Get 40% Off
💰 Buffett reveals a $6.7B stake in Chubb. Copy the full portfolio for FREE with InvestingPro’s Stock Ideas toolCopy Portfolio

Asia Session: Equities Ex-China Jump Post U.S. Futures Rally

Published 04/13/2022, 02:02 AM
EUR/USD
-
GBP/USD
-
USD/JPY
-
NZD/USD
-
XAU/USD
-
USD/INR
-
US500
-
DJI
-
AXJO
-
JP225
-
HK50
-
USD/KRW
-
USD/CNY
-
USD/PHP
-
USD/TWD
-
DX
-
GC
-
LCO
-
CL
-
1YMM24
-
AORD
-
IXIC
-
JKSE
-
KLSE
-
KS11
-
SETI
-
TWII
-
SSEC
-
PSI
-
CSI300
-
MSCISG
-
USD/CNH
-
BTC/USD
-
US2US10=RR
-
USTECH
-
US500
-

Equity markets ex-China were rallying today as US equity futures jumped in Asian trading. Overnight, US inflation hit multi-decade highs, with YoY inflation printing at 8.50%, while core inflation rose by 6.50% YoY.

But the perpetually bullish FOMO gnomes of the equity market, desperately searching for more drinks to keep the party alive, found it in the core inflation MoM data for March. Core Inflation undershot forecasts, rising 0.30% versus 0.50% expected.

That was all equity markets needed, using the singular data point to price in peak inflation in the US. Equity markets staged an impressive intraday rally and US yields eased somewhat at the long end.

However, Federal Reserve President Lael Brainard, the dove who released the hawks last week, appeared on the wires still brandishing her talons vis-à-vis US monetary policy. That stopped the rally in its tracks, sending Wall Street to a slightly negative close.

Of course, it was not just the US that has been grappling with inflation. India's inflation rose back to early pandemic highs, climbing to 6.95% YoY for March, while Industrial Production flatlined, growing at just 1.70% YoY for February. The Indian rupee only eased slightly yesterday though, and you could put that down to a strong US dollar overnight.

This morning, my embarrassingly incompetent central bank, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, delivered a hawkishly dovish rate hike. As predicted (even I get lucky sometimes), the RBNZ lifted its policy rate by 0.50% to 1.50%, versus market expectations of a 0.25% rise.

3rd party Ad. Not an offer or recommendation by Investing.com. See disclosure here or remove ads .

The RBNZ noted that it was going to bring forward monetary normalization to combat inflation. But tellingly, it left its terminal policy forecasts for 2022 and 2023 unchanged. So, it intends to check-in at the airport five hours ahead of departure, instead of 2 hours before departure.

NZD/USD leapt 0.50% as the decision was announced, but has since sunk all the way back to down 0.10% on the day at 0.6845.

New Zealand remains my most likely country behind Russia to experience an economic hard landing this year. Sri Lanka and Pakistan have already got there. For my fellow Kiwi readers, I summarize the state of New Zealand thus.

“The RBNZ and Government have commandeered and not consolidated the economy, I smell a RAT.”

So, what could we take away from all of the above? It appeared that the market was swinging quickly to try and price “peak inflation.” The assumption was that the yield curves in places such as the United States, Britain, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand have already moved higher to such an extent, that their respective central banks were now just “filling in the gaps.”

Markets, after all, are forward-looking and in their wisdom have already pre-empted inflation and the central banks’ responses.

Naturally, “peak inflation” should be a reason to pile back into equities, especially as with the microbial attention span of people these days thanks to our smartphones, we were already seeing Ukraine fatigue/complacency setting in.

However, it just isn’t that simple. In no particular order, the environment for equities remains challenging. President Putin said Ukraine negotiations were a dead end. Both sides were preparing for round two of the war, this time to be fought in open tank country.

3rd party Ad. Not an offer or recommendation by Investing.com. See disclosure here or remove ads .

Russian oil production has fallen below 10 million barrels per day and OPEC was showing zero signs of moving to fill the gap. Only a return by Iran and Venezuela could do that.

China’s COVID -zero policy has been a looming threat to world growth. Ostensibly deflationary, severe disruption to China's production lines and port exports will be inflationary, not deflationary. Then there's the slow-moving train wreck of China’s property sector.

An impending US earnings season could highlight reduced earnings outlooks for many heavyweights.

Notably, the US dollar kept rising overnight and US yields had not given back any meaningful recent gains. Oil prices were rising again, and Bitcoin was showing no signs of rallying.

The story appeared to be an equity market one, with other asset classes far more cautious. Perhaps the most cautionary note was gold, which rallied to multi-week highs this week, despite a much stronger US dollar and US yields. Either the gold market was walking into a bull trap—entirely plausible—or it was telling us something equity markets were ignoring.

The bottom line was that one monthly data point from the US does not a turning point make. Certainly, Chinese equities don’t think so.

On the subject of China, its March trade Balance was released. The headline number in US dollar terms shot higher to $47.38 billion versus $22.4 bio expected. The headline flattered a worrying set of data, though.

Exports outperformed, rising by 14.70% in March. However, imports, instead of rising by 8.0%, flat-lined to -0.10%. Slumping imports will make the noise around slowing China growth intensity and its ramifications will shake nerves in the rest of Asia.

3rd party Ad. Not an offer or recommendation by Investing.com. See disclosure here or remove ads .

The data showed that demand internationally for China products remained as robust as ever and mass COVID-zero shutdowns will lead to higher pricing pressures around the world. None of this trade data made particularly good reading for anyone today.

The United Kingdom releases a swath of inflation, core inflation, RPI and PPI data today. There are upside risks to all of it and higher than expected numbers will increase the pressure on the Bank of England to accelerate tightening.

That may save the sterling from an ominous technical break of support at 1.3000 on a closing basis. The US PPI will be of passing interest if it slightly undershoots MoM. That may give more ammunition to the equity bulls.

The Bank of Canada is expected to announce a 0.50% rate hike this evening as it plays catchup. Finally, given the oil rally overnight, tonight’s official US Crude Inventories should be good for volatility, especially if they retreat sharply.

Ex-China equities rally sharply in Asia

Equity markets ex-China, in Asia, had a positive session, helped by US index futures booking strong gains today after Lael Brainard torpedoed the “peak inflation” rally on Wall Street overnight.

Overnight, The S&P 500 finished 0.34% lower, the NASDAQ lost 0.30%, and the Dow Jones fell by 0.26%. Futures in Asia found their highs in inflation mojo once again, though. S&P 500 and Dow Jones futures rallied by 0.50%, while NASDAQ futures jumped by 0.75%.

That boosted Asian markets with Japan’s Nikkei 225 leaping 1.60% higher, and South Korea’s KOSPI adding 1.40%. Taipei recorded an impressive 1.75% gain, with Singapore rising by 0.65%, Jakarta by 0.35%, and Kuala Lumpur by 0.25%. Bangkok was closed, with Manilla gaining 0.25%. Australia followed US futures higher, helped by higher overnight oil prices. The All Ordinaries rose by 0.50%, with the ASX 200 gaining 0.35%.

3rd party Ad. Not an offer or recommendation by Investing.com. See disclosure here or remove ads .

China markets continued to be heavy despite government officials encouraging institutional investors to buy dips yesterday. That lead to a sharp rally by onshore equities yesterday. Today, COVID-zero nerves returned as cases in Shanghai stayed stubbornly high.

As I alluded to yesterday, the small print of the easing of Shanghai restrictions contained plenty of poison pills. Flat-lining imports in today’s trade data will not alleviate concerns over domestic consumption. The Shanghai Composite fell 0.45%, with the CSI 300 down 0.50%. Hong Kong limped to a 0.30% gain this morning.

President Putin’s comments about a dead-end in Ukraine negotiations and hints that he was comfortable with a drawn-out “special operation” will not sit well with European markets today. Nor will the overnight rebound in energy prices. Concerns of more hawkish guidance from tomorrow's ECB policy meeting will also temper sentiment today.

US dollar rally accelerates overnight

In contrast with the exuberance of equity markets, the US dollar rally accelerated overnight, with dollar index gains led by weakness in the euro and sterling. The dollar index ignored the softer monthly core-inflation print, rallying an impressive 0.34% to 100.33, where it remained in Asia. A test of 100.50 and then 101.00 seemed imminent and the dollar index remained in a technical uptrend as long as support at 99.35 held.

EUR/USD slumped 0.50% to 1.0827 overnight, as negative comments around Ukraine by President Putin, and an impending ECB policy meeting tomorrow, weighed on the single currency.

EUR/USD remained uncomfortably near to the multi-year support line at 1.0800. Failure signaled more losses to 1.0600 and 1.0300 initially, and possibly back to parity. Resistance was at 1.0950 and 1.1200, with longer-term resistance at 1.1300. Rising oil prices, Ukraine risks and/or an ECB moving to a hawkish stance all threatened more downside pressure.

3rd party Ad. Not an offer or recommendation by Investing.com. See disclosure here or remove ads .

Sterling tested support at 1.3000 once again overnight but this time, only managed to close on support at 1,3000. Positive UK data may give sterling a temporary respite, but a daily close under 1.3000 signals another round of losses targeting 1.2850 and 1.2700.

With US yields edging lower overnight, USD/JPY remained steady at 125.40 before resuming its climb in Asia today, rising to 125.65. USD/JPY was just below its multi-year highs at 125.80 and despite some more official noise from Tokyo today, looked poised to break through it this week.

That will set the scene for a test of the May 2002 highs at 128.90. Any drop to 124.00 and 123.50 should find plenty of keen dip buyers. Only a sharp fall in US yields changes the bullish outlook.

Asian currencies held steady overnight, and rallied with equity markets this morning, continuing a pattern of choppy short-term range trading. A gentle move lower by US yields overnight proved slightly supportive.

USD/KRW, USD/PHP, USD/INR, and USD/TWD were down around 0.20% today. Weak China imports will temper any gains with onshore USD/CNY, and offshore USD/CNH holding steady at 6.3660 and 6.3750.

Interestingly, both USD/CNY and USD/CNH were approaching one-year trendline resistance levels, today at 6.3775 and 6.3960, respectively. Daily closes above would signal another leg of yuan weakness.

Oil prices rally overnight

Oil prices rallied sharply overnight as OPEC rebuffed increasing production above already agreed amounts, and Russian oil production fell below 10 mio barrels per day. Putin’s Ukraine negotiation dead-end comments also dampened hopes that a negotiated settlement could relieve tight energy markets.

3rd party Ad. Not an offer or recommendation by Investing.com. See disclosure here or remove ads .

Brent crude rallied 5.55% higher to $104.85, and WTI leapt 6.105 higher to 101.00 a barrel. In Asia, oil prices were almost unchanged after China imports slumped today. Asian buyers, having been able to pick and choose dips to buy into over the past week, seemed reluctant to chase prices at these levels. That implied plenty of interest will be around to buy on any dips.

With the latest scheduled OPEC+ increase, and US and IEA SPR releases out there and priced in, it seemed that China continued to drive the bearish price action. That impact may be waning now as OPEC refused to increase production, and the situation in Eastern Europe continued to darken.

Brent and WTI had fallen to the bottom of my ranges, but I expected Brent to remain in a choppy $100.00 to $120.00 range, with WTI in a $95.00 to $115.00 range. Brent crude had further support at $96.00, and WTI at $93.00 a barrel.

Gold charges higher overnight

Despite a much stronger US dollar, and US yields holding steady, gold prices charged higher once again overnight. Gold rose 0.63% to $1866.50 an ounce, gaining another 0.26% to $1971.60 in Asia today.

I will admit to scratching my head about the longevity of the gold rally at this stage. Either the gold bugs were walking into a huge bull trap that will end in tears, or the gold market was telling us the inflation and geopolitical risks were much higher than we were seeing in the headlines. I knew which side my money is on, but one must respect the upward momentum until it turns.

3rd party Ad. Not an offer or recommendation by Investing.com. See disclosure here or remove ads .

Gold had initial resistance at $1980.00, the overnight high. After that, a test of $2000.00 was entirely possible, although I believe option-related selling there will be a strong initial barrier. If that was cleared, gold could gap higher to $2020.00 an ounce quite quickly.

A retreat through $1940.00 will signal a whipsaw move lower, chopping out the short-term money. Failure of $1915.00 will signal a retest of important support at $1880.00 and possibly $1800.00 an ounce. I can honestly say I don’t know which scenario would be the winner at this moment.

Original Post

Latest comments

Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.
© 2007-2024 - Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.