Fed chair suggests monetary policy won’t change

For the week ending 14 July 2017

  • Fed chair suggests monetary policy won’t change
  • China inflation running low
  • G-20 summit concludes
  • Bank of Canada hikes rates
  • US retail sales miss expectations


Global equities moved up this week with solid gains. The yield on the US 10-year Treasury note faded seven basis points on the week, to 2.32%, while the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil moved up to $46.35 a barrel from $44.50 a week ago. Volatility, as measured by the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX), dropped to 9.89 from 11.75 last week.

MACRO NEWS

Yellen testifies on Capitol Hill

US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen testified on monetary policy before the House Financial Services Committee this week as markets continued to digest the Fed's recently announced balance sheet reduction plans. Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s semiannual testimony before Congress struck a generally dovish tone, according to the firm’s traders. Yellen signaled that the Fed was in no rush to tighten monetary policy, and offered reassurances on the current state of the economy. Investors may also have been relieved that she avoided repeating the reference she had made in late June to asset prices as being “somewhat rich.” Global equities moved up this week with solid gains.

China inflation running Low

The United States is not the only region experiencing low inflation. China's consumer price index was reported at 1.5%, missing a 3% target. Its producer price index was reported at 5.5%, which was in line with expectations. It is worth noting that the slowdown in inflation is consistent with the slowdown in inflation in the US and many other countries. It is occurring as policymakers in the US, Canada and eurozone are all moving, or signaling that they will move, away from the low-interest-rate environment of recent years.

G-20 summit concludes

The G-20 summit of leaders of major economies concluded in Hamburg, Germany this week after discussions on a broad range of topics, including trade, climate change and immigration policy. Many leaders attending the summit appeared at odds with US president Donald Trump, particularly over trade policy and climate change. On the trade front, Japan and the European Union signed the Japan–EU Economic Partnership Agreement after several years of negotiation.

Bank of Canada raises rates

The Bank of Canada raised rates by a quarter of a percentage point to .75% while suggesting that monetary policy will remain accommodative for the foreseeable future. Of concern is the stability of the housing market, where prices have risen rapidly in recent years, particularly in areas such as Toronto and Vancouver, where prices have doubled since 2009.

US retail sales off

Headline retail sales were down .2% month over month, with six of the 16 categories falling into negative territory. Department stores in particular were hurt, falling .7% after a similar drop in May. The recent drop in sales and subsequent selloff in retail stocks have attracted the interest of professional investors in search of a bargain.

THE WEEK AHEAD
Date Country/Area Release/Event
Mon, 17 Jul Eurozone Consumer price index
Wed, 19 Jul Japan

Japan Policy rate

Wed, 19 Jul United States

Housing starts

Thu, 20 Jul United States Continuing jobless claims
Thu, 20 Jul Eurozone

Flash consumer confidence indicator

Thu, 22 Jul United Kingdom

Retail sales

Fri, 21 Jul Canada Consumer price index
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