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UK Turns To QE To Calm Markets

This podcast was originally published at https://www.bfm.my/podcast/morning-run/market-watch/uk-qe-outdated-government-bonds-calm-markets-british-pound

The Bank of England surprised markets by announcing that it would buy long dated government bonds in order to stabilise capital markets. Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence explains why and what does this mean for the Pound.

Transcript

BFM

Good morning. You’re listening to the Morning Run on Thursday the 29 September. I’m Shazana Mokhtar with Wong Shou Ning. Now, in half an hour, we are going to discuss the political future of Crown Prince Mama bin Salman, or MBS of Saudi Arabia, now that he’s been named the Prime Minister of the country. But as always, let’s kick start the morning with a look at how global markets closed.

BFM

Yesterday, US markets had a very good date was at 1.9%. S&P 500 up 2%, while Nasdaq was up a whopping 2.1%. Meanwhile, in Asia, it was all red. Nikkei was down 1.5%, hong Singh was down a whopping 3.4%. Shanghai and Times Index both down 1.6%, while our very own FBM KLCI was down 0.6%.

BFM

So for some thoughts on what’s moving international markets, we have on the line with us Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence. Tony, good morning. Thanks for joining us. I want to start off with moves by the bank of England that said it would move to buy long dated government bonds in order to stabilize capital markets. Can you talk us through what the BoE is trying to do and whether this will ultimately be successful?

Tony

Yes. So here’s what happened. You had some pension funds who bought debt, debt instruments called Guilt, and they used those gilts as collateral to borrow more money to buy more debt instruments. And they use that as collateral to borrow more money to buy more instruments. So they were many times leveraged on these government debt instruments. And when the value of those gifts declined, they had to provide collateral against the loans they had taken out to buy that debt. So it’s a very circular kind of series of events that’s happened. So because these pension funds got in trouble, the UK, the bank of England wanted to prevent their insolvency, of course, because many of them are government pension funds. So since the bank of England has nearly endless currency, they can help the government come to a relatively orderly decline. So is it ideal? No, but there was some messaging out from the new Prime Minister in Whitehall that was very disturbing to government bond investors and that triggered the sell off and then that triggered a multibillion pound rescue from the bank of England.

BFM

Okay, I want to stay on the topic of the United Kingdom, but us about the currency. They must be the only G seven countries still doing quantitative easing in some way. Where do you think the pound is heading? Dendu?

Tony

Well, because of the energy environment, they’re going to be spending more money on subsidies to help the British people through the winter and more pound? Denominated spending actually makes the pound stronger, but you have aggressive quantitative easing and you have a relatively stronger US dollar. It’s possible that we see the pound decline, say, 35% more, unless something dramatic happens, like another event like today or another event by the government that really erodes credibility, I don’t see a lot more decline happening, but it’s a weird year. It’s a weird few years that we’re having right now. Right. So I think on some level it’s really hard to tell. And the problem with losing credibility is that you lose credibility. And if they erode even more credibility, it could be worse than anybody thinks. So I think that’s a small chance. I think we’re probably in a range at this point.

BFM

And if we take a look over at the US, we have seen federal officials reiterate the very hawkish stance that they have. But San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President Mary Daly said that the bank is resolute by bringing down high inflation, but wants to do so as gently as possible so as not to drive the economy into a downturn. Do you think it’s possible at this point to engineer a soft landing, or is a recession inevitable?

Tony

I think it’s possible to engineer a softish landing. I think the problem with the Feds facing as they were very slow to respond to inflation, and so now they’re trying to respond as quickly as they can, and they’re responding in a very kind of brutal kind of way. Mary Daily coming out with these as gently as possible comments are good. And that’s new. Neil Cashari yesterday said he’s another Fed governor. He said there is the risk of overdoing it on the front end, meaning that the Fed could raise rates too quickly. So some of these governors are getting out with messaging, trying to soften the Fed’s hard message over the last couple of months. So the wording from the Feds, ongoing wording generally from especially JPOW, has said that they’re going to be ongoing aggressive hikes, and that’s scaring people. So, like, the Fed needs to be less aggressively hawkish in their language. So that doesn’t mean they turn dovish. That doesn’t necessarily mean they start doing QE. They just need to be less aggressively hawkish. And that’s just toning down the language. I think it’s a little bit too little too late in as much as markets have fallen by, say, 23%, I think, since the highs.

Tony

But I think if they start inserting some less aggressively hawkish language, we can have a smoother glide path to balance, meaning higher interest rates, more moderate equity markets at a slower pace.

BFM

Okay, Tony, can you help us understand what happened today in markets? Because I’m a little bit confused in the sense that US ten year treasury yields fell the most since March 2020. On a day like this, equities shouldn’t go up, but it did. Why?

Tony

Well, I think equity investors are seeing what the bank of England did, and I think on some level they see equity markets versus central banks as a bit of a game of chicken. And the bank of England blinked. And I think equity investors are hoping that the Fed will slow down or blink. This is not a pivot. Meaning when people talk about the Fed and say a pivot, they mean pivoting to quantitative easing and pivoting to dovish language. I don’t see that at all, but I think equity investors are seeing a chance of the Fed becoming less aggressively hawkish, as I was saying. So I think that’s really what happened is just a quick breath think, oh gosh, maybe they’re going to slow down a little bit, which would be positive for equity markets.

BFM

And if you take a look at the Nordstream gas pipeline disruption, that does seem to have changed the energy calculus in Western Europe. How do you think it’s going to affect the dynamics of energy prices over there, especially with winter looming?

Tony

Yeah, I think it will affect, but there isn’t a lot of gas coming by Nordstream. There are other pipelines bringing gas to Europe, so it’s really, at the moment, more perception than reality. So Europe has a fair bit of gas and storage for winter. It’s 87% of their goal, so they’re in pretty good shape. They’re not in great shape, but they’re in pretty good shape. They can make it all the way through winter with what they have in storage, but they aren’t reliant on Nordstrom to fill their reserves further. So I think the kind of the gut punch on this is that it’s a pretty damaging leak and so it would be really hard to get it back online. If Russia say something happened with a resolution of UK, sorry, Ukraine, Russia, and there was optimism that Russia could turn on the taps again, that would be really hard to achieve. So it’ll be an expensive winter for energy in Europe. But Nordstream doesn’t really impact it all that much. It’s more, say, the long term hopes and expectations for Nordstream.

BFM

Tony, thanks very much for speaking with us. That was Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence, giving us his take on some of the trends that he sees moving markets in the days and weeks ahead. Really assessing what’s happening over in the UK with the actions by the bank of England overnight. That has helped somewhat to calm the plunge in the pound sterling that we’ve seen over the past few days. I think this pound has rallied, but how long this equilibrium will last, I think, is anyone’s guess.

BFM

Well, this morning pound against ringgate is 5.0260 at the lowest in the last two days, if I’m not wrong, 4.8. Right. So it has truly, truly recovered. But volatile markets ahead, I think still question marks about whether this trust economic policy makes any sense. Confusion over the tax cuts, how they’re going to pay for it, reverberating around global markets because we’ve seen actually global bond yields peak. Question about whether there will be more activities by central banks to intervene, to prop up their currencies or to restore come to their own respective markets, because we saw that in Japan. And apparently even South Korea says it plans to conduct an emergency born buyback program.

BFM

Indeed, we do see also that the yuan is coming under pressure, and China central bank has issued a strongly worded statement to warn against speculation after the currency dropped to its lowest versus the dollar since 2008.

BFM

I love the language. The language is released yesterday. Do not bet on one way appreciation or depreciation of the yarn, as losses will definitely be incurred in the long term. Can’t spell it out more clearly than that, right? Indeed.

BFM

716 in the morning. We’re going to head into some messages. And when we come back, what does long or need more? Another quarry or preservation of its forests? Stay tuned. BFM 89.9 you have been listening to.

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Podcasts

Amidst Volatility, Boring is Good

This podcast first appeared and originally published at https://www.bfm.my/podcast/morning-run/market-watch/us-fed-interest-rates-inflation-earnings-consumer-sentiment on June 9, 2022.

US markets remained volatile and on a downward trend as inflation concerns heightened. With that, the US consumer is beginning to feel the pinch of rising food and energy prices. What then does this mean for earnings in the coming quarters and has this been priced in? Our CEO and founder, Tony Nash answers these questions.

Show Notes

WSN: BFM 89 nine is seven o’ six Thursday the 9 June. And of course you’re listening to the morning run. I Wong Shou Ning together with Philip See. Let’s have a quick recap on how good global markets closed yesterday.

PS: US markets closed in the red. The Dow was down .8% SMP 500 down 1.1%, Nasdaq down zero. 7%. Whereas over in Asia it’s been a mixed bag. The Nikki was up 1%, Hong Sang up 2.2%. China composite up zero 7%. I think on the back of China easing a bit on the tech regulatory concerns. However, in Southeast Asia, Singapore is down 0.2%. FBM KLCI also down.

WSN: .1% so for some analysis on what’s moving markets, we speak to Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence. Good morning, Tony. Please help us understand what is happening in US markets because it is another red day today. Why are markets so choppy this Thursday?

TN: I think people are awaiting the CPI print what’s going to happen with the inflation announcement because that number really helps to indicate if the Fed will accelerate their plans of tightening. So if the CPI runs hot, then we’ll see them accelerate potentially. If it comes in as expected, then they’ll stick with the plan that they’ve got.

PS: So the plan is to 50 basis point hikes. If you see it move higher, are you talking about it hitting 75 or like extending it for a third 4th hike?

TN: If it’s higher, we could potentially see it hit 75 maybe in June or July. But certainly we’re looking at another hike in September that’s probable right now and then maybe a 25 basis point in November. So let’s say we saw come in at nine or something like that for a developed economy like the US. These are people who normally look at inflation, 1%, one and a half percent. So 9% inflation is just something that people have not seen for a long time. And so this is really damaging to people. Wages are not very flexible here. And so I’m sure from the Malaysian perspective, you see that it’s damaging people here in the US and it actually is because wages are not as flexible here as they are in other parts of the world. So if we see CPI come in high, then you would see the set accelerate. If it comes in at eight, let’s say less than 9%, they’ll stick with the plan they have. If it comes in lower, say seven-ish they’ll still stick with the plan they have and continue to fight inflation to get it down around 2%, maybe sometime in Q1 in 2023 or something.

WSN: Okay. So let’s stay on the topic of the US economy now. Bloomberg runs a model, runs different models actually, and they say that there’s a 25% chance of recession in the next twelve months, but a 75% chance by 2023. Do you share the same view but.

TN: A 25% chance of a recession is just a hedge. Right? I mean, that’s just saying maybe it’ll happen.

WSN: It’s a chicken call Tony. It’s like being chicken.

TN: So when you look at what a recession, two months or two quarters. Sorry. Of negative growth. Right. Well, we had a negative quarter of growth in the US, and Q one of 22. Will we have a negative quarter of growth this year? Unlikely. Or this quarter? I mean, it’s unlikely because of the reasons for negative growth in Q one are not the same reasons they would be this year or this quarter. Sorry. So going forward, I don’t necessarily think we’ll have a recession, but I think it will feel like a recession to a lot of people because over the last year, year and a half, we’ve had higher overhiring in a lot of industries like technology, overhiring where companies have been afraid they wouldn’t be able to get the talent they need. So they overhire people. They’ve paid people a lot of money. So sectors like tech will likely continue laying people off. They’ve already started, but they’ll likely reassess their wages as well as they realize that they don’t need as many people as they hired. And of course, there will be other effects if tech start laying people off more broadly. So we’ve already seen housing housing in the US.

There is effectively no new mortgage applications going through on that in the US. So the Fed’s target for housing has kind of been achieved really quickly, actually. But it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a recession. So things will feel like there’s a recession. But I’m not sure we’ll necessarily technically be in a recession.

PS: So let’s just build on your feelings, Tony, and translate this macro numbers to earnings. What is your expectation in terms of quarter two earnings? Do you expect them to be substantially weaker and how will that translate into equity markets?

TN: Absolutely, yes. Definitely substantially weaker. I mean, look at what happened to say, Walmart and Target a couple of weeks ago when they announced their earnings, they were way down. Why? Because they had way overbought inventory and they had bought the wrong inventory. Okay. So they’re paying for that now and they’re going to have to discount to get rid of that inventory. Right. I think people in a lot of industries because of supply chain issues, they’ve overbought things. And in the meantime, preferences and markets have moved on. So they’ve overbought things and they’re going to have to get rid of a lot of inventory. I think Target and Walmart got out there very early to be able to have their equity price hit hard early. But other companies will come out in second quarter and they’ll admit the same thing. So we’ll see margins really compressed. And because of that, we’ll start to see people announce more layoffs because again, during COVID, investors were very charitable to executive teams, meaning they were telling the executive, look, just stay open, just survive as a company, do whatever you have to. Right now, we’ve got markets that are normalizing.

Investors are being more scrutinizing as they should. They’re saying, look, markets are normalizing. You have to perform like an executive team should perform. You have to perform like a company should perform. So investors and markets are going to be harder on companies in Q two.

WSN: But Tony, does this then mean that when I look at the S&P 500 index, which is probably the broadest barometer of the US economy, it’s down 13 point 65% on the year to date basis. Can we expect further weakness or has this already been priced in?

TN: I don’t think it’s been priced in necessarily. I don’t necessarily think we’re going to see another 13% down, but we always hear that things are priced in. And then when events happen, we find out they’re not priced in. I don’t think it’s priced in. I think there’s more pain to come because people are realizing that they’re basically overpaying for the price of equity. Right. In a company. And so we’re going to see pressure put on valuations, and that’s going to hurt a lot, especially in tech. So we’ve already seen pressure put on valuations in tech. And you saw companies like Facebook who are just throwing off cash still and their valuation is compressed because people have just woken up and said, look, it shouldn’t be valued at that. Right. So we’re going to see that more and more, especially in tech, but also in other sectors.

WSN: So where should we hide, Tony? Will it still be in the commodity space? I mean, oil is up 2 and a half percent this morning.

TN: At where oil is. WCI is trading at 122 right now. Brent is north of that. So it’s possible that we see another 20% rise in crude, but it’s really thin air where it is now. So I think crude price really depends on the supply side. And so can OPEC pump more? Not much. Will things in Russia resolve? Maybe probably in third quarter or something like that. Right. So we really have to look at what are central banks doing? They’re trying to ratchet down demand. Right. And so if they can successfully ratchet down demand, then that will have an impact on true prices.

PS: Tony, I would love to get your view because you’ve seen a different vantage, especially in emerging markets, particularly Southeast Asia. If you saw recently WorldBank has scaled its forecast on global growth and has even highlighted the asphalt is very much vulnerable to stack flat, even recessionary pressures. What’s your view? What’s your advantage in terms of investment in EM markets, especially in Southeast Asia?

TN: Yeah, in Southeast Asia. I mean, look, in Southeast Asia, sadly, Myanmar is going to have the toughest time for the next year or two, right? I mean, we all know the political issues there. I love Myanmar, but it’s going to continue to have the toughest time, I think of the say more developed Southeast Asian countries. I think Thailand is going to continue to have a hard time Partly because of supply chain issues. It’s kind of intermediate point and if supply chains continue to stay strained and tourism continues to be relatively slow in Asia I think Thailand is going to continue to have a tough time. I think places like Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, I think they’re in a better position and I don’t know that you’ll necessarily get excessive gains in those markets But I think there’s more stability and more same maturity and leadership in those markets. So if I were to look to Southeast Asia on, say, a country play, that’s where I would look. I would be really careful to look at things like excessive consumption, these sorts of things. I think for the next year or so we’re going to be looking at real stables.

What do people need to live a really boring life because we’ve had this super exciting roller coaster for the past two years and we need to get back to normal and we need to look at what are people going to consume Just to have a normal day in, day out life.

PS: Boring life then.

WSN: Yeah, boring is good.

TN: I love that. Yeah, we all need a little more of that.

WSN: Thank you so much for your time. That was Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence, saying borrowing is good, we need to get back to normality which means that what investors should be focusing on Perhaps consumer staples Versus consumer discretionary and going back to core fundamentals. Looking at valuations, I think you hit.

PS: The nail on the head core fundamentals because I think investors have given companies the past throughout the pandemic most scrutiny now whether the question will be this will show dispersion and earnings variance between those high earners and low performers Will be a big question Mark as there’s more scrutiny about how you perform in this normal, boring time.

WSN: Stay tuned. That BFM 89.9.

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CNA: Expect rates to be near 1% by the end of 2022

The full episode was posted at https://www.channelnewsasia.com. It may be removed after a few weeks. This video segment is owned by CNA. 

Show Notes

CNA: Welcome back. Strong consumer spending and business activity growth drove a 40% profit search for Southeast Asia’s third largest lender, UOB. In 2021. The bank reported a net profit of four. 7 billion single dollars for 2021. That’s slightly above endless estimates. Uob says economic recoveries in Singapore and regional neighbors helped bring in more income for the bank, filling its profit rise. Net interest income rose 6% from one year ago as loans expand 10%. Net interest margin remained stable at 156 percent, while the Dow snapped a three day losing streak on Wall Street. As an easing of geopolitical tensions overshadowed hot U. S. Inflation data. All three majors got back to winning ways after Russia confirmed a partial withdrawal of troops from the Ukraine border. The news helped Starks a with the Dow closing up by one 2%. A big Bough in Texas saw the SP 500 climbing one 6% and the Nasdaq jumped two 5%, while the Deescalating tensions also helped push oil lower. In addition to geopolitical news, investors got another look at the inflation picture. On Tuesday, the producer price index jumped 9.7%. On year in January, it was up 1% for the month. The index tracks the prices businesses receive for their goods and services.

And this latest number adds two calls for the Fed to act at its next meeting. To help us understand more about the future market trend, we’re joined by Tony Nash, founder and CEO with complete intelligence, speaking to us from Houston, Texas. Very good afternoon to you, Tony. So traditionally, investors like Fabri because it’s a good month for risk taking. But looking at this February, we are coping with situations like tensions between Ukraine and Russia, as well as Fed rate hikes possible. So maybe investors this time around should remain cautious. What’s your take on this?

TN: I think you’re right. I think we’re in an environment right now where we are seeing a lot of volatility. We saw equity markets fall earlier this week. We’re seeing them rise today. And we expect quite a lot of volatility as the Fed and as central banks get their strategies and their new policies together and as some of these geopolitical tensions come and go.

CNA: And we’re also looking at the PPI number released overnight, which puts Fed policy in the spotlight again. But historically, the Fed hasn’t been able to push down inflation without a recession. And this time around, we are talking about economic recovery that’s comparatively fragile. So how worried are you about that the Feds unleash aggressive rate hikes could again bring in another recession?

TN: The Fed always has policy missteps. They’re a blunt tool. And so the Fed is in inflation fighting mode right now. They’re getting a lot of political pressure to be in inflation fighting mode. The data is telling them they need to be inflation fighting mode and selling to well, in March, they’re stopping buying assets for their balance sheet, but they’re also expected to raise interest rates. And then later in Q two start to tighten their balance sheet, which means they’re selling off the assets that they’ve bought over the last two years and they’ll be taking currency out of circulation. So we’ll have slightly tighter currency conditions and we’ll have slightly higher interest rates.

CNA: So are you worried about the possible economic recession in the US?

TN: Yes, I think everyone sees it as a possibility. I think part of the problem is we don’t have the fiscal spending out of the US government that we had in 2021 and 2020. And so the big missing piece in the US economy right now is that fiscal spending that we’ve had for the past two years. So the Biden administration hasn’t really been able to get it together to have that fiscal piece because what we’re looking for is a bridge, really from the government spending led economy that we had in 2021 to more of a private sector led economy in 22. There was a hope that there would be some government spending to bridge that, and we’re just not seeing it. So the lack of government spending, I think more so even than.

TN: Say, interest rate hikes will have a negative impact on the economy.

CNA: And we’ve seen that market have basically priced in the fed rate hikes. But how do you expect that possible rate hike to affect the value of the currency? The dollar over there?

TN: Sure. We have a real risk of the dollar appreciating sharply. Depending on how aggressive the fed becomes, I think there will be moderate upward pressure on the dollar as the fed reigns in inflation. So again, they’ll shrink the amount of currency available. They’ll raise interest rates. Both of these actions typically put upward pressure on dollar values and, of course, that would hurt some of the countries in Southeast Asia when people sell or have due debt in US dollars. But it could help them if they’re selling assets in US dollars like, Malaysia, say, exporting oil and gas.

CNA: Tony, nice talking to you as always, Tony Nash, founder and CEO, with infinite intelligence.

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Podcasts

Impact Of PBOC (China’s Loose Monetary Policy)

BFM 89.9 asks Tony Nash from Complete Intelligence on how China’s PBOC adoption of looser monetary policy will affect the yuan and the broader Chinese economy. 

This podcast first appeared and originally published at https://www.bfm.my/podcast/morning-run/market-watch/impact-of-pboc-chinas-loose-monetary-policy on December 24, 2021.

Show Notes

SM: BFM 89 nine. Good morning. You’re listening to the morning run. I’m Shazana Mokhtar are together with Philip See. It is Christmas Eve, Friday, the 24 December 9:06 in the morning. But in the meantime, let’s take a look at the activity on Bursa Malaysia.

PS: It’s flat like Coke without any bubbles.

SM: Oh, no, that’s the worst kind of flat.

PS: Yes, the foot sabotage. Malaysia is flat slightly down .09% at 1515.

SM: So still above 1500.

PS: Still above 1500.

But it’s been yoyoing a bit green and red so far. But the rest of the markets across Asia are in green territory. The Straits time is up at 3100. Cosby also up 58% at 3015. Nikkei also up zero 6%, 28814. Now, just to bring your attention, looking at the crypto Bitcoin 5998.65 above the 50,000 mark. Theorem also uptrend 4114115.184. Now, if we shift over to the currencies, ring it to US dollar 4.11988. You’re seeing some strengthening there. But across the other two currencies pound and sing dollar, we’re seeing some weakness there.

Ring it to pound 5.62967. Ring it to Sing dollar 3.0922. Now, looking over to the value board. Really. Smattering of small caps actually driving it, but cost number one Ata IMS at .72 cent unchanged, followed by SM Track up 13% at .13, followed by Kajura Tran asphas flat at .26%.

SM: Okay, so that is the snapshot of Bursa Malaysia at 9:09 this morning. We’re taking a look now at how global markets closed yesterday.

So if we look at the US markets, they closed in the green. The Dow was up 0.6%. The S&P P 500 was up zero 6% as well. The Nasdaq was up zero 9%. So a lot of optimism going into the Christmas weekend. Joining us on the line for analysis on what’s moving markets. We have Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence. Tony, good morning. Thanks for joining us today. Now 2022 is just a week away. And given the triple headwinds of Fed tapering, Omicron and a China slowdown, will there be a difference in how developed and emerging markets in Asia are going to be impacted?

TN: I think with the tightening in the Fed and with what emerging markets are going to have to do, meaning in the near term, like China is going to have to loosen. So I think you’ll have a strengthening dollar and more of a rush for capital into the US, so that should at the margin, kind of help US markets stay strong across debt and equity. Other things. I think in emerging markets it could eventually China loosening. The PVC loosening could help demand in emerging markets, but it’s going to be hard to get around the hard slowdown that started in China around Omicron.

PS: I see.


And so when you contrast that to the Fed tightening, right. You said China PBOC is adopting a looser monetary policy. How will this affect the UN in relation to those Asian currencies in which there’s a lot of trade between these two countries?

TN: Yeah. CNY has been strong for a protracted period, and it’s made sense on one level, so China can import the energy and food, particularly and some raw materials that it needs in a time of uncertainty. So the PVC has kept it strong through this period. What we’ve expected for some time. And what we’ve shown is that after Lunar New Year, we expect the PPOC to begin to weaken the CNA. We don’t think it’s going to be dramatic, but we think it’s going to be obviously evident. Change of policy, Chinese exporters, although they’ve been producing at not capacity, but then producing pretty.


Okay. China is going to have to devalue the CNY to help those exporters regain their revenues that they’ve lost over the last two years. So we’re in a strange period globally of moving from kind of state support back to market support, whether it’s the US, Europe, Asia, we’ve really had state supportive industries, state supportive individuals as we move beyond covet. Hopefully we’re moving more into a market orientation globally, and there will be some volatility with that.

PS: Yeah, but I was wondering for China, especially, I’m interested to know what the state of the Chinese consumer will be in 2022 because the government is worried for slow down. Right. And wouldn’t they want to expedite and give a bit more ammunition to the Chinese consumer?

TN: They would. But the problem is with Chinese real estate values declining, a lot of consumer debt is secured against real estate. And so the ability of Chinese consumers to expand the debt load that they’re carrying. Is it’s pretty delicate? It’s a fine balance that they’re going to have to run. So either the economic authorities in China push real estate markets up to allow Chinese consumers to keep debt with their real estate portfolios, or they make other consumer debt type of rules that allow Chinese consumers to hold more debt.

Real estate is the part that’s really tricky in this whole equation in China, because if real estate values are falling, the perceived wealth of those consumers is falling pretty rapidly as well, and the desire to consume excessively, it’s just tempt out.

SM: And I suppose still sticking to our view of China looking at metal commodities, what metals have been affected by the slowdown of demand in China? And do you foresee a recovery for them in early 2022?

TN: Yeah. We’ve seen industrial metals like copper and steel, and those sorts of things really slow down dramatically compared to where they were earlier in 2021. We’re seeing reports of, say, copper shortages at the warehouse level at the official warehouses in China, but that’s not real. What we’re seeing and I speak to copper producers in Australia and other places. What they’re telling us is that those copper inventories are being shifted to unofficial warehouses to create a perception of shortage. So we may see a run. We may see an uptick in, say, industrial metals prices in early 22, but we don’t expect it to last long because the supply of constraint is not real.


So until demand picks up for manufacturing and goods consumption. And the other thing to remember is we’ve had a massive durable goods wave through covet. Everyone’s talked up on durable goods. Okay, so there is almost no pent up demand for durable goods. And this is the stuff that industrial metals go into on the demand side, there are some real problems on the supply side. There seems to be plenty of supply in many cases. So we don’t necessarily see the pressure upward, at least in Q1 of 2022 on industrial metals.

PS: And that’s why I’m quite interested where you say that this demand is, I think slowly going to dissipate because yesterday key US inflation gauge sharpest rise in nearly 40 years, right? Personal consumption expenditure surged 5.7% in November. How long do you think this elevator level will last?

TN: Well, US consumers are pretty tapped out. So I think inflation happens for a couple of different reasons. Some people say it’s only monetary. Not necessarily true. We’ve seen real supply constraints that contribute to inflation. We’ve seen demand pulls because of overstimulating economies, and those two things together have accelerated inflation. And so we have to remember at the same time in 2020, we saw prices. If things go down pretty dramatically around mid year, say a third of the way through the year to mid year to just after mid year.

Some of these inflationary effects have been a little bit base effects because prices fell so hard in 2020. But we have seen consumption ticking up because of government stimulus. And we have to remember if the Fed is tightening things like mortgage backed securities, their purchases of mortgage backed securities will slow. Okay, so if people can’t refinance their house or buy new houses again, those wealth effects dissipate if you have a home. If your home price is rising, whether it’s the US or China or elsewhere, the wealth perception is there and people have a propensity to spend.

But if the Fed is pulling back on mortgage backed securities, then you won’t necessarily have that wealth effect that will dissipate. So government spending will decline marginally because build back better didn’t pass. We won’t have that sugar rush of government spending flowing into the economy early in 2002, although we may see something later. I believe governments love to spend money. So I believe the US government will come with some massive package later in the year to bring government spending back up.

SM: Tony, thanks very much for speaking to us. And an early Merry Christmas to you. That was Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence, giving us a quick take on what he sees moving markets in the final year. In the final weeks of 2021. Looking ahead to 2022.

Categories
QuickHit

QuickHit: What China is thinking right now?

China expert Chris Balding joins us this week for #QuickHit to discuss “What China is thinking right now?” What is the state of the Chinese economy? Are they really doing well in Covid? How about the deleveraging process, is that even real? And what’s happening to CNY? Also talked about are the politics around China especially how it relates to Afghanistan.

 

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This QuickHit episode was recorded on August 24, 2021.

 

The views and opinions expressed in this Sentiment has soured: How will governments and companies respond? (Part 1) QuickHit episode are those of the guest and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Complete Intelligence. Any contents provided by our guest are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any political party, religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.

Show Notes

 

TN: Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining us for another QuickHit. My name is Tony Nash with Complete Intelligence. Today we’re talking with Christopher Balding about what is China thinking now.

 

Chris, thanks for joining us. Can you let us know a few things about yourself? Give us a little background?

 

CB: Sure. I was a professor at Peking University in China for nine years and then two years in Vietnam at the Fulbright University Vietnam. And today I am a super genius in the United States.

 

TN: Yes, you are. Thanks for taking the time, Chris. You’re one of the very few people I know who’ve actually had on the ground experience in China with a Chinese government organization.

 

So I think it’s really important to go to people like you, who had experience like you to understand what kind of China or the Chinese government is thinking now. Of course, it’s not monolithic. There are a lot of different opinions, but it’s good to have that insider’s view.

 

So I want to start off as we look at where we are in COVID, we’re a year and a half into it, depending on the school of thought, maybe it did or didn’t start in China, but we hear that Chinese economy is doing great and they’ve come out of COVID really well, all these other things. I’m really curious your view on the state of the Chinese economy right now. And what are Chinese economic planners thinking right now as they kind of potentially go into year two of Covid.

 

CB: So I think there is a couple of highlights out of the Chinese economy. First of all is that they’ve resorted to the pretty similar playbook that they go back to every year, which is pump credit, pump construction and infrastructure type spending.

 

In the early part of this year, we saw a significant amounts of credit growth. That’s softened as we’ve moved into summertime. That’s primarily due to because there’s a very clear summer and fall building season that allows builders in China to do things because the weather becomes inclement in significant parts of the year. And then if you add in the Corona backlog, that kind of is essentially almost trying to put two years of expected growth into one year.

 

We actually saw a lot of that. And that front loaded a lot of the credit and demand for things like commodities. This is why you’ve seen such demand for things like coal and steel, which were quite high. We’ve seen that soften as firms built their inventory and really ramped up during the summer building season as the demand for credit has softened and some of the building has actually been undertaken. You’ve seen a softening of that which has caused you’ve already seen talk of maybe there’s going to be unleashing or the economy is a little bit softer than the planners would like. So there’s talk of unleashing some additional credit growth trying to stimulate different parts of the economy. We’ll have to wait and see if that happens.

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Generally speaking, the rule is, if there’s a debate about whether or not they’re going to unleash credit growth, I would definitely take the over.

 

TN: By about three times. Right. So one of the interesting things you mentioned is that you said that they expended credit in the early part of this year. But what I read from investment banks and what I’ve read from other people who look at China is that China just underwent this big deleveraging process. Is that real? I’m just not sure, because I see on one side that there’s this talk about deleveraging, but my gut tells me it may not necessarily be happening. Is it happening, or is it something that’s just happening on paper or what’s your view?

 

CB: It’s tough to understand the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics and PBOC’s math as to how they arrived at that, because if you’re just running more generalized numbers, it’s very clear that debt at all levels has continued to outpace GDP. So it’s very difficult to understand how they’re estimating a leveraging. And it’s important to note that we did not see, let’s say, the rapid, rapid expansion of economic growth that you saw, for instance, in the United States.

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And what I mean by that is, whereas any United States, maybe growth went from two or three to 5% relative, almost doubling, you know. You probably saw Chinese growth go for maybe like 5% last year to seven or 8% with the Corona boost where you have that base effect. And so you didn’t see it go to, like, 10, 12, 15% that you might have seen if it had really in relative terms, they doubled from the previous year.

 

And so it’s very difficult to understand how they arrive at those deleveraging numbers. And as we all know, China is famous for fudging their numbers. So it’s very difficult to understand how they’re arriving at those numbers.

 

TN: Right. No, I agree. I haven’t believed it when I’ve heard it, but I kind of nod along as if it’s real. But I think, you know, the Chinese economic data a lot more intimately than I do, but I just don’t see where it’s happening, where it’s actually materializing instead of just being debt transfers.

 

Okay. So earlier you said that Chinese economy is slowing. Now, from my perspective, that’s worrisome partly because you’re going into a big export season, and we’ve got some ports that are stopped up. We’ve also got an election next year with Xi Jinping being reelected, whether that’s in square quotes or not, but Xi Jinping being reelected next year.

 

In terms of the resources put towards stimulus this time around, do you expect that to be more intensive than normal?

 

CB: Typically, what you see. And you saw this the first time Xi was elected, you saw this second time Xi was elected. What you typically see is a pretty significant boost to fiscal outlays. And so I think if history is any guide, I think you’re probably going to see going in the fall and the first of year, it’s very, very likely you’re going to see some type of significant boost to fiscal outlays. And this pattern goes back many, many years well before Xi that when there are these elections. And I’m not sure if it’s a scare quotes or air quotes, but both seem to…

 

TN: Yeah.

 

CB: So I think it is very, very likely that you’re likely to see that. And one of the things I think that a lot of people have missed out on is yes, there were absolutely corporate, let’s say, bailouts or corporate funds for Corona. But one of the things is that in the United States, there were the large amounts of transfers directly to households. China has not enjoyed those transfers directly to households.

 

And so actually, consumer spending in China is actually pretty soft. And those are buying inflated data standards. And so I think that is something that is very important to note when we’re talking about the health of the Chinese consumer.

 

TN: Yep. That’s great. Okay. So I also want to talk about the supply chain issues. And I was just reading a story today about how Pudong Airport has been shut down. Cargo on Pudong Airport is going to be much slower for a period of time because of anothe Covid outbreak. This sort of thing. Do you see ongoing port capacity issues related to COVID? Is that something that you’re kind of concerned about?

 

CB: I think that is something that you’re going to be seeing for definitely the foreseeable future. And I should say it’s not just China. You’re seeing a lot of this in other parts of the world that I know, specifically Vietnam, the Middle East. I’ve heard of similar things in Europe where they are just straining at capacity. Sometimes it’s due to COVID shut down. Sometimes it’s due to other issues. But absolutely, these are issues that I think are not going away anytime soon.

 

And it is, I mean one of the debates in the United States right now is transitory or structural inflation. And I think, not to be capping out on the issue, but I do think it is kind of a mix of both. And I think the supply chain issues don’t be surprised if we’re looking at very likely two years before all these issues are really worked through, because when people went to, let’s say, just in time or contract manufacturing, what that did is that gave you less wiggle room. So you did not just have a massive warehouse of supply that you inventory, and then you could draw down as necessary where it would give you three months to make a mistake. Now people were essentially saying, I got one week of inventory, and if that one week gets shot, I’m in deep trouble.

 

So the chips are, there’s chips, there’s car, there’s Corona shutdowns, there’s capacity issues at some ports. And so it’s going to take a couple of years, probably to work through all these issues to return to what we think of as some degree of normalcy.

 

TN: Right. What’s interesting to me about that is the previous administration of the US tried to bring manufacturing businesses back to the US.

 

Now, with COVID because of the global supply chain issues and the intermittent supply issues, there’s more of a move to bring things back, at least to North America. I know lots going into Mexico right now. Some’s going into the US to minimize the disruption of things, especially in electronic supply chain.

 

So it seems like regardless of the kind of official policy, whether it’s trade policy or just say public health policy, it looks like more of this regionalization is happening. Does that make sense to you?

 

CB: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, look, nobody is going to announce that they’re leaving China for many reasons. But nobody’s going to announce that they’re leaving China. But you do absolutely see a spread of manufacturing capabilities.

 

Whether that is because they want to have multiple manufacturing bases, they want to be more diversified, whether it’s because of IT issues, whether it’s because of Corona risks, tariffs, all of these issues, there is absolutely increasing diversification of manufacturing capabilities, whether it’s Mexico, India, Malaysia, all of these different places. You’ve even seen Africa doing relatively well in certain areas. So it has absolutely happened.

 

TN: Okay. One last question on the economy then we’ll move to kind of politics and China’s place in the world. What’s the thought behind the elevated CNY? We’re trading much higher than we have for a long time, and it stayed there, right? It’s pegged right around 6.4 something, and it’s been there since Q1, I think. Why the persistent strength in CNY?

 

CB: Well, I mean, I think first of all, they have been running during Corona pretty significant surpluses. The United States has exports to China and other parts of the world have declined, not insignificantly or remained flat as we’re importing a lot more. That’s number one.

 

I think also the dollar has gone into a specific range. And the way that I think of the CNY is it’s basically just a reverse USB tracker, which I think explains most of what we’re seeing. I think what they’re trying to do and the reason that China has been buying some dollars, not in major amounts, but I think they kind of have, like, ICBC and CCB, those types of banks acting as dollar cushions for lack of a better term, is that they don’t want it to appreciate too much for a number of reasons, because they know they’ve become more expensive and that would just make it that much more expensive. So in a way, I think they’re trying to manage that, manage that flow. But I think it’s still generally within a range where it’s like you can say they’re within spitting distance of what their index say they should be. Okay, that’s fair.

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TN: Okay. Now let’s move on to politics. Let’s move on to kind of China’s big, long term, multi hundred year plan to rule the world, which I think is not real.

 

So let’s talk about Afghanistan. This just happened over the last couple of weeks, and there’s a few that China is going to be the master winner of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. I think there are multiple perspectives on that, but the consensus view seems to be that the US really did had to job on the withdrawal. And the ultimate winner of this is China. Can you kind of walk me through some of your views on that? What are some of the possibilities there with China and Afghanistan?

 

CB: Sure. So I think it is very fair to say that the United States has pretty badly bungled the withdrawal. You know, why, you know, we should have waited until we’d already evacuated all the army to say we’re going to start evacuating US citizens and Afghani translators and people like that.

 

One of the things I do think is absolutely happening. And this is not just China. And you’ve heard this from country after country. Taiwan, Germany, UK on down is they are saying we need to go back to the drawing board and re evaluate everything we think we know.

 

Okay. And somebody that I was talking to, I think, expressed it very well is the United States still has credibility because we can move large amounts of assets, whether it’s military, governmental, other private sector, we can bring significant assets and influence to the table. What, this has really changed in a lot of people’s minds is confidence.

 

TN: Yes. That’s fair.

 

CB: That has changed a lot of people’s mind. So you have a lot of people going back to the drawing board. One of the things I’m going to be a little bit hesitant to do is start pronouncing winners, losers, and this is what XYZ country is going to do in ABC country is going to do. And the reason I say that is it’s very, very plausible to construct a scenario where the Taliban and the CCP become BFFs. Okay?

 

TN: Sure.

 

CB: I mean, if China is shipping large amounts of fentanyl out of northeast China, it’s not a crazy scenario to say they partner with the Taliban to start shipping large amounts of opium into the United States at the same time.

 

TN: Sure.

 

CB: Not a crazy scenario. It’s also not a crazy scenario for the Taliban to start bombing China within a year or two. Okay. You could very easily construct those types of scenarios that lead to that. Okay. So it’s very, very difficult to construct those types of scenarios with any what I would consider a degree of certainty. Okay?

 

TN: Sure. So what about the, the China-Pakistan relationship? $46 billion of investment, supposedly, supposedly a tight relationship there. That’s arguable. Do you think that pays dividends in Afghanistan, or is that kind of something that’s a little bit, I wouldn’t say irrelevant, but a little bit less directly connected.

 

CB: So I think Pakistan is actually very pretty directly involved in all of this. But again, it’s very difficult to say with a high degree of certainty what’s happening there because Pakistan has very direct connections into both the Taliban, Al Qaeda. Some would even say that they were a Pakistani security service creation. At the same time, it’s well known that there are blood feuds between groups within each of those organizations.

 

So it’s very difficult to get to say exactly who the winner, loser there. With regards to China and Pakistan, one of the things that you’ve seen very clearly is that pretty much the Pakistani government and the Pakistani elites are effectively compromised by China. They will say nothing about wingers and other issues.

 

At the same time, everything, I think indicative on the ground and of the mass population is that there is maybe not extreme, but I would say broad discontent with the Pakistani relationship with China for many reasons.

 

TN: From who and Pakistan? Is it from the armed forces? Is it from other parts of the government, from regular folks who isn’t happy with that relationship?

 

CB: I think a lot of folks broadly. The business community. I think there’s a growing sense that they are effectively a Chinese colony. One Pakistani I know who described it as such. So I think there is very broad discontent. And as we all know, Pakistan has quite the lengthy history of governmental instability.

 

So similar to what you’ve seen in other countries in the region, it’s very easy to paint a picture, a scenario where the current government remains compromised and under the thumb of the CCP for years to come. I think it’s also plausible that a new government or some type of political instability happens in Pakistan. And all of a sudden, there’s an about face on how to manage relationships with China.

 

Generally speaking, though, I think there is going to be very tight coordination between Beijing, Islamabad and Kabul because those… Pakistan, I mean, almost anything that happens in Afghanistan is going to be maybe not controlled by Pakistan. I think that overstate it. But there’s going to be large amounts of information flows and influence back and forth happens over what happens in Afghanistan.

 

TN: Yeah. Okay. That’s all really interesting. I think we could spend a long time talking about China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Russia, kind of where all those countries come together, Central Asia. But I want to end on this.

 

We’ve seen, a lot really changed with US standing in the world over the past couple of weeks over Afghanistan. We’ve seen a lot change in the US China relationship over the past year with the new administration. And so let’s talk for a minute about the overall US China relationship. What’s your thought there? Are they getting along? Is there a constructive dialogue? How do issues like Taiwan fit within that discussion? Can you just help me think about some of your thoughts there?

 

CB: So I was talking to someone, and I think they put succinctly the way that I would characterize the Biden administration’s record on China. You can’t criticize them for what they’ve done on China because they really haven’t done anything at all. Okay. Other than adding a couple of names to the Sanctiosn books, there really has not anything taken place.

 

They promised that they were going to get out their China strategy plan in June. Then there were rumblings that might happen in July, where now at almost rapidly approaching September 1. And now there’s not even talk of when it might be released. So really, nothing has been happened except for the Alaska meeting, which apparently went over like a lead balloon.

 

Everything right now just seems to be a stalemate. And the Biden administration is worrying, and that China is still moving forward, and the Biden administration is basically doing nothing.

 

The most telling point to me about the by administration approach, and I think this is something I think you should fault in. In fairness, Trump for is look, we can talk about values and do the right thing and all this kind of good stuff. But the United States, at some point has to actually put resources into this effort.

 

And the Trump administration, other than political capital with allies or other countries, never put any real hard resources or assets into these issues. And the point I would make is the Biden administration has made a point of spending literally trillions of dollars. And to the best of my knowledge, there has been almost zero spending passed that has really anything to do with China. Okay.

 

We cannot continue to talk to countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan. You cannot talk about the threat China poses and never spend any money on the issue.

 

TN: Sure.

 

CB: Okay. And look, this doesn’t have to mean we go out and increase military spending by 20%. This could simply mean we’re going to go into Vietnam and say, we want to have a development program and, you know, help solve issues. This can mean capitalizing the Development Finance Corporation to help countries like India and Malaysia and say, look, there is a real opportunity that does not involve the Belt and Road, where there’s going to be green standards or these non-corrupt standards and things like this to make sure that this money is really helping your country. You know, and it was probably something that was negotiated could be all the way back to the Obama administration.

 

There was some type of military center opened in, I believe, Jakarta with the Indonesian government that was supposed to have other governments. It’s a small center. Even those types of things. There’s simply not the resources being dedicated. And I think that’s indicative of where this ranks within the Biden administration priorities.

 

TN: I’ll be honest, Chris, it sounds like a mess. It sounds pretty bleak to me.

 

So great. I really appreciate this. I think if anybody knows has an idea of what China is thinking, I think you’re the guy. And I really, really appreciate your time.

 

Everyone watching. Please please subscribe to our YouTube channel. The more we have, the more we can bring to you as a part of our videos. And, Chris, thank you so much. And thanks to everyone. We’ll see you on the next interview. Thanks.

Categories
Podcasts

US Complete Lockdowns Unlikely

Corporate earnings are beating the Wall Street estimates — are these even accurate? For the exporting countries in Asia — will they be badly hit with further lockdowns? And why is WTI crude oil dropped all of a sudden? All these and more in this quick podcast interview with Tony Nash at the BFM 89.9 The Morning Run.

 

This podcast first appeared and originally published at https://www.bfm.my/podcast/morning-run/market-watch/us-complete-lockdowns-unlikely on August 5, 2021.

 

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Show Notes

 

SM: BFM 89.9. Good morning. You are listening to the Morning Run. I’m Shazana Mokhtar in studio today with Wong Shou Ning and Philip See. First, though, as always, we recap how global markets ended the trading day.

 

PS: Yes, the U.S. was relatively mixed. The Dow is down 0.9%. S&P 500 also -0.5%. Nasdaq was up 0.1%, crossing over to the Pacific and Asia. Also a mixed day. The Nikkei was down 1.2%. Shanghai Composite and Hang Seng were both up 0.9%, Singapore up 1.1%. And actually, not surprisingly, FBN, Kilcher was down 1.6%.

 

SM: And for some insights into what’s moving markets, we have on the line Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence. Good morning, Tony. Always good to have you. So looking at corporate second quarter earnings, they’ve been beating Wall Street estimates, yet a prevailing bearishness seems to be creeping into U.S. markets. Is this an accurate reading driven by the rise of Covid-19 cases from the Delta variant?

 

TN: Yeah, earnings are up about 90% year on year, and a lot of that really has to do with companies cutting back staff and trimming expenses. This is a really nice, obviously not unexpected, but a really nice pop. But the cutbacks have come to a limit if we’re straddling a come back. Part of that is revenues are up 22% on quarter, which is great. But given the cutbacks, it looks extraordinarily good. So these things have a way of winding down. There’s only so much you can only get this good for so long. So we do expect this to to erode a little bit going into next quarter.

 

WSN: But does this mean that markets will find it hard to go to the next leg up in?

 

TN: It depends. It depends on company performance, but it also depends on things like central bank activity and fiscal spending. So if we look at Covid, it depends on which way it’s going. And if Delta variant gets worse and the fatality rate gets worse, which isn’t here in Texas, the fatality rate per case is half of what it was back in February. So just six months ago, the fatality rate here was twice per case of Covid.

 

So we’re hearing a lot about case counts. But the reality is the fatalities are declining pretty rapidly. So here we see that is a good thing. And and so we’re hopeful that things will you know, we’ll continue to move back to a normal situation. But there’s a lot of talk about, you know, closing things down. New York just put coded passports in for going to restaurants and going out in public, the sort of thing.

 

What that does is that really it really hurts small local businesses. It hurts chains for, say, restaurants and shopping. It helps companies like Amazon that do a lot of local deliveries. So so if New York is going to lock down, it helps to work from home type of company try it. But it seems to me in the US it’s going to be really hard to close the US down again because there’s a lot of push back in the US to closing down in some places, not so much New York, California, those those places, but other places. If there was an attempt to lock down again here in Texas, people would be pretty resistant.

 

PS: And you made a point on central bank activity. Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida confirmed that they are on track to raise rates in twenty twenty three, but jobs data is soft. So how should we make of all this?

 

TN: Yeah, I don’t see that happening. Look, you know, people talk about rates a lot, but the Fed has so many tools. I would expect the Fed to commence some sort of QE plan in the not too distant future before I would expect rates talk. I think we’re closer to QE than we are to rates much closer to QE than we are at a rate. So I don’t see rates changing certainly in obviously in twenty one. I don’t see them changing in twenty two. If it’s twenty three, maybe it’s the back half, but I just don’t see that happening simply because we’ve got to stop the flow of finance ministry and central bank activity going into economies globally first before we start to impose higher rates on borrowers. So we just need to get to a zero state or a semi normal state before we start imposing higher rates on borrowers.

 

SM: OK, and turning our attention closer to home, Tony. An economic upswing in Southeast Asia this year looks increasingly uncertain. And given that ASEAN is predominantly export dependent, how badly hit do you think countries in this region are going to be?

 

TN: Yeah, I think it’s hard. For those countries that have the benefit of, say, natural resources exports like Malaysia with palm oil and crude oil and other things, I think that helps. However, manufactured goods are difficult, partly on supply chain issues, partly on Covid, you know, restrictions and other things. So international transport is still in a very difficult situation. So I think it’s tough for Southeast Asia. I think there’s a big move in Europe and North America to have more manufacturing done nearby in regions.

 

So I think this, over a period that’s been protracted 18 months or longer. I think the more that happens, the more we see unwinding of global supply chains and the more we see the unwinding of Asia as the centralized manufacturing hub globally. I think we’ve seen more regional manufacturing. I don’t think that necessarily means that the manufacturing in China or other places are necessarily in danger. Unfortunately, a place that I think places that I think are more in danger of places like Malaysia, Thailand, the middle income, middle tier type of manufacturing countries. So the automation, competitiveness, these sorts of things are really much more important in places like Malaysia and Thailand.

 

WSN: And Tony, I want to switch to oil because when I look at the Bloomberg at the moment, WTI is showing at sixty eight U.S. dollars a barrel for delivery in September. What do you make of this sudden drop in prices? Is it due to demand decline?

 

TN: It’s on Covid fears. News all over the here in the U.S. It’s a lot of Covid fear mongering and you know, a lot of that. The media is based in New York and D.C. And so there’s a lot of chatter on the government side. And in New York, the New York media is trying to get the the focus away from Andrew Cuomo, the governor there, and really trying to focus on Covid and other things. So markets are reacting.

 

Business doesn’t want things closed down. Again, people in business don’t want to close down again. So I think, you know, you’re going to see a real push pull in markets over the next couple of weeks as that debate happens about two places closed down or not. And you’ll see some volatility in things like commodities and in other markets as that very active discussion continues.

 

SM: All right, Tony, thanks as always for your insights. That was Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence, talking to us about the situation of the economy in the US. And, you know, that push and pull between closing down, how do we deal with with the covid, but at the same time, you know, make sure the economy doesn’t suffer too much.

 

PS: You made a very interesting point that with closing down, who is affected the most. Right, with respect to businesses. He did say smaller businesses are more susceptible as result of a closure locked out. But the same is exactly the same thing you’re going to see across the board.

 

WSN: Yeah, yeah. I think he also brought up an interesting point about the fact that, yes, there is this decentralization of manufacturing hubs. Right. Because I think a lot of businesses are concerned that with covid-19 and they have really been proven that supply chains can be very easily disrupted. But ironically, Malaysia may not be a beneficiary. It might move to other countries. And it’s a question of whether we move up the value chain to provide that, you know, that that automation that we need do.

 

The things that we talk about are 4.0. I’ll be ready for it. Do we have to staff for it? Will they go to other countries? And he hinted that he might. So I’m just curious, in the longer term, what is our government’s plans, especially now 12 million, your plan confirmed to be in September and budget 2022 in October?

 

SM: That’s right. And we’re going to get a perspective on this later on in the show at seven forty five when we speak to the president of the Malaysian Semiconductor Industry Association. So stay tuned for that BFM eighty nine point nine.

 

Categories
Podcasts

Could This Be The Tail End Of The Bull Run?

In this BFM The Morning Run episode, Tony Nash explains what’s happening in the US markets, particularly the tail end of the bull run. Will value stocks improve now as compared to the growth stocks? How about stay-at-home stocks VS cyclicals? Also discussed are currencies, USD against the Japanese Yen and Chinese Yuan, and the labor market.

 

This podcast first appeared and originally published at https://www.bfm.my/podcast/morning-run/market-watch/could-this-be-the-tail-end-of-the-bull-run on April 1, 2021.

 

❗️ Check out more of our insights in featured in the CI Newsletter and QuickHit interviews with experts.

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Show Notes

 

WSN: Good morning, Tony. Now, is it likely that the U.S. indices will run out of steam for the moment? I mean, pausing to take stock of the earnings, are equity markets gravitating to what’s stay at home stocks or cyclicals?

 

TN: The problem with where we are now is that all value was stretched. Monetary policy and stimulus have really pushed money into equity markets as the remaining stimulus checks are distributed, meaning a lot of those stimulus checks are in the mail right now in the post going to homes in the US. So there’s a lot of investment expected and pushing against maybe the downdraft in equity markets. So I don’t think it’s really a question of stay at home versus cyclicals. It’s really a question of where is that value?

 

I don’t think it’s a sector question. It’s really an individual stock picking question. And that’s the problem. It’s not a sector market. It’s not a market wide phenomenon. We really have to understand where there is value because we’re in the very tail end of a bull market.

 

PS: Previously, it was the long and now five year Treasury treasuries are inching up. What impact will an upward shift of the whole yield curve have on equities?

 

TN: I think we’re seeing equities try to climb higher, but we’re not quite getting. The five year is up over five percent today on an incremental basis was up five point six percent. The 10 year is up two point three percent today. So, you know, there are a lot of risks out there. Ongoing Covid risk. France just closed down again today. There are geopolitical risks with the US and China and other geopolitical risks, of course, Syria and so on.

 

Iran, business supply chain risks. So, you know, with yields rising and the pressure on equity markets to rise as well, we believe that there’s going to come a point where equity markets break and we’re going to start to see see a decline in equity markets. So yields will rise in the U.S. and equity markets will inevitably decline, and that will likely bring some other global markets with it.

 

WSN: OK, Tony, let’s shift the conversation to currencies, because the U.S. dollar has really made some strident gains against both the Chinese yen and the Japanese yen. I just want to know, why are these two currencies taking such a beating in particular?

 

TN: Well, both currencies strengthened quite a bit in Q3 of twenty twenty and stayed strong until recently. CNY had been below seven and a bit well actually just above seven and it climbed to almost six point four versus the US dollar. So there’s been a lot of strength in both, as you say, Chinese and Japanese currencies. What’s happened while we’ve had those depreciated currencies is an accumulation of inventories of commodities like industrial metals. We’ve seen the copper price rise dramatically, for example.

 

And so as we see treasuries rise in the US, and that brings dollar strength, we’re seeing those manufacturers and those guys who’ve been building their commodity inventories in East Asia really slow down on those purchases and their future commitments. So we’ll likely see a lot of those currencies stabilize and weaken a bit more we don’t expect. A dramatic weakening from here, we don’t expect the US dollar to appreciate dramatically more, say, for the next few months. So we’re kind of in a range, we believe, for both.

 

We do see the CNY, for example, devaluing to say six point six to six point seven. And then, you know, we’ll kind of stabilize in that range unless there’s a dramatic impact.

 

PS: So a correction is in inventory levels readjust. Can I just shift your attention to oil? Because oil prices are at levels near the break even point for US shale producers. Are you expecting to see a resumption of shale activity this year?

 

TN: Well, yeah, we you know, living in Texas, we see a lot of shale activity here. So we do expect it to start slowly. But that business runs in a way where if we’re chasing price, more of those shale firms will come online pretty quickly, actually. So, you know, with the ability for shale to turn off and turn on so quickly, we believe that the prices will be range bound if there’s upward price pressure, you know, all things held equal.

 

If there’s you know, if there isn’t a major geopolitical issue in the Middle East or isn’t a major geopolitical issue in Asia or something, we think that will be fairly wrage range bound as those as those guys come back online. The shale producers.

 

WSN: Meanwhile, Tony, U.S. numbers, job numbers excuse me, are out on Friday. Are they expected to show a robust recovery in labor markets, in your opinion? Like what sectors grew the fastest in terms of employment?

 

TN: Well, you know, we’re starting to see quite a lot more capacity in airlines, although we don’t expect a lot of hiring there. The services around, say, travel and hospitality, they were devastated in twenty twenty. And we expect some of those jobs to come back online. We expect to see some restaurant jobs, some of those services jobs to come back online. That’s where we typically see these things come back first, relatively kind of lower wage, but more flexible workforces.

 

And so we’ll see activity there first. Tourism in the US obviously still isn’t up to what it was, but we have started to see some impact back in tourism. So I would expect to see some some interesting numbers there.

 

WSN: OK, thank you for your time. That was Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence, sadly reminding us that this is maybe the tail end of the bull run that we had been enjoying.

 

It was a very short one, is that it honestly, in March 2020 when markets collapsed and then because of the concerted, synchronized monetary policies that we saw around the world, central banks really pushing rates to ultra low equity markets rallied and rallied till now.

 

So he thinks we’re in the tail end and we should stop beginning to look at value stocks as opposed to growth stocks.

 

PS: And I think specific sector specific stocks, in fact, actually.

 

WSN: Yeah.

 

PS: It’s kind of very good.

 

Go for the jugular on specific things.

 

WSN: Yeah. I think you really do need to take a very bottom up approach as opposed from the top down approach. If you’re talking about the tail end of a bull cycle, what is also worrying is that he does say that with increasing yields in the U.S. and even on the shotted to bonds, which is the five year bonds, lightly equity markets, those are going to face another round of correction. And it’s not just going to be the U.S. it’s going to be other global markets as a result, because let’s face it, we take the cue from the U.S., right?

 

PS: Yeah.

 

WSN: If there is a shock there, there’s a shock around the world.

 

But what does it mean for Malaysia markets? Because yesterday we had a really terrible, terrible day.

 

And when I look at Bloomberg now and I’m trying to understand what caused the decline, it was really very much glove driven. Topcliffe hoteling, super Max, all coming under selling pressure as a result, took the index along with it, saying it was also the case for the telco sector. Zaatar was also down. Maxi’s was also down. There was actually no stock among the IBM, Kilsyth, the three component stocks, none were in the green. So clearly bad day.

 

We were down two point to two percent. And on original, on a year to day basis, we are actually down more than three percent.

 

PS: It’s incredible. I think also the conversation about currency is going to play. So we were talking to Tony about Japan and China. You heard and we saw disconsolately in Turkish I now emerging market currencies are going to all kind of a fall out in the short term.

 

WSN: Is there going to be a question of, you know, shift from emerging markets into developed markets? That’s the big question. But in about a few minutes, in light of April Fool’s Day, we’ll be speaking to resolve. Then Gizzle, comedian and the co-founder of Crack House Comedy Club. Stay tuned for that BFM eighty nine point nine.

Categories
Podcasts

Work-from-home stocks a defensive play in 2021?

In this BFM episode, Tony Nash explains the defensive play of the WFH company Keane and how it compares to other tech stocks like Tesla? Also, will the good days for the financial and energy stocks continue? And how about the outlook for Sterling as the Brexit deal is being ironed out? Will the Pound appreciate or decline? And why there seems to be a never-ending trade war against China — now recently with Vietnam and Malaysia imposing tariffs on the Chinese steel?

 

This podcast first appeared and originally published at https://www.bfm.my/podcast/morning-run/market-watch/work-from-home-stocks-a-defensive-play-in-2021 on December 24, 2020.

 

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BFM Description

 

As we head into 2021, will we see more work-from-home stocks being used as a defensive play? The Morning Run speaks to Tony Nash for his perspective on this, as well as his views on financials and energy stocks, the Sterling, and tit-for-tat trade wars.

Produced by: Mike Gong

 

Presented by: Roshan Kanesan, Wong Shou Ning

 

 

Show Notes

 

WSN: With volumes on U.S. equities drying up ahead of the holiday season, are you expecting investors to hit the sell button or to keep this whole positions over the period? Because the market’s somewhat a little bit more happy today, a little bit more green?

 

TN: I’m not sure, but I’m sure there is not a conviction either way right now. Investors aren’t really sure that they’re ready to pull the plug on things. People are waiting to see what’s going to happen with the stimulus funds. They’re waiting to see how smoothly the transition goes with the US government. They’re waiting to see how companies Q4 earnings come in. So in the next few weeks, aside from some commodities play, I’m not entirely convinced that we’ll see dramatic movements in one way or another.

 

WSN: And I’m just curious following up on that. So for the moment, it still seems that even though the Nasdaq corrected a little bit today, the work-from-home, Keane is here to stay as a defensive play?

 

TN: Sure, that is an effective play, but the benefits or the upside to that play is really questionable. The Nasdaq has over 40% this year. When you look at the valuation multiples on some of these tech companies like Tesla, you’re looking at over a thousand percentage. For some of the tech companies, you’re looking at fifty to 200 to revenue.

 

Some of these tech companies are being played out. That’s not to say they’re going to see necessarily downside. But the upside? I don’t believe it’s necessarily as high as it has been in 2020. We have these moments in markets where you see serious upside in different sectors and then it comes down for a bit. We’ve seen that in 2020. Are we going to see that in 2021? We’re not convinced. That maybe  possible. But we’ve seen some pretty hard closed down for people who’ve had their quickly transition to work from home. A lot of that valuation are largely played out.

 

WSN: If we look at the performance of the S&P 500, it was really the day for financials and also the energy stocks. Do you think these themes will continue into 2021?

 

TN: Certainly, that kind of stock are partly a result of the expectation of stimulus — whether that’s $600 to $2000 per person. There should be more transactional activity in terms of services with energy. There’s an expectation that people will start flying a bit more.

 

What’s positive is the expectation on a  margin within oil and gas firms as they refine their products. I think that’s a bit higher as the margins of the percentage go up as the normal values go up. We’ve been saying for several months that the oil prices will rise in the end of December and early Jan, and that’s playing out. We’ve expecting that for about six months. But we do expect crude prices to fall going into February. So while those margin plays are there now, we don’t expect that to be there at the end of Q1.

 

WSN: Moving to the UK, the Sterling appreciated this morning on the back of the news that Brexit deal might be ironed out. But where do you see the currency heading?

 

TN: We’ve expected the Sterling to weaken a bit by the immediacy of the news. But over time, we expect the Pound to re-appreciate because we really value the U.K. There’s a lot of wishful thinking within the EU that Britain would suffer as they exit the EU. We’ve done a lot of analysis on this over the last three years and there’s really just a lot of upsides for the U.K. to separate. That’s not a political view. That’s purely an economic view. We have expected the Pound to take a bit of a pounding in the short term. But we do expect it to re-appreciate as that separation gets in pace.

 

WSN: Malaysia and Vietnam, they recently placed higher tariffs on Chinese steel. And although unrelated, this comes after China imposed some additional duties on various Australian imports. Do you see this tit for tat tariffs going to continue to be the norm in 2021 and no end to it?

 

TN: We’ve been saying for a couple of years that we expect trade to turn from these fairly invisible activities like subsidy to non tariff barriers, which is really regulatory into direct tariffs. It’s like going back to 1980s pre-WTO where there’s more of a fiscal benefit for the country than the protectionist benefit in a non-tariff barrier regulation.

 

Many countries are a bit tapped out on subsidies, so they’re not necessarily going to be able to pay their industry as much to protect them. So they’re going to have tariffs to generate revenue. Specifically, the Chinese steel, there’s a global glut of Chinese steel, of the Hang Seng, for years. It wasn’t surprising that these tariffs have been levied because they have a little bit of it’s own steel industry. They’re protecting themselves from the glut of Chinese steel.

 

WSN: All right. Thank you for your time. And that was Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence, giving us his views on global markets.

Categories
News Articles

Time To Rotate

Tony Nash joins BFM 89.9 The Business Station for another look at the global markets particularly discussing the “Japanese equity market”. Is it the time to rotate into value or maybe it is a sign that the broader economy is recovering?

 

This podcast first appeared and originally published at https://www.bfm.my/podcast/morning-run/market-watch/time-to-rotate on August 26, 2020.


BFM Description

 

With technology stocks hitting all time highs, there has been some inflow into the finance and utilities sectors. We ask Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence if it is time to rotate into these names. We also ask his views on the Japanese equity market and if there is still money to be made with the change in leadership.

 

Produced by: Mike Gong

 

Presented by: Khoo Hsu Chuang, Wong Shou Ning

 

Show Notes

 

WSN: So far, deeper dive in global markets today. Joining us is Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence. Good morning, Tony. Now, last night, U.S. tech stocks will slump relatively while laggards like finance and utilities saw some inflows. So do you think this is the time to rotate into value and maybe a sign that the broader economy is recovering?

 

TN: I think it’s certainly a time to to that that that rotation is starting. I don’t necessarily think it’s in full swing yet, but but we’ve received signals for the past week or so that that rotation would start sort of seeing some of the techs off.

 

Today is not really all that surprising, given especially some of the Fed and Treasury statements over the past couple of weeks.

 

KHC: Yeah. So in terms of cyclical stocks, Tony, what is your point of view in terms of which sectors might benefit?

 

TN: Well, I think, you know, we’ve seen tech with companies like Nvidia, Tesla, and these guys have just had amazing gains over the past, say, four months. I think, you know, the rotation into some of the finance stocks, into some other more mainstream, broader market equities is likely. I think the indices are assuming that tech stays at elevated values. That rotation will only help the indices if tech comes off. Given the concentration of waiting within those stocks, it could really hurt some of the overall indices.

 

WSN: And, Tony, let’s focus on one of these, you know, super winners in the last few months. And it’s Tesla, right? They have a decision to sell five billion worth of shares. Is that smart or overly ambitious? Move now. And what more what kind of growth can we expect from this company?

 

TN: Well, the I think the the growth in the stock price is very different from the growth of the company, so Tesla’s trading at a PE ratio of almost 1200.

 

OK, the stock’s more than doubled since March. So, you know, the company itself isn’t doubling. You know, I think it has. I think what the management is doing is making a very smart decision to sell equity while they know the price is very high. So from a management perspective, I think that was a very smart decision. In terms of a buyers perspective, I’m not so sure it’s possible that Tesla stays at these elevated level. People have been trying to short Tesla for years and it just hasn’t worked.

 

So it’s possible there’s growth there and it’s possible they stay at these elevated levels.

 

WSN: So, Tony, are you a big fan of Tesla? This level…

 

TN: It’s hard not to be whether I’m a buyer, personally or not, I would hesitate here. But, gosh, you know, I think there are other places to look that are better value.

 

But it really, you know, part of it really all depends where the stimulus is going. So since the Treasury and Fed are intervening in markets, if they’re targeting specific equities or specific sectors, then you kind of have to follow that money.

 

And so it’s it all depends on how much further these things are going to run and where that stimulus is targeted.

 

KHC: OK, based on PMI data, most of Asia remains contractionary. But for China, of course. You know, Tony, in your opinion, why is recovery not yet forthcoming? And is there a main catalyst needed for manufacturing to take off?

 

TN: Yeah, I mean, look, in terms of manufacturing PMI, as you have Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, you know, they’re all growing, which is great. Myanmar is actually growing faster than China.

 

But what we don’t have really is the demand pull. And that’s been a real problem. And, you know, we’ve been talking about that since February and we’ve been really worried about deflation. And, you know, what we see even in Southeast Asia is government intervention in markets is really what, propping up a lot of the activity. And I think, you know, the big question I have is, will we see steam come out of recovery in Asia in the same way we’ve started to see steam come out of recovery in the U.S.?

 

I think the answer is unfortunately, probably yes. And I think until the demand from both consumers and companies comes back and the fear of covid wanes, I think we’ve got some some volatility ahead.

 

We’re expecting some real trouble in September. I think it’s great that markets are doing well today, but we’re starting to see the the momentum really slow this month.

And without additional help from the Fed or PEOC or other folks, it really slows down. The problem is the efficacy of that support really deteriorates the more you add to the system.

 

WSN: And Tony, look at Japan, right?

 

I mean, are trading the equities. They are trading at a steep discount to their historical premiums. Do you see any value in yen based assets? After all, Warren Buffett himself just dipped his toes into it by six billion dollars worth of trading companies did. What do you think?

 

TN: Well, that’s the answer. I mean, it’s hard to it’s hard to bet against Buffett. He’s obviously seeing real value there. And I think the Japanese trading companies are really, really interesting because they’re you know, they’re a very good play right now. So is there a value? Sure. I think there’s value there. I think with Japan, a lot of the story is around productivity and automation. If if Japan can continue to raise its productivity through automation, I think it will be a very good play.

 

If that productivity and if the level of automation slows down, then it becomes questionable because everyone knows about the demographic story in Japan, but the economy continues to grow, which is really amazing.

 

WSN: So it seems like you’re quite a believer in that this can overcome some of the structural issues. But what about the fact that Abe has resigned for health reasons? Does it change at all the economic and monetary policies in Japan that might change your decision?

 

TN: Yeah, I think when someone like Abe steps down,  there’s always momentum. So it last for several months. The real question is, how long should the next leadership last? And is there enough structural stability to continue the momentum in Japan, meaning it’s not growing leaps and bounds, but it’s stable growth and it’s healthy growth. So I like Japan a lot. We have had reform under Abe. We have had structural reform under Abe. I think it’s much more healthy today than it was in 2011 or 2010. A lot’s been done.

 

Japan has the capability to continue to improve, but it all really depends. There are regional dynamics and there are domestic dynamics. But again, I think if demand regionally and globally doesn’t return, which is likely COVID induced, then I think Japan, like everywhere else, will have issues.

 

WSN: All right. Thank you for your time. That was Tony Nash of Complete Intelligence, speaking to us from Houston, Texas.

Categories
Podcasts

Dollar stays soft till year end

Tony Nash joins BFM 89.9 The Business Station for another discussion on the global markets — particularly the growing US market amidst the weakening dollar. Why is that? Is it about the vaccine optimisim, the 2020 US election, or the pending unemployment benefits? What about gold’s fast value upgrade — will this continue or is it too vulnerable to handle right now? And Euro is performing impressively against the dollar — should investors dive right in or still be cautious?

 

This podcast first appeared and originally published at https://www.bfm.my/podcast/morning-run/market-watch/dollar-stays-soft-till-year-end on August 6, 2020.

 

BFM Description

Tony Nash, CEO Of Complete Intelligence tells us why markets in US are still hitting new highs while giving us his views on the direction of the US dollar and whether it makes a difference who sits in the White House this November.

 

Produced by: Mike Gong

 

Presented by: Khoo Hsu Chuang, Wong Shou Ning

 

Show Notes

 

BFM: For more insights into global markets, we speak to Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence. Good morning, Tony. U.S. markets continue to break records. Now, how much of that is driven by vaccine optimism and a potential deal for unemployment benefits?

 

TN: I think there is a deal for unemployment benefits and it will continue to drive consumption. The disposable income that people had — that 600 extra dollars a week — really helped the consumer side of the economy stay afloat for the things that were open.

 

There is an expectation that if something similar passes, that it will help consumption in Q3. However, we see things like manufacturing employment are coming back quite strongly despite the ADP number that was out today. Services is lagging a bit largely because of restaurants and shops and etc., not being open so much. But it is on the expectation of a weakening dollar as well with both equity markets and commodities.

 

BFM: The same euphoria is happening to gold and it’s now something like 2,040 USD an ounce, one of the highest, if not the highest it’s ever been. Is it not vulnerable to a price correction, though?

 

TN: We don’t think it would be by much for some time because a weakening dollar is more reliant on central banks’ monetary policy. It’s likely that commodities will continue to rally. And the dollar has a lot of dedicated bulls. There may be a couple of hiccups before the end of the year, but we don’t see a whole lot slowing it down. Having said that, we don’t see a lot more headway to the upside. There’s some, but we don’t see like another 20 percent gain or something like that. It’s possible, but that’s not within our baseline expectation.

 

BFM: There’s even talk of three thousand dollars an ounce. You don’t think that’s going to happen, obviously?

 

TN: I think that’s possible. But not likely.

 

BFM: Meanwhile, the Euro has strengthened against the US dollar now. So is this, again, the weakening dollar rather than Euro strength? And what does this mean now for investors? Should they be more bullish on the Eurozone?

 

TN: A number of investors are bullish on the Eurozone because many of the countries in Europe are fully back to normal and and they’re doing quite well. So there is optimism about European companies, but it is also related to the weakening dollar. I think one of the other considerations around dollar weakness, whether it’s gold or euro or other things, is the uncertainty around the U.S. election.

 

I think priced into the dollar weakness is the possibility of a Biden win. And there is not a lot of excitement around a Biden economy. If there is clarity of a Trump win, Trump has done some interesting things in the economy and pulling back regulations and other things, it’s possible there will be more dollar strength.

 

BFM: Oil has been trading in a very tight range. API and US crude data showing a fall in inventories. Why isn’t prices rising more then?

 

TN: It’s demand. Yes, the supplies are falling, but the demand, it came back, but it is not continuing to rise as quickly as they had when they first started to open up. And until we start seeing things like flights happening again, business travel, personal travel, happening again in a big way, we’re not really going to see things like jet fuel consumption come back. That’s really where a lot of the growth is.

 

A lot of Americans are driving more in cars because things like mass transit… So I’m in suburban Houston, Texas. Right next to my office is a very large car park for commuters into the city. That car park has been closed since February. So the people who want to drive into the city will have to drive their own cars. There really isn’t a mass transit option. So individual consumption has risen because people who want to go to work have to drive themselves. But we don’t have things like jet fuel consumption that have come back anywhere close to where they were in January.

 

BFM: I want to come back to the US dollar. What’s your view on it? You expect it to continue to weaken? And if so, how has that changed your strategic asset allocation?

 

TN: Well, we really just turned. Through July, we expected the dollar to start to rally in October, November. But just in our forecast on Monday and we’re expecting a weakening dollar to the end of the year. So that market has evolved a bit where it’s tough for that asset to come back in value. And part of that is the veracity of the euro strength. We are a bit worried about the dollar value. Again, if we see a Trump win, which is it likely now? I don’t think we really know that. But if we do, we do expect that we’ll see some dollar strength to come back a bit earlier. If it’s a Biden win, we expect the dollar to remain weak, as you know, monetary policy and central bank and QE infinity, those sorts of things, will potentially be part of the economic plan.

 

So we don’t expect a strong dollar rally this year. It would be Q1 before we start to see some real strength in the dollar. We’re not expecting the dollar DXY, for example, to go into the mid 80s or anything like that. But we do expect it to remain weak over the next several months.

 

BFM: Friday sees US non-farm payrolls come out. Are you expecting the numbers to reflect this softening job market?

 

TN: You don’t necessarily see the job market softening. There are a couple of dynamics. As unemployment benefits dry up, people are going to have to start going back to work. So they probably won’t be as rich as they have been for the last few months. So people are going to have to get out and they’re going to have to work a bit more.

 

And we have also seen manufacturing come back pretty strongly. So, for example, one of our clients is an auto parts manufacturer in Michigan in the US. As auto makers pivoted to make ventilators, the auto parts business dried up. So these guys went from 400 workers to like 15 workers, like a dramatic cutback. Over the last three months, as of August, they’ll be back to 100 percent of their workforce working. So they’ve seen literally of the in their workforce utilization.

 

And we’ve spoken to a number of people who that’s what they’re seeing, and this is particularly on the manufacturing side, where they cut back dramatically in March, April, May. And since then, they’ve really started to build up pretty rapidly, given the extent of the cuts that they had to make in Q2.

 

BFM: All right. Thank you for your time. That was Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence, highlighting about the U.S. dollar rate. He expects it to remain soft until maybe when you’re recovering in the first quarter. And of course, that is also dependent on who might actually win or might be in the White House come November.

 

So let me bring this to the walking. And according to the Financial Times, Joe Biden is, you know, head and shoulders above Donald Trump in terms of the polls, which means in three months time Mr. Orangeman will be out of the White House. No more orange in the White House.

 

Yeah, but did you see those tweets that Donald Trump is trying to do to delay the elections?

 

Well, he has been questioning whether they are going to be reliable in the first place, right?

 

Yes. Well, we’ll be watching the space. I mean, it’s less than 100 days to the US presidential elections is going to be interesting times. I just wonder, you know, in the meantime, who’s really managing the United States? Because unfortunately, the COVID-19 cases just seem to get increasingly worse. But let’s hope they actually saw unemployment benefits deal quickly because otherwise the economy will really pay the price for it.

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