ETFS Multi-Asset Weekly Accomodative Central Banks Boost Cyclical Assets
- Beneficial rain drives coffee prices lower.
- Equity rally continues.
- USD Index hits 12-year high – more to come.
The market interpreted Federal Reserve Chair Yellen’s testimony to the Financial Services Committee as dovish, although her comments left the door open the first rate rise to be in June or September. Cyclical assets rallied on the prospect of monetary policy remaining at a loser setting for longer. This week, all eyes will be fixed on the US non-farm payrolls numbers, which will give an indication of the strength of the US labour market and therefore ability of the economy to weather tighter monetary policy.
Beneficial rain drives coffee prices lower. Arabica coffee fell 7.9% last week as continued rain in Brazil reversed the price gains coffee saw during an unusually dry period at the beginning of the year. However, those looking for a significantly better crop yield this year are likely to be disappointed, with most of the damage to the coffee bushes having taken place during last year’s drought. Sugar prices fell 4.5% with the rain in Brazil and India awarding its mills a subsidy programme that will allow them to export up to 1.4 million tonnes into the global markets. Palladium rose 4.5% on news that Impala Platinum, plans to trim its operations in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Copper rose 3.0% after the International Copper Study Group reported a widening production deficit in the metal in the year to November 2014.
Equity rally continues. Equity markets reacted positively to central bank rhetoric. Chair Yellen’s comments were interpreted relatively dovishly, while European Central Bank’s President Draghi’s testimony to the European Parliament boosted confidence in the quantitative easing plan that is set to start this month. German unemployment fell more than market expectations, driving the DAX 2.4% higher. Meanwhile volatility in European stocks fell with the Euro STOXX 50 Volatility Index falling 10.9% in the month. Gold miners gained 2.3% last week, helped by a gold price gain of 0.2%. China A-Shares which began trading again after the New Year festivities, gained 1.2%, aided by the better-than-expected manufacturing PMI data out last week and is likely to trade higher this week after an interest rate cut over the weekend.
USD Index hits 12-year high – more to come. We expect that rate differentials will continue to widen with the US as it begins its tightening cycle in mid-2015. While Fed Chair Yellen has indicated that the central bank will be patient in beginning to tighten policy, the improving economic conditions in the US warrant modestly higher rates. The market appears to have taken Yellen’s Congressional testimony as relatively dovish and alongside the recent moderation in growth as a sign that the Fed might delay its first rate hikes until August. However, we feel that the Fed will be pragmatic and if the underlying employment picture continues to be robust, a mid-year rate hike would not be a surprise.
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