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EMEA Morning Briefing : Stocks to Open Lower, Investors Await ECB

09/07/2021 | 12:18am EDT

MARKET WRAPS

Watch For:

Germany industrial production index; ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment; EU Employment; EU GDP and Main Aggregates Estimate.

Opening Call:

Stocks could open lower Tuesday. WSJ Dollar Index flat. Oil mixed, gold gains.

Equities:

European stocks are set to open lower Tuesday, as investors look ahead to the European Central Bank meeting on Thursday.

The ECB could set out plans to reduce bond purchases under an emergency stimulus program on Thursday, some analysts say. Later this week, investors will parse remarks by New York Federal Reserve President John Williams on the economic outlook and monetary policy.

Stocks in Asia were mixed with Japanese stocks broadly higher in morning trade, led by especially strong gains in electronics stocks amid hopes for economic stimulus as the ruling party chooses a new leader. Investors are focusing on any developments on the leadership election, which is scheduled for later this month.

Meanwhile, high case numbers for the Delta variant of the coronavirus, global supply-chain disruptions and U.S. labor-market weakness have raised concerns that growth is peaking, said Kerry Craig, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

"The markets are waiting and waiting for a clear signal in a shift in the economy and the corresponding policy shifts," Mr. Craig said. If the supply-chain and labor-market disruptions prove temporary, then central bankers will remain on track to dial back easy-money policies, he added.

In corporate news, Rio Tinto is at risk of missing its 2021 iron-ore shipment guidance, said UBS.

In July, the miner said it expected full-year shipments at the low end of its earlier 325 million-340 million ton range but to achieve this, it needs to ship roughly 85 million tons a quarter in its fiscal 2H.

"Rio is currently on track to ship circa 81 million tons in 3Q and as a result we see 5 million-10 million ton downside risk to 2021 guidance," said the bank.

Rio Tinto isn't alone in achieving weaker-than-anticipated output, said UBS, which reckons Covid-related restrictions are weighing on production. Vale also risks missing 2021 guidance, while BHP's 1Q 2022 output appears weaker on-year, UBS said.

Forex:

Speculators raised their bets on a strengthening of the dollar in the week to Aug. 31, but they might have scaled back those positions following a weaker-than-expected U.S. nonfarm payrolls report on Friday, Rabobank said.

"While a firm U.S. labor report for July had underpinned confidence regarding expectations around Fed tapering, a disappointing number for August has pushed back speculation of an announcement [by the Federal Reserve that it would reduce asset purchases] until late in the year," Rabobank forex strategist Jane Foley said.

"This could be a set-back for USD bulls," she said. CFTC data shows that long dollar positions--bets that expect the currency to rise--reached the highest level since March 2020 in the week to last Tuesday.

Political uncertainty following the resignation of Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is unlikely to considerably move the yen, MUFG Bank said.

None of the candidates looking to replace Suga have expressed views on the Bank of Japan's policy so the new leader will likely continue to co-operate with the central bank in line with current arrangements, MUFG currency analyst Lee Hardman said.

That means a continuation of the BOJ's loose policies, he said.

"If you take all of that into consideration, we think [it] makes sense that we've seen fairly limited reaction in the foreign exchange market so far." USD/JPY will remain stable with external developments continuing to drive the pair, he said.

Bonds:

Less favorable euro funding conditions could curb euro-denominated bond issuance by U.S. companies, known as reverse yankee, said ING.

"USD spreads are outperforming and have seen up to five basis points tightening over the past two weeks," while "EUR spreads widened by about two basis points over the past couple of weeks," said Timothy Rahill, adding that a tightening USD-EUR spread differential marks a reversal from earlier in the summer, particularly in the five-year area.

"This could see reverse yankee supply dampened and thus might add some value to longer-dated secondary reverse yankee paper," he added.

Companies continued to tap euro debt market investors to raise funds, with some EUR4.85 billion hitting the market on Monday, said Societe Generale.

"In total, we had EUR4.85 billion priced despite the U.S. absence [due to the Labor Day holiday] and we expect another week of strong volumes ahead," credit strategists at the French bank said.

High yield-rated Spanish wireless telecommunications infrastructure and services Cellnex Telecom and Lisbon-headquartered utility EDP raised EUR1.85 billion and EUR1.25 billion respectively.

Meanwhile bonds issued by lenders Santander, Ceska Sporitelna and Mediobanca accounted for the remaining EUR1.75 billion. Today's issuance follows a very strong performance last week, with more than EUR20 billion beingpriced across markets, they added.

Energy:

Oil was mixed in early Asian trade amid concerns spurred by Saudi Arabia's move to cut prices.

The OPEC producer lowered prices on all of its grades of crude oil to attract more Asian buyers, but the decision "raises the question of whether it's looking to boost market share or is wary of weaker demand," ANZ said.

Refiners in the region are also concerned that renewed outbreaks of the Covid-19 Delta variant will reduce mobility in certain countries.

Metals:

Gold rose in early Asian trade, as concerns of an imminent tapering of asset purchases by the U.S. Federal Reserve eases, Commonwealth Bank said.

The precious metal, which has broadly tracked between $1,700-$1,900/oz since end March, is likely to stay within this range for the foreseeable future, it said.

The bank expects the USD to remain a key indicator of gold price movements in the coming months.

TODAY'S TOP HEADLINES

China's Exports Grew Faster Than Expected in August

China's exports unexpectedly expanded at a faster clip in August, shrugging off the impact of new coronavirus outbreaks in the country that had partially shut down some port operations.

China's outbound shipments rose 25.6% in August from a year earlier, higher than the 19.3% increase in July, the General Administration of Customs said Tuesday. The result also beat the 17% increase expected by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

Aluminum Hits Decade High After Guinea Coup Imperils Bauxite Supplies

Aluminum prices rose to their highest level in 10 years Monday after a military coup in mineral-rich Guinea threatened to snarl the lightweight metal's supply chain.

As of noon ET, three-month aluminum forward contracts on the London Metal Exchange rose 1.3% to $2,768 a metric ton, their highest level since early 2011.

Covid-19 Resurgence Clouds Business Travel Rebound

Companies are delaying sending employees back on the road this fall amid another surge in coronavirus cases.

Airlines and hotels had hoped that business travel-one of the most lucrative pillars of their business-would start to bounce back in the coming months. Those hopes are fading as the busy summer travel season peters out, and the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19 postpones some companies' plans to return to offices and resume in-person meetings and events.

Traders Return to London Metal Exchange's 144-Year-Old Ring

Traders returned to the London Metal Exchange's storied ring in a test of the City of London's ability to bring back workers.

Staff from the exchange's eight dealing firms arrived early for work Monday, 18 months after Covid-19 swept through London and the 144-year-old LME closed the open-outcry ring for the first time since World War II. Dealers checked if equipment that matches trades and "squawks" orders back to their head offices was working before commencing trading that would determine prices used in metal contracts world-wide.

The New Head of the International Accounting Standards Board Outlines His Priorities

The new head of the International Accounting Standards Board is setting his priorities for the rule maker, including potentially changing requirements around intangible assets and weighing in on sustainability disclosure.

Big European Banks Get Prodded on Climate Promises

Europe's largest banks have pledged to phase out financing carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. But an activist group supported by big shareholders says the lenders aren't doing enough to meet their goals.

ShareAction, a London-based nonprofit that coordinates investor campaigns to push banks including Barclays PLC and HSBC Holdings PLC on the environmental action, said the lenders are slow to back their commitments with practical steps.

China's Industrial Planning Evolves, Stirring U.S. Concerns

For decades, China pursued a brand of centrally planned economic policies that the U.S. was happy to stand back and watch.

But a subtle yet critical recalibration by Beijing begun almost 15 years ago has recently set off alarms in Washington about China's goals and tactics-not least because China is catching up in many cases by adopting past U.S. approaches.

Belarus Jails One of Its Last Leading Dissidents for 11 Years

MOSCOW-A Belarusian activist who avoided deportation by tearing up her passport last year was sentenced to 11 years in prison on a variety of charges, including plotting to oust the country's leader, Alexander Lukashenko, effectively silencing the last main opposition voice still in the country.

A Minsk court found Maria Kalesnikava guilty of conspiring to seize power, creating an extremist group, and calling for actions that could damage national security, it said. Ms. Kalesnikava's colleague Maxim Znak was sentenced to 10 years in a high-security prison.

Israel Launches Manhunt After Palestinian Militants Escape From Prison

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

09-07-21 0017ET

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