Soybean tariffs causing distortion in export growth

The rush by US exporters to beat the imposition of retaliatory tariffs on soybeans by China will provide an artificial boost to second-quarter GDP growth, but will become a potentially significant drag in the third quarter.
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US Economics Update

Fed lines up March rate hike

The Fed’s announcement that it will “soon be appropriate” to raise interest rates and the numerous hints dropped by Chair Jerome Powell in the post-meeting press conference all but guarantee that a March rate hike is coming. Meanwhile, the Fed set out a brief outline of how it will run down its balance sheet, but with any decision still “a couple of meetings” away, that process won’t get underway until mid-year.

26 January 2022

US Chart Book

Omicron impact short-lived

The surge in Omicron infections means more people were self-isolating in early-January than at any time since the beginning of the pandemic, although the impact that will have on employment and output remains uncertain. Furthermore, with cases now falling just as quickly as they rose, any effects will be quickly reversed in February. In contrast to earlier waves, the rise in infections hasn’t prompted as big a pullback in services activity, with fears of catching the virus lower than during previous waves. The far bigger factor this time is staff absenteeism, which we think will cause both payroll employment and manufacturing output to decline in January, although the impact should be mostly reversed by the end of the first quarter.

24 January 2022

US Economics Weekly

Omicron reaches plateau, leaving Fed free to hike

We expect the Fed to deliver some heavy hints at next week’s FOMC that it is planning an interest rate hike in March. With the Omicron wave now past its peak nationally, there is little to hold the Fed back, particularly if next week brings news of a further acceleration in wage growth.

21 January 2022

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Commodities Weekly Wrap

Middle East tensions back in the spotlight

Having surged this week, the price of oil could rise further in the near term if tensions between Iran and the US continue to escalate. At the same time, the price of gold is benefitting from an increase in safe-haven demand and a weaker US dollar. The prices of most industrial commodities also rose this week as both the Fed and the ECB signalled looser monetary policy and President Trump announced that he would meet with President Xi on the sidelines of the G20 meeting. Markets will be closely watching events in the Gulf over the next few days. Elsewhere, the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, gets under way on Friday and all eyes will be on the Trump-Xi meeting. Even if some sort of trade agreement is reached between the two leaders, we do not think it will last. A deal which would be acceptable to both sides appears increasingly remote. We suspect that by early next year, nearly all of China’s exports to the US will be subject to tariffs. Finally, the biannual OPEC and OPEC+ meetings that had been scheduled for next week have been postponed until 1st-2nd July, reportedly because Russia was keen that the meetings be held after the G20.

21 June 2019

Capital Daily

Market reaction to US-Iran tensions likely to remain contained

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21 June 2019

Africa Economics Weekly

Easing cycle gains momentum, no news from SONA

Inflation figures released in South Africa and Nigeria this week supported our view that policymakers in both countries will loosen monetary policy later this year. Rates elsewhere are already falling; the Bank of Mozambique cut by 25bp this week. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address was disappointingly light on substance, suggesting that divisions within the ANC are hobbling policymaking.

21 June 2019
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