The Weekly Update

Last week continued in the same vein as the previous one for bondholders, as January’s highly anticipated US CPI print surprised to the upside with the headline reading at 2.1% yoy and the core at 1.8%yoy. The weak retail sales readings were largely ignored by asset markets, so the knee-jerk sell-off across the Treasury curve followed the stronger inflation print. Also ignored was a pick up in PPI data, but a weak Empire Manufacturing release brought some respite to the UST curve; the yield on the 10-year eventually closed the week marginally higher at 2.88%. Meanwhile, despite a rally on Friday, the dollar remained on the back-foot over the week. Elsewhere, the offshore renminbi (CNH) continued to strengthen against the greenback closing below 6.30 and the Japanese yen rallied a further 2.44% against the dollar last week; helped by comments from Japan’s finance minister that no market intervention - to slow pace of appreciation -  is required at this stage. Brent also enjoyed a bounce last week. The UAE Minister of Energy and Industry’s statement that the group of Emirates is “determined to pursue” Saudi’s efforts to stabilise oil markets over the weekend will no doubt support Brent at these levels.

Going back to the inflation ‘hysteria’, we had expected a bounce at the beginning of the year, and still remain of the view that it is a short-term theme as there are several indicators (such as vehicle sales and mortgage delinquencies, for example), which paint a much more pessimistic view of the economy. However, the market has clearly reacted more than we had expected over the last several weeks, with the UST sell-off exacerbated by the high levels of funding. Just on that, this week will see USD 258bn worth of UST auctions; across short-term bills to 7-year maturities, so the shorter-end of the curve could come under pressure.

We do think the Fed will continue to tighten especially if we see inflation pick up further, and that along with their balance sheet management will combine to move us closer to the end of this cycle which is now in its 104th month of expansion. For the cycle to really start to turn we would need to see a prolonged or very sudden decline in equity markets, and until and unless that happens consumer confidence will likely remain relatively high. So, a difficult month for us so far on our long-only portfolios but we still believe that this is an inflationary blip, not a constant move higher in prices. We continue to monitor the situation daily.

Expect a relatively quiet day today as both US equity and bond markets are shut for President's Day, and China is out celebrating Lunar new year. Closer to home, EU finance ministers will decide on the next ECB VP and the Greece bailout will also be discussed. UK house price data could be of interest, as could Japan’s trade releases. Another quiet day on the data front will see Germany’s SPD begin a two-week session for members to vote on the coalition pact proposal, on Tuesday. Wednesday could breathe some life into markets as we receive what are expected to be more hawkish tones from the FOMC ‘s January minutes and the BOE’s inflation report. A number of EU flash PMIs could be of interest, along with UK jobs data. Thursday will kick-off with the Chinese markets opening the year of the dog, and later the preliminary Q4’17 UK GDP readings could garner some attention. Friday will see another quiet day in terms of data and activity, with the only key features being NY Fed Dudley’s discussion on the Fed’s balance sheet and the central bank’s semi-annual monetary policy report to Congress, and Japan’s CPI print. Watch out for a number of Fed speakers this week, we expect more hawkish rhetoric, but still a gradual approach to rate hikes.

Please read this important information before proceeding. It contains legal and regulatory notices relevant to the information on this site.

This website provides information about Stratton Street Capital LLP ("Stratton Street"). Stratton Street is authorised and regulated by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority. The content of this website has been prepared by Stratton Street from its records and is believed to be accurate but we do not accept any liability or responsibility in respect of the information of any views expressed herein. The information, material and content provided in the pages of this website may be changed at any time by us. Information on this website may be out of date and may not be updated or removed.

The website is provided for the main purpose of providing generic information on Stratton Street and on our investment philosophy for the use of financial professionals in the United Kingdom that qualify as Professional Clients or Eligible Counterparties under the rules of the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (the "FCA"). The information in this website is not intended for the use of and should not be relied on by any person who would qualify as a Retail Client. Products and services referred to on this website are offered only at times when, and in jurisdictions where, they may be lawfully offered. The information on this website is not directed to any person in the United States. The provision of the information on this website does not constitute an offer to purchase securities to any person in the United States (other than a professional fiduciary acting for the account of a non-U.S person) or to any U.S. person as such term is defined under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.

The website is not intended to offer investors the opportunity to invest in any Alternative Investment Fund ("AIF") product. The AIFs managed by Stratton Street are not being marketed in the European Economic Area ("EEA") and any eligible potential investor from the EEA who wishes to obtain information on the AIFs will only be provided with materials upon receipt by Stratton Street of an appropriate reverse solicitation request in accordance with the requirements of the EU Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive ("AIFMD") and national law in their home jurisdiction. By proceeding you confirm that you are not accessing this website in the context of a potential investment by an EEA investor in the AIFs managed by Stratton Street and that you have read, understood and agree to these terms.

No information contained in this website should be deemed to constitute the provision of financial, investment or other professional advice in any way. The website should not be relied upon as including sufficient information to support any investment decision. If you are in doubt as to the appropriate course of action we recommend that you consult your own independent financial adviser, stockbroker, solicitor, accountant or other professional adviser. Past performance is not necessarily a guide to the future. The value of investments and the income from them may go down as well as up. An application for any investment or service referred to on this site may only be made on the basis of the offer document, key features, prospectus or other applicable terms relating to the specific investment or service.

Where we provide hypertext links to other locations on the Internet, we do so for information purposes only. We are not responsible for the content of any other websites or pages linked to or linking to this website. We have not verified the content of any such websites. Such websites may contain products and services that are not authorised in your jurisdiction. Following links to any other websites or pages shall be at your own risk and we shall not be responsible or liable for any damages or in other way in connection with linking.

By using this site, you should be aware that we may disclose any information that we hold about you to any regulatory authority to which we are subject, or to any person legally empowered to require such information.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, by clicking the "I Accept" button below means you consent to the use of cookies on our website.