Heading for a recession?
This past week felt like a big moment for central banks, collectively, as well as financial markets more broadly. It was the moment when the majority accepted that inflation isn’t just a problem, it’s one that needs to be dealt with powerfully in order to prevent it from spiralling out of control and becoming ingrained in the economy.
There are still those like the BoE that still believe that slow and steady will win the race, or the BoJ that doesn’t actually have an inflation problem, but rather a currency and policy conundrum, or the CBRT that is in so deep that it doesn’t know what to do next. But for the majority, large rate hikes are the way forward, it’s just a case of how many.
What that means is volatility in the markets is probably going nowhere. Recessions are increasingly becoming a strong possibility, if not the base case, and central banks are content with that if it means inflation falls back to where it should be. Everything is going to be scrutinized going forward and could cause surges in volatility at any moment. Just look at Friday which was comparatively calm on the headline front.
A brutal week on Wall Street that included a wrath of central banks tightening monetary policy has many traders focused on how soon the US economy will see a recession. The Fed has signalled that it will take some time to tame inflation and that has driven expectations for a steady stream of massive rate hikes that will soon lead to a broader slowdown in the economy.
The upcoming week is filled with Fed regional surveys, housing data, the flash PMI readings, and the final consumer sentiment survey. On Tuesday, the May existing home sales report is expected to show the housing market continues to cool. Wednesday is all about Fed Chair Powell’s semi-annual testimony before the Senate panel. Thursday is day 2 of Powell on Capitol Hill and has 2 big economic releases; initial jobless claims is expected to rise and the flash PMI readings could show further weakness with manufacturing activity and steady service sector activity. Friday has the final University of Michigan sentiment readings and new home sales data that might bounce back after the prior month’s plunge.
If there’s one thing we learned this week it’s that the ECB won’t necessarily wait for scheduled meetings when it comes to big monetary policy decisions. This time it was fragmentation issues but next time it may be something more.
Next week we have a variety of surveys that will be poured over for an indication of inflationary pressures abating and/or economic fears taking hold. There’s enormous scrutiny on the data now, as well as central bank speak, which will continue to be a major driver of market volatility.
Russia is cutting off some gas supplies to Germany and Italy, two of the remaining countries that have agreed to rouble terms. It’s been done under the guise of maintenance issues but many see it as a threat as countries try to build reserves ahead of the winter months.
French parliamentary second-round elections take place on Sunday and Emmanuel Macron appears concerned about the prospect of losing his party’s majority.
The BoE this week forecast inflation to peak above 11% in October while showing no urgency to do much about it. The economic cost is clearly weighing heavily on their judgement, with the belief being that 80% of the inflation overshoot is driven by energy and core goods and therefore not impacted by changes in rates. It’s hard to know at this point if the Bank is taking a massive gamble or preventing a severe recession. Either way, markets are forecasting another 1.75% of hikes between now and the end of the year.
Next week offers inflation and retail sales data, along with flash PMI surveys. Central Bank speak will naturally be closely monitored as well.
Russia isn’t shying away from economic confrontation with Europe, targeting gas flows to Germany and Italy and that could ramp up over the next week. That aside, it’s looking quiet on the economic front.
The SARB ramped up its tightening last month with a 50 basis point hike, the fourth consecutive meeting of increases. Inflation data next week could tell us whether this will become a trend or not, with the CPI number currently running at 5.9%, barely within the 3-6% inflation target band.
The CBRT meeting next week is obviously the highlight as the central bank’s resilience to the reality of its spineless, damaging economic experiment continues to be put to the test. Even if you put to one side the misguided beliefs that have driven such a bizarre policy action, it’s conducting the experiment at arguably the worst time in decades. How long until the CBRT accepts its poor judgement, swallows its pride and does the right thing? Inflation is running at 73.5% and the lira is back near last December’s lows. Life isn’t going to get any easier until it does.
China’s calendar week is quiet with just the one and two-year Loan prime Rate decisions on Monday. Given they declined to cut the MTF this week, further cuts are unlikely. A surprise cut could be a short-term positive for local equities.
It appears China’s “national team” has been supporting equities this week ahead of mass testing of the city of Shanghai this weekend (something they will keep doing each weekend into July). A threat to China’s covid-zero remains the biggest risk point in China right now. If cases are discovered over the weekend that threatens a return to lockdowns, Chinese and regional equities could fall, as well as regional currencies.
No significant data. Attention remains focused on the Indian rupee which has traced out record lows this week. A rise again in energy prices next week could trigger more weakness.
RBA Governor Lowe speaks on Monday and Tuesday and the RBA Minutes are released. Markets will be looking for more signs of increased hawkishness by Lowe and the minutes and could be a negative for local equities.
The Aussie dollar continues to move entirely on global sentiment, and new lockdowns in China, or a stronger US dollar, could unwind the gains of this week.
New Zealand releases consumer confidence and the balance of payments data on Wednesday. Given the weak GDP this week, both numbers have downside risk as the cost of living spirals out of control in New Zealand. The New Zealand dollar has underperformed the Aussie dollar this week as sentiment recovered post-FOMC, and seems likely to continue doing so.
Japan releases manufacturing and services PMIs on Thursday, but the only game in town is USD/JPY after the BOJ left monetary policy unchanged. USD/JPY is rallying into the end of the week and the BOJ has had to offer to buy unlimited amounts of JGBs to keep the yield cap in place. USD/JPY could continue to rise next week as markets test the BOJ’s mettle, with 140.00 now in sight as the US/Japan interest rate differential widens.
The Nikkei continues to slavishly track overnight Nasdaq moves.
Japan’s inflation release on Friday could heap more pressure on the BOJ and the yen if the reading is high.
Singapore releases May inflation data on Wednesday, and a very high print will add pressure on the MAS to announce an unscheduled tightening of policy after NODX data outperformed as well today. That could be positive for the Singapore dollar and negative for equities,
Saturday, June 18
- Fed’s Waller Discusses Monetary Policy
Sunday, June 19
- Colombian presidential elections runoff
- IATA Annual General meeting in Doha
- Second round of France parliamentary elections
Monday, June 20
- China loan prime rates
- New Zealand performance services index
- US markets closed for Juneteenth holiday
- EU foreign affairs ministers talk about Ukraine
Tuesday, June 21
- US existing home sales
- Canada retail sales
- New Zealand consumer confidence
- Mexico international reserves
- RBA Gov Lowe speaks at an American Chamber of Commerce event in Sydney
- Primaries in Virginia and Washington, DC. Alabama, Georgia run-off elections
- RBA minutes of its June interest rate meeting
- German Chancellor Scholz, Economy Minister Habeck, Finance Minister Lindner speak at the BDI congress
- South Africa President Ramaphosa, Finance Minister Godongwana and SARB Gov Kganyago speak at investor conference
Wednesday, June 22
- Fed’s Powell delivers semi-annual testimony before Senate panel
- UK CPI
- Canada CPI
- South Africa CPI
- New Zealand Trade
- Thailand Trade
- Australia leading index
- Japan machine tool orders
- New Zealand credit card spending
- Eurozone consumer confidence
- Bank of Japan minutes of April meeting
- IEA World Energy Investment annual report
Thursday, June 23
- Fed’s Powell testifies before House Financial Services Panel
- US initial jobless claims, US flash PMIs
- Fed releases bank stress test results
- European flash PMIs: Eurozone, France, Germany
- UK PMIs
- Australia PMIs
- Mexico Rate Decision: Expected to raise rates by 25bps to 7.75%
- Norway Rate Decision: Expected to raise rates by 25bps to 1.00%
- Turkey Rate Decision: Expected to keep rates steady at 14.00%
- Japan PMI, department store sales
- Singapore CPI
- China SWIFT payments, Bloomberg economic survey
- South Korea PPI
- Taiwan jobless rate, industrial production
- Summit of EU leaders starts in Brussels
- Eurozone ECB Publishes Economic Bulletin
- EIA Crude Oil Inventory Report
Friday, June 24
- US new home sales, University of Michigan consumer sentiment
- Germany IFO business climate
- Japan CPI
- Thailand forward contracts, foreign reserves, capacity utilization, production index
- China BoP
- Singapore industrial production
- Spain GDP
- RBA Gov Lowe speaks at a UBS panel discussion about global monetary policy challenges in Zurich
- BOJ Gov Amamiya speaks at the National Shinkin Conference