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APAC Daily Digest: What is happening in markets and what to consider next – August 23, 2022

Equities 7 minutes to read
APAC Strategy Team

Summary:  Equities were sold off on Monday, continuing a slide from their summer rally high, in the midst of position adjustments ahead of the Jackson Hole central banker event later this week. U.S. 10-year yields returned to above 3%. China cut its 5-year loan prime rates and plans to extend special loans to boost the ailing property markets.

What is happening in markets?

Nasdaq 100 (USNAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I) 

U.S. equities lost ground and continued to retrace from the high of the latest rally since mid-June.  The market sentiment has become more cautious ahead of Fed Chair Powell’s speech this Friday at the Jackson Hole symposium and a heavy economic data calendar, S&P 500 – 2.1%, Nasdaq 100 -2.7%.  The rise of U.S. 10-year bond yield back to above 3% added to the selling pressures in equities.  Zoom Video (ZM:xnas) fell 8% in after-hours trading as the company reported Q2 revenues and earnings missing estimates and cut its full year revenues guidance.

U.S. treasuries (TLT:xnas, IEF:xnas, SHY:xnas)

Bonds were sold off as traders adjusted positions ahead of the Jackson Hole.  The treasury yield curve bear flattened with 2-year yields surging 8bps to 3.30% and 10-year yields climbing 4bps to 3.01%, above the closely watched 3% handle. 

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HSIQ2) and China’s CSI300 (03188:xhkg)

Hang Seng fell 0.6% while CSI300 climbed 0.7% on Monday. Chinese developers gained on today’s larger-than-expected cut in the 5-year loan prime rate and the Chinese authorities plan to provide special loans through policy banks to support the delivery of stalled residential housing projects, CIFI (00883:xhkg) +11.5%, Country Garden (02007:xhkg) +3.2%. 

China extended EV waivers from vehicle purchase tax and other fees to the end of 2023, but the share price reactions of Chinese EV makers traded in Hong Kong were mixed.  Great Wall Motor (02333:xhkg) soared 11%, benefiting from launching a new model that has a 1,000km per charge battery while Nio (09866:xhkg) and Li Auto(02015:xhkg) fell 4.2% and 1.4% respectively.

Xiaomi (01810:xhkg) dropped 3.3% after Q2 revenues -20% YoY and net profit -67% YoY, on lower smartphone shipments (-26% YoY).  Smartphone parts suppliers, AAC Technologies (02018:xhkg) and Sunny Optical (02382:xhkg) declined 5.6% and 4.2% respectively. 

The share price performance of the four companies that will be added to the Hang Seng Index was mixed, Baidu (09888:xhkg) +0.9%, China Shenhua Energy (01088:xhkg) +2.1%, Hansoh Pharmaceutical (03692:xhkg) +3.2% but Chow Tai Fook Jewellery (01929:xhkg) -0.6%.  SenseTime (00020:xhkg) gained 4.2% as the company will replace China Pacific Insurance (02601:xhkg) -2.8% as a constituent company of the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index. 

ENN Energy (02688:xhkg) plunged more than 14% after reporting H1 results below market expectations.  China retailer Gome (00493) collapsed 20% after resuming trading from suspension and a plan t buy from the controlling shareholder a stake in China property assets. 

EURUSD falls below parity, eyes on 0.9500

The latest concerns on the European energy crisis weighed on the Euro which was seen sipping below parity to the US dollar. Higher US yields and gains in the US dollar also underpinned, taking EURUSD to lows of 0.9926. The European recession is coming hard and fast, and the PMIs today will likely signal increasing pressure on the region. Also on the radar will be Fed Chair Powell’s speech at the Jackson Hole later this week, with a fresh selloff in the pair likely to target 0.9500 next.

USDCNH heading to further highs

After PBOC’s easing measures on Monday, the scope for further yuan weakness has increased. USDCNH broke above 6.8600 overnight and potentially more US dollar strength this week on the back of a pushback from Fed officials on easing expectations for next year could mean a test of 7.00 for USDCNH. Still, the move in yuan is isolated, coming from China moving to prevent the yuan from tracking aggravated USD strength rather than showing signs of desiring a broader weakening. EURCNH has plunged to over 1-month lows of 6.8216 on the back of broader EUR weakness.

Crude oil prices (CLU2 & LCOV2)

Crude oil prices made a recovery overnight despite the strength in the US dollar. A global shift from gas to oil, from Europe to Asia, has taken a deeper hold amid gas shortage fears accelerating in the wake of another upcoming maintenance of the Nordstream pipeline. Diesel and refinery margins have also been supported as a result, with Asia diesel crack rising to its previous high of $63 amid low inventory levels. WTI futures reversed back to the $90/barrel levels and Brent were back above $96. Comments from Saudi Energy Minister threatening to dial back supply also lifted prices, but these were mis-read and in fact, focused more on the mismatch between the tightness in the futures and the physical market.

Gold (XAUUSD) and Silver (XAGUSD)

Gold broke below the key $1744 support and is now eying $1729, the 61.8% retracement of the July to August bounce. Dollar strength and a run higher in US yields weighed on the shine of the yellow metal, which has seen downside pressures since last week after touching the critical $1800-level. Hawkish Fed talk this week could further weigh on the short-term prospects for Gold. Silver also dipped below the key 19 handle, erasing most of the gains seen since late July.

What to consider?

German year-ahead power prices hit a fresh record high

German year-ahead power prices surged to EUR 700/MWh with Dutch TTF gas prices close to EUR 300/MWh. The surge came on the back of another leg higher in natural gas prices which rose over 8% in Europe amid concerns around the next scheduled 3-day maintenance of the Nordstream pipeline. It appears that demand destruction remains the most obvious but painful cure right now, along with a longer-term focus on ensuring a broad-based supply of energy from coal, gas, nuclear, solar, hydrogen, and more. 

Australia and Japan services PMIs plunged into contraction

Australia saw its services PMI drop to 49.6 in August in a flash print, from 50.9 in July. Manufacturing PMI, however, held up at 54.5, just weakening slightly from last month’s 55.7. The spate of rate hikes seen from Reserve Bank of Australia is likely taking its toll on demand and manufacturing. Meanwhile, prices remain elevated amid the persistent supply chain issues, and more rate hikes are still on the cards.

Japan’s flash manufacturing PMI for August came in lower at 51.0 from 52.1 previously, nut stayed in expansion territory. Services PMI however plunged into the contraction zone below 50, coming in at 49.2 for a flash August print from 50.3 in July. The fresh COVID wave in Japan, although comes without any broad-based new restrictions, is impeding the services demand and will likely weigh on Q3 GDP growth.

Europe and UK PMIs may spell further caution

The Euro-area flash composite PMI and the UK flash PMI for August are both due to be released on Tuesday. Following a slide in ZEW and Sentix indicators for July, the stage is set for a weaker outcome on the PMIs too. July composite PMI for the Euro-area dipped into contractionary territory at 49.9, while the UK measure held up at 52.1. The surge in gas and electricity prices continue to weigh on GDP growth outlook, with recession likely to hit by the end of the year.

China’s plan to provide loans to ensure delivery of presold residential projects is said to be of the size of RMB 200 billion

Last Frida, Xinhua News reported that the PBoC, jointly with the Housing Ministry and the Ministry of Finance rolled out a program to make special loans through policy banks to support the delivery of stalled residential housing projects but the size of the program was not mentioned.   A Bloomberg report yesterday, citing “people familiar with the matter”, suggested the size of the support lending program could be as large as RMB 200 billion. 

Beijing municipal government rolled out initiatives to promote hydrogen vehicles

The municipal government of Beijing announced support for the construction of hydrogen vehicle refueling stations with RMB500 million for each station, aiming at building 37 new stations by 2023 and bringing the adoption of fuel-cell cars to over 10,000 units in the capital. Earlier in the month, the Guangdong province released a plan to build 200 hydrogen vehicle refueling stations by 2025. Since last year, there have been 13 provinces and municipalities rolling out policies to promote the development of the hydrogen vehicle industry. 

Earnings on tap

Reportedly there have been shorts being built up in Dollar Tree (DLTR:xnys) as traders are expecting that discount retailer missing when reporting this Thursday.   On the other hand, investors are expecting Dollar General (DG:xnys) results to come in more favourably, , which also reports this Thursday.  Key earnings scheduled to release today including Medtronic (MDT:xnys), Intuit (INTU:xnas), JD.COM (09618.xhkg/JD.xnas), JD Logistics (02615:xhkg), Kingsoft (02888:xhkg), and Kuishaou (01023:xhkg).

Singapore reports July inflation figures today

Singapore's inflation likely nudged higher in July, coming in close proximity to 7% levels from 6.7% y/y in June. While both food and fuel costs continue to create upside pressures on inflation, demand-side pressures are also increasing as the region moves away from virus curbs. House rentals are also running high due to high demand and delayed construction limiting supplies. The Monetary Authority of Singapore has tightened monetary policy but more tightening moves can be expected in H2 even as the growth outlook has been downwardly revised.



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