The spread of the COVID Delta variant globally holds key risks for markets in the weeks ahead. However, as long as hospitalisation rates remain relatively low, it should be less detrimental to the path of re-opening in countries with higher vaccination rates. As a stark example, the UK will shed almost all of its COVID restrictions today despite spiking COVID cases amid relatively low hospitalisation rates.
This is particularly difficult for many emerging markets including much of Asia given low vaccination rates. As such, a two-speed recovery between developed and emerging economies is occurring, with the former registering much higher vaccination rates compared to the latter. Unlike the move to re-open in developed markets, re-opening in many emerging markets is far more difficult given sharply increasing hospitalisation rates among unvaccinated people as the Delta variant runs rampant.
As such, the risks of renewed restrictions in many countries could put the global recovery process in jeopardy at a time when we are already past peak growth. Maybe this is helping to dampen US bond yields or yields are being supressed by the fact that the market has a lot of faith in the Fed even as inflation has surprised on the upside in many countries. Whatever the cause, US 10y bond yields have slipped below 1.3% back to levels not seen since mid-February and continue to edge lower.
Event highlights this week include several central bank policy decisions including in China (Tue), Eurozone, Indonesia, South Africa (all Wed) and Russia (Fri). No changes are expected for China’s Loan Prime Rate (LPR) though the risk of easing has increased marginally following the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) reserve requirements (RRR) cut last week. The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) is expected to hike by 75bp, with risks of a bigger move. Bank Indonesia is likely to remain on hold despite growing economic pressure. South Africa’s Reserve Bank (SARB) is expected to remain on hold and remain dovish while a change in forward guidance from the European Central Bank (ECB) is expected this week.
Oil will be in focus today after OPEC+ agreed on a deal to expand output, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia putting away differences to agree upon a 400k barrels a day increase in output from August. The US dollar (USD) is trading firmer, but overall looks like it is close to topping out. For example, EURUSD looks oversold relative to real rate differentials. Interest rates markets will eye US fiscal developments, with Democrats crafting the budget resolution needed for a reconciliation bill, which may see additional progress this week.