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Market Insights Today: New BOJ chief; Russian crude production cut; Strong loan growth in China – 13 February 2023

Equities 6 minutes to read
APAC Research

Summary:  U.S. stock markets finished Friday mixed with a small gain in the S&P and weakness in the Nasdaq 100 weighed by higher bond yields. Hang Seng Index and CSI300 Index declined as investors waited for fresh evidence of a recovery in the Chinese economy. Growth in outstanding loans in China picked up to 11.3% YoY in January as banks had been encouraged to lend. The nomination of Kazuo Ueda as the next Bank of Japan governor was a surprise to the market. Crude oil prices surged on Friday after Russia announced a production cut.

What’s happening in markets?

US equities (US500.I and USNAS100.I) may be on wobble town this week, with CPI out Tuesday

S&P 500 edged up 0.2% in a lackluster session while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 slid 0.6% on higher bond yields. Energy was the best-performing sector on Friday, rising nearly 4% as crude oil rose more than 2% on the Russian production cut. Markets seem defensive coming into this week after a 1.1% decline in the S&P last week - worried firstly, the Fed can keep rates higher for longer, triggered by the hot employment report the week before followed by hawkish Fed speaker comments last week. This week, the focus will be on the CPI data on Tuesday. In individual stocks, Lyft (LYFT:xnas) tumbled 36.5% after the ride-hailing company guided Q1 EBITDA at USD5 to USD15 million, far below the consensus of USD83.6 million, noting price cuts to keep customers against completion from Uber (UBER:xnys). Paypal (PYPL:xnas) rose 3% on Q4 results and earnings guidance beating analyst estimates. Spotify (SPOT:xnys) gained 3.5% following activist investment company ValueAct Capital Management took a stake in the music-streaming company.

Yields on US Treasuries (TLT:Xmas, IEF:xnas, SHY:xnas) bear steepened

The long end of the curve led the sell-off in Treasuries, with yields on the 10-year jumping 7bps to 3.73% and those on the 2-year climbed 4bps to 4.52%. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index came at 66.4, above the 65.0 expected and the highest level in 11 months. One-year inflation expectations edged up to 4.2% from 4.0% while the 5-10-year inflation expectations remained unchanged at 2.9% Y/Y. Traders were cautious ahead of the CPI report on Tuesday and the upcoming supply from a 20-year auction this Wednesday.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HIG3) and China’s CSI300 (03188:xhkg) declined for the second week

Hang Seng Index dropped 2% on Friday to finish the week with a second weekly loss in a row. Technology stocks, consumer discretionary, and healthcare names led the decline. Hang Seng Tech Index tumbled 4.6%. Baidu (09888:xhkg), plunging 7.4%, was the biggest loser within the Hang Seng Index. JD.Com (09618:xhkg) dropped 6.3% despite the e-commerce giant announcing plans to launch its ChatJD and jump on the ChatGPT-like AI-generated content bandwagon. Sportswear stocks were laggards. Shenzhou ( 02313:xhkg ), Anta ( 02020:xhkg ), and Li Ning (02331:xhkg) slid between 4% and 5.6%. Shares of EV makers tumbled, XPeng (09868:xhkg) down 7.9%, Li Auto (02015:xhkg) down 7.6%, Nio (09866:xhkg) down 6.6%. SMIC declined 4.3% after the chipmaker warned of a gloomy 2023 and guided full-year revenue down 10%-13%. Standard Chartered Bank (02888:xhkg) rose 4.2% in Hong Kong trading but its London-listed shares fell 5% after First Abu Dhabi Bank said it is not evaluating an offer. In A-shares, CSI300 slid 0.6% on Friday and was down 0.8% for the week. Solar, lithium, coal mining, non-ferrous metal, auto, and semiconductors were laggards. Investors are waiting for more evidence of a recovery in the Chinese economy. The stronger-than-expected growth in corporate loans in China was released after the market close.

Australian equites (ASXSP200.I) could also wobble street, if employment data is hotter than expected and commodities pair back with a higher US dollar

This week investors and traders will be focused firstly – Australian employment data out for January, due on Thursday, expected to show employment rose by 20,000 from the prior drop, with the unemployment rate expected to remain unchanged at 3.5%. Also importantly, consider the Aussie share market, may be potentially vulnerable for a pair back as the Australian 10 year bond yield has moved up aggressive to 3.81%- its highest level since January. The reason for this, is that the market is expecting the RBA to make ~78.6bps of hikes before pausing in August. So this means unprofitable tech companies and those businesses that don’t pay a dividend yield are vulnerable.

FX: SEK reverses gains, CAD boosted by strong jobs and oil

The US dollar continued to gain amid renewed risk aversion on Friday, but gains were somewhat capped by gains in CAD as oil prices soared after the Russian supply cuts and Canadian jobs report smashed consensus expectations ten times over. USDCAD reversed from 1.3450+ levels to 1.3350. Meanwhile, USDJPY ended the week nearly unchanged and may be looking at further volatility with higher yields, rising oil prices and the new BOJ Governor. Meanwhile, SEK reversed from the highs after a hawkish surprise from the Riksbank last week. EURSEK back above 11.15 and EURUSD down to 1.0670 from 1.087 levels last week.

Crude oil (CLH3 & LCOJ3) moves higher on Russian supply falling

Oil prices jumped higher on Friday, closing the week with over 8% gains, as Russia said it would lower production in response to western sanctions (read below). The OPEC+ alliance, which Russia is key member, signalled they won’t be increasing output to fill in for the reductions, signalling a tight market may be ahead. WTI rose to $80/barrel and Brent touched close to $87, although some profit taking emerged in early Asian hours on Monday. Oil prices still continue to trade within a range that has prevailed since November. Meanwhile, other supply returned to the market with Tanker loadings of Azeri crude docking at Turkey's Ceyhan terminal.

Gold (XAUUSD) has its eyes on US CPI this week

Gold continues to consolidate near $1860, despite pressure from rising US yields. This week’s US CPI release continues to be on watch to assess if the disinflationary narrative can continue even with a new methodology of calculating. A rhetoric shift in global central banks has been seen last week with more hawkish surprises, and the CPI will be the latest test if that narrative can continue to build. Gold however still getting support from rising US-China tensions. Further weakness carries the risk of an extension towards $1828, the 38.2% retracement of the run up from early November.


What to consider?

Bank of Japan picks a dark horse for Governor post

Japan PM Kishida in a shocking announcement on Friday nominated a dark horse candidate Kazuo Ueda as the next governor for the Bank of Japan after Kuroda steps down in April. BOJ executive director (in charge of monetary policy) Shinichi Uchida and former Financial Services Agency commissioner Ryozo Himino were also nominated as deputy governors. Ueda is an academic and a former member of the BOJ policy board, and digging his prior speeches has revealed that he has more of a neutral stance, compared to the dovish Amamiya who was reportedly offered the role but rejected it. His appointment suggests we could see some tweaks in BOJ’s ultra-easy monetary policy, but expecting an outright removal of yield curve control policy appears aggressive now.

Fed’s Harker highlights higher-for-longer rates

Philly Fed President Patrick Harker (voter) said the likelihood of the Fed being able to control inflation without triggering a recession is growing, but stressed that the key rate must get above 5% and stay there to ensure price pressures ease. He also hinted at a “couple” more 25-bps rate hikes being in the pipeline, but said that how far the Fed will need to go above 5% will be determined by the data. He also talked about rate cuts, but dismissed the possibility in 2023. Focus turns to Michelle Bowman who speaks at a banking conference today.

Russia’s production cut to further tighten the oil market

On Friday, Russia announced a unilateral cut in its March crude oil output by 500,000 barrels a day, apparently without consulting with its OPEC+ partners first. Since the introduction of EU and G7 sanctions on crude oil from December and fuel products from early February, Russia has increasingly been forced to cut its selling price as its client base continued to dwindle. If oil prices continue to charge higher, OPEC may need to fill the gap by ramping up production, especially in light of an expected pickup in Chinese demand this year.

China’s CPI rose to 2.1% in January

China’s CPI rose to +2.1% Y/Y in January from 1.8% in December, in line with expectations. The increase was largely due to the fact that the Lunar New Year fell into January this year while it was in February last year and a larger than expected 6.2% Y/Y food price inflation in January versus 4.8% in December. Excluding food and energy, core CPI came in at 1.0% Y/Y, edging up from 0.7% in December. In January, services inflation picked up to 0.8% M/M but was still benign on a year-on-year basis, coming at 1.0% Y/Y in January, rising moderately from 0.6% Y/Y. Producer price deflation deepened, with PPI falling 0.8% Y/Y, versus -0.5% Y/Y expected and -0.7% Y/Y in December. The larger decline in CPI was driven by falling crude oil and coal prices.

Growth of outstanding RMB loans in China accelerated to 11.3% Y/Y

New aggregate financing increased to RMB5,980 billion from RMB1,306 billion (revised down from RMB1,310 billion) in December, above RMB5,400 forecasted in Bloomberg’s survey. However, due to a high base last year, the growth in total outstanding aggregate financing slowed to 9.4% Y/Y in January from 9.6% in December. The strength in credit expansion came from a larger-than-expected increase in new RMB loans to RMB4,900 billion versus RMB4,200 billion expected and RMB1,400 billion in December, as regulators instructed banks to provide more credits to support key industries and the economy. RMB4,680 billion of these new loans were extended to the corporate sector while only RMB257 billion went to households. The RMB257 new loans to households were much below the RMB843 billion a year ago. The growth in M2 accelerated to 12.6% Y/Y in January from 11.8% in December, above the 11.7% expected.

Geopolitical tensions rising

U.S. officials said an “unidentified object” has been shot down by its military over Lake Huron. This is the third time in as many days, after earlier downings in Alaska and Canada, and it is the fourth this month to be shot down over North America by a US missile. As debris from these is being evaluated, now the Chinese government says it has spotted a mystery object over waters near northern port city Qingdao and it is preparing to shoot it down.

Singapore’s DBS Bank announces special dividend

Singapore’s largest bank DBS Group (D05:xses) reported Q4 earnings this morning, with net income up 69% at S$ 2.34bn vs. estimate of S$2.17bn. Higher interest rates continued to boost its income and more than offset other declines due to volatility in financial markets. The board has declared a final dividend of 42 cents a share for the fourth quarter, up from 36 cents a year ago, and a special dividend of 50 cents a share. This brings the total payout for the full year to $2 a share. Other banks including Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (O39:xses) and United Overseas Bank (U11:xses) are due to report results next week.


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