What is happening in markets?
Nasdaq 100 (USNAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I)
US. Equities traded lower in a quiet session, awaiting today’s CPI data. Nasdaq 100 fell 1.2% after Micron Technology (MU:xnas), added to investors’ concern over weakening demand for microchips when the company issued a negative revenue warning, just a day after another leading chip maker, Nvidia (NVDA:xnas) similarly announced. The company said that the current quarter revenue could come in at or below the low end of prior guidance. Share price of Micron fell 3.7%. S&P 500 fell 0.4%. After the close, Coinbase Global, Roblox, and Wynn Resorts reported weaker-than-expected results and declined in after-hours trades.
U.S. yield curve inverts further
Front-end U.S. treasury yields rose 6bps and caused the 2-10-year yield spread further inverted to -49.5bps. The 10-year treasury note yield edged up by 2bps to 2.78% after the Q2 unit labor costs in the U.S. came in at 10.8%, higher than expected. The 3-year action showed decent demand from investors after yields had risen ahead of the auction.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HSIQ2) and China’s CSI300 (03188:xhkg)
Shares of leading Hong Kong property developers surged as much as 5% at one point in the morning session, following newswires, citing Executive Council convener Regina Ip, suggested that Hong Kong is considering to remove the punitive double stamp duty imposed on residential property buyers from the mainland. The Hang Seng Index rose as much as 1% in the morning but both the Hang Seng Index and Hong Kong developers pared gains after the office of the Financial Secretary refuting the speculation after midday. Hung Kai Properties (00016:xhkg) and CK Assets (01113:xhkg) finished the day 2% higher and Henderson Land (00012:xhkg) +0.7%. The Hang Seng Index reversed and closed 0.2% lower.
Shares of coal miners surged 2% to 5% across the board following reports that a large Shanxi coal mine had an incident and caused temporary suspension of production. Chinese EV names traded lower on concerns spurred by a 64% MoM fall of Tesla sales in July despite that the China Passenger Car Association raised EV sales estimate to 6 million, 9% higher from its previous estimate. In A-shares, CSI300 was modestly higher, with coal mining, auto parts, wind and solar power storage, and chiplet concept shares outperformed.
USD upside pressure could return on strong CPI
The US inflation will be relevant beyond the headline print. Key focus is likely to be on the core measure, as it is evident that lower commodity prices may have helped to cool the headline measure. The US dollar rallied sharply on Friday after a solid jobs print, but has since steadied. The next leg higher could depend on the stickiness of the inflation print, which may raise further the expectations of a 75bps rate hike at the September Fed meeting. EURUSD took another look above 1.0240 overnight but reversed back towards 1.0200 in early Asia. USDJPY is also stuck in the middle of the 130-140 range, awaiting triggers for a breakout one way or another.
Crude oil prices (CLU2 & LCOV2)
Oil prices steadied in the Asian morning on Wednesday amid renewed concerns on Russian flows to Europe. WTI futures were seen around the key $90 level, while Brent futures touched $96/barrel. API report also showed another week of strong inventory build, coming in at 2.2 million for week ended August 5 as compared to expectations of 73k. The official government inventory report is due today, and China’s inflation data will also be on watch.
Grains eye the USDA report
US grain futures led by corn traded higher on Tuesday in response to worsening crop conditions. Just like central Europe, soaring heat and drought have raised concerns about lower production and yields. USDA will publish its monthly supply and demand estimates on Friday. The crop condition report, published every Monday by the USDA throughout the growing season, shows the proportion of the US crop being rated in a good to excellent condition.
Gold (XAUUSD) looking to test $1800
Gold’s focus remains on the geopolitical tensions, despite the recent rise in US Treasury yields. The US CPI and the $1800 resistance area are now the key tests for Gold ahead, and any pickup in rate hike expectations from the Fed could bring bears of the yellow metal back in force. Silver (XAGUSD) has been outshining Gold and in the process managing to mount a challenge above its 50-day moving average, now support at $20.33 with focus on resistance at $20.85.
What to consider?
US CPI due today will be just noise
The highly-watched US inflation data is due to be released today, and the debate on inflation peaking vs. higher-for-longer will be revived. Meanwhile, the Fed has recently stayed away from providing forward guidance, which has now made all the data points ahead of the September 21 FOMC meeting a lot more important to predict the path of Fed rates from here. Bloomberg consensus expects inflation to slow down from 9.1% YoY in June to 8.8% YoY last month, but it will be more important to think about how fast inflation can decelerate from here, and how low it can go. The core print will gather greater attention to assess stickiness and breadth of price pressures. However, any surprise will still just be a noise given that we have another print for August due ahead of the next FOMC meeting.
Fed’s Evans will take the hot seat today
Chicago President Charles Evans discusses the economy and monetary policy today. Evans is not a voter this year, but he votes in 2023. He said last week a 50bps rate hike is a reasonable assessment for the September meeting, but 75bps is a possibility too if inflation does not improve. He expects 25bps from there on until Q2 2023 and sees a policy rate between 3.75-4% in 2023, which is in line with Fed’s median view of 3.8% for 2023, but above the 3.1% that the market is currently pricing in.
US New York Fed survey of inflation expectations show sharp decline
Median 1-year ahead and 3-year ahead inflation expectations declined sharply in July, from 6.8%/3.6% in June to 6.2%/3.2% in July. Lower income households showed the greatest shift lower in expectations, possibly linked to the sharp drop in petrol prices (the peak in June in one national measure was over $5.00/gallon, a level that fell to below $4.25/gallon by the end of July.
China’s PPI inflation is set to ease while CPI is expected to pick up in July
The median forecasts from economists being surveyed by Bloomberg are 4.9% (vs June: 6.1%) for PPI and 2.9% (vs 2.5% for June). The higher CPI forecast is mainly a result of a surge in pork prices by 35% in July from June. On the other hand, PPI is expected to continue its recent trend of deceleration due to a low base and a fall in material prices. The convergence of the gap between PPI and CPI is likely to benefit downstream manufacturing industries.
Japan PPI shows continued input price pressures
Japan’s July producer prices came in slightly above expectations at 8.6% y/y (vs. estimates of 8.4% y/y) while the m/m figure was as expected at 0.4%. The continued surge reflects that Japanese businesses are waddling high input price pressures, and these are likely to get passed on to the consumers, suggesting further increases in CPI remain likely. The government is also set to announce a cabinet reshuffle today, and households may see increased measures to help relieve the price pressures. That will continue to ease the pressure on the Bank of Japan to tighten policy.
Coinbase earnings disappoint
Coinbase (COIN:xnas) reported la loss of USD1.1 billion in Q2, larger-than-expected. Revenues dropped to USD808 million, sharply lower from last year’s USD2.2 billion. Monthly transaction users fell to 9 million, 2% lower from prior quarter. The company sees average monthly transaction users 7 millions to 9 millions in the current quarter. Coinbase Global is worth watching given the fallout in cryptocurrency trading and the recent partnership with BlackRock to ease access for institutional investors.
Chipmaker warnings continue, with Micron warning of ‘challenging’ conditions
After Nvidia, now Micron (MU) has issued warning of a possible revenue miss in the current quarter and ‘challenging’ memory conditions. The company officials said that they expect the revenue for the fiscal fourth quarter, which ends in August, “may come in at or below the low end of the revenue guidance range provided in our June 30 earnings call.” The company had called for $6.8-7.6 billion in revenue in its June earnings report. Moreover, they also guided for a tough next quarter as well as shipments could fall on a sequential basis, given the inventory buildup with their customers.
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