January blues

It’s been something of a downbeat day in the markets, something we may see more of this morning as the January blues kick in.

The omicron relief trade appears to have played out now and attention has quickly shifted back to the interest rates dilemma, with the economy performing well but not firing on all cylinders, the labor market extremely tight and inflation at risk of getting out of control.

Central bank policymakers would ordinarily like to be more patient during this stage of the recovery cycle but the pandemic was no ordinary economic shock and this is certainly no ordinary recovery.

Based on how investors responded to the Fed minutes on Wednesday, you’d be forgiven for thinking they’re terrified at the prospect of tighter monetary policy and couldn’t have foreseen what the central bank was about to unleash upon us. But the reality is very different and the reaction is over the top. Something I tend to expect this time of year.

Aside from the references to balance sheet reduction, which at this point are merely an option up for discussion, there was nothing in the minutes that wasn’t clear after the meeting. Slightly higher yields are a normal response to the balance sheet discussion but the level of risk aversion seen across the markets is not.

Data from the US today appears to continue to point to the same thing for the US, as far as inflation is concerned. Labour markets are extremely tight which should lead to higher wages, higher inflation expectations, and more permanent pandemic price pressures. And an apparent easing of supply-side pressures that could see temporary inflation pressures abate. Cause for concern and optimism if you’re a central banker.

A nasty shock for bitcoin

Bitcoin has snoozed its way into 2022 and the Fed minutes on Wednesday gave it just the shock it needed to bring it back to life. Unfortunately for the hodler community, it wasn’t in their favour and the cryptocurrency crashed below USD 45,500 support, losing more than 5% on the day. It’s stabilised a little today but remains almost 2% lower and below USD 43,000. The next major support is USD 40,000, a break of which would be another big blow.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar: www.marketpulse.com/economic-events/

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.

Craig Erlam

Craig Erlam

Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA at OANDA
Based in London, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a market analyst. With many years of experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while producing macroeconomic commentary. His views have been published in the Financial Times, Reuters, The Telegraph and the International Business Times, and he also appears as a regular guest commentator on the BBC, Bloomberg TV, FOX Business and SKY News. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and is recognised as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.
Craig Erlam
Craig Erlam

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