Dollar slides as job openings drop to a 2-1/2 year low
ADP report and 2nd estimate of US GDP on today’s agenda
Euro awaits German CPIs ahead of Eurozone inflation numbers
Wall Street extends gains, Nasdaq the big winner
Weak job openings push dollar and yields lower
The US dollar tumbled against all the other major currencies on Tuesday and Treasury yields extended their retreat after data showed that job openings in the US fell in July and that consumer sentiment deteriorated during August.
US job openings dropped to the lowest level since March 2021 and entered the basket of data highlighting the slowdown in the US jobs market. At the same time, the Conference Board consumer confidence index slid as well, suggesting that consumers are becoming more cautious, which bodes well for the Fed’s efforts to bring inflation to heel.
The data prompted investors to have second thoughts on whether another hike by the Fed is appropriate and this is evident by the lowering of the market’s implied rate path. The probability of another quarter-point increase by November has slid to around 50% from 65%, while the basis points worth of rate reductions anticipated for next year have increased to 100 from around 90.
More US data on this week’s agenda
As investors are trying to figure out how the Fed’s plans may evolve in the coming months, they may pay extra attention to today’s ADP employment report for August and the second estimate of the US GDP for Q2, ahead of tomorrow’s core PCE index for July and the official employment report for August on Friday.
Although the GDP data is forecast to confirm that the economy grew 2.4% qoq SAAR in Q2, the ADP report is expected to reveal that the private sector gained significantly less jobs than in July, adding to the latest evidence of a weakening labor market. That said, despite the softening, yesterday’s job openings report pointed to still tight labor market conditions, with 1.51 vacancies for every unemployed person, slightly below June’s 1.54, but well above the 1.0-1.2 range that is considered consistent with a labor market that is not generating too much inflation.
On top of that, tomorrow, the core PCE index is forecast to have ticked up, and on Friday, even though nonfarm payrolls are forecast to have further slowed, wage growth is estimated to have remained elevated. Therefore, anything adding to the risk of stickier price pressures in the months to come may prompt market participants to consider again the likelihood of another hike by the Fed, which could allow US Treasury yields and the dollar to rebound.
Euro awaits key inflation test
Euro/dollar is likely to come under selling interest if US data revive Fed hike expectations, but the pair’s fate will not only depend on the US data. With investors split on whether the ECB should hike again in September, Eurozone’s preliminary inflation numbers for August, due out on Thursday, may attract special attention.
Combined with a set of PMIs that rang the recession alarm bells, a slowdown in inflation could tilt the scale towards a September pause. The opposite may be true in case the data points to a small rebound. Today, traders will have the opportunity to get a first taste of where inflation in the Euro area may be headed as the German CPI numbers are on the schedule. Therefore, euro traders may start adjusting their bets and positions as soon as today.
Stocks rally on the back of increasing Fed pause bets
With investors scaling back their Fed hike expectations and adding to their cut bets, Wall Street enjoyed another day of gains, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq adding 1.74%. High growth tech firms are more sensitive to changes in interest-rate expectations as they are mainly valued by discounting expected free cash flows for the quarters and years ahead.
Given that tech-giants have been the main drivers behind the latest rally on Wall Street, further changes in Fed pricing could continue leaving their mark on Wall Street. Therefore, anything amplifying the case of another hike could trigger a setback, while anything corroborating a pause may add further fuel to this week’s recovery. Overall, though, as long as the implied path points to a decent amount of rate reductions in 2024, it may be too early to start examining the case of a bearish trend reversal, even if this week’s data result in a new setback.