Confidence remains the key in Asia and that is what we remain in search of this evening as we watch global equity markets depreciate. In Asia China was in better shape having seen better than expected Service sector growth resulting in a 0.6% gain. This was only for the first half of the day as in late US trading we are watching China300 (futures) lose most of that gain and is currently down 0.65%. The Nikkei and Hang Seng were both heavy today losing 0.7% and 1.5% respectively. In sympathy with world markets both have lost an additional 1%.
EU restrictions on the Italian government is preventing aid to the banking sector as demand to cut Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena’s bad loans by 40% continues to weigh on the whole market. In the UK the BOE Governor (Mark Carney) provided clarity following the Bank of England Financial Stability Report. A cut in the counter-cyclical capital buffer to 0% from 0.5% of bank exposure to try and boost lending. Interesting that the Gilt market reacted more at the long end than it did at the front end. The 2/10 curve flattened by 4bp to close 65bp. Three of the UK largest real estate funds (Standard Life Inv, M&G and Aviva) have frozen around £9.1bn of assets today after a surge in redemptions. Stocks across the continent did not like it with core European indices trading down over 2% (DAX, CAC and IBEX). However, in the UK we saw again in the FTSE (+0.35%) with the currency again acting as the pressure value. GBP lost over 2.25% (breaking 130 against USD was a 31yr low) at one stage but did manage a small recovery by the end of US trading. Late news that Spain and Portugal face EU sanctions for failing to reign in public spending – we can expect more on this when reported on Thursday.
US markets did bounce towards the close with core indices still down but off the sessions lows. Major declines were seen in both Energies and Financials. With losses of around 0.6% across the board the USD gain has helped international investors. The DXY closed up 0.65% followed also by a 5.5% bounce in the VIX to 15.6. Oil sold off around 5% (last seen around $46.80).
More curve flattening in the US market also with 2/10 closing 83bp; which put US 10’s at 1.38% (-6.5bp). The spread to German Bunds continues to tighten but whilst Bund move even more negative! 10yr Bund closed this evening at -0.185%, pushing the US/Germany spread to +156.5bp. Italy closed 1.26% (+1bp), Greece 7.75% (+6bp), Turkey 8.88% (u/c), Portugal 2.995 (+4bp) and 10yr Gilts closed 0.77%.