Trump-fuelled risk rally shifts to Japanese bonds, euro
LONDON: Investors resumed the post-US election trade of selling bonds and buying stocks yesterday after a pause earlier this week, albeit less aggressively, with Japan’s 10-year bond yield hitting its highest since February. The dollar was in demand again too, rising to a one year-high against a basket of currencies as the euro hit a ninemonth low of $1.07, and to an eight-year peak against the China’s yuan. US President-elect Trump’s plans to cut taxes and boost infrastructure spending would boost economic activity while his proposals to deport illegal immigrants and impose tariffs on cheap imports are seen driving inflation higher. That prospect has given rise to expectations that US interest rates will rise faster than previously anticipated, boosting the dollar.
As the Bank for International Settlements warned on Tuesday, a stronger dollar poses risks for global markets. But for now, investors are enjoying the ride, meaning stocks and the dollar are in favor at the expense of bonds. “With 10-year Japanese yields briefly edging back above zero, the market will at some stage focus on whether the Bank of Japan will defend the zero level, especially if the global yield sell-off gathers pace over the coming weeks and months,” Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid said in a note yesterday. The BOJ announced in September it would cap the benchmark 10-year yield at zero as part of its long-standing battle against deflation and anaemic growth.
“It would be a strange decision to abandon the new policy so soon after announcing it, so assuming global yields remain elevated they may be forced to buy more (bonds) than they thought when the new scheme was announced,” Reid said. Japan’s 10-year yield rose to 0.03 percent, a ninemonth high. Comparable US Treasury yields rose 3 basis points to 2.27 percent, edging back up toward Monday’s 11-month high of 2.302 percent and up from around 1.86 percent before the election. US interest rate futures are pricing in an 85 percent chance of a rate hike in December, compared to 75 percent before the election.
Dollar rises again
In currency market trading yesterday, the dollar rose 0.3 percent against the yen to a five-month high of 109.62 yen and a oneyear high of 100.32 on an index basis. Sharp gains in US bond yields have drawn investors to the dollar, and the dollar index is just 0.5 percent away from its highest level in more than 13-1/2 years. The yuan weakened to 6.8703 to the dollar, its lowest level since December 2008. “The narrative on the dollar is strong,” said Simon Smith, chief economist at Fxpro. “A move higher in interest rates next month is now a near dead cert, with the implied path for rates next year also moving higher and providing further support for the dollar.” In equities, the FTS Euro First index of leading 300 European shares followed Wall Street’s lead from the previous day and was up 0.2 percent, underpinned by commodity-related stocks.
A 5 percent fall in Bayer, however, weighed on Germany’s DAX, which fell 0.2 percent. The drugmaker fell after a placement of 4 billion euros of mandatory convertible notes. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.2 percent, bouncing back from a four-month low touched earlier this week, while the yen’s slide toward 110 per dollar helped lift Japan’s Nikkei by 1.1 percent.
The dollar’s strength has fanned fears investors could shift funds to the United States from emerging markets. Emerging market stocks, which had fallen 7 percent in the four sessions to Monday, also extended gains for a second day yesterday.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.29 percent to a record closing high while the S&P 500 gained 0.75 percent. Since Trump’s unexpected victory last week, US shares have rallied while US bond prices tumbled, pushing up their yields sharply. In commodities gold was steady at $1,228 per ounce, not far from a 5 1/2month low of $1,211.8 seen on Monday, while an oil industry report that showed an unexpected build in US crude stocks helped take this week’s shine off oil prices. Brent futures, the global benchmark, fell 0.8 percent to $46.55 per barrel.
TOKYO: People walk past an electronic stock indicator of a securities firm in Tokyo yesterday. Asian stock markets were mostly higher yesterday, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street, as investors awaited more policy details from US president-elect Donald Trump.