A Busy Week Ahead

The S&P 500 ended last week on a meagre positive note, as the selloff in Apple shares slowed. Apple will be unveiling the new iPhone15 after the Chinese storm. Last week’s selloff was certainly exaggerated. Once the Chinese dust settles, Apple’s performance will continue to depend on the overall sentiment regarding the tech stocks, which will in return, depend on the Federal Reserve (Fed) expectations, the rates, energy prices, Chinese property crisis, deflation risks, and how that mix affects the global price dynamics.

China announced this morning that consumer prices rose by 0.1% y-o-y in August, slower than 0.2% penciled in by analysts and after recording its first drop in over two years of 0.3% a month earlier. Core inflation, excluding food and energy prices, rose 0.8% y-o-y, at the same speed as in July, and remained at the fastest pace since January. The numbers remain alarmingly low, and the recent stimulus measures announced by the government did little to boost investors’ appetite. The CSI 300 was thoroughly sold on the rallies following stimulus news. And the yuan continued trending lower against the US dollar.

The US dollar is under a decent selling pressure this morning, particularly against the yen, after comments from the Bank of Japan (BoJ) Governor Ueda were interpreted as being ‘hawkish’. Ueda said that ‘there may be sufficient information by the year-end to judge if wages will continue to rise’, and that will help them decide whether they would end the super-loose monetary policy and step out of the negative rate territory. The remarks were disputably hawkish, to be honest, but given how negatively diverged the Japanese monetary policy is, any hint that the negative rates could end one day boosts hope. The 10-year JGB yield jumped 5bp to 70bp on the news, and the USDJPY fell to 146.30. The USDJPY has a limited upside potential as the Japanese officials have been crystal clear last week that a further selloff would be countered by direct intervention. But the pair has plenty of room to drop significantly, when the BoJ finally decides to jump and leave the negative rates behind.

This week, the US inflation numbers will give the dollar a fresh direction, and hopefully a softish one. The headline inflation is expected to tick higher from 3.2% to 3.6% in August, on the back of rising energy prices, while core inflation may have eased from 4.7% to 4.3%. ‘We’ve gotten monetary policy in a very good place’ said the NY Fed President Williams last week. Indeed, the Fed hiked the rates by more than 500bp and shed its balance sheet by $1 trillion, while keeping the GDP around 2%, as inflation eased significantly from the 9% peak last summer to around 3% this summer. But crude oil cheapened by more than 40% between last summer and this spring, and the prices are now up by nearly 30% since then. The Fed will likely hold fire when it meets this month, but nothing is less sure for the November meeting. This week’s inflation data will be played in terms of November expectations.

For the European Central Bank (ECB), the base case scenario is a no rate hike at this week’s monetary policy meeting, but the European policymakers could announce a 25bp hike despite the latest weakness in economic data. The EURUSD is slightly better bid this morning, expect consolidation and minor correction toward the 200-DMA, 1.0823, into the meeting. The ECB, unlike the Fed, is not worried about surprising the market, on one side or the other. A no rate hike – even if it’s a hawkish pause – could push the EURUSD to below 1.0615, the major 38.2% Fibonacci retracement, into a medium term bearish trend whereas a 25bp hike should trigger a rally toward the 1.09 level.

On the corporate calendar, ARM will go public this week, in what is going to be this year’s biggest IPO. The company is expected to price on the 13th of September with a price range of $47-51 per share, and will start trading on Nasdaq the following day. ARM is expected to be valued at around $52bn, roughly 20 times its last disclosed annual revenue on expectation that the chips needed to power the generative AI will make ARM a sunny to-go place. Hope it won’t be stormy.

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