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Take Five: Central bank trick or treat

2023-10-27 15:53
Central bankers will keep investors on alert in the coming days, with the Bank of Japan, the U.S.
Take Five: Central bank trick or treat

Central bankers will keep investors on alert in the coming days, with the Bank of Japan, the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of England all due to meet, while Apple tops the bill for earnings on both sides of the Atlantic.

Here's your week ahead in markets from Elizabeth Howcroft and Amanda Cooper in London, Kevin Buckland in Tokyo, and Lewis Krauskopf and Ira Iosebashvili in New York.


It's no secret that the Bank of Japan has a penchant for surprises, making Halloween Tuesday a fitting day for its policy announcement.

October's global bond market ructions have made the meeting very much a live one, as soaring U.S. Treasury yields helped push Japan's benchmark to decade highs every day for over a week.

While the peak of 0.885% is still below the BOJ's 1% policy ceiling, that's partly because the central bank has been leaping into the market with emergency operations about twice a week on average. Overnight index swaps offer a cleaner view of where markets put 10-year yields without BOJ interference, popping as high as 1.0863% in recent days.

Governor Kazuo Ueda has insisted the bank will take a patient approach to removing stimulus, but markets will remember his comments from late July about maintaining accommodative policy - just days before the last surprise tweak.


Apple headlines another busy week of U.S. corporate earnings, with the iPhone maker reporting on Thursday.

Shares of Apple, the largest company by market value, have helped drive equity indexes higher this year along with shares of other megacap U.S. tech and growth companies. But the stock has pulled back sharply since late July, when the S&P 500 hit its high for 2023.

Results already in from megacaps have prompted a mixed reaction, with shares of Alphabet and Tesla slumping after their respective reports.

Consumers' spending habits will also be on display with other companies set to report include McDonald's on Monday, Caterpillar and Pfizer on Tuesday, Mondelez on Wednesday, and Starbucks and Eli Lilly on Thursday.


A bruised U.S. stock market will turn its attention to the Fed monetary policy meeting on Wednesday, with investors eager to hear policymakers' views on the state of the economy and the outlook for interest rates.

Futures tied to the main policy rate show most traders don't expect the Fed to raise borrowing costs, though some believe a rate increase could come when the central bank meets again in December.

Signs that policymakers still intend to keep rates around current levels through next year could bolster bets on further upside in Treasury yields, whose climb to their highest levels in more 15 years has contributed to a sharp sell-off in the S&P500.

The index has fallen more than 10% since hitting a year-high in late-July, though is still up nearly 8% on the year.


How many policymakers does it take to set interest rates when inflation is high and the economy is flat-lining? The answer in the Bank of England's case is nine, and they will gather in committee on Nov. 2 for their penultimate meeting of 2023.

Ahead of the MPC's first meeting of 2023, inflation was running at 10.1%, GDP showed 1% year-on-year growth and interest rates were at 3.5%. Fast forward to now, and year-on-year growth has halved, rates are at 5.25% and inflation is still high at 6.7% - well above 4.3% in the euro zone and 3.7% in the United States.

The BoE, like other central banks, will want to ram home the message that rates won't fall any time soon. Right now, markets are pretty sure of at least one, if not two, cuts next year.

It could take some tough talk to shift that.


Bitcoin has had a stellar ride recently, with traders getting excited about the possibility that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission could approve an application for a spot bitcoin ETF.

Earlier this month, bitcoin jumped sharply on a false report that BlackRock's ETF application had been approved. Last week, a listing of BlackRock's planned ETF on a clearing house website sent speculators into a frenzy - even after the clearing house said this was just standard practice for pending applications rather than a sign of any regulatory approval.

Still, the cryptocurrency is trading at around half the $69,000 peak it reached in November 2021.

Meanwhile, the fraud trial of Sam Bankman-Fried, whose crypto firm FTX collapsed a year ago, is captivating crypto watchers around the globe.

(Graphics by Pasit Kongkunakornkul, Sumanta Sen and Vineet Sachdev, compiled by Karin Strohecker, editing by John Stonestreet)