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The Risk Rebound Continues



stock market - Investors King

By Jeffrey Halley, Senior Market Analyst, Asia Pacific, OANDA

Markets continue to price that the worst is over for US bond markets and that the end of Fed rate hikes will occur sooner as the economy in the US, and elsewhere, slow sharply in H2 2022. US stock markets had a banner week based on that theory, which continued Friday with Wall Street posting another day of sharp gains.

It is not just US yields that have retreated sharply over the last week, oil retreated, and this month, industrial metals have taken a beating as well. I’ll not argue with the slow-down predictions although they’re not alone. China has already had one, Europe and the UK are going through one, New Zealand is going to have one, and from Ecuador to Peru, Sri Lanka, and plenty of points in between, emerging markets are feeling some serious pain from inflation and the stagflation shock and disruption to staple supplies like food and energy.

The backwardation in oil futures markets has widened, not lessened, suggesting that despite least weeks’ price falls, energy supplies are as tight as ever. Europe is suffering from reduced Russian natural gas flows; Ecuadorean oil production is expected to go completely offline this week due to cost-of-living protests, and I’m guessing in the US, Honda Civics (a hybrid of course) are this season’s new automotive black as American’s face the reality of owning and running a 10-litre pickup truck. And don’t get me started on the downstream impacts of high natural gas and oil prices on the manufacturing of fertilisers, exacerbated by Russian and Belarus sanctions.

We are already seeing winters of discontent sweeping the UK and Europe and places elsewhere as workers strike over pay increases. None of this adds up to a reason to be piling into equity markets in my mind, because even if bond yields from early hikers start topping out with the US, the real world where companies sell their products isn’t looking too special for H2.

Still, one of the wisest sayings an investor can ever listen to is from John Maynard Keynes. He said that “the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.” Nary a truer word has been said and as such one should always respect the short-term momentum is that’s the space you play in, and it seems that many do in this gamified investment day and age. The stock market rally could run for another couple of weeks, US yields and the Dollar could continue falling, and even USD/JPY might make it back to 130.00 if US 10-years fall back below 3.0%.

Helping the bounce in sentiment on Friday were US New Homes surprising to the upside, rising by 11% in April. The consensus seems to be that this is an outlier in a downward trend though. On the negative side, Michigan Consumer Sentiment for June fell to a record low of 50.0, with the only tenuous positive being that Inflation Expectations held steady at 5.30% and didn’t move higher.

This week, we have the Fed’s Powell, ECB’s Lagarde, and BOE’s Bailey, all speaking on Wednesday at an economic policy panel discussion at the ECB junket, I mean forum in Portugal. We may well get some tasty snippets to generate short-term vol. Otherwise, data is heavily skewed towards the end of the week. The highlights will be China and US PMI readings released over Thursday and Friday, German Retail Sales on Thursday, and US Personal Income and Expenditure, also on Thursday.

Barring a chock fall in US Personal Income and Expenditure, I can’t see any of that moving the dial on the global risk sentiment rebound. It is clear the market wants to buy the dip, and it’s best to let them get it out of their system. Next week’s JOLTs Job-Opening data and the US Non-Farm Payrolls will provide a sterner test. Tonight’s US Durable Goods may also give the FOMO gnomes an early stress test.

In Asia this week, the ongoing G-7 meeting could be the most relevant one in a decade with Ukraine and Russia at the centre of the agenda. China has already released Industrial Profits this morning, which fell by 6.50% YoY in May, a slight improvement over April. The official and Caixin PMIs at the end of the week are what matter though. Australian Retail Sales on Wednesday are always good for some intra-day AUD vol, but both AUD and NZD are slaves to global sentiment perception, and Australian stock markets are just cost-tailing Wall Street right now. Friday also sees a slew of Manufacturing PMIs released from across Asia, which are usually a decent short-term directional play for local equity markets.

South Korea releases Industrial Production, Manufacturing Production and Retail Sales on Thursday. Retail Sales will remain under pressure as the cost of living increases bite. Industrial Production and Manufacturing should hold steady, but weaker data may see renewed pressure on the Won and other Asian currencies on slowdown fears.

Japan has a packed calendar. Retail Sales and Consumer Confidence should continue to improve as the reopening momentum domestically continues. A weaker yen should help Thursday’s Industrial Production data, but Friday’s Tankan Large Manufacturing Index has downside risks. Arguably the most closely watched item will be Friday’s Tokyo CPI data where June Inflation YoY could breach above 2.0%. It’s a strange old world when markets get excited about 2.0% inflation anywhere but especially in Japan. Although I believe after over two decades, the Bank of Japan has no intention of altering monetary policy, a CPI reading above 2.0% could see temporary pressure on 10-year JGBs and the USD/JPY. That’s all it’s likely to be, temporary.

Finally, it’s Monday so I suppose I have to talk about cryptos for a little bit in their role as a “tradeable asset,” instead of an “investable asset.” Thanks to the rebound in US stock markets and the fall in US yields, Bitcoin looks to have traced out a low of around $18,000.00 for now. From a technical perspective, a rise above $22,000.00 looks possible, extending onwards to $24,000.00. However, in the medium-term, Bitcoin remains in the danger zone, and only a rise above $28,000.00 negates.

Asian equities rally with Wall Street.

Wall Street had an impressive session on Friday, rallying powerfully once again as markets priced in a US recession meaning US interest rate hikes would end sooner than expected. That perverse logic saw the S&P 500 jump 3.07%, the Nasdaq rally 3.34% higher, while the Dow Jones gained 2.70%. Much the same pattern is playing out in US futures in Asia. S&P 500 have added 0.35%, Nasdaq futures have jumped by 0.85%, while Dow futures have gained 0.10% as the FOMO gnomes of Wall Street go hard on growth over value.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq,, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

Crude Oil

Oil Prices Recover Slightly Amidst Demand Concerns in U.S. and China



Crude Oil

Oil prices showed signs of recovery on Thursday after a recent slump to a six-month low, with Brent crude oil appreciating by 1% to $75.06 a barrel while the U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil also rose by 1% to $70.05 a barrel.

However, investor concerns persist over sluggish demand in both the United States and China.

The market’s unease was triggered by data indicating that U.S. oil output remains close to record highs despite falling inventories.

U.S. gasoline stocks rose unexpectedly by 5.4 million barrels to 223.6 million barrels, adding to the apprehension.

China, the world’s largest oil importer, also contributed to market jitters as crude oil imports in November dropped by 9% from the previous year.

High inventory levels, weak economic indicators, and reduced orders from independent refiners were cited as factors weakening demand.

Moody’s recent warnings on credit downgrades for Hong Kong, Macau, Chinese state-owned firms, and banks further fueled concerns about China’s economic stability.

Oil prices have experienced a 10% decline since OPEC+ announced voluntary output cuts of 2.2 million barrels per day for the first quarter of the next year.

In response to falling prices, OPEC+ member Algeria stated that it would consider extending or deepening oil supply cuts.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met to discuss further oil price cooperation, potentially boosting market confidence in the effectiveness of output cuts.

Russia, part of OPEC+, pledged increased transparency regarding fuel refining and exports, addressing concerns about undisclosed fuel shipments.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Continue Slide as Market Skepticism Grows Over OPEC+ Cuts



OPEC - Investors King

Global oil markets witnessed a continued decline on Wednesday as investors assessed the impact of extended OPEC+ cuts against a backdrop of diminishing demand prospects in China.

Brent crude oil, the international benchmark for Nigerian crude oil, declined by 63 cents to $76.57 a barrel while U.S. WTI crude oil lost 58 cents to $71.74 a barrel.

Last week, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, collectively known as OPEC+, agreed to maintain voluntary output cuts of approximately 2.2 million barrels per day through the first quarter of 2024.

Despite this effort to tighten supply, market sentiment remains unresponsive.

“The decision to further reduce output from January failed to stimulate the market, and the recent, seemingly coordinated, assurances from Saudi Arabia and Russia to extend the constraints beyond 1Q 2024 or even deepen the cuts if needed have also fallen to deaf ears,” noted PVM analyst Tamas Varga.

Adding to the unease, Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut its official selling price (OSP) for flagship Arab Light to Asia in January for the first time in seven months raises concerns about the struggling demand for oil.

Amid the market turmoil, concerns over China’s economic health cast a shadow, potentially limiting fuel demand in the world’s second-largest oil consumer.

Moody’s recent decision to lower China’s A1 rating outlook from stable to negative further contributes to the apprehension.

Analysts will closely watch China’s preliminary trade data, including crude oil import figures, set to be released on Thursday.

The outcome will provide insights into the trajectory of China’s refinery runs, with expectations leaning towards a decline in November.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s diplomatic visit to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia has added an extra layer of complexity to the oil market dynamics.

Discussions centered around the cooperation between Russia, the UAE, and OPEC+ in major oil and gas projects, highlighting the intricate geopolitical factors influencing oil prices.

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Crude Oil

U.S. Crude Production Hits Another Record, Posing Challenges for OPEC




U.S. crude oil production reached a new record in September, surging by 224,000 barrels per day to 13.24 million barrels per day.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a consecutive monthly increase, adding 342,000 barrels per day over the previous three months, marking an annualized growth rate of 11%.

The surge in domestic production has led to a buildup of crude inventories and a softening of prices, challenging OPEC⁺ efforts to stabilize the market.

Despite a decrease in the number of active drilling rigs over the past year, U.S. production continues to rise.

This growth is attributed to enhanced drilling efficiency, with producers focusing on promising sites and drilling longer horizontal well sections to maximize contact with oil-bearing rock.

While OPEC⁺ production cuts have stabilized prices at relatively high levels, U.S. producers are benefiting from this stability.

The current strategy seems to embrace non-OPEC non-shale (NONS) producers, similar to how North Sea producers did in the 1980s.

Saudi Arabia, along with its OPEC⁺ partners, is resuming its role as a swing producer, balancing the market by adjusting its output.

Despite OPEC’s inability to formally collaborate with U.S. shale producers due to antitrust laws, efforts are made to include other NONS producers like Brazil in the coordination system.

This outreach aligns with the historical pattern of embracing rival producers to maintain control over a significant share of global production.

In contrast, U.S. gas production hit a seasonal record high in September, reaching 3,126 billion cubic feet.

However, unlike crude, there are signs that gas production growth is slowing due to very low prices and the absence of a swing producer.

Gas production increased by only 1.8% in September 2023 compared to the same month the previous year.

While the gas market is in the process of rebalancing, excess inventories may persist, keeping prices low.

The impact of a strengthening El Niño in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean could further influence temperatures and reduce nationwide heating demand, impacting gas prices in the coming months.

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