FNMA 30-YR 4.5%
Previous close 101.125
Opened down 0.15bp @ 100.969
EUR / USD 1.3708 Down 0.0062
USD / JPY 90.986 Up 0.8465
GBP / USD 1.5757 Down 0.0035
OIL 77.30 Up 0.29
Gold 1,120.80 Up 1.00
Key Economic News:
Lots going on today - housing starts, import and export prices, industrial production and capacity utilization, FOMC minutes, and the federal budget report for January...
8:30: Housing starts and permits for Jan...rebound?
A relatively unusual inversion between the levels of starts and permits for single-family construction makes it quite likely we will see a bounce in this component of starts from a depressed December reading. Starts of multifamily units should remain depressed however, and we are not looking for sustained gains in either sector given the large excess of inventory that exists.
On starts, median forecast (of 77): +4.1%, ranging from -4.9% to +25.7%; last -4.0%.
On permits, median forecast (of 48): -5.1%, ranging from -17.3% to +48%; last +10.9%.
8:30: Import/export price indexes for Jan...how much of an increase ex petroleum? In recent months, the answer to this question has been about 1/2% per month or a bit more. This is probably what most analysts have in mind for January report, with crude oil making up the difference. However, the dollar's recent upturn lays the groundwork for some moderation in nonpetroleum import prices, perhaps as soon as this report.
Median forecast (of 53): +1.0%, ranging from flat to +1.8%; last flat.
9:15: Industrial production and capacity utilization for Jan...a significant gain looks likely.
An increase in hours worked in the manufacturing sector, including an 11,000 net increase in jobs as well as longer workweeks, points to a significant increase in manufacturing ouput for January. The overall index may rise a bit less as the effects of weather remain roughly unchanged. While weather was unusually cold in January, it was in December as well, so the utility index for that month was already up substantially.
On production, median forecast (of 78): +0.7%, ranging from +0.3% to +1.4%; last +0.6%.
On capacity utilization, median forecast (of 63): 72.6%, ranging from 72.2% to 73.0%; last 72.0%.
14:00: Minutes to the Jan 26/27 FOMC meeting...five questions.
We'll be looking for answers to these questions: (1) how much support did Kansas City President Thomas Hoenig have in his dissent against keeping the interest-rate commitment language? (2) How extense was the discussion about raising the discount rate, and will it shed light on when this might happen? (3) How general is the concern within the committee about the large volume ($1.1trn) of excess reserves? In particular, is there significant sentiment for grinding down these reserves before raising interest rates? (4) How much has the committee upgraded its forecast for real GDP growth in 2010, if at all, and has its concern about inflation changed much?..and..(5) How much do they attribute the drop in bank lending to demand vs supply in light evidence in the latest survey of bank lending officers, prepared for this meeting, that says that banks have stopped tightening lending standards?
14:00: The US budget balance for Jan...the apparent improvement is illusory.
According to estimates prepared by the Congressional Budget Office(CBO), the budget gap narrowed by about $17bn in January relative to its January 2009 results. However, this improvement is due to shifts in the calendar; abstracting from those, the agency estimates a $33bn underlying deterioration.
Median forecast (of 33): -$46bn, ranging from -$94.8bn to -$43bn; last (Jan 2009): -$63.5bn.
Starts better than they look thanks to upward revisions, but hardly strong in absolute terms. Import prices surge, mostly due to crude oil, but other prices still on 6%-7% annualized uptrend.
Housing starts +2.8% in Jan (mom, +21.1% yoy) vs median forecast +4.1%.
Housing permits -4.9% in Jan (mom, +16.9% yoy) vs median forecast -5.1%.
Import prices +1.4% in Jan (mom, +11.5% yoy) vs median forecast +1.0%.
My position on MBS stays short today.
Expert Commentary by Neil Trenerry