Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
Last Call for Cyber Monday! Save Now on Claim 60% OFF

Asia Session: It's Just Another Manic Monday

By MarketPulse (Jeffrey Halley)Market OverviewApr 25, 2022 02:02AM ET
Asia Session: It's Just Another Manic Monday
By MarketPulse (Jeffrey Halley)   |  Apr 25, 2022 02:02AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio

It's not often that you associate The Bangles with prescient outlooks on global markets (no disrespect intended Ladies), but as I look across the landscape of the great game in Asia today, the song is humming through my head.

The second line of the chorus is even more poignant. “I wish it was Sunday.” I have a feeling there are many investors feeling the same way.

Asia was always going to start the week on the back foot after a grim Friday session for US equities. Stock markets took fright at hawkish comments from Jerome Powell and fears of higher rates saw equities routed, even though US yields did not really move that much.

The US Dollar Index surged through 1.0100 and the higher rate, lower growth trade pushed oil down.

Today, China fears are adding to the downside momentum for Asian markets. China has tightened parts of the Shanghai lockdown, including erecting fences around apartment buildings with COVID-19 infected individuals.

Meanwhile, residents of the Chaoyang district of Beijing will have to submit to three days of testing to get on top of the Omicron outbreak there, with parts of it “sealed” or “controlled,” to paraphrase Bloomberg’s story this morning.

Although some parts of China have been under restrictions longer than Shanghai, Omicron’s arrival in Beijing would be an ominous development.

It is important to remember that although market darlings like Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and Foxconn Technology (TW:2354) are operating normally in China under a “closed-loop,” and China is vigorously playing whack-a-mole across the country to enforce the COVID-zero policy, Omicron only has to get lucky once, while those manning the ramparts have to get lucky 100% of the time. Just ask any other previously COVID-zero country.

The difference here is that China is the world’s second-largest economy and has shown no signs it intends to live with the virus. It would be a brave man that bets on President Xi Jinping backtracking on anything he says he is going to do, or on the government in general.

With that in mind, the likely pressure valve is going to be disruption to China’s export machine, and a cratering of consumer confidence.

All of that points to lower growth and it is no surprise that the offshore yuan is getting punished, Asia FX is weaker, and Asian equities are taking fright at a US rate hike, slow China growth pincer move. Probably the only bright spot, ex-China, is that oil prices are also being beaten down as well.

I am not a great fan of blackouts, but I do see the opportunity for some relief rallies in the days ahead by equity markets. That is because the Federal Reserve has headed into its pre-May-FOMC news blackout.

That means we do not get any Fed talking heads on the wires with their hawkish talons out on the wires until after the FOMC meeting in early May.

That does not mean markets are out of the woods though. US New Home Sales tomorrow, and GDP prints from Germany, France and the United States on Thursday have downside risks, as does Friday’s US Personal Income and Expenditure and Eurozone Business Sentiment. Upside risks persist in European Flash CPI releases. The United Kingdom released weak data on Friday and the sterling got punished aggressively, it's that sort of market.

US earnings season accelerates this week and the results for Q1 should have a very binary impact on markets. Weak results equal bad, superior results equal relief rally. Heavyweights such as Citigroup (NYSE:C), McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD), and Visa (NYSE:V) announce this week, but the street will be focused on the FAANG titans.

Although I guess they should be called MAANGA these days. (Japan is still relevant) We saw what happened to Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) last week when the exponential growth forever dream ended, and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) earlier this year.

The MAANGA’s will need to keep the dream alive this week for the US stock market to have any hope of a sustained pre-FOMC rally.

In Asia this week, Singapore releases core-CPI today with upside risk to the 2.40% expected. Taiwan announces March Industrial Production this afternoon as well. Wednesday's Japan Industrial Production and Retail Sales have obvious downside risks, while Australian CPI could increase the pressure on the RBA to start thinking about seriously considering the remote possibility of at least contemplating hiking interest rates; a doctrine pioneered by the ECB.

China releases Caixin PMI on Friday and official PMIs over the weekend. The price action in Asia today suggests downside risk.

The week's highlight should be the Bank of Japan policy meeting on Thursday before the golden week holidays start on Friday. Given that the BOJ is standing in the Japan 1-year JGB markets today with an unlimited bid to cap yields at 0.25%, the chance of any policy shift on Thursday is infinitesimal.

An elegant way to telegraph an impending change would have been to be less aggressive in the bond market these past two weeks, and that hasn’t happened.

If any of my readers are thinking that shorting USD/JPY at these levels is attractive, please slap yourself vigorously and say “buy dips” one hundred times.

Finally, something that Asia and the rest of the world should be watching is Indonesia’s decision to ban exports of cooking oil and their raw materials on Friday.

Like PLN’s coal supply crisis earlier this year, Indonesia’s oligopolies are struggling to resist the temptation of higher prices overseas, while meeting their contracted domestic supply obligations at lower prices.

Cooking oil mysteriously vanished from shop shelves the last time Indonesia capped domestic prices recently, only to magically reappear when that policy was adjusted.

With Eid-al-Fitr starting in the world’s largest Muslim nation next week, it would be a brave government that forced 270 million people to steam the rice instead of rustling up a glorious celebratory nasi goreng.

My point is that with inflation sweeping the world, and Russia/Ukrainian food supply disruptions only just starting to be felt, food nationalism is on the rise.

I would argue that going hungry in the world’s developing nations will impact societal stability there far faster than $150 oil. Kuala Lumpur palm oil futures are already 4.50% higher today.

Russia and Ukraine are key exporters of grain to the world, but it's fertilizers that are making me nervous. Russia is an important potash exporter and natural gas is the key ingredient in the manufacture of urea.

The math isn’t difficult to do with a little research. Food inflation and production challenges, and their impact on the poor of the world, (i.e., most of the world) shouldn’t be underestimated.

Their problems will quickly become our own and we can see those impacts already in unrest in Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Admittedly exacerbated by the fact both countries are/were run by populist strongman (male) leaders who are economic dotards. This is a story we should all be watching closely in 2022, more so even than a China slowdown, energy inflation, or inflation-chasing central banks.

Asian equities crushed on US hike/China growth fears

The week ended sourly on Friday as Wall Street did not pass go and headed directly to jail, even as US yields remained relatively stable. A combination of weekend risk factors and increasing fears that the Fed will accelerate rate hikes torpedoed equities.

The S&P 500 collapsed by 2.77%, the NASDAQ tumbled by 2.55%, while the Dow Jones was pummeled by 2.80%. The sell-off continued in Asia, with futures on all three indexes down by between 0.35% and 0.50%.

Asia had zero reasons to be bullish anyway, but weekend news of virus restrictions in a district of Beijing and tightening restrictions in Shanghai deepened fears that COVID-zero will torpedo China growth.

Asian markets were in full retreat as China stimulus remained high on talk, and very short on action, other than weakening the currency. Mainland China stock markets were battered, the Shanghai Composite tumbling by 2.45%, and the CSI 300 falling by 2.20%. Hong Kong was having an even worse day, falling by 2.60%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was 1.70% lower, with South Korea’s KOSPI losing 1.45%. Taipei fell by 2.25%, with Singapore down by 0.30%. Kuala Lumpur was down by 0.45%, Jakarta lower by 0.20%, while Bangkok and Manilla fell by 0.90%.

Australian and New Zealand markets were on holiday today. The ASEAN triad of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, with a heavy weighting of old school resources and banking heavyweights, seemed to be gaining some defensive flows at the expense of the North Asia heavyweights.

European stock markets can also anticipate a negative opening as the China growth contagion washes up on their shores. President Macron soundly beat Marine Le Pen in yesterday’s presidential runoff election, however, markets had priced this in last week. Any post-election sigh of relief will be very shallow.

US dollar soars on risk-aversion

The dollar index soared on Friday, as the UK sterling slumped and investor fear around China growth pummeled Asia FX, and Fed rate hike expectations, saw a flight to safety.

The dollar index leapt 0.50% to 101.11, taking out resistance at 101.00. In Asia today, the rally continued as China fears took center stage. The index rose 0.15% to 101.27. The index’s next technical target was the March 2020 highs around 103.00.

With a Fed blackout muting hawkish Fed-speak, and if US earnings releases are strong this week, pullbacks from here were possible, although likely to be temporary. Only a failure of 99.40 changes the US dollar’s bullish outlook.

EUR/USD closed on a weekly basis below 1.0810, a trendline that goes back to 1985. It fell 0.32% to 1.0797 before staging a dead cat bounce to 1.0820 this morning after Macron’s victory in the French presidential election.

Currency markets had priced that outcome last week and the rally evaporated, and EUR/USD fell to 1.0780. News that Europe may be preparing “smart sanctions” on Russian energy imports will not assist the single currency in a risk-off atmosphere.

The technical picture, assisted by a widening US/Europe interest rate differential, suggested EUR/USD will now fall to 1.0600 en route to 1.0300. I was not ruling out a move below parity if Europe sanctions Russian gas and oil.

Weak UK data on Friday saw GBP/USD stretchered off the field with a season-ending injury. GBP/USD fell 1.45% to 1.2840, easing another 0.31% lower to 1.2800 in Asia today.

The relative strength indicator (RSI) was approaching oversold, allowing for some short-covering, but only a rally back through 1.3000 changes the bearish outlook.

A shift in BOE rhetoric to dovish last week increased sterling’s downside risks. The 1.2670 region was the next support zone and failure signaled deeper losses targeting 1.2200 and potentially sub-1.2000 in the weeks ahead.

USD/JPY held steady at 128.60 on Friday, easing slightly lower to 126.45 in Asia. Reluctance to aggressively short the yen ahead of the BOJ meeting, the BOJ’s operations to cap yields in the JGB market, and some safe-haven inflows from Japanese investors were supporting the yen at the moment.

However, USD/JPY risks remained heavily skewed higher, thanks to a hawkish Fed. Support remained at 127.00 and 126.00, with resistance at 129.50 and 130.00.

The highly risk sentiment-sensitive Australian and New Zealand Dollars both tumbled on Friday. AUD/USD lost 1.70% to 0.7245 on Friday and took out its 3-month support line at 0.7340.

China concerns were weighing heavily today, with liquidity impacted by a national holiday. AUD/USD fell by another 1.0% to 0.7170 and could target 0.7100 this week as Friday’s technical break was a decisive one.

NZD/USD slumped by 1.45% to 0.6635 on Friday, a national holiday seeing the Kiwi fall 0.60% to 0.6595 today. NZD/USD remained in a technical bear market since its fall through 0.6840. Having already reached 0.6600 in 24 hours, some short term rallies were possible, but it remained on track to test 0.6525 this week.

The onshore and offshore Chinese yuan sailed through 6.5000 on Friday like a hot knife through butter. Weekend developments around COVID-zero saw another wave of risk-aversion sweep China markets, pushing USD/CNY 0.70% higher to 6.5450, and USD/CNH 0.82% higher to 6.5800.

The fall was precipitous since both USD/CNY and USD/CNH broke through 1-year resistance lines last week and with the PBOC showing no discomfort around the pace or extent of the yuan decline, pressure will remain on the currencies this week as China growth concerns accelerate.

Until the PBOC signals the selloff had gone far enough, both CNY and CNH should continue leading Asia FX lower.

USD/Asia rose powerfully on Friday as risk aversion swept New York markets, exacerbated by China slowdown fears. The losses were led by the Singapore Dollar and Malaysian Ringgit, with the resource-centric Indonesian Rupiah remaining stable and the Korean won and Taiwan dollar and Thai baht having modest losses.

USD/KRW, USD/TWD and particularly USD/PHP were all running into resistance at present levels, but I was suspicious that their central banks were around capping gains, especially the BSP. USD/IDR started to crack today, rising 0.65% to 14450.00 after Friday's edible oil export ban.

USD/MYR also rose another 0.65% to 4.3490, and USD/SGD by 0.20% to 1.3737. The Ringgit’s precipitous fall recently surprised me, MYR gaining zero benefit from higher commodity prices.

Both it, and the SGD to a certain extent, appeared to be used as a proxy for China growth, it being Malaysia’s largest trading partner. With no sign that Bank Negara was going to move to a hawkish monetary policy, MYR will remain under pressure until China shows signs of stabilizing. USD/MYR was on track to retest its pandemic lows of 4.4000 and 4.4500.

The divergence in US/Asia monetary policy, and now China growth fears, were now making themselves felt. I expect USD/Asia strength to continue in the months ahead unless regional central banks start deploying their forex reserves heavily.

Oil falls heavily in Asia

Oil markets fell on Friday as risk aversion and China growth fears weighed on prices. Brent crude fell by 2.40% to 106.10, with WTI falling by 2.20% to $101.70 a barrel. The tightening COVID-zero restrictions in Shanghai, and fears omicron has spread in Beijing torpedoed sentiment today, sending prices lower once again in Asian trading. Brent crude was 2.50% lower at $103.50, and WTI was 2.60% lower at $99.10 a barrel, with stop-losses occurring as it fell through $100.00 a barrel.

I sensed a possible turn in sentiment in oil markets now, because two ostensibly bullish headlines were completely ignored by Asian markets in a world where crude supplies were supposedly, very tight.

Firstly, Reuters was running a story suggesting that Europe may be preparing “smart sanctions” on Russian energy imports. I had no idea what a smart sanction was, but anything that has oil, sanctions, Russia, and Europe in the same sentence, should be bullish. Secondly, a major Libyan oil terminal suffered heavy damage during recent clashes there.

It seemed that China was the elephant in the room and markets felt that slowing China growth could materially change the supply/demand equation on international markets. That was a risk I had mentioned in the past, but I have reservations that any European energy sanctions on Russian oil and natural gas can't be ignored for long.

The week also has plenty of binary outcome risk from the week’s data calendar internationally, and US earnings, which could swing prices either way. I do acknowledge the China risk, though.

With that in mind, I am sticking to my guns and continue to expect that Brent will remain in a choppy $100.00 to $120.00 range, with WTI in a $95.00 to $115.00 range.

Gold wilts as the US dollar rallies

Gold received no risk-aversion bids on Friday, as a soaring US dollar squeezed out the speculative longs in gold, sending it 1.0% lower to $1932.00 an ounce. Gold continued its retreat in Asia as the US dollar rose, losing another 0.75% to $1917.50 an ounce.

It appeared that the $2000.00 an ounce region proved an insurmountable barrier once again, and the fast money was now running for cover.

I said on Friday that gold looked vulnerable to a failure of the $1940.00 support which could see speculative long positions getting culled. That occurred and $1940.00 now becomes intraday resistance.

Gold was in danger of breaking nearby support at $1915.00 an ounce, and then testing critical support at $1880.00. Failure if $1880.00 signals a capitulation trade targeting the $1800.00 an ounce region where patient investors could consider loading up on gold longs once again.

On the topside, gold had resistance at $1940.00, $1980.00, and $2000.00 an ounce. I believe option-related selling at $2000.00 will be a strong barrier as evidenced by the price action last week.

Original Post

Asia Session: It's Just Another Manic Monday

Related Articles

Asia Session: It's Just Another Manic Monday

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.
  • Any comment you publish, together with your profile, will be public on and may be indexed and available through third party search engines, such as Google.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (1)
Mar Tuca
Mar Tuca Apr 25, 2022 7:35AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Brilliant Jeffrey! Thanks a lot for this in depth view of the markets globally as well as the macro and geo economical-political analysis and insight, combined with your witty sense of humour.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email