Global Market Quick Take: Asia – March 21, 2024 Global Market Quick Take: Asia – March 21, 2024 Global Market Quick Take: Asia – March 21, 2024

Global Market Quick Take: Asia – March 21, 2024

Macro 6 minutes to read
Charu Chanana

Head of FX Strategy

Summary:  Chair Powell downplayed inflation concerns, keeping three rate cuts in Fed’s dot plot for 2024. US stocks were boosted higher to a record close, with Russell outperforming the broader indices. AI momentum is likely to be fueled further with Micron’s strong beat on earnings, and focus turns to Nike and Lululemon today. The dollar plunged on market taking the Fed outcome as dovish, and FX traders could be focusing on CHF and GBP today as their central banks meet. Gold rallied to $2200, and momentum in crude oil is also extending further.


The Saxo Quick Take is a short, distilled opinion on financial markets with references to key news and events. 

Equities: US stock indices closed at record highs with the Fed seen unnerved by the recent pickup in inflation and reaffirming its 2024 projection of three rate cuts. The small-cap focused Russell 2000 was up nearly 2% and outperformed the S&P 500 and NASDAQ 100 which were up 0.9% and 1.2% respectively, and futures were seen ticking higher in Asia.

Semiconductor stock Micron was up 15% in after-hours on better-than-expected earnings, likely further fueling the AI momentum. Japanese stocks will be on watch today as they return after market holiday on Wednesday and react to ongoing AI momentum and yen weakness offset by Nikkei report signaling that more BOJ rate hikes may be likely.

China’s PDD holdings ADR surged 16% before retreating, on strong earnings results driven by its online marketplace Temu, as discussed in this article. Tencent ADR was also up over 2% as the Chinese internet giant announced increases in its buyback and dividends this year, even as gaming revenues missed expectations.

Today’s focus will be on earnings announcements from some of the big companies like Nike, Lululemon and Darden Restaurants.

FX: The dollar plunged following the dovish surprise from Chair Powell at the Fed meeting. DXY index dropped below 103.50, closing below the 100 DMA. USDJPY printed fresh highs since November at 151.82 before Nikkei report sparked some concerns over further BOJ tightening and brought the pair lower to sub-151 handle. USDCHF saw a minor break of 0.89 handle but reversed to 0.8850 amid the dollar weakness, while EURCHF continued its ascent towards 0.97 with SNB meeting ahead. GBPUSD also in focus after it took a look below 1.27 on CPI but rebounded to 1.28 handle on dollar weakness and equity strength overnight. BOE meeting today is key to assess whether the hawkish bias drops. EURUSD heading for a test of 1.0940 while AUDUSD is back to test a break above 0.66.

Commodities: There was some profit-taking in the commodities complex ahead of the Fed announcement. Crude oil was down over 1.5% but EIA inventory data signaled a larger-than-expected drop for US crude as well as gasoline. Fed Chair Powell’s dovish bent also underpinned a recovery into the close of the US session. Copper also edged lower in the session, but gains were seen returning into Asia open with Fed’s dot plot showing three rate cuts for 2024 helping to support the demand outlook. But Gold prices overtook the $2,200 handle, hitting all-time highs, as yields slipped.

Fixed income: Fed’s affirmation of three rate cuts for this year signaled that Chair Powell is not concerned by the recent hot inflation prints. This saw Treasuries recover, led by the front-end. Two-year yields were down 8bps while 10-year yields were down only 2bps as long-run dots for median interest rates were raised.

Macro:

  • Fed: Rates were left unchanged at 5.25-5.50% as expected, with the statement seeing no major changes.
    • The 2024 dot plot also continued to show 3 rate cuts as against some fears of that being reduced to 2. There are now 9 members that have penciled in end-2024 rate at 4.6% vs. 6 in December, signaling greater confidence in three rate cuts this year.
    • Key to note that 2025, 2026, and long run ("neutral") dots were all nudged higher to 3.9%, 3.1%, and 2.6%, respectively, from 3.6%, 2.9%, and 2.5% which is likely to kick off a debate on the magnitude of cuts in this cycle, but that doesn’t unnerve the markets right away.
    • The GDP median was hiked to 2.1% from 1.4% for 2024, with the 2025 and 2026 medians both nudged higher to 2% from 1.8% and 1.9%, respectively. The unemployment median was nudged lower to 4.0% from 4.1% for 2024, with the 2025 median unchanged at 4.0% and the 2026 down to 4.0% from 4.1%. Core PCE was hiked to 2.6% for 2024 from 2.4%, with the 2025 and 2026 medians unchanged at 2.2% and 2.0%, respectively.
    • Powell seemed to be unconcerned by the recent hot inflation prints, and reiterated that the policy rate is likely at its peak and it will likely be appropriate to dial back rates at some time this year. This was a dovish signal to markets and the market expectation of a June rate cut is back to over 80%.
    • FOMC participants also thought that it will be appropriate to slow the pace of balance sheet runoff "fairly soon."
  • UK CPI came in below expectations with headline CPI at 0.6% MoM and 3.4% YoY (vs. 0.7% and 3.5% expected respectively). Core CPI eased from 5.1% YoY in January to 4.5% YoY in February, and focus turns to any dovish hints from the BOE meeting today. Read this article for Saxo’s BOE preview.
  • A Nikkei report overnight signaled that the BOJ may be weighing its next rate hike for July or October. This was a contrast to signals from BOJ Governor Ueda at the meeting this week, and focus will be on CPI data due on Friday.
  • SNB Preview: We discussed the potential for a dovish surprise from the SNB in the Macro podcast this week. Market is only expecting 37% odds of a rate cut today, but SNB is not very orthodox and could move ahead of the Fed and the ECB. Their strategy has shifted from defending a strong CHF to allowing controlled weakening for "normalization." Even if a rate cut is avoided, a dovish tone is likely that can boost the best for a 50bps rate cut in June.

Macro events: BoE Announcement, SNB Announcement, Norges Announcement, CBRT Announcement, European Council Meeting, EZ/UK/US Flash PMIs (Mar), US Philly Fed (Mar), New Zealand Trade Balance (Feb), Japan CPI (Feb)

Earnings: China Mobile, CNOOC, Ping An Insurance Group, Enel, China CITIC Bank, BMW, Nike, FedEx, Lululemon Atheletica, Accenture, Next, Darden Restaurants, FactSet

In the news:

  • Reddit prices IPO at $34 per share in first major social media offering since 2019 (CNBC)
  • Micron Soars After AI Growth Helps Bolster Revenue Forecast (Bloomberg)
  • Fed's Powell says balance sheet drawdown taper coming soon (Reuters)
  • Most Japan firms expect BOJ to increase rates towards 0.25% this year (Reuters)
  • Intel latest to get US funds for chips, more grants and loans planned (Reuters)

 

For all macro, earnings, and dividend events check Saxo’s calendar.

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