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Market Brief, North America

Markets Recover As Geopolitical Risk Premia Evaporate

The dollar is retreating and Treasury yields are slipping as geopolitical tensions ease and traders shift focus toward more prosaic market drivers. After a weekend in which Israel and Iran refrained from further escalation, North American equity indices are setting up for a positive open, oil and safe-haven gold prices are heading lower, and a range of major currencies are inching higher against the greenback. With Federal Reserve officials entering their pre-decision blackout period, corporate earnings releases, government bond auctions, and a series of economic data releases look likely to take centre stage in driving foreign exchange outcomes through the...

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Israeli Strike Triggers Short-Lived Volatility Spike

Foreign exchange markets are slowly reverting to normal after suffering a major selloff last night when Israel launched strikes against targets near the Iranian city of Isfahan – home to facilities associated with the country’s nuclear program, including its underground Natanz enrichment site. Risk-sensitive currencies plunged amid a wholesale flight to safety as initial reports flooded in, but reaction began to fade as officials in both countries downplayed the action, portraying it as a limited retaliatory strike aimed at avoiding an escalatory cycle that could push the Middle East closer toward war. Iranian state media claimed air defence systems had...

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Calm Returns As Geopolitical Shocks Fade

Market reaction to the weekend’s Iranian attack on Israel has been muted. Intentionally or not, Tehran telegraphed its actions well in advance, most of the missiles and drones were downed before reaching military targets, and its diplomats signalled a desire to de-escalate things further, telling the UN “the matter can be deemed concluded”. Israel’s war cabinet authorised retaliatory strikes, but a sternly-worded message from the White House appears to have put reprisals on the back burner for now. Longer-term escalation remains a risk, but investors generally struggle to assign probabilities to more complex, path-dependent outcomes, so the conflict looks likely...

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Calm After the Storm Brings Currency Volatility Down

Treasury yields are stabilising and the dollar is recovering ground after losing a little altitude during yesterday’s session when a closely-watched input cost index climbed by less than expected. The producer price index for final demand rose just 0.2 percent month-over-month in March, with a third consecutive increase in services costs obscuring a cooling in many of the components that go into the Fed’s preferred inflation indicator. Taken in combination with Wednesday’s consumer price print, the data suggest that the personal consumption expenditures index will rise somewhere between 0.2 and 0.3 percent on a month-over-month basis when the next update...

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Markets Grapple With New Rates Landscape

Markets are extending yesterday’s moves after another hotter-than-expected inflation report delivered a serious blow to market expectations for an imminent pivot to easing from the Federal Reserve. Data out yesterday morning showed core price indices rising more than forecast on a monthly and annual basis in March, making it more difficult to believe that the January and February numbers were lifted by residual seasonality. Jerome Powell’s preferred “supercore” measure accelerated to 5 percent on an annualised basis as core transportation, medical, and education services prices remained stubbornly elevated. Fixed income markets reacted badly. Swap-implied odds on a June rate cut...

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