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Veni, Vidi, Retreat-y

This weekend’s baffling march on Moscow by the Wagner Group of mercenaries ended without any appreciable impact on global energy prices or broader financial markets. Both the West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude benchmarks are essentially unchanged, equity futures look incrementally softer, and the VIX “fear index” is holding near Friday’s post-pandemic lows. The yen is modestly stronger after Japanese officials stepped up currency jawboning efforts last night, with Masato Kanda, Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs, warning that exchange rate moves had become “one-sided” and that he wouldn’t “rule out any options” in dealing with it – language that has...

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Markets soften on hawkish Fed messaging

As had been clearly telegraphed and widely anticipated, the Federal Reserve opted to hold interest rates at yesterday’s meeting. Officials said “Holding the target range steady at this meeting allows the Committee to assess additional information and its implications for monetary policy,” and Jerome Powell avoided committing to any further moves, instead saying the July meeting would be “live” and dependent on incoming data. More unexpectedly, new projections showed policymakers expect to deliver two additional hikes by year end. But the “dot plot”, as the Summary of Economic Projections is colloquially known, has evolved into a strange hybrid between a forecast update...

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Canadian Dollar Drops as Traders Question Rate Hike Sustainability

The Canadian dollar is trading on a slightly weaker footing after Statistics Canada reported the first loss of jobs in nine months, suggesting that the economy was beginning to struggle with higher borrowing costs ahead of this week’s rate hike. The country lost 17,300 jobs in May and the unemployment rate ticked up to 5.2 percent from 5.0 percent as the part-time, self-employed, and services sector categories moved into contraction. The number of hours worked (sometimes a better read of underlying conditions) fell 0.4 percent month-over-month, and wages grew 5.1 percent year-over-year, down from 5.2 percent in the prior month. We think the...

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Dollar Strengthens into Month End

As the last trading day of the month begins, it’s clear that equity investors aren’t following the “sell in May and go away” dictum, but others are growing more cautious on an increasingly-bifurcated worldwide growth outlook. US Treasury yields – standing in for US growth expectations – continue to climb, while oil prices – a proxy for global demand – are broadly lower, with both key benchmarks down almost 3-percent overnight and off nearly 10 percent for the month. The trade-weighted dollar looks set to end the month having gained nearly 2.75 percent, with higher US yields and increasing scepticism on...

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China Reopening Hopes Lift Markets

March is coming in like a lion, with risk appetite rebounding across asset classes on evidence of a stronger-than-expected recovery in the Chinese economy. The US dollar is in retreat as investors pile into the euro on hopes for stronger exports, and as they buy emerging market currencies on an expected rise in raw materials demand. Major North American equity bourses are setting up for a stronger open even as Treasury yields tick higher. The Canadian dollar is gaining, but continues to lag a broader improvement in the commodity complex. The China reopening trade roared back to life last night...

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