Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Asia markets mixed as Wall Street marks four-day losing streak on banking woes

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Australia still sees ‘further tightening’ of monetary policy even after surprise rate hike

Australia’s central bank still sees that “some further tightening of monetary policy” may be required to rein in inflation, the Reserve Bank of Australia said in its May Statement on Monetary Policy.

The central bank noted that this “will depend upon how the economy and inflation evolve.”

This comes as the Reserve Bank of Australia surprised markets by raising rates by 25 basis points to 3.85% on Tuesday.

In its statement, the RBA lowered its near-term inflation and GDP forecasts, while saying that inflation is still not expected to return to upper end of 2-3% target range until the middle of 2025.

The central bank also foresees goods inflation to moderating further, while energy and services inflation is seen to remain elevated, with the services sector set to see growth in labor costs and rents.

— Lim Hui Jie

Indonesia’s economy expanded year-on-year in the first quarter of 2023

Indonesia’s gross domestic product expanded 5.03% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2023.

The robust economic growth beat expectations of 4.95% predicted in a Reuters poll and higher than growth of 5.01% recorded in the first quarter of last year.

Quarter-on-quarter basis, Indonesia’s economy contracted 0.92%, less than forecasts for a 1% decline. The economy grew by 0.36% in the final quarter of last year.

Based on production, the transportation and storage sector saw the most growth at 15.93%, the country’s statistics department said. Based on expenditure, the export of goods and services recorded the highest growth of 11.68%.

— Lim Hui Jie

Apple’s Asia suppliers mixed after earnings beat estimates

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China’s Caixin services purchasing managers index slips

China’s Caixin/S&P Global services purchasing managers’ index fell to 56.4 in April from 57.8 in the previous month.

The reading marked the second-highest figure recorded since November 2020 and the fourth consecutive months above the 50-mark that separates growth and contraction.

The survey showed expansion in services activity despite disappointing factory activity in Mainland China earlier this week.

The reading suggests that services activity is still “undergoing a fast recovery,” according to Wang Zhe, Senior Economist at Caixin Insight Group.

— Jihye Lee

Hong Kong’s IPO market bets on a rebound, but the biggest listing so far flopped

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange in Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, July 13, 2022.

Paul Yeung | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Hong Kong’s biggest listing so far in 2023 flopped last week, suggesting that the market still needs time to rebound, despite hopes of recovery.

Shares of Chinese spirit maker ZJLD Group tumbled almost 18% on their first day of trading on April 27.

“The sentiment in the IPO markets has not built up yet. A lot of industries are still suffering,” said Ringo Choi, Asia-Pacific IPO leader at EY.

“The underlying economy is not doing well,” said Irene Chu, partner at KPMG China. “The concern is still about the high interest rate environment and a lot of the attention in the Greater China region is about the recovery of the economy,” said Chu.

The share price of ZJLD Group has been relatively flat from last week.

Read the full story here.

— Sheila Chiang

Week ahead: China trade and inflation, South Korea’s unemployment, India’s industrial output

A number of economic data releases are expected next week for Asia-Pacific markets, including China’s inflation data, India’s industrial production and the Philippines’ trade balance.

On Monday, Taiwan reports its trade data. Economists at Citi expect that in April, Taiwan’s exports declined 21.4% year on year and imports fell 22.6% year on year.

“Non-tech exports to China are yet to recover (as indicated by trade data from China) and lower commodity prices will reduce the value of exports,” Citi economists wrote in a Thursday note.

China’s April trade data will also be released Tuesday along with Malaysia’s gross domestic product.

South Korea’s current account balance for March and unemployment rate for April are expected on Wednesday.

China’s producer price index and consumer price index are slated to be published on Thursday. For March, China’s CPI reading rose marginally by 0.7% year-on-year while the PPI marked a 2.5% year-on-year decline. The Philippines reports its gross domestic product for the first quarter on this day as well.

India’s industrial output for March will be published on Friday after marking year-on-year growth of 5.6% in February. Citi economists expect headline inflation to fall toward 4.8% year on year, marking the first print below 5% since November 2021.

— Jihye Lee

CNBC Pro: Goldman Sachs names a slew of energy companies to buy right now as attitudes shift

Goldman Sachs has identified a number of energy stocks to own ahead of an expected turn in the market’s sentiment toward the oil and gas sector.

The Wall Street bank said it had observed greater ownership of the energy sector due to a change in the way ESG investors — or those who take environmental, social and governance factors into account — approach investing. Instead of divesting from fossil fuels altogether, they’re focusing more on engaging with these companies for better environmental outcomes, according to the bank.

ESG funds raised their exposure to the energy sector by 8 percentage points in the first three months of this year, Goldman added.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Ganesh Rao

CNBC Pro: Intel vs. AMD? Analysts prefer one stock for its long-term push in A.I.

Goldman Sachs advises investors to be overweight in non-U.S. markets

In the case that markets avoid a recession, Goldman Sachs says interests rates will likely then rise, putting downward pressure on valuations. In this case, the bank tells investors to position themselves to position themselves in markets outside of the U.S.

“We continue to recommend an overweight in non-US markets which are cheap with a similar growth profile. Returns for dollar-based investors should also get a boost from a gradually lower dollar,” several analysts wrote in a Thursday note.

The company added that it favors quality growth and stable margin businesses “together with some deep value – Energy, Natural Resources and European Banks.” Our strategists in the US and Asia have a preference for quality and defensive equities as well.

— Hakyung Kim

Every stock in closely followed regional banking index trades down

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Western Alliance shares lose more than half their value, trading halted for volatility

Trading for Western Alliance Bancorp shares was paused multiple times on Thursday, as the stock plunged 58.2%. The move comes as regional banking peer PacWest Bancorp saw its stock lose 59% on news of exploring a sale. The SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF lost more than 9% Thursday amid the uncertainty.

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Western Alliance Bancorp shares

Claims, productivity, labor costs and trade data miss estimates

A round of economic data points Thursday morning mostly came in worse than Wall Street expectations.

Jobless claims totaled 242,000 for the week ended April 29, higher than the 236,000 estimate from Dow Jones. Worker productivity in the first quarter declined 2.7% against the estimate for a 1.9% drop, while unit labor costs, an inflation gauge, accelerated 6.3% in Q1, higher than the 5.5% expectation.

Finally, the trade deficit declined to $64.2 billion, but that was higher than the $63.1 billion estimate.

—Jeff Cox

ECB hikes rates a quarter point as expected

The European Central Bank on Thursday raised interest rates by a quarter percentage point, in line with market expectations, noting that inflation is still too high and underlying pressures persist.

A day after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced a similar hike, the ECB took its key borrowing rates up to a respective 3.75%, 4% and 3.25%, near a 15-year high. The Fed’s move brought its fund rate to a target range of 5%-5.25%.

Headline inflation is running around 7% in the euro zone, well above the ECB’s 2% target.

—Jeff Cox

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