Daily Fix: Using volatility framework to assess the week ahead

19 Aug 2019
The world is prepositioning and anticipating this week’s Jackson Hole Economic Symposium, with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell due to speak 00:00 AEST on 24 Aug as the known highlight. With a 32% chance of a 50bp cut priced into the rates markets for the September FOMC, it feels on balance — that, if anything, Powell will be more hawkish than current pricing is suggesting. And it could be a USD positive affair.

As detailed on Friday, I think most were hoping to hear from Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida, as he's considered the true spokesman of the committee. The full agenda, however, hasn’t been announced. But when it’s released, you’ll see it Thursday on the Kansas City Fed website.

We’re also due to hear from Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe, who’ll close out the proceedings Sunday at 02:25 AEST. So, this opens up the prospect of AUD gapping risk on Monday — something for all AUD traders to consider.

Challenges for Monetary Policy

As discussed, the title of the conference is “Challenges for Monetary Policy.” So, with one explanation for the recent yield curve inversion, and the incredible buying taking place in the longer end of the curve being the belief that monetary policy won’t save us should we see a far more aggressive downturn, this title is incredibly relevant. The objective of the conference will, therefore, be about installing a belief that monetary can save us if we see a downturn. While most the speeches will be of an academic nature, I expect central bankers to drill home that they still have the resources to support economics.

Unprecedented policy coordination

I also want to pass over this white paper from the Blackrock Investment Institute, which now includes Stanley Fischer (former vice chair of the Fed) and Philip Hilderbrand (former chair of the Swiss National Bank). For anyone who wants to know one way we may see central bankers respond, read this white paper, which is titled “Dealing with the next downturn: from unconventional monetary policy to unprecedented policy coordination.” It’s getting a lot of attention from strategists.

It’s fitting that we hear more and more noise about a potential fiscal stimulus from the German government. While any fiscal program will take time to play out, if we marry this news flow with a dovish shift from the European Central Bank in its 12 Sept meeting, then EUR assets look incredibly interesting longer term. EURUSD on the weekly is ready to make a move. Which way? We shall see. But when this pattern breaks, then it’ll impact global markets.

Daily Fix - Aug 19, 2019 - EURUSD, weekly

"EURUSD, weekly"

There isn’t expected to be any key representation from the ECB at Jackson Hole. But EUR traders will be watching PMI data due Thursday. Any deterioration here will only build up expectations that the ECB cuts its deposit rate to -60%, and talks up renewed QE.

Weekly volatility report

I’ve updated the volatility report for options that expire Monday, thus capturing the event risk over the weekend, with the markets implied moves based on various options strategies. I explain my logic in this webinar.

Aside from classic realised volatility measures, such as the ATR and Bollinger bands (BB), which traders use effectively to assess risk and even entry points (BB), I’ve added the weekly Commitment of Traders (CoT) futures positioning (and change) from non-commercial players for key markets I look at. The implied rate path and what’s expected from select central banks for the September meeting, as well as over the coming 12 months and one-week risk reversals offer possibly the best guide on sentiment and perceived directional risk. I have percentile ranked these, which offers context into where the absolute number is in relation to its 12-month range.

Daily Fix: Using volatility framework to assess the week ahead

I like to use this as a holistic oversite at the start of the week to offer insights into expected moves, while offering insights for our risk-to-reward assessment.

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