Overseas Headlines – March 28, 2017


Treasuries Rise, Stocks Slip as Policy Risk Weighed: Market Wrap
U.S. stocks slipped, while Treasuries and gold advanced as investors weighed whether a selloff in riskier assets stemming from U.S. policy uncertainty has further to run. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped a ninth straight day, headed for its longest slide since 1978. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index trimmed gains as markets continue to digest the failure of U.S. President Donald Trump’s health-care bill. The rand tumbled on the prospect of South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma firing his finance minister. Oil climbed as OPEC member Libya halted the pipeline from its biggest field. Markets are struggling for direction as questions swirl around Trump’s ability to push through tax cuts and regulatory changes, pledges that helped trigger an upswing in global markets after his election. The so-called reflation trade has faded this week, and Bloomberg’s dollar index is trading near the lowest level since his victory. “Bond and FX market participants’ reaction to the failure of the health-care bill has been to re-price Treasuries and the dollar under the assumption that President Trump has lost a little of his shine,” Kit Juckes, a London-based global strategist at Societe Generale SA, wrote in a note.


German two-year yields strike two-month high ahead of auction
Short-dated German bond yields touched two-month highs on Tuesday as the country prepared to sell two-year debt at auction. Analysts said the higher yields should help demand especially with tensions easing over the possibility of near-term interest rate hikes from the European Central Bank. Yields tend to rise ahead of bond sales as investors make room in their portfolios for the new supply. Yields on Germany’s two-year debt have risen more than 20 basis points over the last month as investors have started to price in the chance that the ECB may raise rates as soon as December as it winds back its monetary stimulus. But the central bank’s chief economist and a key ally of President Mario Draghi, Peter Praet, warned on Monday that a rebound in the bloc’s inflation could stall or even reverse if the ECB removed stimulus too early. "There seems to be a bit of a realisation that the market had got ahead of itself in pricing in rate hikes at least for this year," Mizuho strategist Antoine Bouvet said. "So there is an expectation that part of that yield rise we have seen recently should be revered and that should help demand at the auction." Money markets rates suggest investors see less than a 70 percent chance of a rate rise at the ECB’s December meeting, down from as high as 80 percent earlier this month.


Earliest China Data Show Strong March Activity, Brighter Outlook
China’s economy is strengthening and the future looking brighter, according to the freshest readings from small domestic businesses and global financial professionals alike. Sales manager sentiment and confidence of small- and medium-sized enterprises jumped to the highest in almost two years, according to earliest private indicators for March. International market experts see a significantly stronger outlook and a gauge of manufacturing activity based on satellite imagery remains robust. Momentum across the world’s No. 2 economy has been rebounding since late last year as producer prices surged, industrial output picked up and property prices strengthened. That gives breathing room to policy makers looking to reduce the nation’s high leverage.