Marketmind: All boats rise on safe-haven, Fed view

By Jamie McGeever

(Reuters) – A look at the day ahead in Asian markets from Jamie McGeever, financial markets columnist.

Asian markets are likely to open higher on Tuesday following a curious day across world markets on Monday that saw virtually every asset class move higher despite the geopolitical tensions and uncertainty sparked by the violence in Israel and Gaza.

Safe-haven poster child gold jumped 1.6% for its best day in five months and oil posted its biggest rise in six months, while the dollar relinquished all its early gains and Wall Street recouped 1% losses to end comfortably in the green.

The rebound in risk sentiment was largely due to comments from two Fed officials that the recent rise in long-term bond yields and tightening of financial conditions mean the Fed may be done raising rates.

Dallas Fed president Lori Logan said “there may be less need to raise the fed funds rate” and Fed Vice Chair Philip Jefferson nodded to the need for the central bank to “proceed carefully” with any further increases in the policy rate.

U.S. implied rates fell across the curve, the dollar weakened, and risk assets rose. The U.S. bond market was closed on Monday for the Columbus Day holiday but futures traded, and the 10-year Treasury future posted its biggest rise since March.

Lower U.S. yields, implied rates and dollar exchange rate comprise a far more benign set of conditions for Asian and emerging markets than those initially seen on Monday following the events in Israel and Gaza over the weekend.

The MSCI Asia ex-Japan index even managed to eke out a slender gain and has now risen three days in a row, its best run in over a month.

The Asia and Pacific regional economic data and events calendar is fairly light on Tuesday, with the latest Japanese current account figures, Australian business confidence indexes and Philippines trade balance data the main highlights.

The IMF and World Bank annual meetings in Morocco kick into gear on Tuesday, with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde and many other leading global policymakers in attendance.

There are also four U.S. Fed officials scheduled to deliver speeches on Tuesday, and markets will be sensitive to whether Raphael Bostic, Christopher Waller, Neel Kashkari, and Mary Daly stick to the line given by their colleagues on Monday.

A more hawkish tone could dampen some of the market enthusiasm sparked by Lorie Logan and Philip Jefferson.

China’s beleaguered property sector, meanwhile, is under the spotlight again. Country Garden, the country’s largest private lender, may announce a restructuring plan for its offshore debt soon, local media reported on Monday, as it faced another looming debt deadline.

Here are key developments that could provide more direction to markets on Tuesday:

– IMF, World Bank meetings in Marrakech, Morocco

– Japan current account (August)

– Fed’s Bostic, Kashkari, Waller and Daly speak

(By Jamie McGeever; Editing by)