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Markets go all in for disinflation

 A look at the day ahead in European and global markets from Wayne Cole.

Push back? What push back? The main theme ahead of the Fed announcement was that Chair Jerome Powell would definitely, totally, absolutely push back against the recent rapid easing in market conditions given inflation was still sky high.

Instead, Powell seemed to go out of his way to do the opposite. The very first question in the new conference invited him to scold markets, and he notes conditions had tightened a lot last year.

Given another opportunity, he says he’s “not particularly concerned” about market pricing, and later “I’m not going to try to persuade people that have a different forecast” on inflation and policy.

Yes there were caveats about it being too early to declare victory and policy will need to be more restrictive. But even then he was blase about another “couple of hikes”, and spent more time trying out his new favourite word “disinflation”.

A pdf search of the conference shows disinflation or disinflationary was used 13 times, compared to twice at his December event. For sure, service inflation had yet to turn the corner, but he expected to see that “fairly soon.”

For markets, this is like stealing the last cookie in the cookie jar, getting caught red handed, and, instead of a good spanking, you get another cookie, with chocolate on.

So of course Treasuries rallied, with 10s down 9bp and 2s 10bp in the wake of the conference and a bit more in Asia. Next targets are the Jan lows at 3.321% and 4.04%.

Fed funds partied by pricing in more rate cuts with Fed funds seen at 4.40% by end 2023 and 3.0% by the close of 2024.

The euro jumped to a 10-month peak of $1.1034 and could go further if ECB chief Christine Lagarde sounds as hawkish as everyone seems to expect after today’s policy meeting.

The market is almost fully priced for a hike of 50bp and the promise of more to come, though it was notable that Euribor rallied overnight to imply deeper cuts next year.

The ECB is also set to reveal how exactly it plans to reduce the multi-trillion euro stock of bonds on its balance sheet.

Across the Channel, the Bank of England is also seen hiking 50bp today, though with some outside risk of 25bp.

The following media conference by Governor Andrew Bailey and colleagues is likely to be a tough one, assuming they can even get to it given all the strikes.

The IMF, and many others, are predicting recession but inflation is at 10.5% and wage growth running red hot – good luck squaring that circle.

For Wall Street, it’s a massive earnings day and Meta helped overnight by announcing a $40 billion buy-back that sent its shares up 18%.

Healthcare companies BristolMeyers-Squibb Co, Eli Lilly and Co and Merck & Co are due to report before trading commences on Wall Street.

The heavy-hitting trifecta of Apple Inc, Amazon.com and Alphabet Inc are after the bell.

Key developments that could influence markets on Thursday:

– BoE rate decision is at 1200 GMT and the ECB at 1315 GMT. BoE Gov Bailey speaks to reporters at 1230 GMT and ECB President Lagarde at 1345 GMT.

Source: here