30 March 2021
4 mins clock icon

Suez Canal blockage cleared

The backlog of ships may take several days to clear


By Emirates NBD Research

  • The Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller said on Monday that the Fed is "a long way from raising interest rates at this point," placing him among the core of US central bank officials ready to leave support for the economy in place until a complete recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Waller said he saw no evidence at this point that US inflation expectations were rising in a concerning manner, or that bond yields or asset prices are prompting concerns over financial instability. He rebuted the idea that the central bank would keep interest rates low or add to its bond purchases in order to help the federal government finance the debts it is accumulating. Waller's comments were his first since he joined the Fed's board of governors in December.
  • The Bank of England (BoE) said British consumers cut back their borrowing at the fastest annual pace on record in February. Consumer borrowing dropped 9.9% y/y, the biggest fall since the series began in 1998, with borrowing down for a seventh consecutive month although the pace of the fall eased. The BoE data showed unsecured lending to consumers fell by GBP 1.25bn in net terms in February, having dropped by GBP 2.65 bn in January. The figures came as England's stay-at-home lockdown order ended on Monday, with the stage set for a spending-fuelled bounce-back for the economy depending on how much of the savings glut -built up mostly by higher-income households - will be spent.
  • Shipping traffic in Egypt's Suez Canal was on the move again late on Monday after a giant container ship which had been blocking the busy waterway for almost a week was refloated. At least 400 vessels are waiting to transit the canal, including dozens of container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels. Canal authorities said it could take up to three days to clear the backlog, with more than 100 ships entering the channel daily on resumption of traffic. However, one large shipping group warned the knock-on disruptions to global shipping could take weeks or months to unravel. 

Today’s Economic Data and Events

18:00 US CB Consumer Confidence (Mar) Forecast 97

Fixed income

  • The UST curve resumed its bear steepening trend on news that the Biden administration will unveil a large scale infrastructure and jobs stimulus package later this week. The total spending may reach as much as USD 3trn spread over several years. Yields on the 2yr UST were flat at 0.14% while the 10yr UST yield rose 3bps to push above 1.70% and is in reach of testing 1.75%.
  • Benchmark government bonds were broadly weaker across the board yesterday with yields rising around 3bps each in UK, German and French bond markets while JGBs have open broadly unchanged this morning. Emerging market local currency bonds saw a mixed performance. South African 10yr yields closed down 5bps at 9.419% while Indian bonds were essentially unchanged.
  • Turkey’s new central bank governor Sahap Kavcioglu told markets a rate cut wasn’t a certainty at the April meeting of the CBRT. Market expectations are that he would take a more dovish approach to rates, unwinding the hikes his predecessor had instituted. Turkish bond yields closed back up above 18% overnight, a rise of 24bps.


  • It was a choppy but narrow day of trading for most FX markets overnight. In the end the dollar managed to eke out gains of 0.2% on the DXY index, closing out at 92.944 with the Euro and Yen providing much of the gains. EURUSD fell 0.25% to 1.1765 while USDJPY rose 0.16% to push closer to 110.
  • Sterling started the day off strongly as one of the few gainers against the dollar but then gave back those gains later in the trading session and ended up down 0.2% at 1.3762. Commodity currencies recorded moderate declines with USDCAD rising 0.11%, AUDUSD down 0.05% and NZDUSD essentially flat.


  • Despite the collapse of the Archegos Capital hedge fund, US equity indices were comparatively unscathed at the close yesterday, even as some individual banking and financial services stocks took a more pronounced hit. The NASDAQ lost -0.6% but the S&P 500 closed down only 0.1% and the Dow Jones gained 0.3% on the day. Having lagged last year, a stock rotation has seen the blue chip index become the fastest growing of the tree major US indices this year, and is now up 8.4% ytd compared to the S&P’s 5.7% and the NASDAQ’s 1.3%.
  • In Europe, the FTSE 100 closed down -0.1% but on the continent, equity indices started the week on the front foot. The European composite STOXX 600 gained 0.2%, but the CAC and the DAX both ended the day 0.5% higher.
  • It was a similar story in Asia, where the Shanghai Composite gained 0.5% and the Nikkei 0.7%. In early morning trading today the Nikkei is flat at the time of writing, but the Shanghai Composite has added another 0.4%.


  • Oil prices initially sank on news that the Suez Canal had reopened, allowing free flow of tankers and container ships through the canal. However, focus now shifts to the OPEC+ meeting later this week with expectations that the producers’ bloc will either rollover their existing production cuts or potentially even deepen them further.
  • Brent futures added 0.6% to settle just shy of USD 65/b while WTI added 1% to close at USD 61.56/b. Market structures have been tentatively re-strengthening with backwardation at the front both the Brent and WTI curve widening overnight across time spreads.
  • ICE Murban futures settled at USD 63.90/b in their first day of trading. Trading volume will be the key to establishing Murban as a successful benchmark for MENA crude which could provide importers with a more accurate benchmark for grades shipped into Asia in particular.

Click here to download charts and tables


Written By


Emirates NBD Research Research Analyst

There was an error during your feedback!

Your feedback is valuable to us and will help us improve.

Emirates NBD Research

Related Articles

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay updated on the markets

There was an error during your newsletter subscription!

Please try again to stay updated with all the latest financial news and valuable insights.

Thank you for newsletter subscription!

To stay updated with all the latest financial news and valuable insights.