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Markets Brace for More Volatility After Sell-Off Continues in Asia

Investing.com -- The dollar is edging lower early Monday in Europe but holding on to most of the gains it made during Friday’s big risk-off movement in global markets.

The weekend may have offered markets the chance to cool down and reflect on Friday’s events, but they have opened in negative mood again. Stock markets and bond yields have plummeted from Japan to Australia and Hong Kong as traders zero in on how 10-year Treasury yields fell below 3-month rates on Friday – a development that has in the past preceded a recession.

Marc Ostwald, strategist with ADM ISI in London, argued in a research note at the weekend that while recent data have been weak, the consensus numbers for most of the U.S. data expected this week “point to a mixed picture, though certainly not suggestive of recession risk, as the inversion of the U.S. …curve would appear to imply.”

Volatility among developed market currencies has remained within limits. As of 04:00 AM ET (0800 GMT), the euro was at $1.1309, down 0.1%, while the British pound was back at $1.3186, also down a shade from overnight levels.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was at 96.097, above where it was before the Federal Reserve’s policy announcements last week.

Turkey’s lira was also staging a modest bounce after its worst day since last year’s currency crisis, caused by a drop in the central bank’s foreign exchange reserves and made worse by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rebuke of Donald Trump’s call for international recognition of Israel’s control over the Golan Heights in Syria. The lira was at 5.6515 to the dollar, having fallen through 5.8300 on Friday.

The first test of sentiment of the week is due almost immediately, as Germany’s Ifo business climate index at 05:00 AM ET (09:00 GMT) will either corroborate last week’s shocking manufacturing survey from IHS Markit or give some reassurance that things are not so bad after all. The headline index is expected to tick up modestly to 98.7 from its four-year low of 98.5 in February.

Elsewhere, the pound is bracing for news of whether Prime Minister Theresa May’s EU Withdrawal Agreement will return to parliament for a third ‘meaningful vote’. It was supported over the weekend by signs of mass popular resistance to a “no-deal” Brexit, but with the deadline pushed back only as far as April 12, the time left for parliament to find an alternative course is running out quickly. U.K. press reports suggested at the weekend that May would be forced to step down by her own party this week, but these were officially denied by the ministers seen as most likely to replace her.

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