Tapas Strickland

Tapas Strickland

“Tapas is an Economist within Global Markets Research at the National Australia Bank (NAB). ”

Tapas joined NAB after having spent 6 years at the Reserve Bank of Australia. He writes for the Bank on the economy and on financial markets. At the Reserve Bank of Australia he held positions in domestic analysis and in international financial markets. He also worked as an economic adviser to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, advising the Gillard, Rudd and Abbott governments


Have markets broken up with the Trump trade? Today will be a key test of this hypothesis with the US Congress voting today on a key healthcare reform bill which is seen as a crucial test of the relationship between the White House and Congress.

What was meant to be a quiet night ahead of key risk events (US FOMC and Dutch elections today) turned out to be rather more exciting.

Markets continue to tread water ahead of the more important risk events later this week – the ECB meeting Thursday and US Payrolls Friday. There was little in the way of significant movement in bonds or currencies, while equities were a touch lower after having had hit fresh highs last week.

Astute readers (and listeners to our early morning podcast) will note Empire of the Sun’s Walking on a dream was one of our first song titles for 2017. That title was prompted by a lack of detail around Trump’s policies ahead of inauguration day which led markets to ask “is it real”?

Strong European data failed to excite markets – the exception being equities – as the upcoming French Presidential elections take centre stage. Betting markets now ascribe Eurosceptic Le Pen a 34.2% chance of winning, while a poll by Elable for L’Express magazine overnight puts her within striking distance in a run-off with Fillion with 44% of the vote – inspiration for today’s title “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi.

My colleague Rodrigo Catril warned yesterday of the possibility of a US Fed March rate hike – what he termed the Ides of March. That argument gained further currency overnight with the US CPI and core‑Retail Sales printing double the market consensus.

The Trump-trade was reignited overnight on the back of the President flagging an impending “phenomenal” tax announcement.

The major event overnight was the US FOMC meeting where rates were left on hold as expected. There were very few changes to the post meeting statement with the Fed playing a straight bat. Markets were somewhat disappointed with Treasury yields and the US dollar reversing earlier gains that had occurred following stronger than expected US economic data.

Today’s 1994 classic Hot Potato by The Wiggles is likely to be seared into the memory banks of parents and children alike – likewise for your scribe. A staple the humble spud may be, but possibly an expensive one in the 4th quarter according to our economists.

Apartment construction which has risen strongly over the past few years was reported by the Statistician to have declined in the September quarter.

Markets continue to digest Yellen’s speech yesterday which was seen as mildly more hawkish and positive US economic data overnight played into that view. The ECB also met last night with Draghi coming off as slightly dovish, playing down the recent uptick in inflation and remaining committed to the asset purchase program.

Against flatter job advertisements of late, job vacancies have been trending higher. Higher job vacancies are usually associated with a lower unemployment rate and greater employment growth

Walking on a Dream was the inaugural 2008 hit song by Aussie electropop outfit Empire of the Sun. That seems an apt description of how markets have been since the election of Trump with a dream run for equities and the US dollar all premised on the idea of a Trump fiscal stimulus boosting growth and inflation. Now with inauguration just a week away (20 Jan), markets are asking “is it real”?

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