Weekly Market Outlook: Powell's Speech, China's Crisis, and PMI Data Take Center Stage
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Weekly Market Outlook: Powell's Speech, China's Crisis, and PMI Data Take Center Stage

The U.S. dollar continued its dominance, marking its fifth consecutive week of gains. As the financial world turns its eyes towards the Federal Reserve's Jackson Hole symposium, there's heightened anticipation regarding the future trajectory of interest rates. Last week, the dollar showcased its strength by gaining 0.7% against the euro, making slight progress against the yen, and achieving a surge of over 1% against the Antipodean currencies. This surge was propelled by the rise in U.S. Treasury yields, which signals the market's expectation of sustained higher interest rates.

Jackson Hole Symposium: A Pivotal Event

All eyes are now set on the upcoming Jackson Hole symposium, especially the speech by Fed Chair Jerome Powell. The event could potentially set the tone for U.S. Treasury yields. Last week, ten-year yields witnessed a rise of 14 basis points, touching a significant 10-month high of 4.328%. The theme for this year's gathering revolves around structural shifts in the global economy. The era of ultra-low rates supported by minimal inflation might be coming to an end. Thus, global policymakers might lean towards maintaining restrictive real rates, keeping the volatile inflation risks alive.

Investors are eager to discern Powell's views on the economic trajectory and the potential direction of interest rates. Following the minutes from the central bank's July assembly, it's evident that the majority of policymakers remain wary of inflationary pressures, suggesting that additional rate hikes might be on the horizon. The market is abuzz with speculation: will Powell hint at further policy tightening to curb inflation, or has sufficient progress been made to maintain the current rate stance? Additionally, there's anticipation about potential rate reductions in 2024. Current data from fed rate monitor tool indicates an 89% probability of the Fed maintaining the status quo on rates in their upcoming September session.

Cryptocurrency Corner

Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency, faced a tumultuous week, plummeting to a two-month low. The dual pressures of escalating U.S. yields and China's decelerating economy triggered a selling spree. As of now, Bitcoin is attempting to recover, with its value hovering around the $26,000 mark.

Equity Markets: Awaiting Clues and Earnings

In the absence of significant market catalysts, all eyes are on Powell's Friday address for insights into the interest rate landscape. Additionally, the spotlight will be on the earnings report from chip designer Nvidia scheduled for Wednesday. Nvidia's stock has witnessed a meteoric rise this year, almost tripling in value, driven by anticipated growth in the artificial intelligence sector. However, last week saw a dip in Wall Street's primary indices. This decline was attributed to robust economic data, which led investors to recalibrate their rate cut expectations, subsequently elevating government bond yields. Furthermore, concerns regarding China's escalating property crisis, especially after China Evergrande Group's (HK:3333) move to seek U.S. bankruptcy protection, have dampened market sentiment.

China's Economic Challenges

The ongoing debt debacle in China's property sector, which constitutes approximately a quarter of the nation's economy, is causing ripples of concern. There's growing anticipation that China might slash its loan prime rate, translating to reduced mortgage rates, as early as Monday. This move is seen as a response to the burgeoning crisis in the property domain and its potential repercussions on China's financial infrastructure. Despite China's recent interest rate cuts, experts argue that these measures are insufficient, advocating for more aggressive interventions to arrest the economic downturn. The property sector's deepening crisis, coupled with contagion fears, threatens to destabilize China's economy, which is already grappling with challenges like subdued domestic and international demand, declining factory operations, and increasing joblessness.

PMI Data: Europe's Economic Pulse

Wednesday will see the release of PMI data from the Eurozone and the UK. This data could offer valuable insights into potential monetary policy decisions by the European Central Bank and the Bank of England in September. Recent trends show a decline in PMI figures for both regions, marked by a stagnant service sector and shrinking manufacturing activity. ECB President Christine Lagarde, scheduled to speak at Jackson Hole on Friday, is expected to shed light on the bank's forthcoming moves. In a previous statement in July, Lagarde emphasized the ECB's "open mind" approach to future rate determinations, highlighting a shift towards data-driven decision-making.

Oil Prices: Demand Concerns vs. Supply Constraints

Last week, oil prices registered their first weekly decline since June. This drop was influenced by mounting apprehensions about global demand, counterbalanced by anticipated supply restrictions from OPEC+ stalwarts, Saudi Arabia and Russia. The deteriorating property situation in China and the subsequent risk aversion have exerted downward pressure on oil prices. Concurrently, the release of the Fed's minutes on Wednesday spurred Treasury yields and drove the dollar to its fifth consecutive week of gains, diminishing the appeal of commodities for international investors. We should keep an eye on prevailing market dynamics, emphasizing the tug-of-war between dwindling global growth and persistent global supply constraints. It is anticipated that oil prices will remain stable in the near term, given the concerns arising from China's lackluster data.