Trade winds chill German economy

October 8, 2015

More bad news for the German economy as exports fell in August by the largest amount since the height of the global financial crisis in 2009. That comes after sharp declines in industrial orders and output in August that already signalled the fact that weak demand from abroad, particularly China, could be leaving its mark on the euro zone’s top economy. And this of course does not factor in any future damage to the image of German manufacturing from the VW emissions scandal.

Discussions on Russian air strikes in Syria will likely dominate a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels. The alliance’s chief is already out saying it would send troops to Turkey to defend its ally after Russian violations of its airspace. In reality, its options are limited given the desire not to escalate a conflict that has the makings of a proxy war. In Afghanistan, the failure of local troops to contain Taliban fighters adopting new tactics such as hit-and-run attacks on motorbikes is leading some to say the alliance will be there for longer than Washington in particular wants.

Justice and home affairs ministers from EU nations meeting in Luxembourg will agree to step up deportations of illegal immigrants among the hundreds of thousands who have failed to win asylum in the migrant influx of recent weeks. Talks will cover the mechanics of relocating asylum seekers from Italy and Greece and the EU-staffed so-called “hotspots” that are being set up to identify and process migrants.


MARKETS (at 0645 GMT)

Returning from its Golden Week break, Shanghai’s catch-up with this week’s world rally was distinctly underwhelming – with gains of about 3 percent earlier almost routine against the backdrop this week’s apparent return to risk. The fizz also seemed to come out of the rest of Asia bourses with Tokyo, HK and Bangkok falling again and only modest additional gains in KL and Jakarta. Seoul outperformed.

Brent’s bounce also stalled and it skulked back below $52 after the EIA numbers yesterday. Copper is off again today too. Wall St did push ahead to three week highs last night on a biotech recovery, however, so sentiment remains reasonably buoyant as the ViX ebbs further below 20 percent. Research notes include Morgan Stanley’s take on China’s economy – it reckons the steep slowdown there that began in the first quarter of this year is stabilizing.

Back in Europe, it’s been an awful few weeks for corporate Germany. Deutsche Bank stock is expected to drop about 10 percent profit warning late last night said it was bracing for a Q3 pre-tax loss of 6 billion euros and scrapping its dividend. Alongside the VW shock, the incoming macro data for August is also starting to alarm with the big drop in industrial output recorded yesterday and plunge in German exports and imports recorded this morning. The fall in the trade surplus may cut Q3 GDP estimates too. Eurostocks overall are called to open flat to a touch higher.

German bund and US Treasury yields are slightly lower and euro/dollar is flat about $1.1250. Half an eye on the Bank of England decision later today, but little chance of anything new from Threadneedle St. A torrent of Fedspeak follows in US hours, with the minutes of the crucial September FOMC meeting also out. Alcoa’s Q3 is also out as the earnings season cranks up.

Emerging stocks slipped off 1-1/2 month highs on Thursday and currencies eased after recent strong gains as investors booked profits off a six-day streak of gains before the release of minutes of the last Fed meeting. Chinese stocks bucked the generally weaker trend, with a 3 percent jump, catching up after a week-long holiday while the yuan was also fixed a touch firmer.

Russian rouble is down 1.5 percent despite an oil price bounce; Gazprom could issue a euro-denominated bond today after finishing a roadshow on Wednesday. Checking on Ghana’s new Eurobond price which was issued yesterday with a 10.75 percent yield. The lira and rand could be impacted by manufacturing data while the expectations of another negative inflation print in Hungary is pressuring the forint.

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