South Korea lifts its ban on short-selling after 14 months

Short selling has been banned in South Korea since March 2020

  • It was banned in an effort to reduce market volatility during the pandemic and recovery
Seoul’s Financial Services Commission said on Sunday that the ban on short selling on two-hundred large-cap firms listed on the benchmark KOSPI will be lifted.
  • also applies to 150 firms listed on the secondary-KOSDAQ
Info via SK media, link

Lagarde: There is no need to overreact to euro gains

Comments from Lagarde in the ECB opening statement:

Lagarde Sept 10
  • Says ECB will monitor FX rate
  • Strength of recovery remains surrounded by uncertainty
  • Rebound broadly in line with previous expectations
  • Domestic demand recorded significant recovery
  • Uncertainty weighing on consumer spending and business investment
  • Inflation dampened by energy prices
  • Ample monetary stimulus remains necessary
  • Incoming data suggest notable recovery in consumption
  • ECB will carefully assess the euro’s effect on inflation
  • New infections are a headwind to the short term outlook
  • Repeats that an ample degree of easing needed
  • Fiscal measures should be targeted and temporary
The euro jumped to 1.1891 from 1.1850 on the headline from Lagarde.

Sunday Times reports the UK “plans for a £30bn tax raid on the wealthy”

Monday 31 August 2020 is a holiday in the UK, a good time for getting this sort of bad news dribbling out.

UK press with the report,
  • Chancellor Rishi Sunak has his Treasury officials drawing up plans for a £30bn tax raid on the wealthy, businesses, pensions and foreign aid
  • proposals would be part of the budget in November
  • planning to raise capital gains tax
  • and corporation tax (from 19% to 24%)

UK Times link is here (may be gated).

ps. Reuters report here is ungated

Monday 31 August 2020 is a holiday in the UK, a good time for getting this sort of bad news dribbling out.

The full statement of the FOMC rate decision for July 2020

FOMC Rate statement for July 2020

The Federal Reserve is committed to using its full range of tools to support the U.S. economy in this challenging time, thereby promoting its maximum employment and price stability goals.

The coronavirus outbreak is causing tremendous human and economic hardship across the United States and around the world. Following sharp declines, economic activity and employment have picked up somewhat in recent months but remain well below their levels at the beginning of the year. Weaker demand and significantly lower oil prices are holding down consumer price inflation. Overall financial conditions have improved in recent months, in part reflecting policy measures to support the economy and the flow of credit to U.S. households and businesses.

The path of the economy will depend significantly on the course of the virus. The ongoing public health crisis will weigh heavily on economic activity, employment, and inflation in the near term, and poses considerable risks to the economic outlook over the medium term. In light of these developments, the Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent. The Committee expects to maintain this target range until it is confident that the economy has weathered recent events and is on track to achieve its maximum employment and price stability goals.

The Committee will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook, including information related to public health, as well as global developments and muted inflation pressures, and will use its tools and act as appropriate to support the economy. In determining the timing and size of future adjustments to the stance of monetary policy, the Committee will assess realized and expected economic conditions relative to its maximum employment objective and its symmetric 2 percent inflation objective. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments.

To support the flow of credit to households and businesses, over coming months the Federal Reserve will increase its holdings of Treasury securities and agency residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities at least at the current pace to sustain smooth market functioning, thereby fostering effective transmission of monetary policy to broader financial conditions. In addition, the Open Market Desk will continue to offer large-scale overnight and term repurchase agreement operations. The Committee will closely monitor developments and is prepared to adjust its plans as appropriate.

Voting for the monetary policy action were Jerome H. Powell, Chair; John C. Williams, Vice Chair; Michelle W. Bowman; Lael Brainard; Richard H. Clarida; Patrick Harker; Robert S. Kaplan; Neel Kashkari; Loretta J. Mester; and Randal K. Quarles.

Implementation Note issued July 29, 2020

Japan PM Abe: Current situation does not call for state of emergency declaration

Comments by Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe

  • Coronavirus cases are rising, government is watching closely
It is clear that the virus situation across the country is not getting any better as the curve is steepening as the days go by. Japan reported a single day record of 980 new virus cases yesterday, with infections also picking up outside of Tokyo.
Osaka is reported to find 149 new cases today and that would be the daily record for the prefecture, with Tokyo having found another 260 new cases as reported earlier.
As much as the government insists that things are “under control”, you have to wonder where will they draw the line and say that they have made a mess of the situation.
Eventually, the fear of the virus spread in itself will take a toll on the economy – as much as the government wants to keep business activity running for as long as they can afford to. Unfortunately, that comes at the costs of people’s health and well being, and at worst lives.

AstraZeneca and Gilead Science to merge?

How likely is deal?

How likely is deal? 
Bloomberg reported that AstraZeneca contacted Gilead last month about a potential $232 bln pharma powerhouse merger. According to Jefferie analysts the merger is unlikely:

While Gilead may look cheap with its price-to-earnings ratio of 12 times and AstraZeneca may be attracted by the potential cost-cutting and decent free cashflow, Jefferies analysts said they do not view a deal as likely. “We think Gilead believes its HIV business is very underappreciated,” they said in a note, adding that the company “would prefer to build value over time and do its own tuck-in deals

US weekly oil inventories -4985K vs +2150K expected

Weekly US petroleum inventory data:

  • Prior was -745K
  • Cushing -5587K
  • Gasoline +2830K
  • Distillates +3832K
  • Production estimate 11.5 mbpd vs 11.6 mbpd
API data from yesterday:

  • Crude -4800K
  • Cushing -5000K
  • Gasoline -651K
  • Distillates +5100K

Nikkei 225 closes lower by 1.72% at 22,977.75

The Nikkei falls back below the 23,000 mark

Nikkei 30-01

Fears surrounding the coronavirus outbreak continue to reverberate across markets and risk trades are largely suffering as a result. The fact that Facebook earnings wasn’t good enough – slower growth and profits guidance – only adds oil to the risk-off fire today.

US futures are down by 0.5% while Treasury yields are marked lower across the board following a sharp drop yesterday. 10-year yields are now at 1.568%, down by 1.5 bps.
As a result of the softer risk mood, USD/JPY is sitting around 108.92 currently – with focus turning to the 100-day moving average @ 108.75 once again.

The major US indices snap their two-day slide

Major indices close higher on the day

The major US indices not there today slide and are closing near the days highs in the process. Chair Powell’s view that it would take significant and persistent inflation before the next Fed hike, gave traders the green light to take stock higher.  Ahead, however, will be the US China tariffs scheduled to be hiked on December 15. That along with the UK election on the next key events for not only the US stock market but global stocks.
The final numbers are showing:
  • S&P index, +9.09 points or 0.29% at 3141.61. The high reached 3143.98. The low extended to 3133.21
  • NASDAQ index rose and 37.867 points or 0.44% at 8654.05. The high reached 8658.48. The low fell to 8622.355
  • The Dow rose 29.37 points or 0.11% to 27911.09. The hi reached 27925.50. The low extended to 27801.80

China’s Global Times on trade talks with the US – says there “isn’t a quick fix for this prolonged conflict”

A piece in the Global times, an interview with Hans-Paul Bürkner, chairman of Boston Consulting Group (BCG)

The headline to this post is an editorial opinion from the GT editor, but it fits with the theme of the interview.
  • The situation between China and the US involves more conflict than the world has seen before, but eventually we’ll resolve it because this is the best way for both. 
  • There will be a trade deal. There will be one deal after another, and one issue after another will be resolved but it can take a lot of time.
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