- The European Commission cut its forecast for the euro-area economy to show a contraction twice as deep as it projected just three months ago, and said the region’s deficit will swell to more than double the European Union limit. (Bloomberg)
- China’s manufacturing expanded for the first time in nine months. (Bloomberg)
- South African manufacturing contracted for a 12th consecutive month in April as the global economic slowdown curbed demand for exports, a survey indicated. (Bloomberg)
Key Reports (WSJ):
10:00 a.m. March Construction Spending: Expected: -1.3%. Previous: -0.9%.
10:00 a.m. March Pending Home Sales: Expected: -1.3%. Previous: +2.1%.
“The odds that 19 men and women (a.k.a. the Federal Open Market Committee) will be able to select the overnight interest rate that keeps the U.S. economy growing at its potential in perpetuity are next to nil.
“There would be a huge outcry if the Fed set the price of oil or copper or soybeans. Yet we accept the central bank as a price setter, a monopolist, when it comes to the interbank lending rate.”
FX Trading – Some Euro concern rising?
We got a nasty European Commission downgrade of growth per key news above; plus this morning from Wolfgang Münchau, writing in the Financial Times:
“Governments are not coming clean on the scale of the crisis. Süddeutsche Zeitung, the German newspaper, recently revealed an internal memo from Bafin, the country’s banking regulator, showing the estimated scale of write-offs would be more than €800bn ($1,061bn, £712bn), about a third of Germany’s annual gross domestic product. By comparison, the entire capital and reserves of its monetary and financial institutions were only €441.5bn in February. If the leaked number is true, it would mean the German financial system is broke.
“…What could we learn from Japan’s fiscal policy? The purpose of increased government expenditure during a severe financial crisis is to break down the toxic feedback loops between the real economy and the financial sector. In that respect, the European stimulus programmes are much less satisfactory than US policy, not so much in terms of the gross headline numbers, but in terms of their net effect on economic growth. Just like Japan in the 1990s, the eurozone cannot deliver effective fiscal stimulus, in our case due an inflexible rule-based system of economic governance, heavy bureaucracy and an astonishing lack of co-ordination. I would not be surprised if the total economic effect of the US stimulus ended up twice as large as the total of the various European programmes.”
Euro is having trouble here despite the so-called risk appetite trade. In addition, we have the European Central Bank (ECB) rate decision due on Thursday. Most expect 25 basis points more. But the key as always will be Mr. Trichet’s post rate announcement ruminations. We think the idea of ECB following the Fed down the path to quantitative easing could be validated.
Key point: If Euro stimulus doesn’t stimulate as well as US-style AND the euro loses its yield advantage over the US dollar, it might not be too good for EURUSD bulls. And though we don’t think currency values matter much in terms of stimulating trade in a world where consumer demand has virtually vanished, Germany likely wouldn’t be unhappy if the euro was taken down a few clicks.
Technical setup? From www.chartpatterns.com :
The descending triangle, also a variation of the symmetrical triangle, is generally considered to be bearish and is usually found in downtrends. Unlike the ascending triangle, this time the bottom part of the triangle appears flat. The top part of the triangle has a downward slant. Prices drop to a point where they are oversold. Tentative buying comes in at the lows, and prices perk up. The higher price however attracts more sellers and prices re-test the old lows. Buyers then once again tentatively re-enter the market. The better prices though, once again attract even more selling. Sellers are now in control and push through the old lows of this pattern, while the previous buyers rush to dump their positions. (And like the symmetrical triangle and the ascending triangle, volume tends to diminish during the formation of the pattern with an increase in volume on its resolve.)