Here are the latest developments in global markets:
FOREX: The US dollar index is higher by 0.63% on Friday, extending the significant gains it posted in the previous session and touching a new 13-month high. The euro and the pound are the main underperformers, both posting fresh multi-month lows against the greenback. The yen, meanwhile, remains firm amid risk-off tones. In EM, dollar/lira briefly broke above the 6.000 handle, with the pair being up by nearly 7.0% earlier in the session, before pulling back a little.
STOCKS: Wall Street closed lower for the most part on Thursday. The Dow Jones (-0.29%) and S&P 500 (-0.14%) posted modest losses, while the Nasdaq Composite (+0.04%) edged marginally higher. Futures tracking the S&P, Dow, and Nasdaq 100 are all pointing to a lower open today. The negative sentiment spilled over into Asia on Friday, with most indices being in the red. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 and Topix declined by 1.33% and 1.15% respectively, as a stronger yen clouded the outlook for Japanese exporters. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng dropped by 0.89%. Europe was a similar story, with futures tracking the major indices all flashing red, pointing to a significantly lower open today amid worries European banks may be exposed to Turkish contagion risk.
COMMODITIES: Oil prices traded lower, with WTI and Brent crude being down by 0.44% and 0.67% respectively on Friday, as a strengthening dollar took the wind out of the dollar-denominated liquid’s sails. Oil continued to move lower even despite news that China will remove crude oil from the list of US products it will impose tariffs on. In precious metals, gold prices are down by nearly 0.4% today, currently hovering above the $1207/troy ounce level. Since gold is also denominated in dollars, a strengthening greenback renders the yellow metal less attractive for investors using foreign currencies. That said, considering how much the dollar has soared since yesterday, gold has been holding up relatively well, admittedly, with the area around $1200 providing notable support.
Major movers: Dollar soars to yearly highs; yen holds strong as euro & pound slump
The US dollar advanced across the board on Thursday, and is building on those gains in Friday’s session as well. The dollar index is up by 0.63%, touching a fresh 13-month high. The greenback’s strength appears to be owed to a combination of euro and sterling weakness, as well as some relatively hawkish comments from one of the Fed’s arch-doves. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said that the central bank may need to raise rates into “restrictive” territory. Coming from a policymaker who is typically ultra cautious on policy – having dissented a rate increase in December –, investors likely interpreted his remarks as increasing the likelihood for rates to move higher than what is currently implied by market pricing over the next years.
In the euro area, the single currency retreated against all its major peers, with its underperformance being attributed to reports the ECB is concerned about the exposure of European banks to Turkey. Specifically, policymakers are worried Turkish borrowers may default on foreign-currency loans as the lira continues to collapse, which may spill over into the Eurozone. From the market’s perspective, this was likely interpreted as another risk that could delay – or even derail – the ECB’s normalization efforts, hence sending the euro lower. Euro/dollar posted a new 13-month low of 1.1430.
Sterling, meanwhile, got a brief reprieve yesterday after media reports suggested the EU may provide some Brexit concessions, allowing the UK to remain in the single market for goods. The currency’s rebound was short-lived, though, as it quickly gave back its gains to record new multi-month lows against both the dollar and yen.
The yen held its own in the midst of this, remaining stable against the soaring dollar, but gaining against practically all its other major counterparts. Given the absence of news out of Japan, its gains appear to be a function of safe-haven demand, as trade woes continue to lurk in the background and whispers of contagion risk from Turkey are gaining traction.
On the subject of Turkey, the lira’s freefall accelerated on Friday, touching yet another record low. Dollar/lira briefly broke above the psychological 6.000 level. The “straw that broke the camel’s back” appears to have been the lack of progress in US-Turkey relations after a meeting in Washington. Economically, inflation is soaring, and a plunging currency will likely exacerbate that further, especially given Turkey’s dependency on imports. Market chatter suggests the prospect of capital controls to stem the lira’s decline is very much on the table.
Day ahead: UK Q2 flash GDP growth & US CPI figures of most importance; political developments in focus
While fears of a no-deal Brexit continue to pressure the pound, a mixture of UK data is expected to bring fresh volatility to t