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Market Insights Today: US CPI day, expect considerable volatility – 13 December 2022

Equities 6 minutes to read
APAC Research

Summary:  U.S. equities had a broad-based rally ahead of the CPI data with energy leading the gains. USDJPY bounced, approaching 138, as US yields moved higher. Crude oil prices rose snapping a 5-day losing streak amid supply worries from Keystone pipeline. Traders took profits in Hong Kong and Chinese stocks, selling Chinese property, technology and EV names. All eyes on November US CPI now where a softer print is generally expected but room for an upside surprise remains.


What’s happening in markets?

Nasdaq 100 (NAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I) advanced ahead of the CPI report

Softer prints in the one, three, and five years ahead inflation expectation numbers in the New York Fed’s Consumer Expectations Survey on Monday boosted risk-on sentiments ahead of the release of the most watched CPI report on Tuesday. The S&P500 bounced from its 100-day moving average, gaining 1.4%. All 11 sectors of the benchmark advanced, with energy, utilities, and information technology leading the gains. Valero Energy, surging 5.2%, was the best performer in the S&P500. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 rose 1.2%. Tesla (TSLA:xnas) shed 6.3%, falling to the stock’s lowest level in two years on concerns about suspending output in stages at his Shanghai factory ahead of the Lunar New Year and Musk pledged more Tesla shares for margin loans.

US Treasury yields (TLT:xnas, IEF:xnas, SHY:xnas) rose after a weak 10-year notes auction

In a thin-volume session ahead of the CPI report on Tuesday and the FOMC on Wednesday, yields on Treasuries were 1bp to 3bps higher. The auction of USD32 billion of 10-year notes, awarded at 3.625%, 3.7bps cheaper than at the time of the auction, was the worst since 2009.  The one, three, and five years ahead consumers’ inflation expectations in the New York Fed’s Consumer Expectations Survey fell to 5.2%, 3%, and 2.3% in November from 5.7%, 3.1%, and 2.4% respectively in October. The yields on the 2-year notes and 10-year notes added 3bps each to 4.38% and 3.61% respectively.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HIZ2) and China’s CSI300 (03188:xhkg) consolidated ahead of key events

Ahead of two key events, the FOMC meeting in the U.S. and the Central Economic Work Conference (CEWC) in China, investors in Hong Kong and mainland Chinese stocks took profits and saw the Hang Seng Index 2.2% lower and the CSI300 sliding 1.1%. Chinese property developers and management services, technology, and EV stocks led the charge lower. Country Garden Services (06098:xhk) tumbled 17% after the property services company’s Chairman agreed to sell more than HKD5 billion worth of shares at a 10.9% discount. Longfor (00960:xhkg), The Hang Seng Tech Index dropped by 4%, with Meituan (03690:xhkg) declining by 7%. Li Auto (02015:xhkg) tumbled 12% after reporting larger losses and a large gross margin miss. In A shares, property and financials stocks were top losers while pharmaceuticals gained.

FX: USDJPY heading to 138 ahead of US CPI release

The US dollar remained supported ahead of the big flow of key data and central bank meetings later in the week. The modest run up higher in US Treasury yields, along with higher oil prices, brought back some weakness in the Japanese yen. USDJPY reached in sight of 138 and the US CPI release today will be key for further direction. EURUSD remained capped below the key 1.06 handle, but a break of that if it was to happen will open the doors to 1.08. NZDUSD eying a firmer break above 0.64 but would possibly need help from CPI for that.

Crude oil (CLF3 & LCOF3) prices gain further on China’s easing while Keystone pipeline remains shut

Crude oil prices rose on Monday after a week of heavy losses on demand concerns and fading China reopening. Prices were underpinned by further easing of China’s restrictions despite concerns earlier in the week from a rapid surge in cases. Despite reports that the Keystone pipeline was being partially reopened, it remains completely shut on Monday which suggests a potential drop in storage levels at Cushing, Oklahoma, the WTI delivery hub. WTI futures rose to $74/barrel, while Brent touched $78.50. The market awaits news from Russia on whether it will make good on its threat to cut supply to price cap supporters, while the focus will also turn to US CPI today and the FOMC decision tomorrow, as well as the oil market reports from OPEC and IEA.

 

What to consider?

Stronger UK GDP growth but clouded energy outlook, expect more volatility

Some respite was seen in UK’s growth trajectory as October GDP rose 0.5% M/M after being down 0.6% M/M last month’s due to the holiday for Queen’s funeral and a period of national mourning. However, the UK may already be in a recession and the outlook remains clouded which suggests there isn’t enough reason for Bank of England to consider anything more than a 50bps rate hike this week. Energy debate continues to run hot and create volatility in gas prices, after weaker wind generation led to talks of refiring the reserve coal plants, but the request was cancelled later on Monday as wind generation rose. The situation continues to highlight the vulnerability of the energy infrastructure due to lack of baseload, and a bigger test probably lies ahead in 2023.

Focus will be on energy companies amid the cold snap in the northern hemisphere with coal plants on standby. Agriculture commodities also a focus

Australia’s ASX200 (ASXSP200.1) is expected to have a positive day of trade on Tuesday, as well as Japan’s market, while other Asia futures are lower. In Australia, consumer and business confidence are due to be released. In equites, focus will be on energy commodities and equities, given weather forecasts show a deep chill is descending on the northern hemisphere, and threatening to erode heating fuel stockpiles. Natural gas futures surged, while Oil rose 3% $73.17 a barrel. Energy stocks to watch include Australia’s Woodside, Beach Energy and Santos, Japan’s Japan Petroleum Exploration, Eneos, JGC, Chiyoda and Hong Kong-listed PetroChina, CNOOC and China Oilfield Services. Separately, coal futures are also higher, with Asia set to face a coal winter, and coal plants were previously asked to be on high alert in the UK, with snow blanketing parts of the UK. For coal stock to watch, click here. Separately, wheat prices rose 2.8% on expectations supply could wane; so keep an eye on Australia’s wheat producers GrainCorp, and Elders. Elsewhere, Australian beef output is poised to ramp up in the first half of next year, as the herd continues to rebuild. Australia’s Rural Bank agriculture outlook expects increased slaughter rates, and beef production to rise 5% in the first half, (mind you that’s well below average). So keep an eye on Elders, which helps sell and buy livestock, and Australian Agricultural Co – Australia’s largest integrated cattle and beef producer.

EV car makers dominate headlines; revving up competition, despite concerns demand could soften

Tesla shares fell 6.3% Monday, to its lowest level since November 2020, making it the worst performer by market cap. TSLA shares have fallen about 54% this year. TSLA is reportedly suspending output at its Shanghai electric car factory in stages, from the end of the month, until as long as early January, amid production line upgrades, slowing consumer demand and Lunar New Year holidays. Most workers on both the Model Y and Model 3 assembly lines won’t be required in the last week of December. Rivian shares also fell 6.2% on reports its scrapping plans to make electric vans in Europe with Mercedes. Instead, Rivian will focus on its own products. While Mercedes-Benz says it will continue to pursue the electrification of its vans and its shares closed almost flat in Europe. VW shares were also lower in Europe, despite it announcing plans to increase market share in North America to 10% by 2030 from 4%. VW wants to produce more electric SUV models in the US; and produce ~90,000 VW’s ID.4 model in 2023 in America.

NY Fed consumer expectations survey shows slowing inflation, but..

NY Fed’s Survey of Consumer Expectations indicated that respondents see one-year inflation running at a 5.2% pace, down 0.7 percentage point from the October reading. Expectations 3yrs ahead fell to 3.0% from 3.1% and expectations 5yrs ahead fell to 2.3% from 2.4%. However, it is worth noting that inflation expectations remain above fed’s 2% target and unemployment and wage data was reportedly steady.

Softer US CPI to offer mixed signals and considerable volatility

Last month’s softer US CPI report was a turning point in the markets and inflation expectations have turned markedly lower since then. Consensus is looking for another softer report in November, with headline rate expected at 7.3% YoY, 0.3% MoM (from 7.7% YoY, 0.4% MoM) while the core is expected to be steadier at 6.1% YoY, 0.3% MoM (from 6.3% YoY, 0.3% MoM). While the case for further disinflationary pressures can be built given lower energy prices, easing supply constraints and holiday discounts to clear excess inventory levels, but PPI report on Friday indicated that goods inflation could return in the months to come and wage inflation also continues to remain strong. Easing financial conditions and China’s reopening can be the other key factors to watch, which could potentially bring another leg higher in inflation especially if there is premature easing from the Fed. Shelter inflation will once again be key to watch, which means clear signs of inflation peaking out will continue to remain elusive.

China’s aggregate financing and RMB loans weaker than expectations

In November, China’s new aggregate financing increased less than expected to RMB1,990 billion (Bloomberg consensus: RMB2,100bn) from RMB908 billion in October. The growth of total outstanding aggregate financing slowed to 10.0% Y/Y in November from 10.3% in October. New RMB loans also came in weaker than expected at RMB1,210 billion (Bloomberg consensus: RMB1,400bn; Oct: RMB615.2bn). Despite the push from the authorities to expand credits, loan growth remained muted as demand for loans were sluggish.

Japan and the Netherland joining the U.S. in restricting semiconductor equipment exports to China

According to Bloomberg, Japan and the Netherland have agreed in principle with the U.S. to join the latter in restricting the exports of advanced chipmaking machinery and equipment to China. The decisions have yet to be confirmed but it is expected that announcements will be made in the coming weeks.

 

 

Detailed US CPI and FOMC Preview – read here.

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