E Markets: Delicate

Market confidence remains delicate. Understatements about the wretched state of risk-taking collide with the upcoming central bank meetings and the horror of hope. Hungary today at 8 am – FOMC tomorrow at 2 pm – with the RBA meeting minutes last night highlighting the indecision of action and the risk of waiting it all out. There is no stability in the present market as confidence has been eroded by price action. Oil is the key focus today as it drops 4% today – too much US supply coupled with too little global demand. The doubts about US growth yesterday continued with a lack of new ideas from China’s Xi speech today.  Xi pledged “unswerving” reforms but they should be in line with the overall goal of improving the socialist system with Chinese characteristics. With an emphasis on “top-level design” suggesting Xi isn’t willing to reduce the role of the state in the economy.  

The command-control economy continues to be at odds with the US one and hopes for a trade détente remain delicate as well. The fragility of Xi and his leadership of the economy has risen in the press clippings today even as confidence and markets drop. Global growth fears continue to be the biggest impediment to new risk taking, with the FOMC, US/China trade, Brexit and ugly politics everywhere supporting the doubts about 2019. The focus on the day has been on oil and the failure to hold $51.50 opens $45.50 as the next big support but the ongoing bounce from the lows in early Europe matters and it’s the barometer to watch today with $49 key for WTI. 

Question for the Day:Do financial conditions matter? The Powell Fed has been clear in the shift to data dependency and in their view that its not yet finished in hiking rates. The market appears frozen today in the long wait for the FOMC decision tomorrow. There have been a number of traders, economists and politicians begging for the FOMC to wait. The cost of not delivering a rate hike tomorrow maybe in ongoing inflationary pressures building to stem growth, this is the opposite of goldilocks.  A Fed waiting for a better markets or higher growth risks narrowing corporate margins, killing consumer demand and reversing employment. On the other hand, sharply weaker financial conditions reflect a collapse in confidence for markets and that feeds into slower growth, lower employment as well.  

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