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Respite for commodities as dollar wilts

Oil prices steadied at $50 a barrel after a 5 percent drop and badly bruised commodity and Chinese markets were calmer generally on Tuesday, as investors attempted to shake off the recent turbulence.
European stocks <0#.INDEXE> reversed some of the previous day’s gains and safe-haven Germangovernment bonds were in demand as the region opened, but there was some respite for commodities and their related currency and share markets.
Brent oil , which has slumped more than 20 percent over the last month, was up almost 1 percent. Copper , seen as a bellwether of global growth, nudged off a six-year low and Chinese stocks <.CSI300><.SSEC> bounced 3 percent.
The dollar also helped relieve the pressure, with it pegged back by another bout of weak U.S. data on Monday. Raw material reliant Canadian and Australian dollars both got lifts, alongside Russia’s rouble and other emerging FX.
The Aussie dollar was by far the biggest mover. It rose 1.25 percent to an almost two-week high of $0.7375 after a major change in tone from its central bank that suggested it was now more satisfied with the currency level.
“You have had a key shift from the RBA that they don’t need to intervene as strongly, so that has triggered a considerable Aussie bounce,” said John Hardy, head of FX strategy at Saxo Bank.
“And the (U.S.) dollar view is just flat and we are just waiting for payrolls on Friday. We have had a relatively hawkish set-up from Yellen and co (that interest rates may go up next month) but the rates market just doesn’t believe it.”
The dollar edged down about 0.1 percent on the day against its Japanese counterpart to 123.90 yen , while the euro was slightly higher at $1.0958 .
European stock markets lost ground, with French bank Credit Agricole and German carmaker BMW among the worst performers after reporting disappointing results and as the recent drop in oil prices weighed on energy stocks.
Shares in Greece, which had slumped 16 percent on Monday after re-opening following a five-week shutdown, also added to weak mood as they fell a further 4 percent.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> had turned positive and extended gains late in the session as China shares rose while Japan’s Nikkei stock index <.N225> kept losses to 0.14 percent.
The Shanghai Composite Index <.SSEC> ended more than 3.5 percent higher and the CSI300 index <.CSI300> added 3.1 percent in a third day of gains.
Beijing has taken a raft of steps to support Chinese share markets after they lost more than 30 percent of their value since peaking in June, but investors are still cautious.
“The market is still very volatile … investors are likely to be quiet and see what the next step of the government will be,” said Patrick Yiu, a director of CASH Asset Management in Hong Kong.
“The overall market momentum is not likely to pick up anytime soon and the economy in China is still very weak,” Yiu said.
Fears of disinflation stemming from the rout in oil prices has led investors to pare bets that the U.S. Fed’s long-awaited interest rate hike will come as early as September.
There is durable goods and factory data out later but Friday’s employment data is shaping up to be key for markets. They are expected to show the U.S. economy created 225,000 new jobs in July, according to economists polled by Reuters. The unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 5.3 percent.
“If we get some certainty about the strength of the U.S. economy and the likelihood of policy normalization by the Fed, and if a rate hike seems justifiable, that is positive for sentiment… because a lot of people have been bracing for this,” said Stefan Worrall, director of cash equities at Credit Suisse.

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