The dust settles

The dust is settling on central bank week, with the Bank of Japan leaving policy rates and its 10-year JGB yield target of 0.0% unchanged. It has announced it will scale back its pandemic bond and commercial buying programmes in 2022 while extending the SME relief programme. USD/JPY is sharply unchanged, unsurprising given that the US/Japan yield differential is its key driver.

ECB tapers, but increases APP

The BOJ’s announcement follows in a similar vein to the ECB’s “the lady is not for tapering” tapering not tapering announcement yesterday. Policy rates remained unchanged, but a tapering of the PEPP was announced, although it replaced that by that with, you guessed it, more QE under the old APP scheme, as well as continuing with the TLTRO’s. A very European compromise overall with the ECB acknowledging inflationary pressures, but well and truly hedging its bets. Overall, the QE forever family of the BOJ and ECB made plenty of noise but did very little tinkering under the bonnet. Both the yen and the euro are likely to have a tough Q1 versus the US dollar.

Elsewhere, it was a mixed result. Norway and Britain have hiked modestly, while Australia and Southeast Asia remain cemented to unchanged, inflation be damned. Latin America, Eastern Europe and Russia have seen a series of hikes continuing and this will spare them the worst of the ravages of a stronger US dollar in H1 2022. Turkey, meanwhile, cut rates under Erdoganomics. President Erdogan also fired a couple of people, and the Turkish lira looks to have lost another 12% while I have been away this week. I might have to pencil in USD/TRY at 20.000 by early January at this rate. It would be comical if it wasn’t so sad for the people of Turkey.

The FOMC has swung to hawkish, as per the hints from Jerome Powell pre-FOMC. A faster taper and three rate hikes “dot-plotted” into 2022 are the new reality now. I wasn’t the least surprised at the equity and bond market reaction. The “buy everything” story rules the roost and annoying things like reality won’t get in the way of it. The FOMC flip was interpreted by the perpetual mega-bulls as proactively anchoring future inflation expectations, something long-dated bond markets have been pricing in forever, so buy big-tech, I mean growth. How bonds and equities will weather the Fed not buying billions of bonds each month remains to be seen. The story looks to be running out of steam already looking at equity markets overnight. The US yield curve will maintain a healthy attraction if you are a fund manager in QE-forever Europe or Japan, so I am not expecting long-dated yields to explode higher. It does, however, reinforce my thoughts that the US dollar will be the winner in H1 2022.

I will reiterate once again, however, that V for Volatility, and not directional trends, will continue to be the winner in December. I am also quietly hoping that the US dollar falls, and equities rise in January as well. The new budget year usually brings a group-think kitchen-sink rush in a particular thematic trade. Unfortunately, bitter experience tells me that the first big move of the year in January is usually the wrong one. So, keep going on the “buy-everything” trade, it’s all part of my cunning plan, and I love it when a plan comes together.

In Asia today, Singapore posted robust non-oil exports. Overall, omicron has not caused the global economy to blink yet it seems, but that appears to be because the world is fed up with lockdowns and restrictions, rather than the virus itself. The news from China continues to concern, however. The bottom-pickers buy recommendations are flowing thick and fast on China property companies. As I said last week, there’s never just one cockroach.

Having vaccinated its population with Sinovac, which doesn’t appear to work against omicron, we can safely assume China won’t be opening borders in 2022. That, along with the still-developing property sector woes will crimp growth. Additionally, the US has added another 34 Chinese entities to its blacklist, so US/China relations are going nowhere in a hurry. Hopefully, the rest of the world can pick up some of the slack in 2022.

I note that the YouTuber’s tool of choice, drone maker DJI, is one of those entities. Are YouTubers about to suffer a Christmas Black Swan? Hit the like and subscribe buttons to see.

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

Jeffrey Halley

Jeffrey Halley

Senior Market Analyst, Asia Pacific
With more than 30 years of FX experience – from spot/margin trading and NDFs through to currency options and futures – Jeffrey Halley is OANDA’s senior market analyst for Asia Pacific, responsible for providing timely and relevant macro analysis covering a wide range of asset classes. He has previously worked with leading institutions such as Saxo Capital Markets, DynexCorp Currency Portfolio Management, IG, IFX, Fimat Internationale Banque, HSBC and Barclays. A highly sought-after analyst, Jeffrey has appeared on a wide range of global news channels including Bloomberg, BBC, Reuters, CNBC, MSN, Sky TV, Channel News Asia as well as in leading print publications including the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among others. He was born in New Zealand and holds an MBA from the Cass Business School.
Jeffrey Halley
Jeffrey Halley

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