to produce only modest wage increases. With price pressures nailed to the floor, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to raise rates.

“With our USD rates forecasts pushed upward, we now expect that the BoJ will taper its asset purchases at a somewhat slower pace than previously and that QE will end in H2 2019, instead of mid-2019. JGB rates unchanged,” said DNB markets in a research note to clients.

There is an ongoing debate whether the BoJ will have to raise its 10-year bond yield cap because of the lack of JGB liquidity. There seems to be still a split of views inside the BoJ on whether the Bank should or should not raise the 10-year yield target when the real interest rates decline further. The longer the BoJ keeps the 10-year yield target unchanged, the more rapidly it will have to adjust the target later.

Analysts expect the BoJ to maintain the current 10-year yield target through year-end, but if it sees greater yen weakness, it would adjust the target in 2H17. BoJ will have to strengthen communication strategy with forward guidance on its yield curve control (YCC) policy to manage market expectations. It would probably provide the conditions under which the BoJ would raise the 10-year yield target.

“While we expect the BoJ to introduce forward guidance on its yield curve control (YCC) policy relatively soon, we think it would do so in July at the earliest, when the BoJ reviews its economic outlook and discusses its monetary policy stance in the Outlook Report. If it may take time to build a consensus among the board members on this issue, delaying its introduction until October,” said J.P. Morgan in a report.

USD/JPY trades below 100-day moving average. The pair is tracking DXY lower, amid holiday-thinned markets (Japan closed for Vernal Equinox Day) and lack of fresh fundamental drivers. Technical studies are bearish, RSI and stochs are biased lower and MACD has shown a bearish crossover on signal line. 112 levels in sight, violation there could see test of 111.60 and then 111 levels.

As expected, the US Federal Reserve hiked interest rate by 25 basis points in its March meeting. However, aside from the rate hike, there were no major changes in the FOMC forecast or statement, except for few minor tweaks. With March meeting gone, there are now seven upcoming meetings this year and the Fed has forecasted hikes in two of them. Let’s look at the market pricing of the hikes, (note, all calculations are based on data as of 16th March)

May 3rd meeting: Market is attaching 94 percent probability that rates will be at 0.75-1.00 percent, and 6 percent probability that rates will be at 1.00-1.25 percent.
June 14th Meeting: Market is attaching 46 percent probability that rates will be at 0.75-1.00 percent, 51 percent probability that rates will be at 1.00-1.25 percent, and 3 percent probability that rates will be at 1.25-1.50 percent.
July 26th meeting: Market is attaching 38 percent probability that rates will be at 0.75-1.00 percent, 50 percent probability that rates will be at 1.00-1.25 percent, 11 percent probability that rates will be at 1.25-1.50 percent, and 1 percent probability that rates will be at 1.50-1.75 percent.
September 20th meeting: Market is attaching 21 percent probability that rates will be at 0.75-1.00 percent, 45 percent probability that rates will be at 1.00-1.25 percent, 28 percent probability that rates will be at 1.25-1.50 percent, 5.5 percent probability that rates will be at 1.50-1.75 percent, and 0.5 percent probability that rates will be at 1.75-2.00 percent.
November 1st meeting: Market is attaching 20 percent probability that rates will be at 0.75-1.00 percent, 43 percent probability that rates will be at 1.00-1.25 percent, 29 percent probability that rates will be at 1.25-1.50 percent, 7 percent probability that rates will be at 1.50-1.75 percent, and 1 percent probability that rates will be at 1.75-2.00 percent.
December 13th meeting: Market is attaching 10 percent probability that rates will be at 0.75-1.00 percent, 32 percent probability that rates will be at 1.00-1.25 percent, 36 percent probability that rates will be at 1.25-1.50 percent, 18 percent probability that rates will be at 1.50-1.75 percent, 3.5 percent probability that rates will be at 1.75-2.00 percent, and 0.5 percent probability that rates will be at 2.00-2.25 percent.
The probability is suggesting,

There hasn’t been much of a change after the FOMC. The market is still pricing a hike in June and a hike in December. It is still not clear why the market is predicting two hikes in H1 and just one in H2. This is probably because the market is pricing the Fed would keep additional room for easing.
We suspect that if the price of oil tumbles further, so would be the hike odds.

The New Zealand bonds remained weak at the time of closing Friday, tracking softness in the U.S. counterparts amid a quiet trading session that witnessed data of little economic significance. Also, investors will remain focused on the GlobalDairyTrade (GDT) price auction, scheduled to be held on March 21.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year bond, which moves inversely to its price rose 1 basis point to 3.29 percent at the time of closing, the yield on 7-year note jumped nearly 1-1/2 basis points to 2.86 percent while the yield on short-term 2-year note also dived 1 basis point higher at 2.13 percent.

New Zealand’s economy expanded 0.4 percent q/q over the final three months of 2016. That was below consensus expectations and the softest quarterly growth experienced since Q2 2015. Q3 growth was also revised lower to 0.8 percent q/q (from 1.1 percent previously reported). As such, annual growth eased to 2.7 percent y/y.

New Zealand’s Dairy prices fell 6.3 percent in the latest GDT price auction, following a 3.2 percent decline a fortnight ago. Within this, powder prices performed poorly, with whole milk powder prices falling 12.4 percent to USD2,794/MT, and skim milk powder prices falling 15.5 percent. Meanwhile, AMF continues to be well-supported at high levels, edging down only 0.8 percent.

The Polish central bank is expected to hold rates steady at 1.5 percent for the rest of this year, as the country’s rate of inflation remains well below the central bank’s targeted range of 2.5 percent. However, the rates may be considered for a raise gradually from 2018 onwards.

Fitch Ratings expects Polish inflation to rise gradually and reach 1.6 percent y/y by end-2017 and 2.3 percent by the end of next year, from 1.0 percent in December 2016. The key drivers of price growth are rising commodity prices, the closing output gap and a tightening labour market.

Given the expected increase in domestic demand and uncertainties surrounding demand from Poland’s main trade partners in the EU (80% of total exports), the contribution from net external demand to GDP growth in 2017 and 2018 should remain limited.

“Increased domestic political tensions and weaker predictability of economic policy could affect Poland’s attractiveness as a place to invest and are another risk to the outlook,” The report commented.

As expected, the US Federal Reserve hiked interest rate by 25 basis points in its March meeting. However, aside from the rate hike, there were no major changes in the FOMC forecast or statement, except for few minor tweaks. With March meeting gone, there are now seven upcoming meetings this year and the Fed has forecasted hikes in two of them. Let’s look at the market pricing of the hikes, (note, all calculations are based on data as of 16th March)

May 3rd meeting: Market is attaching 94 percent probability that rates will be at 0.75-1.00 percent, and 6 percent probability that rates will be at 1.00-1.25 percent.
June 14th Meeting: Market is attaching 46 percent probability that rates will be at 0.75-1.00 percent, 51 percent probability that rates will be at 1.00-1.25 percent, and 3 percent probability that rates will be at 1.25-1.50 percent.
July 26th meeting: Market is attaching 38 percent probability that rates will be at 0.75-1.00 percent, 50 percent probability that rates will be at 1.00-1.25 percent, 11 percent probability that rates will be at 1.25-1.50 percent, and 1 percent probability that rates will be at 1.50-1.75 percent.
September 20th meeting: Market is attaching 21 percent probability that rates will be at 0.75-1.00 percent, 45 percent probability that rates will be at 1.00-1.25 percent, 28 percent probability that rates will be at 1.25-1.50 percent, 5.5 percent probability that rates will be at 1.50-1.75 percent, and 0.5 percent probability that rates will be at 1.75-2.00 percent.
November 1st meeting: Market is attaching 20 percent probability that rates will be at 0.75-1.00 percent, 43 percent probability that rates will be at 1.00-1.25 percent, 29 percent probability that rates will be at 1.25-1.50 percent, 7 percent probability that rates will be at 1.50-1.75 percent, and 1 percent probability that rates will be at 1.75-2.00 percent.
December 13th meeting: Market is attaching 10 percent probability that rates will be at 0.75-1.00 percent, 32 percent probability that rates will be at 1.00-1.25 percent, 36 percent probability that rates will be at 1.25-1.50 percent, 18 percent probability that rates will be at 1.50-1.75 percent, 3.5 percent probability that rates will be at 1.75-2.00 percent, and 0.5 percent probability that rates will be at 2.00-2.25 percent.
The probability is suggesting,

There hasn’t been much of a change after the FOMC. The market is still pricing a hike in June and a hike in December. It is still not clear why the market is predicting two hikes in H1 and just one in H2. This is probably because the market is pricing the Fed would keep additional room for easing.
We suspect that if the price of oil tumbles further, so would be the hike odds.

The New Zealand bonds remained weak at the time of closing Friday, tracking softness in the U.S. counterparts amid a quiet trading session that witnessed data of little economic significance. Also, investors will remain focused on the GlobalDairyTrade (GDT) price auction, scheduled to be held on March 21.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year bond, which moves inversely to its price rose 1 basis point to 3.29 percent at the time of closing, the yield on 7-year note jumped nearly 1-1/2 basis points to 2.86 percent while the yield on short-term 2-year note also dived 1 basis point higher at 2.13 percent.

New Zealand’s economy expanded 0.4 percent q/q over the final three months of 2016. That was below consensus expectations and the softest quarterly growth experienced since Q2 2015. Q3 growth was also revised lower to 0.8 percent q/q (from 1.1 percent previously reported). As such, annual growth eased to 2.7 percent y/y.

New Zealand’s Dairy prices fell 6.3 percent in the latest GDT price auction, following a 3.2 percent decline a fortnight ago. Within this, powder prices performed poorly, with whole milk powder prices falling 12.4 percent to USD2,794/MT, and skim milk powder prices falling 15.5 percent. Meanwhile, AMF continues to be well-supported at high levels, edging down only 0.8 percent.

The Australian bonds relapsed Friday as investors cashed in profits on the last trading day of the week after witnessing a long rally through the week. Further, investors will also be focusing on the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) meeting, due to be released next week.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to its price, jumped 5 basis points to 2.87 percent, the yield on 15-year note also climbed 5 basis points to 3.26 percent and the yield on short-term 2-year traded nearly 2-1/1 basis points higher at 1.84 percent by 04:10 GMT.

The lift in the unemployment rate in February was disappointing, to say the least, and it now appears to be trending up. With other indicators suggesting that the labour market is in better shape than the official figures indicate, it is certainly hard to argue that any progress is being made in reducing surplus capacity in the labour market.

Lastly, markets will now be focussing on the RBA Assistant Governor (Economic) Luci Ellis and Deputy Governor Guy Debelle’s speech, scheduled to be held on March 20 and 22 respectively.

The Political establishment in Washington went into a frenzy last year after then-candidate Donald Trump said that he wants to restore relations with the Russians. Every time, Mr. Trump refused to criticize either Russia or Russian President Vladimir Putin, the established anti-Russia establishment in Capitol Hill went after him and that includes several media outlets like CNN, which colluded with the Clinton campaign during the election and more. The skepticism with Russia runs so deep in Capitol Hill and within the establishment that President Trump is considered by many as a Russian spy and they are still looking to prove connections between Trump and Putin.

A recent incident in Capitol Hill proves how deep the hatred runs. Senator John McCain of the Republican Party presented a proposal that envisions bringing Montenegro, a small Balkan country within the umbrella of North Atlantic Treaty Organization and that proposal was rejected by another Republican senator Rand Paul, who did not want to make additional military commitments when the US debt is already at $20 trillion. Russia allegedly took part in a failed coup during last year’s Montenegro election. Mr. Rand Paul’s refusal triggered a furor in Senator McCain, a well-known Russia hawk, who accused Mr. Paul of working with or for the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia-US-Montenegro are part of global geopolitics and there is also nothing wrong being a Russia-hawk but when one accuses a colleague of working for Russia, then probably it’s not just hawkish; it’s a phobia, Russia-phobia.

The real question is, can President Trump overcome these phobics and reconcile with Russia?

New Zealand’s current account deficit narrowed as expected in Q4, leading to the smallest annual deficit (2.7 percent of the gross domestic product) since September 2014. Looking forward, there seem to be risks skewed towards modestly larger deficits on the back of higher global interest rates and a slow closure of the domestic credit-deposit growth gap, but this is not a cause for alarm.

The unadjusted current account deficit narrowed to USD2.3 billion in Q4 (from USD5.0 billion), broadly in line with consensus expectations. In annual terms, the deficit narrowed to 2.7 percent of GDP, which is the smallest deficit since September 2014 and well below its historical average of 3.7 percent.

In seasonally adjusted terms, the current account deficit also narrowed (by slightly more than we expected), printing at USD1.6 billion, down USD0.4 billion from Q3, driven by a further increase in the services surplus to an all-time high of USD1.2bn on increased international tourist spending, offset by a mildly larger goods deficit. The income deficit also narrowed by around USD0.4 billion to USD2.0 billion as income from New Zealand’s offshore investments increased in the quarter.

Further, net external debt of deposit-taking institutions rose a touch in the quarter to just over USD105 billion. However, that was offset by reduced external borrowing from the central government and ‘other’ sectors, meaning that the county’s total net external debt position actually fell to USD143.5 billion or 55.0 percent of GDP, the lowest since 2003.

The Japanese government bonds remained flat Wednesday as investors await to watch the Bank of Japan’s (BoJ) 2-day monetary policy meeting, scheduled to be held on March 15-16, announcing its decision on Thursday.

The benchmark 10-year bond yield, which moves inversely to its price, hovered around 0.09 percent, the long-term 30-year bond yields also traded flat at 0.87 percent and the yield on the short-term 2-year note remained rose by 1/2 basis points to -0.25 percent by 05:10 GMT.

The BoJ is expected to keep monetary policy steady on Thursday and stress that inflation is nowhere near levels that justify talk of withdrawing massive stimulus, as weak consumer spending casts a cloud over an otherwise healthy pick-up in the economy.

Further, at the two-day rate review that ends on Thursday, the central bank is expected to maintain its short-term interest rate target at minus 0.1 percent and a pledge to guide the 10-year government bond yield around zero percent via aggressive asset purchases. Analysts also expect the BoJ to keep intact a loose pledge to maintain the pace of its annual increase in Japanese government bond (JGBs), which is JPY80 trillion (USD696.62 billion).

The Australian bonds jumped Thursday as investors poured into safe-haven assets after reading the higher-than-expected unemployment rate for the month of February. Further, the change in employment dropped steeper than what markets had initially anticipated.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to its price, slumped 11-1/2 basis points to 2.82 percent, the yield on 15-year note also plunged nearly 11-1/2 basis points to 3.21 percent and the yield on short-term 2-year traded 7-1/2 basis points lower at 1.81 percent by 03:20 GMT.

The February labour market report disappointed, with a fall of 6.4k jobs and a rise in the unemployment rate to 5.9 percent. The detail was slightly more positive than the headline with full-time jobs rebounding after the previous month’s sharp fall.

The soft tone to the February report provides further confirmation that the RBA is likely to be on hold for an extended period. Spare capacity in the labour market is taking longer than expected to be worked off, and is weighing on wages growth and pushing out the return of inflation into the target band.

Australia’s February business conditions retraced some of the previous month’s gains, but remain at levels consistent with solid growth. Confidence also eased back slightly. Business confidence also edged down in February, alongside a further deterioration in the Federal Government’s standing in public opinion polling.

The New Zealand bonds nose-dived Thursday, tracking weakness in the U.S. counterpart, with the 10-year yields sinking to over 2-week low after investors crowded demand in safe-haven assets, following lower-than-expected fourth-quarter gross domestic product (GDP).

The yield on the benchmark 10-year bond, which moves inversely to its price plunged 10 basis points to 3.28 percent, while the yield on 7-year note also slumped 10 basis points to 2.85 percent while the yield on short-term 2-year note dived 6-1/2 basis points to 2.12 percent by 05:50GMT.

New Zealand’s economy expanded 0.4 percent q/q over the final three months of 2016. That was below consensus expectations and the softest quarterly growth experienced since Q2 2015. Q3 growth was also revised lower to 0.8 percent q/q (from 1.1 percent previously reported). As such, annual growth eased to 2.7 percent y/y.

On the back of stronger terms of trade, nominal GDP rose 2.1 percent q/q (7.5 percent y/y), while real gross national disposable income (RGNDI) surged 2.8 percent q/q, the strongest quarterly lift since Q1 2010. In per capita terms, RGNDI rose 2.3 percent q/q. The benefits of this real income boost should not be discounted.

WTI dropped more than 9 percent last week as investors fear increased production in the United States and non-compliance within OPEC with the agreed production deal. WTI is currently trading at $48.7 per barrel and Brent at $51.9 per barrel.

Key factors at play in crude oil market –

February report shows that OPEC still remains in full compliance with the deal as a group but many members are yet to adhere to the agreed levels. Iran’s production crossed the agreed level in February but the country is still in compliance based on average monthly production.
Saudi Arabia could be bypassing the OPEC deal by increasing exports of refined products.
US production rose from 8.428 million barrels in last July to 9.09 million barrels per day last week. This is the highest level of production since last year. Payrolls are once again rising in the oil and gas sector according to ADP job numbers.
Some OPEC members are calling for no continuation of the deal when it expires in June.
Backwardation in the oil market extends further, currently at $1.05 per barrel.
API reported a draw 0.531 million barrels of crude oil.
Today’s inventory report from US Energy Information Administration (EIA) will be released at 14:30 GMT. Trade idea –

We expect the WTI to extend gains towards $59 per barrel, and then towards $67 per barrel. However, a decline towards $46 per barrel in the short term can’t be ruled out. We don’t suspect the oil price to break below $42 stop loss area for the long call.

A rate hike from the US Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) today is almost a certainty. The policymakers would conclude their two days of meeting today and announce the decision at 18:00 GMT, followed by a press conference by the Fed Chair Janet Yellen. As of data available for March 14th, the participants in the financial markets are pricing with 91 percent probability that there will be a 25 basis points rate hike. The market is pricing the next hike to be in June and the third hike to be in December.

We have prepared an FOMC dashboard that segregates members in three distinct groups, Hawks, Doves, and unknowns based on their remarks and commentaries made in public forums, focusing on the March interest rate decision. That dashboard is also suggesting that there will be a hike today. We have found that except for Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, all the other members are hawkish heading to the rate decision. We also couldn’t confirm the views of Daniel Tarullo, who has recently resigned and this is his last rate decision meeting.

The US dollar index is currently trading at 101.38, down 0.25 percent for the day. The dollar has been struggling to head to higher highs despite a full market pricing (almost) of a hike in March and three this year. So, the dollar index might see selloffs after the interest rate decision if the inflation and interest rate outlooks are not substantially upgraded beyond what was shared in the December projections. In addition to that, the major focus is on the Dutch election this week, for which the results would start appearing after the FOMC meeting.

The Australian bonds traded modestly higher Wednesday as investors poured into safe-haven assets ahead of the February employment report, scheduled to be released on March 16. Also, the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) monetary policy meeting, scheduled for later in the day will provide further guidance to financial markets.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to its price, fell 1/2 basis point to 2.93 percent, the yield on 15-year note dived nearly 1 basis point to 3.32 percent and the yield on short-term 2-year also traded 1 basis point lower at 1.89 percent by 03:20 GMT.

Australia’s February business conditions retraced some of the previous month’s gains, but remain at levels consistent with solid growth. Confidence also eased back slightly. Business confidence also edged down in February, alongside a further deterioration in the Federal Government’s standing in public opinion polling.

“We expect the February jobs report, out later this week, to show a solid rise in employment, but over the longer term a sharper downtrend in the unemployment rate is likely necessary for a sustained boost to households’ perceptions of their finances,” ANZ Research commented in its latest research report.

Eurozone industrial production growth increased less than expected in January, data from the European Union statistics office Eurostat showed on Tuesday. Industrial production in the 19-member single currency bloc rose by 0.9 percent month-over-month in January and by 0.6 percent year-on-year.

Industrial production data missed expectations in a Reuters poll for an average monthly rise of 1.3 percent and a 0.9 percent increase year-on-year. Higher investment in machinery was partially offset by a drop in the production of consumer goods.

Data for December which initially showed industrial production fell by 1.6 percent on the month, were revised higher to now show a 1.2 percent drop. On a yearly basis, output went up by 2.5 percent in December, more than the 2.0 rise previously estimated.

Non-durable goods output slipped 2.6 percent in January after 1.4 percent gain in December, marking the first decline in three months. Growth in durable consumer goods production also eased to 1.5 percent from 4.3 percent in the previous month.

Capital goods production dropped 0.8 percent following 0.5 percent growth in December. The intermediate goods output slowed to 0.8 percent from 3.6 percent in the previous month. Energy production growth slowed only slightly to 6.9 percent from 7 percent.

The UK gilts slumped Tuesday ahead of the country’s labor market report, due on March 15 and as investors remain cautious ahead of the Bank of England’s (BoE) monetary policy decision, scheduled to be held on March 16.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year gilts, which moves inversely to its price, rose 1 basis points to 1.25 percent, the super-long 25-year bond yields also rose 1/2 basis point to 1.88 percent and the yield on the short-term 3-year traded flat at 0.24 percent by 09:50 GMT.

The BoE is expected to maintain its neutral policy stance at the monetary policy meeting, scheduled to be held on March 16. Further, the central bank is also expected to hold its Bank Rate at 0.25 percent while leaving the targets for the stock of government bond purchases (APF) and the stock of corporate bond purchases (CBPS) unchanged at GBP435bn and GBP10bn, respectively.

“In our view, the BoE seems to be more worried about slower growth than too-high inflation if this is only temporary. EUR/GBP has reached our 1-3M target of 0.87 and we are currently reviewing our forecast. We still see risks skewed to the upside for EUR/GBP in the coming months ahead of and after the triggering of Article 50,” Danske Bank commented in its recent research report.

The Japanese government bonds traded narrowly mixed Tuesday as investors await to watch the Bank of Japan’s (BoJ) 2-day monetary policy meeting, scheduled to be held on March 15-16, announcing its decision on Thursday.

The benchmark 10-year bond yield, which moves inversely to its price, hovered around 0.09 percent, the long-term 30-year bond yields also traded flat at 0.87 percent and the yield on the short-term 2-year note remained steady at -0.25 percent by 06:00 GMT.

The BoJ is expected to keep monetary policy steady on Thursday and stress that inflation is nowhere near levels that justify talk of withdrawing massive stimulus, as weak consumer spending casts a cloud over an otherwise healthy pick-up in the economy.

Further, at the two-day rate review that ends on Thursday, the central bank is expected to maintain its short-term interest rate target at minus 0.1 percent and a pledge to guide the 10-year government bond yield around zero percent via aggressive asset purchases. Analysts also expect the BoJ to keep intact a loose pledge to maintain the pace of its annual increase in Japanese government bond (JGBs), which is JPY80 trillion (USD696.62 billion).

Latest data released yesterday show that the upward march of inflation that continued early last year is still gathering pace in Europe. Spain released its consumer price inflation report yesterday and it showed that consumer prices in February rose at the fastest pace since 2012. In February, Prices were up by 3 percent from a year ago and on a monthly basis it is up by 0.3 percent from January. Two major contributors were transport prices that rose by 8.2 percent and housing prices which rose by 5.9 percent. Furniture and household good is the only sector that took a dip of 0.4 percent compared to the year-ago level. Spanish inflation came in line with that of the entire Eurozone, where the price rose by 2 percent, highest level in four years and above the target of the European Central Bank (ECB).

Data from Poland points that the return of inflation is not just a Eurozone development it’s pan-European and global as well. Inflation in Poland rose by 2.2 percent in February, which is again the fastest pace in four years.

However, one should pay an ear to the European Central Bank (ECB) President Draghi’s comments that the central bank is not worried about inflation as it is being largely driven by an increase in the prices of commodities. Lately, the prices of commodities, especially energy and industrials have taken a hit and it is likely to get reflected in the numbers going ahead. We at FxWirePro expect the European Central Bank (ECB) to continue its easing as declared and throughout the year.

The euro is currently trading at 1.063 against the dollar.

The German bunds jumped at the start of the week on Monday as investors remain keen to watch the European Central Bank (ECB) Governor Mario Draghi’s speech, scheduled for later in the day. Also, the 30-year auction, scheduled to be held on March 15 will remain crucial in determining the teh future direction of the bond market.

Besides, markets shall remain hooked to assess the speeches by other ECB members Sabine Lautenschlaeger, Vitor Constancio and Peter Praet later through the day.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year bond, which moves inversely to its price, slumped nearly 4 basis points to 0.45 percent, the long-term 30-year bond yields plunged over 4 basis points to 1.22 percent and the yield on short-term 2-year bond traded 1-1/2 basis points lower at -0.82 percent by 08:30 GMT.

The ECB kept all policy measures unchanged at last week’s meeting, which was in line with market expectations. However, Governor Mario Draghi had a hawkish tone during the Q&A session as he said the Governing Council discussed whether to remove the ‘lower levels’ from the forward guidance on policy rates.

Further, on the very short-end, German yield curve, Draghi said the ECB was monitoring distortions. The market reacted by sending German government bond yields higher by around 5bp beyond the 10Y point.

Lastly, investors will be closely eyeing February consumer price inflation, due to be released on March 16 for detailed direction in the debt market.