Date: 20 Apr 2020
The pound is down versus other major currencies at the start of the European session on Monday. Sterling’s losses to the euro and the dollar, of 0.35% and 0.25% respectively, come at a time of heightened political tension in the UK as the government is accused of failing to prepare an adequate response to the coronavirus crisis, with the spotlight pointing at Boris Johnson. Michael Gove, one of the highest profile cabinet members, confirmed the Prime Minister failed to attend five emergency meetings in the run-up to the acute phase of the pandemic. Also worrying investors is the fact that, unlike several other countries, the UK authorities haven’t given any indication of having a lockdown exit strategy at a time when the burden of the country’s economic paralysis starts to weigh heavily on market sentiment.
Ricardo Evangelista – Senior Analyst, ActivTrades
This is a crucial week for European bond markets, with the EU called upon to find a solution for a recovery fund as well as other solutions to help countries endure this acute economic crisis caused by the coronavirus. Overall there is uncertainty about bonds markets with the potential for the number of companies struggling to repay their debts to grow sharply over the next few months.
A cash crisis in some sectors, such as airlines and restaurants, is almost inevitable due to the lack of income in March and April and it will be crucial to see if there are any effects on bond markets as a result. Investors will be more cautious before lending money to the companies in the worst affected sectors.
These extreme times present a scenario in which on the one hand central banks are injecting liquidity to markets, while on the other hand, the increased risk to lending would normally see interest rates rise. So far investors have kept their faith in central banks, both in the EU and in the US, but it will be crucial that markets retain their confidence in the next few weeks.
Carlo Alberto De Casa – Chief analyst, ActivTrades
The oil war combined with the devastating effect of the coronavirus-induced lockdown on economies has triggered a dramatic fall in the price of oil with WTI plunging to its lowest level in more than 20 years with the May contract sinking below $15. On top of that, there is a wide contango across contracts, demonstrating both the huge oversupply currently as well expectations that some of this surplus will reduce in coming months as the producers’ cuts start to take effect and the peak of the global lockdown passes.
This huge contango and wide difference between the prices of various futures contracts are making it very complicated to put long-term trading strategies together as it remains expensive to keep positions open for any length of time, due to the enormous contango effect.
Carlo Alberto De Casa – Chief analyst, ActivTrades
Stocks opened mixed in Europe on Monday with most benchmarks little changed as the trading stance remains uncertain for the beginning of the week. There were no important announcements or developments to disturb market sentiment this weekend and with no significant economic data release today, there is a high chance investors will keep their focus on both corporate results as well as on any sign of improvement in the struggle against the pandemic. Market participants were happy to notice fewer daily deaths in New York, Italy, Spain and the UK even though we aren’t out of the woods yet. Despite those reassuring numbers coming from the most impacted areas, there is still a lingering fear that economies may reopen too hastily. Investors will then pay close attention to how the situation is going to evolve in the next few days in Germany after the country reopens stores today, a first step to the end of the virus crisis and a real experiment for other nations, especially in Europe. On the corporate side, most investors will be waiting for quarterly results from companies like IBM, Vivendi and Virbac in order to have a clearer idea on how business has been impacted so far.
The Euro Stoxx-50 Index is trading sideways while the German DAX-30 is the eurozone’s best performer. The market is still trading above 10,650pts, its first available support before 10,620pts, but has slowed down since testing the 10,775pts level. A break-out of its first support could quickly lead prices lower, towards 10,620pts and 10,545pts by extension, where a wide gap of more than 200pts remains open.
Pierre Veyret– Technical analyst, ActivTrades
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