We have the PPI numbers from the US and China recently and we talked about its impact on the inflation, CPI numbers, and whether it’s peaking or not? We also looked at the containership traffic and supply chain changes from China as compared to other locations. And with improvement in global mobility, what does that mean for the oil and energy market? We also discussed volatility and what to expect this week?
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TN: Hi everybody, and welcome to The Week Ahead. Today I’m joined by Tracy Shuchart, Nick Glinsman and Sam Rines. Albert couldn’t join us today, but he will be back. He’s still friends with us. So before we get started, I’d like to ask you to subscribe to our YouTube channel and like this video. That obviously helps us with visibility. It helps you to get alerts when new videos are out. So if you don’t mind, please take care of that now.
So this week we had a lot going on. So we had a very strong PPI print come out. We had Chinese PPI come out. So the US print came out at 9.6% year on year. Chinese PPI came out around actually the same level, 9.1% down from 13%. We had US retail sales search at 3.8%. It was 2.1% was expected, avenues were down on the week, crude was sideways, precious metals were up a bit and the ten year is back below 2%. So what did we say last week?
Well, Sam, last week said that Monday’s Fed meeting was a non-event. Nice job, Sam. Nick said that the Fed wouldn’t fight Volatility. Nice job, Nick. And Tracy two weeks ago, since that was the last time she was with us, said the crude would trade sideways but be pretty volatile, which it has been. So nice job, guys. You nailed that stuff. Right on.
So let’s start with PPIs. So it looks like producer prices are maybe turning over. I don’t know if it’s too early to call that, okay. But based on the Chinese data and the US data, it looks like those PPIs may be turning over a little bit. So what do we think about that? Are we going to see PPIs moderate? First. And what’s the impact on overall inflation, secondary impacts, ultimately CPI and all that stuff? So Sam, do you want to get us started?
SR: Sure, I’ll give a little off. I think China tends to lead in terms of PPI, right. So when you begin to see their PPI go from 13 to nine, give or take a few tenths, that’s a big deal. The second derivative is extremely important when it comes to input costs. We all knew it was supply chain. We all know it’s supply chain. And we all know that the supply chain is not fixed yet. So the pace of that decline is unlikely to continue at 4% month over month or whatever it might be, but it is going to continue to dissipate, at least on the margin, at least call it moderately. That’s important.
That does feed in CPI at some point. And I think one of the interesting points that we talked about last week was housing. And when you begin to see some of these numbers come down on PPI, you begin to get lower input costs to new starts, et cetera. That has a pretty interesting feature effect.
NG: What did you think about the San Francisco Fed paper on the owner’s equivalent rent? Which I thought was reasonably hawkish in terms of having a half percent impact on core CPI.
SR: Oh, if you’re asking me, I thought it could be hawkish to a degree, but at the same time, it was also in my mind a single that was almost a core thing to them. So something that they’re going to cut out.
NG: It does lag, Zillow and apartment list.
SR: Yeah, it always will. Just on a mechanical basis. It’s impossible for the Fed to get a calculation that’s going to keep up with Zillow or any of the other indices. I thought it was almost one of those. It could be really hawkish if they were to incorporate that into their framework. What I would say is it’s more likely that they’ll go in the European direction, which is just cut it out completely in general from their inflation metrics, which is dovish.
TN: Let’s move on this a little bit. Sam, it seems to me that you’re indicating that PPI at least is peaking. Is that fair to say?
SR: It feels that way? Yeah, it feels that way. Okay. It feels that way. It certainly looks that way in China. I could take a month or two to feedback into the US, but I would say it’s peaking.
TN: Okay. Now, Nick, I think you take the other point of view where this is sustainable. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but is that fair to say?
NG: Well, actually, I think last week I was mentioning that the inflation outlook is going to level off. I mean, I agree with Sam on China PPI leaving us PPI. I was just fascinated by that particular owner’s equivalent rent housing, part of the CPI composition. And actually in Europe they’re looking to introduce it, which was a paper this week, which again would be quite a surprise.
I just look at not just PPI in China as a leader. I think I’ve seen people say it’s sort of three to six months lead time before it impacts the CPI. So we could have to wait a little bit longer to see it come through. But I just think there are other things in the pipeline and we had this discussion today that suggests to me that financial conditions are of their own making beginning to compress, and if the Fed start to do stuff will compress further and that will have a negative impact on liquidity, whether you define that by balance sheet or as we defined it, we had a conversation day reserves, bank reserves, and I think that’s where I see this peak.
don’t know whether we finished, but I think we’re going to Plateau, if not start to turn around. However, it’s where we finish, where the authorities want us to finish 2% above 2%. I’m sure they want some inflation to hit the debt loads, but the question is where do we finish it? And can you fine tune that accurately? Yeah, that’s not an easy thing to do.
TN: So staying on the China PPI issue, I think if we look at, say, container rates from China and even Port backups from China, if we look at the chart that we’re showing now, the dark blue line is container traffic at major ports from China. So it looks like from Ningboy that the container traffic has subsided quite a bit over the past month. And one would think that that would take some pressure off of supply chains. So if you look potentially at PPI peaking and if you look at the kind of order to receive rates of some of these multinational companies, it’s running in about nine months from, say, China, Southeast Asia to the US hit here in six to nine months, or will it hit later?
Are you guys seeing those dynamics in your studies and with your clients? Do you think that the freight delays and the freight out of China is declining? Tracy, what do you see?
TS: Yeah, I mean, I think the data is a little bit skewed because of the Chinese lunar New Year. But that said, if we do see some pressure let off of China, that will eventually show up here, I’ve always said it’s going to be 2023 before we kind of see some supply chain issues ease. Because what I’m looking at in the industries that I particularly look at, which is materials and energy, I mean, that’s still hitting those. In fact, it’s just starting to hit the industry as far as pipes are concerned, in parts of that nature.
So if we do see that subside, it will eventually end up here in the US and North America. But again, it’s going to be on kind of a lag time.
TN: Right. So China started stimulating or easing, say, last month with a small rate cut.
TS: That’s what I was going to ask you about. Tony, you and I have talked about CMY for years now, right. In the past. And so I wonder what your thoughts were with China beginning to simulate how important is that to how important is that that they tackle the appreciating CNY? There are a number of issues.
TN: I think the appreciating CNY is an issue. I think the stimulus is an issue for a number of reasons. So the CNY is important. What they’ve done over the last two years is appreciated the CNY to accumulate commodities as commodity prices rose. They appreciated the CN so they could accumulate copper, so they could accumulate crude oil and food and other things. There was a lot of worry about food security through Cobain in China. And so they accumulated that stuff and they have a lot in storage.
So with all the political events happening this year with the party Congress in November and other things, it’s really important for them to start to stimulate and also to make things easier on exporters. And that’s why it’s important to devalue the currency. It’s a controlled currency. So it is, in fact, a devaluation that they’ll do.
So they have to do value to get those exporters on sites and to start accumulating, say, more dollars than other currencies. And so with that devaluing and the easing will also come fiscal spending as we’ve talked about in Q two and into Q three before that party meeting. So it’s a really important time for China to make their currency cheaper and to get money out into the channel. And the money transmission mechanism in China is a lot more direct than it is in the US. It’s a lot more direct.
So the PPOC says get money out and the banks get money out. It just happens the old school the way it used to in the US. Does that make sense to you all?
TS: Yeah, absolutely.
NG: Nobody does.
TN: Okay. Anything else on China and the impacts of, say, China easing while the ECB and Fed are tightening? Any concerns there.
TS: Does that mean that we see a rotation somewhat into Chinese equities?
TN: I think that’s possible, right. Although there is some currency risk there. I think the growth, the pent up demand and the growth there may be an opportunity. It really depends on Horizons and it’s something we have to watch. But I think it may be an opportunity for some sort of rotation to China. Again, not in the main, but at the edges of a portfolio.
NG: People have been waiting for that for a couple of months and it’s still not happening. So Tensor is now under investigation by the USDR. Evergreen has just been delisted from Hong Kong and I think there was another set of technology restrictions imposed by the CCP. So every time you think this could be the right time bank.
TN: But Chinese technology is for China and it’s not for the US. Necessarily. Most Chinese companies are really focused on the domestic and the regional market, not necessarily on the US.
NG: Understood. The Chinese tech has been a big expression of interest by the West Coast, and that’s where we got to watch.
TN: Okay. And Tracy, you tweeted about global mobility earlier this week, and so we’re showing that tweet now. So I’m curious, what’s your thought on mobility and the impact that will have on global oil demand?
TS: I think that we’re going to see I think as we’re seeing these countries that are slowly lifting demands, especially like Switzerland, that just lifted all their mandates, including if you’re flying to Switzerland, you don’t need a test anymore. You don’t need a backstash. I think that this will be a global trend. Right? It won’t be. Even as we head into summer, which is high season demand for the Northern Hemisphere. Demand is almost at depending on who you ask, it’s almost at 2019 levels, if not above. And so they’re looking at May to August demand increasing by 5 million barrels per day at over 103,000,000 barrels per day. I mean, that’s a lot of increase in demand. And we’re just not seeing supply come online anywhere.
So I definitely think although we’re kind of seeing some consolidation and if we see Russian, Ukraine pensions kind of pull back a little bit or dissipate, then we could see a bigger pull back into say, the mid 80s. But I think we’re still headed for over 100 into the summer just because of literally supply demand fundamentals.
TN: Interesting. Okay. So while we’re on energy, we have a viewer question from Twitter from Clifford Topham. He says following BlackRock’s about turn on fossil fuels in response to Texas potential threat of removing BlackRock from managing state pensions. Is this the start of a change in attitude by Wall Street? So is it the beginning of the end of ESG?
TS: Well, I think Wall Street is about greed. Right? We all watch the movie. That’s where the money is. So what I think is going to happen is we’ll still see these smaller banks and the smaller insurance companies, etc. That we have seen this week kind of pull back and not get involved in the OMG industry. I still think that we’re going to see these major investment firms and these major banks still hang on to that, if not increase their exposure.
TN: Okay. Sam, are you with your clients on the ESG side? Is there any movement there?
SR: There’s not a lot of movement there in terms of real money. Right. So you can have a bunch of small insurance companies. You can have small pension funds. You can even have a few small colleges. In the grand scheme of things, who cares? You’re still getting all the votes going in the wrong direction for oil and gas companies. You still have Exxon being told that it needs to vest of oil and gas, which is nuts because it’s literally an oil company.
Now, to be honest, we’re not seeing a significant reversal of ESG. We’re seeing maybe call it a billion 3 billion that type of potential money going into the space. And that’s if you look at their portfolios and say do a 2% overweight to the SMP 500 and go 7.5%, that simply isn’t that much money.
TN: Okay, very good. Let’s move on to Volatility. Nick, you talked about Volatility last week, and I wanted to dig into that a little bit. We’ve seen Volatility. We’ve seen the VIX approach 30 this week. And so I’m curious, based on your hypothesis last week, do you see that sustaining? Do you see the VIX increasing and like over a time frame?
NG: I think the Volatility broadens out to other markets. For example, we’ve had VIX can be between 32 and 34. It’s known that people come in and suppress the VIX. The Fed have been active in sellers. That’s well known, and they cover it when it gets to the end. And in fact, in the zero rate world, it’s been in the Fed’s top Randy to suppress Volatility.
And thus, hence you have the Ford guidance with this diminishing Ford guidance. And Mesa mentioned it this week as well, that as they start to hike rates potentially, do QT tighten up everything? The use of Ford guidance has been diminished to it would be a hindrance. The whole point of tightening is not to give the full scope of what’s coming. But the important thing is for all subsidiary markets, Volatility in the treasury market has exploded. I remember everything is priced off of the risk free asset.
NG: So you’ve seen the move index fly higher. And the reason why that’s so important is bid offer spreads on the treasury market are actually widened. So that means there’s a liquidity issue. And if you remember back in 2020, you had the repo crisis, which was a liquidity issue. If that continues, then the bit of a spread and thus liquidity in credit markets, which should be beginning to suffer and CDX rates were spiking higher stay that will suffer, that will then feed through to equity markets. You will have less liquidity, hence higher Volatility.
So it’s a very risky path and it will be a very volatile path from now on.
TN: Okay. And so when you say from now on, you mean over the next, say, through the end of the year, or is this something that happens, as we say, approach QT in second quarter.
NG: This should carry on happening.
NG: I mentioned to you earlier I still don’t trust this Fed. I think it could end up being stop start the economy at the beginning. I think this is going to carry on for quite a while.
TN: Okay. You started to interject, but did you want to add something on that?
SR: Yeah. No, I was going to take the other side of that. Saying that the Fed communicating less is, in my opinion, a Vic suppressor at this point, because if you don’t have Bullard coming out and saying stupid things that nobody should have ever taken seriously. You don’t inject half of the volatility that you currently have in the market right now. You don’t have the possibility of an intermediating hike. You don’t have the 50 basis points. You don’t have the QT coming potentially in March.
So in a way, I think taking away the forward guidance and beginning to actually have some sort of a coherent path with an economy that hasn’t actually broken yet. 30 next time seller. I saw that all day. And if something happens in Ukraine, sell it again and you get I think that’s probably the best risk adjusted return this year is selling Vixen spikes.
TN: Interesting. Very good. Okay, guys, what are we looking for the week ahead? Tracy, what’s on your mind for the week ahead?
TS: Well, again, I think that oil markets are probably going to move sideways until we get some sort of resolution. As far as the Ukraine Russia deal, I think the equity markets are still skittish about that.
Again, I think we’ll see a lot of volatility there. I think precious metals will continue to do well sideways to up, perhaps. Right. Because that market is kind of crazy, but it does well on uncertainty. And I think that if you’re looking at based on industrial metals, that will continue to see those rise because we’re having political problems, say, for instance, with copper in Chile and Peru because of the new leftist government there.
TN: How much of global supply is Chile and Peru?
TN: 40%. Okay. So that’s a little bit. Yeah, exactly. Okay. Very good. Sam, did you have something?
SR: Oh, no, I just was English.
TN: Nick, what are you looking for next week?
NG: A continuation of what we’ve had this week. And I think at some point it’s going to be up and down on Ukraine. Who knows, right. I do think the rhetoric from the Fed will continue. I think what’s interesting to me is I take the most retail of retail ETS to see whether retailers sold anything on the way down. And that would be Ark haven’t sold anything. There is a whole lot of pain out there.
And I just think we’re volatile with the downside bias. Yes. You’re going to have a spike up on good news. We had that this morning and it all gave back. Yeah. It didn’t keep it. So I think there’s something more than just Ukraine behind everything. And I think this volatility and my point on I don’t disagree with Sam on the bigs, but I think what’s going on in the fixed income markets will come as a surprise and will flow through and just make trading difficult.
TN: Okay. Let me ask you also, we’ll take this from you and then we’ll move it to Sam as well. When we see the ten year rise above two again.
NG: If things calm down, it goes straight back above two. Yeah, absolutely.
TN: Okay. Sam, what do you think about rates about the ten year?
SR: So what I would say is it would completely flip on my comment that it’s all curve flatteners from last week and say, hey, it’s curve steepener now. Any good news on Ukraine? Anything? You saw it when a few tanks moved or supposedly moved get a big move in oil. You got a big move in the curve. You got the FOMC minutes, et cetera, et cetera. Everything from here in terms of a dissipation looks like Kurt Stephen to me with two stuck somewhere between 140 and 150.
SR: And twos heading north or in towns heading north. So really like the steeper now?
TN: Okay. So it sounds like you all are saying we’re kind of in a wait and see for most markets. Is that fair to say.
NG: Wait and watch? Wait and watch?
TN: Yes, wait and watch. Okay, great. No big decisions over the next week, is that what you’re saying?
NG: Keep your risk tight and small.
TS: I mean, everybody’s going to be watching Ukraine and Russia and everybody’s going to be watching the March meeting for the fed. Until then, I think you could see a lot of volatility in the markets, whether it be in equities us Treasuries or commodity markets.
TN: Very good, guys. I always appreciate this. Thanks so much for your time. Have a great weekend. Thanks.