In the past couple of months governments in Asia-Pacific have materially accelerated the administration of Covid-19 vaccines.

But because of low starting points, vaccination rates remain low compared to the EU, US and UK and even a number EM economies (including Turkey). The exceptions are Korea, Malaysia and Japan which have now administered a similar number of doses per capita as the US, while Singapore has pulled further ahead.

In countries where governments started to vaccinate early such as the US and in particular the UK, vaccine roll-outs have slowed materially in the past nine weeks. These countries are taking…

Federal Reserve Chairperson Jerome Powell’s pre-prepared opening speech at the Jackson Hole Symposium on Friday afternoon was a key litmus test for the central bank.

Powell took yet another small step towards an eventual tapering this year of the Fed’s asset purchases and a tightening of arguably extremely loose monetary policy while pouring cold water on any talk of policy rate hikes, broadly in line with our expectations.

Price action in US rates, equity and FX markets in the past four days would suggest that Powell has successfully cleared yet another important hurdle.

US Treasury yields across the maturity spectrum…

Global FX volatility — as measured by the 5-day Standard Deviation (SD) in the daily percentage change in the spot (closing) price of a turnover-weighted basket of 32 major currency pairs against the US Dollar — remains depressed by historical standards.

While global FX volatility rose slightly on 11th August to about 0.32 SD following the release of US CPI-inflation data, it is still well below its level one month ago (0.43 SD) and 10-year average (0.47 SD). Notably global FX volatility is at a similar level (0.30 …

US Treasury yields and the Dollar, perhaps unsurprisingly, have risen in the wake of today’s strong US labour market report.

However, we think it would be a stretch to argue that markets have “hard-baked” in their view that the Federal Reserve will announce its tapering plans potentially as early as the Jackson Jackson Hole Symposium on 26–28 August. A case perhaps of once bitten twice shy and for good reason in our view.

We have been moderately bullish the GBP/EUR cross since late-June and the cross briefly traded above 1.18 this afternoon, its strongest level since February 2020. …

In the past fortnight US Treasury yields across the maturity spectrum have oscillated in reasonably wide ranges, with the highs coinciding with the release on 13th July of US CPI-inflation data. The shape of the yield curve today is almost the same as it was on 8th July.

The US rates market has tentatively found its feet, for now at least — tentatively because volatility remains reasonably high both in terms of yield levels and yield spreads.

The pace of Dollar NEER appreciation has also slowed and volatility remains low while the S&P 500 and Brent crude oil price have…

Despite buoyant domestic expectations (or at least hope) football will not be coming home after the England football team lost on penalties to Italy in Sunday’s final of the Euro Championship but Sterling is arguably coming home, albeit slowly.

The GBP/EUR cross has this week traded mostly above 1.17, a level which has proven hard to break. GBP/EUR is up about 0.6% since late-June, in line with our modestly bullish view, and we expect further modest appreciation in the remainder of Q3 (see “Sterling leads Euro 1–0 at half-time in dull encounter but could extend advantage”, 29th June 2021).


With England due to play Germany in the last-16 round of the Euro Championships in a few hours time, now is a good time to revisit the Sterling-Euro exchange rate.

Football fans will be hoping for a pulsating sporting encounter rich in history while traders will be hoping that the GBP/EUR cross, which is currently trading in the middle of a narrow 7-week range of only 1.4% and has exhibited very little volatility, will throw up some excitement of its own in the second half of the year.

Our core scenario is that the GBP/EUR cross will fall short of…

The Federal Reserve at its policy meeting on 16th June, whether inadvertently or by design, reset financial markets’ clocks.

The dust has since settled somewhat, with US short-end and long-end yields, the US Dollar and S&P 500 trading sideways for the past couple of sessions. When looking at the past month, hawks, doves, bulls and bears can all claim at least a partial victory.

The million Dollar question remains when the Federal Reserve will start tapering its asset purchases and hiking its policy rate. …

Time and time again in the past five weeks US Treasuries and the S&P 500 have sold off and the Dollar rallied in the wake of hawkish US surprises only for markets to quickly unwind these moves.

Volatility in US financial markets has ultimately remained subdued and directionality has been limited. In the month to 3rd June US Treasury yields rose only very marginally and the S&P 500 was broadly unchanged. Notably the Dollar NEER weakened a further 1%, suggesting that markets’ appetite to short the Dollar was not significantly curtailed by these bouts of inflation-concerns.

Moreover, quasi-dormant US financial…

US financial markets have had to contend with three “hawkish surprises” so far this month and on each occasion price action has been broadly the same. Initially the Dollar rallied, the S&P 500 sold off and US Treasury yields rose but these (modest) moves were very quickly reversed.

Volatility and directionality have thus remained limited, although the Dollar NEER has slowly weakened to within touching distance of a 3-year low — in line with our bearish Dollar outlook (see Dollar and the three bears, 19th April 2021).

Price action suggests that markets are still seemingly not convinced, rightly in our…

Olivier Desbarres

Olivier Desbarres is Founder of 4X Global Research, providing substantive research and analysis on Emerging and G20 economies and fixed income markets.

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