Complete Intelligence


Are Central Banks Moving Too Little Too Late?

This podcast first appeared and originally published at on April 28, 2022.

With inflation being the main concern in global markets, are central banks reacting quick enough to hike rates to contain inflation? And how will tech stocks perform amidst the volatility that we have seen year to date so far? Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence shares his insights with us.

Show Notes

KSC: Good morning. This is BFM 89, five minutes past seven in the morning on 28th April, 2022. I am Khoo Hsu Chuang with Wong Shou Ning and Tan Chen Li. In the meantime, let’s recap how global markets and the It yesterday.

WSN: US Market down 0.2%, SMP 500 up .2% Nasdaq close flat Asian Market Nikay down 1.3%, Hong Kong up .6% Shanghai Composite up 2.5%, SDI closed flat FBM KLCI down .7% pretty interesting trend over there. You can see I think the Shanghai site went up a bit because of the possibility of maybe cases eating in China.

KSC: Yes, foreclosures and more openings. So to join us on the line for some analysis on what’s moving markets, we now turn to Tony Nash, the chief executive of Complete Intelligence. Tony, good morning. Now, let’s start with tech stocks, and they’ve had a bit of a bumpy ride the first quarter and into the second quarter. What’s the situation report in terms of where that risk on asset class is concerned?

TN: Well, check so far in the earnings season hasn’t performed well except in the last few hours when Facebook announced their earnings. So Tech’s really disappointed. Up until about two or 3 hours ago, Facebook announced that ads to their users, their earnings were up and so on and so forth. So after hours, they’ve popped by $30 a share or something like that. And Qualcomm also after hours reported really good earnings. So what we saw early in the earnings season with tech down, hopefully Facebook and Qualcomm have changed things a little bit. But that’s not to say we’re out of this. Just because we’ve had a couple, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re out of the woods with tech. So Pinterest reported and they were negative. And so we’re really separating the kind of the viable tech businesses from those that really aren’t viable and who are really struggling. Part of the problem with tech also is that we have a lot of ad space coming online now with Twitter now sorting themselves out and with other tech firms having new ad space like Netflix is adding ad space and ad based subscriptions. So we’re going to see a glut of ad space going forward, which will challenge some of these technology guys in, say, two to four quarters time.

TCL: So, Tony, how do we know what is good and what is not such a good tech stock? What differentiates it? Is it going to be margins? Is it going to be market share? What is it management?

TN: Yeah, I think people are looking at earnings. People are looking for, say, online companies. They’re looking at users. So let’s compare, say, Netflix and Facebook. Netflix had a net loss of users. Facebook had a net out of users. Netflix’s earnings went down. Facebook earnings went up. Netflix versus Facebook, their earnings went up. People are really looking at what is the core business of that tech firm. And are they succeeding at that. So you can’t necessarily make a broad sectoral play. Right now, markets are really in flux as interest rates rise and money supply is kind of reined in. So you really have to understand the companies and you have to understand what the advantages and how they’ll play, at least over the next quarter, if not more kind of medium term.

KSC: Yeah. Tony talked about earnings. Right. What’s earnings season been like so far? It appears to be a mixed bike. Bad at Boeing. Okay. At Visa. Robin Hood is laying off people. What’s your take on earning season so far?

TN: It’s very mixed. And I think you’re seeing the companies that are well run versus the companies that have been just kind of posting. So during the Pandemic, we saw the Fed buying a lot of these Fang names and Tesla and other tech names. So it was pretty easy for tech firms to just kind of move along with that wave and not really get their management in place and not actually manage the business and the operations. These ones like Qualcomm and Facebook that are reporting well, they’re getting their operations in place regardless of what’s happening in the external environment. The guys like Pinterest and some of these other guys, they’re not managing well and it’s showing in their earnings.

WSN: Let’s talk about inflation. As we know, this is the key concern of the global markets. So are central banks around the world a little too late? Too late already in trying to hike rates?

TN: Yes. Central banks are always too late because nobody he wants them to be the buzzkill on a Bull market. And so if they had come in earlier, although it would have been appropriate, they would have been blamed for killing the Bull market. So the pressure on a central banker is such that they really don’t want to be blamed for killing it. Now they have to come in for a lot of different reasons and raise rates. So I would say they’re definitely too late. They’re always too late. Is it too little? That remains to be seen. We expect a 50 basis point hike in May and another 50 basis point hike in June. That would really recalibrate some expectations. And we’ll have to see what happens in markets there. When you look at the ECB, they can’t raise at that rate. They’re stuck in a really bad place with energy and food prices. So they’ll move much more slowly.

TCL: And I guess the same for the bank of Japan that’s supposed to be meeting in the next two days. You don’t expect them to move? I mean, look at the yen. It’s like two decades low. Do you think this will continue?

TN: Yeah. BOJ and ECB have a lot of similar issues, and they’re really kind of pedging into a corner. They can either support their bond markets or they can support their currencies. They’re in that bad of a position. They can’t do both so both of them have to support their bond markets right now. They can’t mind their currencies. Now, when we look at the PBOC really has to just drop helicopter cash across China right now. They have to get incredibly aggressive to support the Chinese economy. If they don’t and if China doesn’t open soon, there are major problems in China. So the PVoC has to be very aggressive going forward.

KSC: Yeah. Just think of the PVC. Tony, do you expect that the Chinese government maintains its very strict zero covered policy, especially since in the context of a rapidly declining local economy.

TN: think China cannot stay closed. Okay. The rest of the world has come to a position where COVID is endemic. That’s the view of the governments. People realize that they have to have an active economy to feed their people. China is making these very active, say, policy changes for a number of reasons. But what’s happening is it’s starting to really bite. They’re starting to impoverish their people because of food prices, because of fuel prices, because there are no exports and so on and so forth. So the Chinese government is in a really sticky position. And if they don’t change policies soon, there will be major difficulties both politically and economically in China.

KSC: Yeah. And lastly, Tony, just want to get your view in terms of rushes and systems are being paid in rubles with its energy supplies. How do you read that move in the context of it being taken off the Swift financial system? It’s freezing of dollar assets in the context of the US dollars utility in the global economy.

TN: Yeah. I think look, Russia, this is a negotiating position for them, and it’s something that they’re insistent on. They know that countries like Germany are way too dependent on Russian oil and gas. So they know that Germany will pay in rubles if they’re pushed to do it. They don’t have a choice. So Russia is right now showing Europe who is boss, and Europe has unfortunately put themselves in this position. Poland hasn’t worked on diversifying their energy of late, and a lot of their energy mix comes from domestically mined coal. But for oil and gas, they’ve been working feverishly on getting alternate supplies, but other parts of Europe have not. And also they’re much more dependent on Russian oil and gas. So Putin is flexing. They have to kind of count out to him and they have to do what he says because he’s their main source.

KSC: Absolutely. Okay. Tony, thank you so much for your time. That was fantastic, as always. That was Tony Nash, complete intelligence chief executive, talking to us about markets. And just in the context of China’s insistence on staying closed, I think if the Chinese government doesn’t about turn even in the slightest, it might just be the biggest fill up for capital markets going forward.

TCL: Well, we’ll find out later at 730. Right. Because you’re going to be talking to Gary, he’s an economist and he’s going to be telling us what’s the situation like on the ground, whether the GDP target of 5.5% is going to be achievable at all, because it looks like the lockdown might even extend all the way to Beijing.

KSC: Yes. And of course, our Foxconn’s factory is bigger supply to Apple also is close in Kunshan, two of them. So global repercussions. Let’s turn to Facebook, now known as Meta, which did report earnings before they reported the shares actually did soon, considerably on the expectation that they would report a bad set of numbers. But actually, Facebook Meta surprised.

TCL: I think there was a lot of negative news even before this. And they were already receiving regulatory headwinds from the EU with regards to whether their dominance questions of their advertising, questions of how much are they involved in our daily lives. But I think the results were better than expected. Yeah.

WSN: So I think adding on to what Shannon was saying, there was also a concern about user base that’s not growing for the first time. The revenue that came out yesterday, it was reported their shares jumped 15% because their revenue jumped 6.6% to $27.9 billion. And this is the first time in Facebook’s ten year history as a public company that they landed in a single digit growth. And if you look at it, is that better?

TCL: Good.

WSN: Well, slower, but still growth.

KSC: Yeah. Because with this kind of platform, it’s all about Dows and Miles. Right. Daily active users and monthly active users now.

TCL: And what they found is that people have been spending a lot of time. So maybe the number of users hasn’t increased as much as they should, but the duration in which you spend on Facebook has increased. So you’re looking at maybe people spending as much as an hour versus other social media platforms where, yes, you might have an increase in users, but the duration is actually shorter. So that’s the justification as to why the share price has bounced today. And this is what Meta is telling the analyst community out there.

KSC: And we saw Snap also report a good set of numbers, surprisingly. Right. So actually doubling daily active users beat expectations, one point 96 billion versus one point 94. And Mouse monthly active use is two point 94 billion. Missed expectations of two point 95. So not a big mess. But actually they did also guide for revenue that was weak because of three things. Right. First of all, the military situation in the Ukraine. The second one, of course, the Apple Privacy changes, which made it more difficult to target ads. And of course, then the supply chain affecting advertisers now very quickly Spotify.

TCL: How many of us have subscriptions? Me, yes, me, I. But the share price fell more than 12% despite reporting first quarter earnings that beat both top and bottom line. Looks like markets still not happy with that number. I think exiting Russian market led to a loss of 1.5 million subscribers. Although monthly active users went up by 19% year on year to 422,000,000 users I think ad supported revenue did also grow 31% but I think basically ending subscriber subscriber base like Netflix seems to have come under pressure in the last few months.

KSC: Yeah sign of the Malays affecting streaming sites. Stay tuned. BFM 89 nine


United Airlines’ biggest ever order

Back in the BBC Business Matters, Tony Nash shares his thoughts on matters like United Airlines order of Boeing planes and how important is this order for the US economy? Also, will travel be back to normal and how soon will that be? How about pork prices becoming super cheap, and what’s the outlook for the agriculture commodities in general? And is the work-from-home people be lured back to go and work in the office?


This podcast was published on June 30, 2021 and the original source can be found at


BBC Business Matters Description:

United Airlines makes its biggest ever order of aircraft in a bet on a post pandemic travel renaissance; the BBC’s Theo Leggett gives us the full details and how safe the bet might be. As many people abandon the office for working from home, property companies say they need to lure us back to the office by making us want to go back – Liviu Tudor is the President of the European Property Federation and tells us how he plans on making office spaces more alluring. As some companies introduce leave from work for women in menopause, the BBC’s Ivana Davidovic speaks to women about why it’s so hard to talk about menopause in a corporate landscape. Plus, cheap pork has flooded the market as China’s pigs recover from the African Swine Flu – Kirk Maltais from the Wall Street Journal explains how the oversupply of pork has forced US producers to cut their prices to very low levels. We discuss all this with guests Shuli Ren, Bloomberg Opinion columnist in Hong Kong, and Tony Nash, chief Economist at Complete Intelligence in Houston, Texas.


Show Notes


JR: How are you, Tony? Before we get on to the sort of impact on the trumpet or the importance of the travel industry, I just want to think about the importance of this order for Boeing. And I’m remembering that old phrase about GM. What’s good for GM is good for America. I mean, you can’t say about GM anymore. You could perhaps say that about Boeing, couldn’t you? I mean, that’s why this order is important.


TN: It’s important. And I’m pretty sure there’s some sort of subsidy for United to buy it, especially since a lot of it’s being spent in the U.S.. It’s in listening to some of the analysis, it’s pretty easy to be critical of United since they’ve been on government support. But really, the market was pulled by the government, the travel restrictions and everything else. So it’s really hard.


And I’m no defender of United for sure, but it’s really hard to blame them when their market was really pulled because of public health restrictions. So I do think that they’re making the right call here. I do think that travel will come back faster than the fears of many. I don’t think it will immediately react by September. But I do think that they’re making the right call.


JR: You’re not one of these people who thinks that travel will never quite go back to where it was. Actually, there have been certain changes in the way we regard moving around this planet in terms of we can do video conferencing, we don’t have to go to business meetings, we don’t have to go to those international conferences anymore. Is it not a permanent change or is it a temporary one?


TN: I think it’s probably permanent for maybe 30% of people. But if you think about the people who have to see each other face to face, the 30% who it won’t be required for, they will aspire to do that because they want to be like their peers who are actually getting deals done and who are actually meeting people that they need to meet face to face. I used to travel, you know, twice around the Earth every four weeks or something. And if I don’t ever get on a plane again, I am a happy man. But I don’t think I’m most people. I think most people are very happy to get on a flight and go for for a holiday or for business.


JR: Okay. I just want to know, have you traveled actually, and spend time in the last year or two by plane?


TN: I haven’t. But it’s not because there haven’t been business opportunities. I just really don’t like to fly anymore. So I’ve done way too much of my life.


JR: Yeah, Tony, the United’s last order actually involved Airbus aircraft as well as Boeing. And that has been this truce between the US and the EU on Airbus and Boeing over the trade war between the two. Do we feel that actually aircraft production is going to get back on track now?


TN: Well, I think that European and Asian airlines will be slow to make capital commitments. I think American Airlines in the U.S. have old fleets and so they have to renew them and their tired fleets, too. So but I think in Europe and Asia, the Asian fleets generally a little bit newer, of course. But I think they’ll be a little bit slower to order. I think we’ll have to say some European countries that subsidize their airlines, like I don’t know if United was subsidized, but I wouldn’t doubt if they were. But European countries that will subsidize their national airlines to help out Airbus, I mean, that’s its fiscal stimulus. It’s all over the place. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least.


JR: We can come to, you know, about the impact it’s had on the American producers and also on Chinese US trade relations, because that’s where it really starts to get interesting, because the China was importing a huge amount of hogs and also corn and soybean in order to be able to support their industry, which was really under in dire straits.


TN: Right. So there are three layers here. So first, you have the news about the hogs. And I think the the commodity prices sold off on the news, I personally don’t believe it. I think the herd is improving in China, but I don’t think it’s back to normal. You also have commodities like corn and wheat that are elevated on really bad corn crops in China and bad feed crops in China. So there’s been a lower corn crop in the U.S. than usual this year.


And Chinese pig farmers have started to feed them wheat, which is not a normal feed for hogs in China at least. So that’s affected with corn prices and wheat prices, which are which are continue to be elevated partly on the demand in China, but partly on, say, weather and supply and other things in the U.S..


So I do hope for China’s sake that the herd is healed and back to normal. I’m just skeptical of it. But I do think that we are seeing pretty hot and dry summer in the Dakotas and other parts of the U.S. that produce significant part of the U.S. corn crop. And until we start to see rain in the Dakotas and elsewhere, I think there’s going to be pressure on those prices. So U.S. farmers are you know, they’re struggling just to grow. Of course, the ones who are growing are doing well. Those who have crop to sell are doing well because the prices are elevated.


But it’s put pressure also on U.S. consumers because what we saw in the U.S. was a lot of accumulated frozen meat, pork, beef, chicken. And with the shutdown of the meat processing plants in the U.S. with the pandemic, it wasn’t manufactured in the U.S. So we had a large stock of frozen meat in the U.S. that’s now drawn down. And so the supply chains around meat are are pretty tight, actually. So we’re seeing real upward pressure in the U.S. on meat prices. And so that’s part of the reason I don’t necessarily think that the news in China is what they say it is, because there’s still there’s still draw of pork to China now.


JR: That’s really interesting. A whole lot of confluence of different influences that are pushing in different directions. We have seen these very dramatic falls. But you think they may actually be just temporary and just the sort of the market volatility of the last couple of weeks, you think?


TN: Well, I think part of it is weather, part of it is supply chains. I think we’ll see things come back to normal in probably four to five months in terms of U.S. commodities. But I think the summer is going to be pretty volatile still. So if China does continue to have the demand, it’ll put more pressure on the volatility in the U.S..


JR: OK, Tony, what about in Texas? What’s happening there? I mean, you still got supply chain problems, still got sort of the difficulties of actually getting stuff or is there no problem in that?


TN: I don’t think there’s a problem in actually getting stuff, I wouldn’t say it’s the supply chain itself. I think it’s the after effects of the supply chain problems. We also had things like I’m sure you’ve heard of the freeze that we had here in Texas in the spring. That freeze actually killed three generations of chickens. It killed the the chickens that would be sold to market and it killed the eggs.


So we had a several state area where where all of the chickens died because of the freeze that happened in this part of the U.S.. So while people made fun of us for our windmills not working, there actually was real impact. And, you know, we really had an impact here. So we’re seeing an impact on chicken prices. And, of course, meat is substitutional generally. So it’s really pressuring all of the all the proteins. But again, we are seeing vegetables and other things. It’s not necessarily availability per se at the cash register. It’s really the pressure on the price. So whoever pays the most will get it. At least that’s Texas.


JR: Has it got to the point of the poor people it’s a problem. I mean, it’s of a wages keeping up. I mean, is this a real issue or is it just one of these things people say, oh, gosh, prices are going up. It’s, you know, what a nuisance.


TN: Well, because of the the programs that the federal government has had here, I think the minimum salary of someone who actually stays home and collects unemployment is something like 48000 U.S. dollars a year. So for the past, I think 15, 16 months, the people who would be the poorest and who are unemployed are actually making almost 50,000 dollars a year based on a kind of the federal kicker because of the virus. And so while it’s hitting, the people who would normally be the most affected are actually getting more money from the federal government. So the hope is that they’re not feeling it.


JR: Okay, Tony, thank you.


I was talking to my colleague, Rob Young. Now, what I think is really interesting here is the sort of power play between the various people involved, the employee, the employer, the property company. And basically, if the employee has to come back, has to come back to the office, no one’s going to bother to give them fantastic facilities and sort of going to gyms and all the rest of it, if they’ve got to come back. And it’s really depends on that part played between the two. So do you think actually, Tony, we’re going to see any change in the way property companies or employers actually treat their employees?


TN: No.


JR: I’m quite doubtful, too. I mean, it always sort of blue sky thinking about how marvelous our offices are all going to be in the future. I don’t think it’s going to be different.


TN: No. And in fact, I’ll go even further than that. All of the talk over the last year about how work will change. I don’t believe that’s going to happen. You know, here’s what it really comes down to. People need to be in the office. Why? Because work is a couple of things. First, it’s about achievement and what you do. It’s about how much you know, but it’s also about how you politic. OK. You have to be in the office to politic with people. Otherwise, when the next retrenchment comes around, your head is you know, you’re out the door. So people will have to go back to the office and the ones who scream the shortest about not wanting to go back will be invited eventually to go elsewhere.


JR: The only thing I would say possibly is that actually if there is a demand and there’s a shortage of supplies, it’s supply and demand. There’s a shortage supply of certain workers. Employers will put better facilities in place to lure them in and treat them better and give them these kind of privileges, some of which will be the privilege perhaps of working from home if they want to.


TN: Interesting. I actually spoke with the U.K. demographer last week talking about this very issue, and he said there will not be a shortage at all. In fact, over the next 10 years, in 10 years time, there will be something like 600 million people who cannot get a job. Sorry. 420 million people who cannot get a job globally. So there will be people will be competing very aggressively for those jobs globally.


JR: Tony, isn’t that really important for them to be able to see stuff, hands on whatever job that doing really?


TN: Especially for you, surely because the Bloomberg office in Hong Kong is spectacular, according to the office, everything. So I’m surprised you didn’t just move in.


JR: Yeah. Do you get free food at the Bloomberg office as well? I remember that was one of the things where I used to work for Bloomberg a long time ago. And you did get free food in the office. I remember that.


SR: Yes. Bloomberg is very generous. So so these days, like there is free lunch, they have like that the vegetarian option that the vegetarian option with the calorie counts, very healthy food, absolutely free food.


JR: They are making an effort to lure you back in from your pajamas until your comfortable bedroom. Thanks for joining us. Business matters.