Risk Starts Week Lower as USD, JPY Gain Traction
- Japanese Yen top performer as global equity markets extend losses.
- Reach for liquidity evident with stereotypical 'safe havens' gaining favor.
- As market volatility is set to rise with summer ending, it's a good time to review risk management principles.
An incredibly quiet start to the week should not be taken lightly, as market participants are proving plenty jittery in the run-up to the September 20-21 FOMC and BOJ rate decisions. For risk assets like equities, price action the past few days has been anything but comforting: on Friday, for the first time ever, the S&P 500 went from being within 0.5% of an all-time high to closing at a two-month low.
Part of the reason for concern may be due to the notion that the Federal Reserve will be raising rates next week, a problem for some given the slowed cadence of US economic data. Accordingly, with three Fed speakers today, interest rate and FX markets should prove highly sensitive to any potential clues regarding what the Fed will do next Wednesday.
Along those lines, you can probably ignore the first two Fed speakers of the day, Lockhart and Kashkari. No offense to either, but as non-voting members, their opinions are immaterial in comparison to Fed Governor Brainard, set to speak at 17:15 GMT today. Perceived as a more dovish FOMC member, Brainard's speech will be viewed as a litmus test for the FOMC's appetite to raise rates next week: if Brainard comes out optimistic and confident, it could suggest that there is unity among policymakers to hike rates.
If so, look for Fed funds futures implied probabilities to move quickly, as too will the US Dollar (it being particularly devoid of any other meaningful drivers today). Coming into this week, there was a 30% chance of a 25-bps rate hike in September, and a 60% chance of a hike by December.
--- Written by Christopher Vecchio, Currency Strategist
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