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Market Insights Today: Recession concerns hitting markets, WTI at year-lows – 7 December 2022

Equities 6 minutes to read
APAC Research

Summary:  Heightened fear about a higher-for-longer Fed tightening cycle, recession warnings from top U.S. bankers, and crude oil falling into new lows weighed on U.S. equities and saw bond yields lower. The momentum of China reopening trade seems to have somewhat exhausted despite more signs of easing Covid restrictions coming out from China.

What’s happening in markets?

S&P 500 (US500.I) pared all its gains since Powell’s Brookings Institution speech

Declining for the fourth day in a row, the S&P500 pared all its gains since Fed Chair Powell delivered a dovish-leaning speech at the Brookings Institution at the end of November. The solid average hourly earnings and the ISM Services Index data released since Powell’s speech have heightened once again concerns about more rate hikes to come. Two consecutive days of sharp falls in the crude oil price to USD74 weighed on energy stocks. Warnings about weakness in the U.S. economy from CEOs of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase added fuel to the recession fear. S&P 500 dropped 1.4% and Nasdaq 100 tumbled 2% on Tuesday. All sectors except utilities within the S&P 500 declined, with energy, communication services, and information technology the biggest losers. Meta (META:xnas) tumbled 6.8& after reports saying the EU is targeting the company’s advertising business model. Apple (APPL:xnas) declined 2.5% as the company said it is scaling back its self-driving EV plans. NRG Energy (NRG:xnys) plunged 15.1% after the power plant operator announced to acquire  Vivint Smart Home. Textron (TXT:xnys) gained 5.3% on winning a helicopter contract from the U.S. Army.

US treasury yields (TLT:xnas, IEF:xnas, SHY:xnas) lower as equities retreated

As equities declined on the prospects of a higher-for-longer Fed tightening cycle after the recent strong U.S. data, treasuries were well bid with yields falling 2bps to 4bps across the yield curve on Tuesday. The buying came in particularly strongly on the 10-year and 30-year segments. Large curve flatter trades, mainly selling the 5-year versus buying the 10-year took place in the futures pit. The 2-year yield fell 2bps to 4.37% while the 10-year was 4bps richer at 3.53%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HIZ2) pulled back on overseas market weakness; China’s CSI300 (03188:xhkg)

Hong Kong stocks pulled back following overnight weakness in the U.S. market and renewed concerns about the Fed’s ability to downshift its pace of hiking interest rates after recent data indicating strength in wage inflation and business activities in the U.S. services sector. The China reopening trade has shown signs of exhaustion as market reactions to the announcement from Beijing to ease PCR test requirements were muted. Hang Seng Index edged down 0.4%. Tech stocks retreated. Hang Seng TECH Index lost 1.8%. Alibaba (09988:xhkg) dropped by 3% and Bilibili (09626:xhkg) plunged by 7%. Ping An Health and Technology pulled back after two days of strong advance, falling 8.9%. Leading EV names dropped by around 2%-6% as profit-taking emerged after recent rallies. Chinese property developers and Macao casino operators were among the top gainers. Logan (03380) soared 32%. In A-shares, CSI 300 gained 0.5%, with the consumer staple, technology, and consumer discretionary sectors outperforming.

FX: EURUSD back below 1.05; USDJPY at 137

The US dollar maintained a slight bid tone on Tuesday even as a tech rout spread through equities and recession concerns were highlighted by several bank chiefs. There was little data of note, only October US trade seeing a wider deficit but still better-than-expected. EURUSD fell to sub-1.05 levels as ECB’s Lane said that the bulk of work has been done by the ECB and inflation peak may be near. President Lagarde speaks on Thursday, after which focus turns to the December meeting. Meanwhile USDJPY hovered around 137 with BoJ Governor Kuroda remaining dovish as he said that monetary easing will continue even if wages rise 3%.

Crude oil (CLZ2 & LCOF3) plummets to its lowest levels in 2022

Oil prices dipped to their lowest levels since the start of the year as concerns of weaker economic growth offset ongoing supply side issues. Equity markets are now starting to price in recession concerns, as seen from a negative reaction to last week’s ISM manufacturing. Yesterday, a number of bank chiefs hinted at recession possibilities, and there were also reports of further job cuts from the likes of Morgan Stanley and even consumer brands like PepsiCo. However, China reopening continues to gather pace but it will continue to be a slow exit from Zero Covid. The Energy Information Administration released its latest market outlook, with a contraction in US economic activity in Q2 2022 and Q1 2023 weighing on demand. It also raised its forecast for US supply to 12.34mb/d in 2023. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia also lowered oil prices for its crude into Asia and Europe, suggesting demand weakness concerns.

Australia’s iron ore kings roar back to six-month highs; Australian economic growth data ahead

The Australian benchmark index, the ASX200 (ASXSP200.1) opened 0.7% lower following Wall Street. However, as the iron ore price advanced, iron ore players are testing six-month highs; Fortescue Metals, Champion Iron, BHP, and RIO shares are all higher, testing new six-month highs. Metal companies such as BlueScope Steel and Sims are also higher. In terms of economic news out today, Australian economic growth is due to be released; expected to show an improvement in the gross domestic product (GPD) in the third quarter of 2022. GPD is expected to show growth rose from 3.6% YoY, to 6.3% YoY. We will be watching the Aussie dollar and how it reacts, which a knee-jerk rally up likely if growth is hotter than expected. Also, remember services are the biggest drivers of GPD in Australia; so watch travel stocks, such as Flight Centre, Corporate Travel Management, Webjet, Auckland International Airport, and Qantas. Also keep an eye on stocks affiliated with dining out such as Endeavour Group, Treasury Wine, and Metcash which owns Celebrations, IGA Liquor, and Bottle-O.  

What to consider?

Saxo’s Outrageous Predictions 2023 are now out!

Saxo's ten Outrageous Predictions for 2023 are now out. The theme revolves around a War Economy, not just in military terms, but in economic, political, and social terms as well. Gone are the days when low interest rates could foster dreams of a harmonious world built on renewable energy, equality, and independent central banks. In 2023, world economies will shift into war economy mode, where sovereign economic gains and self-reliance trump globalisation. Some of the calls include Gold rocketing to $3000, the UK holding an UnBrexit referendum, or even a new reserve currency to replace the dollar. Remember, it’s not about being right. The predictions focus on a series of unlikely but underappreciated events which, if they were to occur, could send shockwaves across financial markets. The APAC strats team, together with our CIO Steen Jakobsen, will be hosting a webinar on December 14 to discuss these predictions. The signup link can be found here.

Real wages shrank 2.6% Y/Y in Japan

In October, the real cash earnings of Japanese workers declined 2.6% Y/Y (consensus -2.2%; Sep: -1.2% revised), the biggest fall in seven years. Nominal wages slowed to a growth of 1.8% Y/Y (consensus: 2.0%, Sep: 2.1%). Household spending growth slowed to 1.2% Y/Y in October from 2.3% in September.

Beijing relaxed PCR test requirements

Beijing, joining other cities, announced to lift the requirement for negative PCR test results when entering public venues or taking public transport.

Australia’s central bank, the RBA says inflation will continue to cause more pain, validating its hiking path

Australia’s central bank, the RBA increased the cash rate by 25bps in the eighth consecutive rate hike, taking the cash rate from 2.85% to 3.1% as expected. However, the RBA toed the line staying on a dovish path, saying the full effects of rates hikes since May have not been felt yet by the economy, while also declaring employment growth had slowed. As such the RBA said its path to achieving a soft landing is narrow, meaning it might be hard to avoid a recession. This also follows news out of Australia today that its current account fell into a deficit for the first time since 2019. The RBA warned it sees inflation increasing over the months ahead, particularly in wages. It conceded inflation is damaging the economy and making life more difficult for people, which traders took as an indication the bank won't pause rate hikes any time soon.

China’s Xi is visiting Saudi Arabia from Dec 7 to 9

China President Xi Jinping is expected to fly to Saudi Arabia on Dec 7 to attend a China-Arab summit on Friday.

Bank of Canada rate decision due today

The Bank of Canada statement is due today and consensus expects another 50bps rate hike taking the overnight rate to 4.25%. However, market pricing points towards a smaller 25bps rate hike. The path of interest rates from here is also very cloudy, with a pause likely coming in early 2023. Therefore, any guidance on rate path will be key to watch for CAD which is lately getting hurt due to the lower oil prices.

U.S. leading bank CEOs warned about the possibility of a U.S. recession

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, said in a CNBC interview that he saw the possibility of a “mild to hard recession” in the U.S. next year. Likewise, David Solomon, Chairman/CEO of Goldman Sachs, said there is a “very reasonable possibility” that the U.S. enters a recession in 2023. Bank of America’s CEO Brian Moynihan said consumer spending is slowing and the bank is slowing its hiring.

EU is targeting Meta’s advertising business model

EU privacy regulators are reportedly ruling that Meta, the owner of Facebook should not require Facebook users to agree to personalized ads based on their online activity. The move restraints Facebook’s ability to present targeted ads to users.

Apple is postponing its self-driving EV launch to 2026

Apple is said to scale back its self-driving EV plans and is postponing the target launch date to 2026 due to technological hurdles in a self-driving EV without a steering wheel or pedals.

Geely is taking its ride-hailing firm to do an IPO in Hong Kong

Chinese auto maker Geely is said to be talking to investment banks for a Hong Kong IPO of its Cao Cao Mobility ride-hailing arm.

The US and EU are weighing new tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminium

According to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, the U.S. and European Union are considering new tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum products to reduce global overcapacity and  carbon emissions.


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