US budget impasse deepens

There has been no sign of agreement between the US administration/Democrats and Republicans over resolving the budget impasse that has caused a partial government shutdown as well as havoc with the timing of government data releases. If anything both sides have become more entrenched in their positions, implying that any agreement on raising the debt ceiling required by October 17 also looks out of reach.

Market reaction so far has been relatively muted in the expectation of an agreement but such hopes may prove optimistic. Following the delay in the US employment report which was originally scheduled for release last Friday markets will also be scrambling for clues as to the impact on the timing of any Fed tapering.

US data releases will not help the market mood or the USD, with consumer confidence set to soften, which will play for further delay in tapering. US September retail sales and August trade data are likely to be delayed although the Federal Reserve FOMC minutes of the last meeting will hopefully provide some clues to the timing of tapering.

Markets are set to become increasingly nervous over coming days suggesting an increase in risk aversion. Consequently pressure on risk assets is likely unless some sign of rapprochement is seen. So far US Treasury yields are holding above 2.6% while the USD index has stabilised around the 80.00 level.

Surprisingly gold has failed to benefit from the lack of budget agreement in the US. The VIX ‘fear gauge’ dropped slightly but none of this will last if Congress does not get its act together. A deal soon would minimise the economic impact but a protracted impasse would be much more negative for growth. Either way the beginning of Fed tapering looks to have been pushed into next year.

USD pressure is set to extend further against most major currencies, with safe havens, in particular JPY and CHF set to be well supported in the days ahead. The drop in US Treasury yields will help yield sensitive currencies especially the likes of the INR but higher risk aversion will counter any positive impact on high beta currencies.

The EUR meanwhile, looks well placed to take advantage of further USD weakness, especially given the prospects of firmer data releases this week including a series of industrial production data.


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