By Craig Erlam, Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA, OANDA
A relatively slow start to the week as investors continue to digest Friday’s jobs report and what it means for financial markets just as some optimism was returning.
The report itself was strong almost across the board, with participation being the only outlier, but Fed officials will not have been quite so enthused which makes it a tough one for investors to get too excited about.
On the one hand, it strengthens the argument that the economy is not really experiencing a recession as the labour market is simply too strong. On the other, it’s also extremely tight and wages are continuing to rise at a fast rate which will make the task of fighting inflation that much harder.
With another 75 basis point rate hike next month now the favoured outcome, although a lot can change in that time, it could be a nervy couple of days for investors ahead of Wednesday’s inflation report. It turns out the shift to data-dependency isn’t all it was cracked up to be.
Another record Chinese trade surplus but also more lockdowns
It’s a relatively quiet day, and the economic calendar continues to look very thin. How traders continue to respond to Friday’s report will be key in how we start the week. Asia is off to a mildly positive start but it’s nothing to write home about.
Cities on the Chinese resort island of Hainan have been placed in lockdown following another Covid outbreak, reminding investors once more of the country’s commitment to its zero-Covid policy at all costs. At the same time, Hong Kong has sought to appease residents and the business community by cutting quarantine periods from seven days to three. While still very restrictive compared to much of the world at this point, it was a bolder move than anticipated and highlighted the pressure to return to normal life.
Chinese trade data highlighted the struggles of the domestic economy, with imports rising 2.3% annually last month while exports remained surprisingly strong up 18%, delivering another record trade surplus. The numbers aren’t expected to remain quite so favourable in the months ahead as reopening momentum fades, leaving the import numbers a concern.
Iran talks resume as oil makes small gains
Oil prices are a little higher today, recovering from the lows on Friday. The jobs report highlighted how strong the economy remains although traders are now increasingly nervous about more aggressive tightening sending the economy into a deeper recession further down the road. It really is a lose-lose.
The resumption of Iran nuclear talks today is one potential downside risk for the oil price, given the ability of the country to quickly ramp up production if a deal is struck. Not to mention its reportedly large oil and gas reserves. A deal could apparently be struck within days although we have heard that a lot at times this year.
Gold nervously eyeing inflation data
Gold is flat today after Friday’s jobs report took the wind out of its sails. The recovery trade was being fueled by the belief that data-dependency meant a slower pace of tightening but that’s now clearly not the case (nor was it ever, in fairness). We may see some nervy trading in the yellow metal ahead of Wednesday’s inflation report although it still seems to have an eye on $1,780-1,800 which is the next major test to the upside.
A swift recovery
Sentiment across the markets looks a little fragile this morning and yet crypto appears to have shrugged off Friday’s shock much more quickly. Up more than 3% this morning and climbing once more with its sights set on $25,000 it seems. The momentum indicators will be fascinating here as the recovery appeared to be losing steam during the last ascent in late July.
Bearish Sentiment Persists: Investors Lose N112 Billion on NGX
Drastic Decline in FGN Bond Listings Raises Concerns Over Government Borrowing
Data from the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) has shown that the value of listed Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) Bonds on the exchange experienced a decline of 99.9% in the eight months ending on August 31, 2023.
Plummeting from N1.6 trillion recorded during the corresponding period in 2022 to a mere N148.2 billion.
The stark contrast in FGN Bond listings between the two years has raised eyebrows and prompted experts to delve into the implications of this significant shift.
Analysis of NGX data revealed that the bonds listed this year primarily consisted of the FGN Savings Bond and Sukuk, whereas the previous year featured a combination of both Federal Government Bonds and Savings Bonds.
Among the listings, the FGN Sukuk stood out with the highest recorded value of N130 billion for the period under review.
Analysts have identified several factors contributing to the stark decline in FGN Bond listings.
David Adonri, an analyst and Vice Executive Chairman at HighCap Securities Limited, commented on this development, and said, “The reduction of FGN Bond listing could be an indication that the government borrowed less in the domestic market, and its implication is that it could affect liquidity in the secondary market.”
He continued, “The decline could also be that the FGN Bonds were not listed on the Exchange during the period under review as only the Savings Bonds were captured as well as Sukuk.”
Adonri highlighted concerns about the country’s debt profile, both domestically and internationally, saying, “Both externally and internally, the immediate past government had taken more debt. This is increasing the risk of sovereign default and economic nightmares.” He also noted the adverse effects on the real sector, explaining that “the borrowing has now reached the alarming point of crowding out the productive real sector.”
Tajudeen Olayinka, an Investment Banker and Stockbroker, echoed similar sentiments, saying, “If there was an increase in debt listings in the market, it brings about increased liquidity and trading activities in the market, but the drop in the eight-month period could be largely as a result of higher yields in other competing instruments.”
Olayinka also speculated that “the drop in the FGN Bond listing could also be that there was less borrowing by the government in the primary market so not much to offer for listing in the secondary market.”
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