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The Stranger Things Put

The bear market rally looks well and truly back on track this week, thanks to one of the stranger things I have seen in 2022, Netflix losing only one million subscribers in Q2 instead of 2 million and forecasting an additional one million subscriber additions in Q3

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

The bear market rally looks well and truly back on track this week, thanks to one of the stranger things I have seen in 2022, Netflix losing only one million subscribers in Q2 instead of 2 million and forecasting an additional one million subscriber additions in Q3. Minus one plus one equals um, zero, the last time I looked. But it is not for me the second guess the bullish herd mentality of the equity market, especially as they continue to grapple with the reality that 20-years of central bank monetary puts have come to an end.

The Netflix results were apparently backstopped by Stranger Things 3 being released. I’ll not argue with that as I love Stranger Things and remember the 80’s and all the music very well. Mrs Halley is less enamoured with season 3, complaining about the slow pace and the convoluted plot threads. That’s what makes a market I suppose. I have a feeling that omicrons’ rampage across the world, has left many subscribers working or isolating from home, delaying the pressing of the cancel subscription button.

Either way, with the street hungry for good news to feed the buy-the-dip appetite, Wall Street has a huge day, which saw investors piling back into big tech as well, lifting the Nasdaq by over 3.0%. I heard more peak inflation noise being bandied around, with Reuters reporting that Nord Stream 1 natural gas flows from Russia to Germany would resume this week as scheduled. Additionally, hopes were raised around negotiations to ease Russia’s seaborne blockade of Ukrainian food exports.

Peak inflation is as good a reason to pile into equities and other risk sentiment asset classes as any I suppose. I personally believe we could be near peak inflation, but any hopes that it is suddenly going to fall quickly are naïve, far more likely is that it stays elevated for quite some time to come. The other issue I have from the above paragraph is having to use the words “hope” and “Russia.” I’m not sure how many times investors have to be slapped around the face on this point.

To emphasise this, lets circle back to the Reuters natural gas story. It did mention that its sources said the flows, when they resume this week, will not return previous levels, and by this, I mean its 160 million cubic metre-per-day capacity. Vladimir Putin, on his return from fellow economic powerhouse, Iran, is already setting the scene for reduced flows resuming, blaming faulty pumping units again according to Reuters. They also reported that Mr Putin said in Iran that “not all issues had been resolved yet” vis-à-vis Black Sea grain exports.

So, Joe Biden left Saudi Arabia empty-handed on commitments by the Saudis to pump more oil, and Vladimir Putin is saying Nord Stream 1 gas flows will remain low and that Black Sea grain shipments have “issues” to overcome. And markets are pricing in peak inflation with a precipitous drop in H2 2022. I do admire the optimism. In large directional macro moves of the type we have seen in equities and currency markets the past few months; it is not unusual to see quite aggressive short-term reversals of those trends. I am yet to be convinced that we are seeing anything more than a bear market rally at the moment. Europe’s day of reckoning may come earlier when Nord Stream 1 is due to be switched on tomorrow. For the rest of world, that may come at next weeks FOMC policy meeting.

Over in China, the mortgage payment strike by disgruntled apartment buyers is grabbing the headlines. The government is seemingly moving to push the funding gap to beleaguered developers onto local governments and state policy banks, meaning the fallout so far has been limited on equity markets. Perhaps more concerning is new Covid-19 cases reached 1,012 in China yesterday, according to official data. A flesh wound anywhere else, but in China’s covid-zero world, a cause for concern around potential new lockdowns. Readers should monitor developments here closely. Covid-zero means covid-zero in China, not lock down Shanghai and Beijing once and done. Mainland equities have only rallied modestly today, and your answer probably lies there. In other news China left its one and five-year Loan Prime Rates unchanged, but this was completely expected.

There is no other data of note due out in Asia today, the Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Lowe spoke earlier today. Mr Lowe said he expected CPI to keep heading higher, and that employment was past its theoretical maximum, and that interest rates would have to keep going up. Mostly, t was of no surprise to markets now, and the Australian Dollar and local equities are ignoring it to hitch their reins to the US peak-inflation, we can trust Russia, less-worse earnings, sentiment rally overnight, like everyone else.

This afternoon, German PPI is expected to rise to an eye-watering 33.90% YoY for June, as hints of a 0.50% rate hike by the ECB tomorrow gave the Euro a boost overnight. The United Kingdom releases inflation for June, expected to climb to 9.30% YoY, with Core Inflation at 5.80%, PPI rising to 23.20% and Retail Prices rising 11.80%. With UK employment data yesterday surprisingly strong, some serious pressure is going to fall on the Bank of England now to accelerate rate hikes least material Sterling weakness return.

US Housing Starts for June edged slightly lower overnight, and tonight we receive Existing Home Sales, which are expected to fall slightly to 5.38 million. In this environment, a bigger fall as rate hikes bite, is likely to be interpreted as peak inflation/ less Fed rate hikes equals buy equites and sell US Dollars. Counterintuitive I know, but I don’t make the story up, I just report it and try to make sense of it.

Asian equities follow Wall Street higher.

Asian equity markets are enjoying a very positive session today, content to coattail the impressive rally by Wall Street overnight. Overnight, US stocks booked impressive gains after Netflix had less worse results than expected, and peak inflation hopes abounded on expectations of resumed Black Sea grain exports and Russian gas exports to Europe. All-in all, it looked like Wall Street was looking for any excuse to continue the bear-market rally, and they got it.

Overnight, the S&P 500 jumped an impressive 2.73% higher, while the Nasdaq rallied by 3.09% as the Netflix results inspired investors to pile back into big tech en masse. Not to be outdone, the Dow Jones also booked a health 2.39% gain. In Asia, the party continues for US futures. S&P 500 futures are 0.53% higher, Nasdaq futures are rallied by 0.72%, and Dow futures have added 0.41%.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 has jumped 2.40% higher, with South Korea’s Kospi climbing by 1.05%, and Taipei is also 1.05% higher. The rally is less impressive in Mainland China thanks to rising covid-19 cases. The Shanghai Composite is 0.67% higher, the CSI 300 has added just 0.38%, but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has rallied 1.80% higher.

In regional markets, Singapore is 1.33% higher, with Kuala Lumper gaining 0.55%. Jakarta has rallied by 1.80%. Manila and Bangkok have added 0.40%. Australian markets are having a strong day on the back of the US equity rally. The ASX 200 is 1.50% higher, while the All Ordinaries has rallied by 1.65%.

European markets booked another outsized session of gains overnight, following Wall Street and hitching their wagon on hopes that Putin would return Nord Stream 1 flows to normal from tomorrow. I admire their optimism, but Mr Putin appeared to pour cold water on that this morning, and I suspect it will eventually pour cold water on European equity markets dalliance with the world of fantasy today.

US Dollar correction continues.

With risk sentiment soaring in US equity markets overnight, the US Dollar bull market correction continued unabated, with losses versus the DM and EM space overnight. The dollar index closed 0.68% lower at 106.68 overnight, easing another 0.15% to 106.53 in Asia. but traded in a very choppy 115 point range between 106.90 and 108.05. The index traced out a double bottom at 106.40 overnight, and this marks initial support. Failure allows a test of 105.85 and then 105.00. Above, resistance is at 107.60, the overnight high, and then 108.70. A neutral relative strength index allows the US Dollar correction to continue for some time yet.

EUR/USD rallied through 1.0200 yesterday, finishing 0.80% higher at 1.0225. Asia is has edged higher to 1.0245. ​ The technical picture still suggests only a sustained break above 1.0360 would suggest a longer-term low is in place. EUR/USD has support at 1.0120 and 1.0000. The single currency faces serious event risk in the latter half of the week, firstly from the ECB policy decision, and secondly, from Russian natural gas flows which are due to resume after pipeline maintenance.

USD/JPY is holding steady at 138.00, where it remains in Asia. 139.40 is initial resistance, followed by 140.00. Support is at 137.40 and 136.00. The former was tested again overnight, and failure now signals a much deeper correction lower.

AUD/USD and NZD/USD rallied strongly overnight, breaking higher out of their falling wedge formations, implying more gains are likely in the near term. Having broken higher through 0.6850, AUD/USD is trading at 0.6920 today and the technical picture suggest a move through 0.7000 is likely. Similarly, the rise through 0.6150 by NZD/USD suggests that further gains above 0.6300 are possible.

Oil prices explode higher.

Brent crude and WTI prices continued higher overnight as sentiment in markets swung to peak inflation once again, and concerns persisted around the resumption of Russian gas supplies. Brent crude rose 1.50% to $107.25 overnight, before edging lower to $106.40 in Asia. WTI rose by 1.50% to 103.35 a barrel overnight, moving 0.70% lower to $102.65 a barrel in Asia. ​

Brent crude has nearby resistance at $107.25, followed by $108.00 a barrel. Support is at $103.65 and $99.50. WTI has support at $99.35 and $96.00 a barrel, with resistance nearby at $104.00 and $105.00 a barrel.

Gold’s remains unimpressive.

Gold has another unimpressive session overnight, failing ahead of $1720.00 intraday, but closing almost unchanged at $1711.00 an ounce, before edging lower to $1709.00 in Asia.

Gold’s inability to hold onto even modest rallies in prices, even as the US Dollar falls and US bonds trade sideways, is a major concern. Risk remains heavily skewed towards the downside.

Gold has initial support at $1700.00, followed by the more important $1675.00 an ounce zone. A sustained failure of $1675.00 will signal a much deeper move lower targeting the $1450.00 to $1500.00 an ounce regions in the weeks ahead. Gold has resistance nearby at $1725.00, and then $1745.00.

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

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Energy

FG to Add Additional 817 MWs to The National Grid to Boost Power Supply

The federal government has revealed plans to add an additional 817 megawatts (MWs) of electricity to the national grid to boost power supply within the federal capital territory (FCT) and its environs.

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ossiomo

The federal government has revealed plans to add an additional 817 megawatts (MWs) of electricity to the national grid to boost power supply within the federal capital territory (FCT) and its environs.

This was disclosed by the Managing Director of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) Mr. Sule Abdulaziz while on a visit to the ongoing projects in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He added that when the project is completed, it would add 1. 465 more transmission lines to the grid, improving and strengthening the FCT’s access to electricity.

In his words, “With the additional lines, TCN capacity of transmission lines will be higher than what is in existence and this means that in future, we can build some sub-stations without upgrading the lines”.

“This is part of efforts to increase transmission wheeling capacity in the FCT and environs. The project is categorized into six lots and is far advanced in execution above 85 percent in total completion by December.

“This will be adequate and it will serve the population of Abuja. The government while making plans for the project has in mind that if the population of FCT increases within five to 10 years, there is a master plan that the station will serve the territory in the next 50 years.

“Construction of complete new 2x60MVA, 132/33 KV substation with 132KV line Bays at Wumba/Lokogoma including about 5km 132 underground XLPE Cable from New Apo Sub Station are ongoing.

“Others are the construction of a 2x150MVA 330/132/33KV substation at New Apo where the managing director frowns at the slow pace of work done by the contractor”.

He also lamented on the recent abysmal supply of electricity, noting that the contracts for all the substations were signed at the same time and wondered why the slow pace of work.

“We have spent a lot of money to clear their containers which entered demurrage and this money is not part of AFD grant but TCN Internally Generated Revenue which could have been used for other projects. We are going to push them to finish the project on time,‘’ he said.

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Energy

Here is Why Otedola is Listing N250 Billion Geregu Power Plant

Otedola listed Geregu to raise additional cash for expansion in the Nigerian energy sector

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power project

Wondering why billionaire Femi Otedola listed Geregu Power? Here is a concise breakdown of what might have compelled the billionaire to run to the capital market after nine years of acquiring the Geregu Power plant via Amperion Power, a company he owns a 99.9% stake in.

In 2013, the year the billionaire first invested in the energy sector. Otedola dumped a total sum of $94 million on Geregu Power through Amperion.

In 2018, Otedola invested an additional $350 million in the sector, saying it was a sign of his commitment to the Federal Government’s plans of addressing the age-long challenges impeding the electrification of the nation.

The huge investment was the billionaire hint of what is to come as shortly after he announced the sale of Forte Oil to Abdulwasiu Sowami, the present owner of Forte. Otedola sold all his 75% stake in Forte Oil in 2019 and immediately announced a shift in his investment direction.

Earlier this year, Amperion Energy was selected by Federal Government to bid for the sales of Geregu II after reporting a reasonable success with Geregu Power in 2021 when the company declared a profit after tax of over N20 billion.

Otedola, who just invested a substantial amount in FBN Holdings Plc, needs to source for funds if he must expand his grip in the energy industry. The billionaire quickly divested N8 billion from his over 7% stake in FBN Holdings and went on to list the Geregu Power plant on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) at N250 billion to raise an additional fund for Geregu II bidding.

Geregu II Generation Company was put up for sale by the Federal Government amongst other power plants like Benin Generation Company Limited, Omotosho Generation Company Limited, Calabar Generation Company Limited, and Olorunsogo Generation Company Limited for acquisition in July 2022.

The Geregu II Generation Company has a capacity of 434MW. Therefore, by acquiring Geregu II Otedola’s total power-generating capacity would increase to 848MW given Geregu current capacity of 414MW.

Geregu Power Plc was incorporated in November 2006 as one of the unbundled companies from the non-existing Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

The power plant began operations in 2007 with a total installed capacity of 414MW at commissioning. Therefore, given the seemingly unplanned method, in which Otedola jumped on FBN Holdings shares following the exit of Otudeko, the billionaire will need extra cash to expand his market share in the energy space. This listing explained how he plans to access or he is accessing that extra cash.

Calvados Global Services Limited, Otedola’s investment company used in acquiring most of his stake in FBN Holdings, owns 95% of Amperion Energy.

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Markets

Relief Rally Already Struggling

Equity markets have erased early gains to trade in the red on Thursday, as investors take a cautious approach ahead of Friday’s jobs report.

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New York Stock Exchange

By Craig Erlam, Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA, OANDA

Equity markets have erased early gains to trade in the red on Thursday, as investors take a cautious approach ahead of Friday’s jobs report.

The narrative in recent days of weaker data being positive as it could be a precursor to slower tightening didn’t seem sustainable and it’s already proving to be the case. I think it was more a reflection of the steep sell-off in the markets and the performance of risk assets in general over the six weeks previous, rather than the data. If the Fed wasn’t prepared to jump at the first sign of inflation easing, it certainly won’t on the back of a weaker PMI and decline in job openings.

The recovery did provide some temporary relief and while weaker data is likely to precede a deceleration in rate hikes, I don’t think we’re there yet. Yesterday’s services PMI – which is far more important – was still strong, as was the ADP number and tomorrow’s jobs report is expected to remain hot.

That may put an end to the narrative for now, although any weakness in the labour market data tomorrow, or signs of additional slack, could boost the relief rally once more and see equity markets end the week strong. As I say, it’s all clutching at straws at this point but after weeks of heavy losses, perhaps that’s not overly surprising.

UK facing major headwinds

The UK economy appeared to get some good news from the Construction PMI this morning, which easily beat expectations rising to 52.3 rather than dropping to 48.1 from 49.2. So rather than contracting at a faster rate, the industry posted strong growth in the survey. Unfortunately, the headline number simply doesn’t tell the full story. The improvement was driven by delayed projects and easing supply shortages, while new orders showed the weakest growth since May 2020. That’s a more accurate reflection of the state of play in the UK right now.

As was captured overnight by Fitch downgrading the outlook from stable to negative in light of the mini-budget. The overall rating remained at AA- but that may change once the details of how everything will be paid for are released in the budget. Sterling is down for a second day after recovering over the last week, off around 0.6% against the dollar.

OPEC+ boosts oil prices after large cut

Oil prices are edging lower today after OPEC+ announced a huge production cut on Wednesday of two million barrels per day. With the group failing to hit output targets by a widening margin as the year has progressed, the net cut will be around half that, if not less, but that’s still a substantial reduction in an already tight market.

Of course, the global economy is slowing as a result of an inflation and interest rate shock – which soaring oil prices and underproduction is partially responsible for – and that should weigh on demand over the next year offering some balance. But that is highly uncertain so it’s understandable that the backlash has started as higher oil prices will only compound inflation and cost-of-living issues in the interim.

Gold relief rally over?

Gold is paring gains again today after a strong relief rally earlier in the week. The yellow metal was buoyed by a softening dollar and lower yields but both are bouncing back. It was always likely to face strong resistance above as the rally was driven more by hope than substance. A weaker jobs report tomorrow could give it another boost but even that may prove to not be sustainable.

Choppy ahead of the jobs report

Bitcoin continues to be choppy around $20,000, with trade in the middle of the week having lost the momentum it started with. Traders appear to have one eye on the jobs report now in the hope it’s bad enough to trigger another risk rally. Given the strength of the labour market until now, they may be disappointed once more.

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