Global Market Quick Take: Asia – March 22, 2024 Global Market Quick Take: Asia – March 22, 2024 Global Market Quick Take: Asia – March 22, 2024

Global Market Quick Take: Asia – March 22, 2024

Macro 6 minutes to read
Charu Chanana

Head of FX Strategy

Summary:  Stocks extended gains despite Apple’s regulatory hassles, as US data continued to be strong and dovish tones from global central banks underpinned. The Swiss National Bank announced a surprise rate cut, kick starting the G10 easing cycle, while the Bank of England saw hawkish dissenters giving in to hold rates steady, pushing CHF and GBP to be the G10 FX underperformers. Japanese stocks extended gains further and China tech earnings boosted the Hong Kong index. Gold and crude oil were hurt by dollar strength, but still holding steady.

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

Equities: Another record close for S&P 500 as the post-Fed rally in stocks built further amid strong US data and dovish undertones coming out of some of the other central banks such as the Swiss National Bank (SNB) which went for a surprise rate cut and the Bank of England (BOE) where hawkish dissenters gave in. The rally extended further despite pressure on some of the big tech names. Apple fell over 4% after the US Department of Justice and 16 states filed a lawsuit alleging that it is illegally monopolizing the smartphone market. Reddit surged 47% as it started trading at IPO price of $35, while Micron soared 14% on strong earnings. FedEx climbed 13% in post-market on strong earning, and Nike Q3 earnings were also better than expected, and shares were up 4% in the after-hours. Lululemon, however, slumped 11% post-market as full-year guidance fell short of expectations.

In Asia, Nikkei 225 extended its strong run yesterday, closing at another record high above 40k as the index rose over 2%, and 41k is on target today. Hang Seng was also up close to 2% as China tech earnings fueled optimism, although CSI 300 ended marginally lower. Li Auto fell 7% after the Chinese EV maker cut its Q1 delivery forecast.

FX: The dollar saw a sharp rebound, and the DXY index inched back to the 104 handle, as a neutral Powell started to look relatively hawkish amid a dovish wave coming from other central banks such as SNB and BOE. Strong US data also underpinned, signaling that the Fed may be able to engineer a soft landing. SNB’s surprise rate cut saw USDCHF breaking above 0.89 to reach highs of 0.8994 while EURCHF inched higher to 0.9750 and our technical analyst sees further upside potential. GBPUSD also pushed back below the 1.27 handle as BOE vote split tilted dovish, but 100DMA around 1.2640 is offering support. USDJPY saw a move below 151 in Asia session on Thursday but has returned higher to 151.60 amid dollar strength. EURUSD slid below 1.09, reversing much of post-FOMC gains.

Commodities: Crude oil prices were under some pressure due to the strong dollar, but WTI held above the key $80-mark as rate outlook and supply tightness concerns continued to underpin. Gold surged to a record high as the prospect of rate cuts from the Fed rose. The precious metal hit $2,220/oz before giving back some gains late in the session as the USD rose. Iron ore continued to recover from the recent rout, while copper rose earlier in the session with risk-on sentiment in play but could not sustain the momentum amid dollar strength.

Fixed income: Strong US economic data kept the front-end Treasury yields higher, while the long-end yields as well as EGB and Gilt yields pushed lower amid the dovish tones coming out from central banks such as the SNB and the BOE. Attention is now on set up for next week's 2s, 5s, and 7s auctions on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, respectively.


  • The Bank of England MPC once again opted to stand pat on rates at 5.25%, however the vote split shifted dovish. Two of the members, Haskel and Mann, moved into the unchanged camp from voting for rate hikes earlier, leading to an 8-1 split with Dhingra the lone dissenter in opting for a rate cut. Market has increased the odds of a June rate cut now to 77% from 58% earlier.
  • The Swiss National Bank delivered a surprise rate cut of 25bps, kickstarting the G10 easing cycle and putting pressure on the Fed, ECB and BOE to start cutting rates by mid-year. Concerns over the currency was the primary catalyst for SNB, and as we have highlighted before, the next SNB meeting was only after the Fed and the ECB.
  • US S&P Flash PMI composite reading for March fell to 52.2 from 52.5 with divergence between services and manufacturing. The manufacturing sector was the strong spot, with the PMI seeing a surprise rise to 52.5 from 52.2 (exp. 51.7), while services fell more than expected to 51.7 from 52.3 (exp. 52.0). On the other side of the pond, Eurozone PMIs indicated weakness in manufacturing while services PMI lifted higher.
  • US Jobless claims for the week that coincides with the NFP survey window, eased slightly to 210k from an upwardly revised 212k, beneath expectations of 215k, a level that is seen consistent with a tight labour market.
  • Japan’s headline CPI for February rose to 2.8% YoY from 2.2% in January, but came in below 2.9% expected. Core CPI rose to 2.8% as expected from 2.0% previously but core-core measures eased to 3.2% YoY, a notch lower than 3.3% expected, from 3.5% YoY in January. Focus today will be on the second tally of wage negotiation results.

Macro events: Japan's Rengo (labour union) 2nd Pay Tally, UK Retail Sales (Feb), German Ifo Survey (Mar)

Earnings: China Shenhua Energy, Meituan, Zijin Mining Group, Yihai Kerry Arawana, CMOC Group, China Petroleum & Chemical

In the news:

  • Apple Loses $113 Billion in Value After Regulators Close In (Bloomberg)
  • FedEx tightens 2024 profit forecast on cost cuts, shares jump 13% (Reuters)
  • As Nike bleeds market share, investors worry over relevance (Reuters)
  • Xi to Meet With US Executives in Beijing Next Week, WSJ Says (Bloomberg)
  • Reddit Soars 48% in Debut as AI Pitch Gets Warm Reception (Bloomberg)
  • Bitcoin Set for One of Worst Weeks in 2024 as ETF Demand Falters (Bloomberg)


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