SM: BFM 89 Nine. Good morning. You’re listening to the Morning Run. It’s 7:05 A.M. On Thursday, the 31 March, looking rather cloudy outside our Studios this morning. If you’re heading on your way to work, make sure to drive safe. First, let’s recap how global markets closed yesterday.
KHC: US markets down was down. .2% S&P 500 down .6% Nasdaq down 1.2%. Asian markets, Nikkei down zero 8%. Hong Kong’s up 1.4%. Shanghai Composite up 2%. STI up 3%. Fbm KLCI close flat.
SM: So fairly red on the board today. And for some thoughts on where international markets are headed, we have on the line with us, Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence. Tony, good morning. Always good to have you. Now markets are speculating that the brief inversion of the two over ten year US Treasury yields this week is a sign of an oncoming recession. So do you agree with this? And if not, what might explain these brief periods of inverting or inversion?
TN: It could be a sign. Shazana, I think we have to see a more consistent and meaningful inversion to say that we’re definitely headed into a recession. So what this means is that what a yield curve inversion means is that people have to pay more for shorter duration money. So right now, if you look at, say, the five year treasury, the yield is 2.4% and the ten year is around two point 35%. So it’s cheaper to borrow longer term money, which is really weird. It could have a lot of reasons. Maybe companies need money more. They’re short on cash and they’re more willing to pay for it. So that would be a sign of a recession. So if we see a more consistent yield driven version, we see the two and the five years continue to be higher rates, then we need to be more concerned. For now, there’s a lot of speculation, but we just don’t necessarily see the certainty of it yet.
TCL: Tony, markets are wondering whether the Fed is going to push ahead with this rate policy on tightening because this volatility both in share markets and bond markets is a bit muddling for the analysts and the fund managers to make sense of. What’s your point of view?
TN: Yeah, I think at least for the last few months the Fed has been fairly consistent. But of course, we’ve had exogenous type of events, the war between Russia and Ukraine being the biggest, and that has had an impact on raw materials costs. So food in the case of Ukraine with wheat and sunflower oil and all this other stuff and energy with Russia. So it doesn’t matter what a central bank does necessarily. They can’t push down the price of oil through monetary policy. What they can do is demand destruction. And this is why we think that they’re going to lead with some fairly sizable 50 basis point rises, say in May for sure, and possibly in June. I don’t know if you saw that today. JPmorgan was out with a note saying that there will be 50 basis point rises in both May and June, which would be a pretty sharp rise in interest rates. The good news is we see a sharp rise initially, but then they’ll only do that for a short period of time to cut off demand pretty quickly and hopefully cut down on some of the demand for petrol and oil and some of these other materials.
TCL: Okay. So your sense is that the Fed and JPowell will stay the cost and increase rates, but what’s happening in Japan is quite the opposite. They’re actually showing quite discernible decoupling because they’re staying with zero interest rates. I think the ten year yield on the JGBs is about zero point 25%. What does that spell? Because the Japanese yen is now down at a six minute seven year low. Obviously, there’s a big sense of what’s going on here. What’s your point of view?
TN: J I think yesterday announced that they would have unlimited purchases of Japanese government bonds. So what they’re doing through that is it’s an open door for them to insert currency. It’s kind of a backdoor to growing their money supply, which leads to evaluation of the yen. And so Japan is in a place right now where they want to grow their export sector. They do that through yen evaluation. The competition between, say, Japan, China, Korea is there. China’s exports keep growing despite a strong Chinese Yuan Japan. There are other central banks. It’s partly that reason, meaning the ECB tightening and the Fed tightening, but it’s also competitiveness of Japan of their exports. So there are a number of reasons at play there.
KHC: So you were saying that earlier that maybe we will see 50 basis points increase in May or June. How do you think the share prices of US banks and financial institutions typically would do in this kind of environment, and would they be ultimate winners?
TN: They could be, I guess the only dilemma there would be the impact on mortgage. So if the Fed raises rates really quickly and it has an impact on mortgage demand and mortgage defaults, then that could be a real problem for banks. But short of that, I think they’re probably in a decent place to do fairly well. Of course, that’s company specific and all that sort of thing. But I think financial services in general should do fairly well on a relative basis.
TCL: Yeah. Tony, if it goes ahead as follows. Right. And Japan does not increase rates like the US is, it just extends its debt to GDP ratio. I think Japan is now 255% to GDP. I think the US is well above 100%. That’s quite disconcerting. What happens? How does it all end? Because it’s quite clear that Japan cannot raise rates because it just cannot fall into recession.
TN: Well, the problem with Japan raising rates is their population. And you all know this story, but they can’t necessarily raise productivity without automation. So they have to automate to be able to raise their productivity, to be able to raise their rate of growth. So that’s the foundational problem Japan have now with the BOJ buying with their JGB purchases, they’re actually buying the debt that the Japanese Treasury creates. Okay. So it’s this circular environment where the Japanese Treasury is creating debt to fund their government, and the BOJ is buying that debt basically out of thin air. They’re retiring. Okay. So Japan is in a really strange situation where it’s creating debt and then it’s buying it and retiring it. And this is a little bit of modern monetary theory, which is a long, long discussion. But Japan is in a very strange place right now.
SM: Tony, thanks very much for speaking to us this morning. That was Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence, giving us his take on some of the trends that are moving markets at the moment. And in the conversation there with a look at Japan and just the curious situation that it finds itself in amid all these economic and geopolitical pressures happening in the world.
TCL: Yeah, it’s really weird, right? The Japanese are so much in debt and they can’t get out of it. They’re creating these debts and they’re buying back this debt. It’s quite insane. But America does the same thing with their bond buying program until this year. Right. And that they haven’t even significantly cut that program. It’s really weird because what happens then for the US dollar? What happens to the Japanese yen down the line when your paper currency is near as meaningless? Right. It’s not banked by anything. It’s just being printed every day Willy nilly. It’s really weird.
SM: So all eyes are, of course, on the Fed, I guess, the most powerful central bank in the world, and how much it’s going to raise rates when it’s actually going to start or stop its QE in since quantitative easing, opposite of that. Somebody tell me what it means. Qt. There we go. And when they start reducing, that’s something that everyone’s watching very closely. Let’s take a look at some of the international headlines that have caught our eye. We see something coming out of Shanghai. Volkswagen said yesterday that it would partly shut down production at its factory in Shanghai because the lack of key components indicating further how a resurgence of the Omikan variant has disrupted the Chinese economy and global supply chains. The Shanghai factory operated in a joint venture with SAIC of China, and it’s one of Volkswagen’s largest facilities. It shut down for two days in mid March, but reopened now. It looks like it’s going to have to shut down again.
KHC: Yes. And the company also gave indication they didn’t give actually any indication on when normal production will resume. But China is booked Vegas largest market in the essential source of sales and profit. So the country is in the midst of the worst outbreak since 2020. And so that should prompt the government to impose lockdowns and restrictions. And even car maker like Tesla is also having a large factory in Shanghai also have to suspend production because of this strict covet policies. And so voice mechanics, they’re actually having a lot of shortages and slowdowns in other markets as well.
SM: So it’s really the twin it’s the twin issues, right? It’s the pandemic on one hand and then it’s also the geopolitical events in Ukraine that’s really affecting it’s, leading to a shortage of auto parts. So all this comes together and it’s not great for car makers in Shanghai at the moment. Turning our attention to another headline, if we look over at Russia, Russia is going to lift the short selling ban on local equities later today. And this is actually removing one of the measures that helped limit the declines in the stock market. After a long, record long shutdown, the bank of Russia also said equities trading hours will be expanded from a shortened four hour session to the regular schedule of 950 to 650 P. M. Moscow time. So I guess they’re trying to get back to normal but how we see that impact the stock market is still, I think, an open question. Yeah.
KHC: And since the stock market has since that stock actually gained 1.7% and the daily move also has been limited. Prior to the resumption of trading, the Russian government actually took measures including preventing foreigners from exiting local equities and banning short selling and to avoid the repeat of 33% slump scene in the first day of the Ukraine invasion last month.
TCL: Yeah, this whole Russia Ukraine invasion is set off a domino effect of domino effect quite catastrophic. Or repercussions manufacturing in capital markets in currencies. How does it all end?
SM: We don’t know. We don’t know the end to that story. And how long 717 in the morning. Stay tuned to BFM 89.9%.
Yield curve inversion is on everybody’s mind and it only seems to be intensifying. It’s happened 4 times over the last 22 years. What does it mean, how does it impact Fed policy and how will it impact markets more broadly?
Energy prices are still a big problem and the Biden administration this week announced a very large release from the strategic petroleum reserve. Will this really bring down prices on a sustained basis? And what are some of the unintended consequences of the SPR release?
We’ve seen tech names rally pretty hard since mid-March like Alphabet and Meta. What’s happening and how long will the tech rally last?
Key themes from last week
Inverted yield curve and Fed policy
SPR release and crude market impacts
Key themes for the Week Ahead
Rubles for O&G. When will Europe give in?
Housing stocks and the housing market
Mixed messages of simultaneous stimulus and tightening (rate hikes with energy stimulus)
This is the 13th episode of The Week Ahead in collaboration of Complete Intelligence with Intelligence Quarterly, where experts talk about the week that just happened and what will most likely happen in the coming week.
0:00 Start 1:00 Key themes of last week 1:29 What the yield curve means and how it impacts the Fed policy 4:50 The Fed has to break something? 6:33 Large release from SPR, will this bring down the crude prices? 8:30 Viewer question: Will Biden’s threat to US drillers produce the desired results? 12:19 Tech rally? 14:16 Key themes for the week ahead. 14:44 How long before Europe pays ruble for oil and gas? 18:52 Home builders VS real estate 21:00 What do people read from tightening, easing, and all the stimulus?
TN: Hi and welcome to The Week Ahead. I’m Tony Nash. I’m joined by Albert Marko, Sam Rines and Tracy Shuchart. Thanks for joining us. Before we get started, I’d like to ask you to like and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Also, want to let you know about CI Futures, our subscription product. We cover thousands of assets and economic concepts on CI Futures. Our forecasts are refreshed every weekend. You come in Monday morning and have a brand new forecast each week. Right now we’re offering a special subscription price of $50 a month. Please go to completeintel.com/promo and find out more.
So this week we had a few key themes. First is the inverted yield curve curve and Fed policy. Second is the SPR release and crude market. And the third is around tech. Is there a comeback in tech?
Sam, you’re up first. Let’s talk about the yield curve. It’s on everyone’s mind and it only seems to be intensifying. It’s happened four times over the last 22 years. So Albert and Sam, can you help us understand what does it mean? How does it impact Fed policy? Are they going to be more cautious going forward and how will it import markets more broadly?
AM: Well, Tony, concerning the inverting the yield curve, Jerome Powell doesn’t really want to do that. However, Janet Yellen does want to invert the yield curve. This is the divide that’s been throwing off the market analyst for quite a long time, quite a while now, actually, myself and I just found out and realized where the divide was. And normally in a deep quad for to take something from hedgeeye’s commentary, the only things that you can buy are Treasuries and gold. And right now Powell will be fighting a tide because of the long dated treasure is the number one thing to own in that scenario. So trying to protect stocks while hurting housing, and then you have Yellen that’s trying to protect housing. It’s quite a mess. And it’s probably something like Sam can actually detail the inverted yield curve on.
TN: So why are there are two camps just to go into that down that trail for a second?
AM: Well, it’s a policy, it’s ideology, basically. Yellen did this before in 2013, 2014, I believe. And Powell is not really an economist. He’s a lawyer. So he’s probably hearing it from his little circle of miscreants. So that’s where that’s coming from.
TN: People, whoever is listening.
AM: I’m sure they’re fine people. I’m sure they are. I think Yellen is probably correct in this instance, but we’ll see how that plays out.
TN: Okay, Sam, what do you think?
SR: Yeah, in inverted yield curve, generally, everybody’s like, hey, recession on the horizon. In reality, yeah. I mean, there’s always a recession at some point on the horizon. And what the yield curve tells you is that there’s one coming in the future. No kidding. But it’s not good for one timing, a recession period.
TN: So we’ve got the 2/10 spread on the screen right now. So can you tell us what does that mean and how much importance does that hold with that two and ten yield spread going negative?
SR: I mean, it’s something to pay attention to. I mean, the market is telling you something with that. There is some signal, even if there’s noise in there as well, that the Fed is going to go very, very quickly and is likely to break housing or break something else or break housing and something else. And that’s going to probably cause inflation to come back down. Right.
The market does not believe that or at least fixed income market does not believe that inflation is going to be a problem in ten years, does not believe that the Fed is going to be able to hold interest rates very high for very long. And that’s why you get the 2/10s inverted. Right. The Fed is going to go above what the “natural rate or the stall rate” is for the US economy.
TN: Right. So we’ve been saying for several weeks the demand destruction is the only way that the Fed is going to solve supply side inflation. And the last couple of weeks you’ve talked about the Fed breaking something at this point, the Fed almost has to break something. Right? I mean, Volker broke something in the early 80s. Right. Something has to be broken.
SR: Yes. Something has to be broken or you’re not going to solve the inflation issue. And you have to do it. You have to do it in a pretty rapid manner of tightening in order to get the inflation levels that we have now back to something somewhat reasonable in a time frame that is adequate. But again, it doesn’t tell you what’s going to break. We talked about it last week. Housing looks sick. Housing equities look sick. It does not look great, but it doesn’t tell you much about the broader market. Right. It’s a lot of noise. You can say that it’s bad for equities, but generally it takes a while for it to be bad for equities.
TN: Okay, great. Now, JPMorgan put out a note this week. Everyone’s putting out notes about when rates are going to rise. They said 50 in May 50 in June. Are you thinking that or is that kind of on the edge of aggressive?
SR: I mean, it’s aggressive, but the Fed has very little choice but to be aggressive in this instance or it’s going to lose credibility further. And that’s an issue for it. Right. It doesn’t want to lose that little bit of credibility it has left to raising rates too slowly in an environment where it’s getting the green light to do so from markets. Markets have it priced in. Why not do it?
TN: Yeah. If someone said in January that we’d be raising 50 in May, 50 in June, I think you’d be laughed at. But now it’s taken seriously. So it’s just really interesting to see the iteration of that expectations.
Okay. Speaking of inflation, let’s move on to energy prices. Tracy, obviously, there’s still a big problem. And this week, the Biden administration announced a very large release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. You’ve been all over this, including the Tweet you sent out on Thursday, which is on our screen talking about logistical issues.
So the main question I think for most people is will this bring down oil prices on a sustainable basis? So can you talk to us about that and some of the unintended consequences of the SPR release?
TS: Yeah, absolutely. It’s not enough to keep oil prices sustainably lower. Right. It doesn’t fix the structural supply deficit that we have years to come. Also, this slows shale growth because it disincentivizes shale producers from drilling more, which actually needs to be done and also creates potential logistical bottlenecks because we’ve never released this much before. That could cause congestion on the Gulf Coast. And that Tweet is up I think, talking about the bottlenecks there.
And then there’s another issue that has not been discussed yet broadly. And that’s because the SPR is aging. Right. And so we’ve had releases before where we’ve seen degradation in oil. And in 2015, they approved the $2 billion upgrade to the SPR, which is not going to be done until 2025. That said, what they did is they did everything except for the distribution centers. So what will happen is we need to see if we can actually get a million barrels per day pushed through. So there’s a lot of obstacles here.
TN: So it’s a sentimental kind of downside for oil right now. Nothing’s really released yet. And it doesn’t seem all that feasible that it’ll come out soon. Right. So supply chain issues like we’re seeing everywhere else.
So we had a viewer question from @VandanaHari_SG. It says, to what extent will Biden’s threat to us drillers to drill or get off the lease, produce desired results? You mentioned Frackers earlier. Will we see much movement there?
TS: No. Biden did call for Congress to make this decision. Personally, I do not believe that this will actually get passed by Congress. That said, again, this disincentivizes oil companies from producing more because it’s not that easy to just turn on wells. They’re facing labor shortages. They’re facing supply chain shortages. It’s not that easy to do that.
So if you tell them we’re going to tax you on this, then if they abandon those wells, then it’s going to take that much longer to get them back online when they are ready to. So all in all, it’s a horrible idea. Again, I do not see Congress passing this whatsoever.
TN: It’s complicated. And I think that’s the thing that we live in a world that likes to simplify things a lot. Right. And we like to say we’re going to do X, we’re going to do Y, we’re going to do Z. And the implementation of this stuff seems to be a lot more complicated Than we hear from, say, these non experts that talk to us all day long on TV or social media.
TS: Exactly. I mean…
TN: We can’t just wave a wand fixed supply.
TS: And turn on oil wells. I mean, regardless, we run through our DUC supply. Right. And that’s why we’re seeing slower oil production. The monthly EIA monthly just came out yesterday. It was 11.37 million barrels instead of 11.6 million that they were estimating in the weekly. And so what happens is that you’re pulling down DUC wells, which are the ones that you can get up easily, and then you’re putting all these restraints on oil companies and threatening them with taxes and things of that nature.
To get a well online from start to finish is six to twelve months. People don’t realize it’s not let’s snap our fingers and tomorrow we’re spreading oil.
TN: It’s not exactly a nudge. Right? Remember, under the Obama administration, they really focused on condomin and the nudge and all that stuff. This is kind of the opposite of that. It’s like the bludgeon.
TN: Yeah, exactly.
TS: Doing what they want. Right. Sorry. Go ahead.
AM: No, this is just political rhetoric. I mean, they’re better off just jumping into the oil futures market and trying to drive it down. This is just talk by the Biden administration. There’s really no substance to it.
TN: Can they jump into the futures market and short it and drive the price down?
AM: Who says they haven’t? Okay. You’re looking at 127 price and all of a sudden it’s down in the 90s. Is this crypto crude? What are we doing here?
TN: Okay, that’s a good point. All right.
SR: Just one last point to that. I know Tracy actually think Tracy tweeted this out a couple of weeks ago. The latest Dallas Fed survey of oil companies made it pretty clear that a lot of them at no, they don’t care where the prices. They’re not increasing their output. They put that on paper and put that in the survey. I think that’s worth remembering is that this is a less price sensitive reaction than people are going to give credit for.
TN: Okay, great, guys. That’s fantastic. Let’s move on to equities. Albert, we’ve seen tech stocks rallied pretty hard for the last couple of weeks since about March 14th. We’ve got chart for Alphabet and Facebook on the screen right now. Sorry. Meta on the screen right now. What’s happening to tech? What’s happened over the last couple of weeks and how long do you expect them to rally?
AM: Well, they’ve used tech, maybe a dozen names to rally the market. This is well known. I mean, if you look at those names that you have listed along with AMD, Nvidia and Adobe, they can be up to 30, 40% of the call action on a given day. It’s kind of silly, but honestly, it’s like this is a zero rate economy at the moment. So as our rates go up. Yeah. So as our rates go up, I don’t see how tech is going to rally much further.
TN: Okay, Go ahead.
TS: I’ll just throw in that just because BAMO came out with their weekly flows that we’ve had, tech market was $3.1 billion, which is the highest in two months.
TN: Okay. Interesting. All right. So if we go with the note that came out that in May and June will see 50 basis point rises, and you’re saying tech can’t continue to rally into higher interest rates, are you saying we’re looking at that type of horizon for tech to not be as attractive?
AM: Yeah, unless they reverse course come June or July. I don’t see how tech can really rally to what their all time highs were a couple of months. I don’t see it.
TN: Sam, does that make sense to you?
SR: It does make sense to me. I think the only saving grace for tech thus far has been that the long end of the curve hasn’t done much, and it actually looks a little sick at the moment in terms of yield. And that’s been a little bit of a semi tailwind, at least prop them up.
TN: Great. Okay, perfect. Let’s look at the week ahead. Some things we have for the week ahead are rubles for oil and gas. When will Europe give in? Housing stocks and the housing market? Sam mentioned that earlier. We’ll dive a little deeper into that and then the mixed messages around simultaneous stimulus and tightening, which I think is confusing some people.
So first, let’s dive into rubles for oil and gas. I did a quick Twitter survey earlier, which is up on your screen asking people how long before Europe caves and pays for oil and gas and rubles. Something like 70% of people think they’ll do that within two weeks. It’s just a Twitter survey. Some of those guys are experts. Some of those aren’t. Tracy, what do you think? Is that realistic?
TS: Putin actually came out today and said this is the plan. There is no backing out. However, it doesn’t include what you pretty much already bought. That means. So deliveries until most delivery until April 15, and then really in May 1 is where that really starts, where Europe will really have to start paying in rubles.
TN: So May 1 is when you think the rubles?
TS: May 1 is really when the bulk of this situation will come in hand because it’s not for what has already been ordered. Right.
TS: Does that make sense?
TN: You think we could see a trickle in mid April?
TS: Yeah, exactly. But I think that they’re going to have to do that. They really have no other choice unless they kind of want to plunge into the dark ages. Right there’s just not the backup plan is forming, but it’s just not there yet. So I think that they will concede even though they have a little bit of a time. They have 15 to 30 days to really. But you can’t move that fast. It’s not that easy to change suppliers that quickly.
TN: But we’ve talked about this a little bit. But what happens to say industrial output? German manufacturing if they decide not to do this? To be honest, it sounds like a pretty trivial thing to me to pay in another currency. There is a transaction cost to it. But if you’ve got a major economy, it doesn’t sound like something that you can really stand by insisting to pay in dollars. So what happens to German manufacturing? What happens to industrial cost Europe.
TS: It’ll actually plummet. I mean, BASF already came out and said we’re going to have to cut production if this happens. The German plan is basically to shut down manufacturing and to give residential the leeway if they have to start rationing. So that means if manufacturing starts shutting down in Europe, you’re in recession territory immediately.
AM: Yeah. They’ll find a way. They’ll find some special vehicle to sort this out. They got a little bit of time, like Tracy said, they got about two months really to sort this out. And anyways, the weather is starting to get warmer, so the less gas will be used. Anyway, I don’t see this to be really of a big problem. It’s just a lot of noise and a little bit of leverage from Russia on the sanctions that they are getting hit by well.
TN: But conceivably because of the embargoes on some of the banks in Russia, it could be a real issue with having funds rubles in Russian banks. No?
AM: I don’t think so. They can go between the Swiss, London will do it. It’s the same thing as the Yuan, renminbi, it’s like when they trade it for oil, the Saudis sell it in renminbi and goes to London, gets converted instantly and it’s dollars almost immediately to the seller. So I don’t think it’s going to be a problem.
TS: I 100% agree that the currency doesn’t really matter because it’s still factored into what is the dollar value. Right. It doesn’t really matter or any in Europe’s case, what is Euro per megawatt hour?
Regardless, it’s not really the currency that matters so much. The fact is the currency is helping. What Russia is trying to do is that if you have to sell euros to buy rubles, that keeps the currency afloat.
TN: Right. Which we’ve seen it surge back this week to pre war levels. Okay, great. Let’s move on to homes and home builders. Sam, you mentioned the housing market and housing stocks earlier, and we’ve got on the screen a chart about US real estate and home builders and the divergence between those. And they’re usually pretty correlated. Can you talk us through your expectations for real estate relative to where homebuilders are trading right now?
SR: They’ll look like homebuilders pretty quickly here. It’s what the Fed is basically able to do in terms of the economy quickly. Right. If you’re going to tighten rates by two and a half percent in a year, plus quantitative tightening, that’s what you’re going to hit. You’re going to hit home builders and real estate. That’s generally what you’re going to hit and you’re going to hit it fast.
In particular, the shorter duration type real estate that’s benefited the most from zero rates. If the long end of the curve stays somewhat subdued, you’re probably fine if you have longer duration type retail or that type of lease. But the shorter term duration real estate type plays are going to be in some trouble here.
TN: Okay. And so you say it’s going to happen pretty quickly. Last week you said it’s going to happen in Q2. When I first heard that, I was a little bit surprised. But just seeing what’s happened over the past week, it’s been really surprising to me that things have moved so quickly. So I think you’re right. I’m really interested to see that happen.
Now. You also mentioned QT. So let’s talk a little bit about kind of the tightening and easing, the simultaneous tightening and easing that we have going on. And how do we expect that to move over the next week? So, Sam, you’ve been pretty insistent that QT is going to start in May, is that right?
SR: Oh, yes. Little doubt.
TN: Definitely going to start in May. Now we’ve got countries and States giving energy stimulus and other things happening. I wouldn’t be surprised if different forms of stimulus come out. So how does it work where we have really fairly significant stimulus coming out as we’re tightening? What do people read from that?
SR: I would say confusion. Right. If you’re trying to actually tackle if you’re trying to tackle inflation with monetary policy, that really has to break something in order to get it under control, and yet you’re giving people more leeway to not have something break more money in their pockets. It’s counterproductive. Right. So you begin to either have to tighten more or tighten quicker or both to get it under control or you have to stop it with the fence full fiscal.
TN: What are you hearing about that Albert out of DC?
AM: I was on this program. When was it? About a year ago, talking about tapering with Andreas, and I was against tapering. I never think it was going to happen, but because the fact that we just keep going on QE, how do you tighten when you have QE and the Fed balance sheet is still expanding by 100 billion plus a week. I mean, that’s not.
This is why there’s so much confusion in the market. Like Sam was saying, it’s just you talk about tightening. Meanwhile, you secretly spend $160 billion to pump the market. So which one is it? As an analyst, how do you even assess what you’re going to do over the next 30 days when the Fed’s confused? The Fed and Treasury is confused.
TN: So can we have that where we’re say doing tightening but helping equity markets continue to rise?
TS: I mean, is that just weird? Of course it does. It is weird. You can’t have monetary policy going head to head with fiscal policy. Right. So you’re having fiscal policy loosening. At least let’s look at the energy markets right now. You can’t have all of this stimulus and it’s not just from the United States. It’s from across the world is doing this and we’re going to see more of this every week of new countries come out and save money.
TN: Not in Japan. Japan is easing across the board.
TN: Everyone else.
TS: True. But of course, I agree completely with the Sam said it’s confusion in the markets because you are literally having central banks butting heads with governments right now.
AM: Yeah. And that’s something people don’t really pay attention to. It’s not simply the US federal reserve with the US economy, but it’s the federal reserve with all of anglesphere. They can have the Canadians or the UK do tightening while we do expansion and vice versa. They can do it unending. It’s unbelievable.
TN: So when do we know the direction? When do we know whether we’re tightening or easing? Do we come to a point like is May the end point for easing?
AM: I don’t know, Tony. I can’t really tell you that because they can say that they’re doing that and then we find out two months later that they didn’t do it and they can use all sorts of weird little gimmicks that they have control over.
TN: Okay, Sam, what do you think?
SR: I think the comment about the Anglosphere was really interesting because it’s 100% true, right. If you look at a lot of the EMS, they’ve been talking lightning for a year or at least nine months. So I think that’s the really intriguing kind of comment for me is the US is probably so late to the game that EM is going to be easing by the time the Fed actually accomplishes any sort of tightening.
TS: They’ll have to, they will have to.
SR: Which sets something interesting up, by the way.
SR: Which sets something interesting up for when that happens. But that’s down the road.
TN: It really does. Yeah. Remember synchronized easing and synchronized tightening a decade ago? I just feel we have so many mixed messages out there that it’s no wonder we have the volatility that we have in market. Okay. Thanks very much for this. I really appreciate it. Have a great week ahead.
What should we expect from the FOMC meeting minutes in the US and also the latest CPI and PPI figures from China? Will oil prices continue to rally or slump with the latest development near Ukraine? And will it be another IPO year in India this year? Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence tells us more.
SM: BFM 89 Nine. Good morning. It’s Seven five in the morning on Thursday, the 17 February. You’re listening to the morning run with Shazana Mokhtar, Philip See and Tan Chen Li but first, let’s recap how global markets closed yesterday in US.
TCL: Dow was down zero 2%. S&P 500 was up zero 2%. Nasdaq down. .1% Asian markets Niki up 2.2%. Hong Kong’s up 1.5%. Shanghai Composite up 6%. Sti up 5%. FBI KLCI up zero 2%.
SM: All right, so all green and Asia, but some red coming in from the US markets. For more on where markets are headed, we have on the line with us, Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence. Tony, good morning. Thanks, as always, for joining us. Can we start with just the FOMC minutes that came out overnight? What did you make of them? And do you think this raises the possibility of a 50 bits rate hike in March?
TN: Yeah, I don’t think it raises the likelihood of a 50 basis point hike in March. I think it will likely be a measured approach. We have a pretty complicated central bank system in the US right now. We’re still easing until March, meaning the Fed is still buying securities and stuff until March. That doesn’t stop until March. So we need to start quantitative tightening, which means we sell off some of those assets because there’s too much currency in circulation and then raising interest rates will unlikely to be 50 basis points. The thing to remember is the US hikes in bands. So zero to 25 basis points, 25 to 50 basis points. So even if they come out saying it’s a 25 to 50 basis point hike, it doesn’t mean it goes straight to 50 basis points. They could hike at 32 basis points. And so it’s likely some sort of calibration like that that will happen.
PS: So then if you look at it, maybe not on this specific occurrence, but cumulatively, in 2022, what was originally expected to be 75 basis points for a whole of 22 people are expecting it to go as much as 150 basis points. Now, do you agree with that assessment?
TN: Yeah, I’m not sure that 150 is correct. I think it’ll be north of 75 and we expect it to be around 100. So around a 1% hike by the end of the year. Keep in mind that the Fed does need to tighten. That’s a reality because of inflation. But we also need to remember that it’s an election year in the US, and the party in power never wants the Fed to be too aggressive in an election year. So the Fed will make motions, but they’ll probably also let it run a little bit hot because they don’t want to upset the politicians in power regardless of party.
TCL: Ahead of the Russian following through and announced troop withdrawal near Ukraine.
West Texas crude has up to around $90 a barrel. Even so, the oil market remains tight. How do you think this will play out in the weeks to come?
TN: Yes, we expect crew to really trade sideways for the next several weeks, and we’ve been saying this for about the last two weeks, and so it’s kind of proving to be that. And so it will be volatile, but it will trade sideways. The thing to remember is that crude typically rallies during tightening cycles. So we’ll likely see crude rise a bit from here. There are certain people who say it’ll be 120 or $150. I don’t necessarily subscribe to that. There has to be a certain things aligned for that to happen. But there is underlying medium and long term strength for crude oil because of the underinvestment that we’ve had over the last decade and well under investment in exploration and in production capacity. So we need an investment cycle to have the capacity to reduce long term prices.
PS: Yeah. That’s why I’m wondering whether she’ll come into the picture. Right.
As you say, there is this medium long term upside potential still happening. There’s still that pent up demand won’t shall come into the picture then?
TN: It should yeah. I live in Texas, so I love Shell, but, yeah, it should come into the picture and it should help to reduce some of those prices over time. Absolutely.
SM: Tony, if I could get your thoughts on where you think supply will increase. I think Iran is coming up in the headlines again. There seems to be discussions on the nuclear deal. How do you see that playing out?
TN: I think Iran is already preparing to start exporting. So I think Iran is already exporting something like a million barrels per day, whether it’s official or unofficial. And they put $115,000,000,000 into their next fiscal year budget from oil revenues. And they’re already marketing, especially around Asia. They’ve been in South Korea recently and other places. So Iran will export oil. I think whether or not the nuclear agreement is agreed.
I think there is a skepticism that the US will enforce any embargoes.
TCL: Moving to China after last month’s ten basis points cut. The PBOC has refrained from cutting interest rate this week on the back of the slowing inflation in China. Should PPOC have adopted a more aggressive approach, you think?
TN: No. I think they need to signal I think it’s a fine path. You and I, we’ve discussed this several times since probably Q three of 2021, that I’ve expected the PVoC to start loosening in late Q one of 22. So I think the PVoC is actually listening to BFM, which is pretty awesome. A big part of this is really to weaken CNY, so it’s to stimulate the Chinese economy domestically, but it’s also to weaken the currency because they’ve had a really elevated, really strong currency over the past year and a half. And that’s partly been to fight inflation and commodity prices. Now that a number of those commodity prices, not oil, of course, but some of those commodity prices have come down off of those very high levels. It’s time to weaken their currency, which will help their exports.
PS: Which comes back to the question about China being the world’s factory, I think breathing as far as relief when we saw factory gain, inflation ease a bit to about 9.1% in January. What’s your take likely scenario of PPI moderating?
TN: That’s a good sign. So PPI peaked at 13% and so that is a good sign that the PPOC can start to moderate in ease. So I think aggressive moderation could potentially contribute to PPI. But if they’re moving in that direction gradually, as PPI eases, they’ll start becoming more aggressive about their intervention. So China is also entering potentially a slow period for the economy. So PPI will likely flow as a result of that. But as China had an appreciated CNY, they also accumulated a lot of things like industrial metals like copper and so on and so forth. So it’s not as if they need to continue to buy this stuff in huge quantities. They have a lot of storage of those commodities right now.
SM: Tony, let’s have a conversation with a quick look at what’s taking place in India in markets. India’s new stock listings are losing their edge. I think they’ve been calamitous IPO of PTM, Ecommerce, Domato and Nica. I mean, what do you make of this? Are the IPOs in India all hype and hoopla, but no substance?
TN: Yeah, I think these particularly have been a lot of hype. I think they’ve kind of peaked too early. Firms like tomato. I think every middle class urban Indian has used tomato. So it’s not as if they don’t have market penetration, but they’re really burning cash. And I think investors at this point in the cycle are already rotating out of technology. So they’re wary of firms that either don’t make money or burn cash or are very expensive in a share price perspective. So it’s the rotation out of tech. These companies need to show profitability and they need to have a more appropriate valuation. So I don’t think there’s necessarily Indian IPOs are out of favor. I think it’s really value with these companies.
SM: Tony, thanks very much for speaking to us today. That was Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence, giving us his thoughts on some of the trends affecting US markets. Also some developments in China and India as well.
PS: Yeah, I think India has a long term potential, but I think this is a bit of aberration, I believe. I think the IPOs that have come out have really been not stellar for sure. I think it’s causing a lot of people to rethink one of them being all your rooms, which is planning to IPO by saying that put on hold. So, yeah, let’s hope to see some long term gains in the future for Indian market.
TCL: I am quite curious to see and watch the US market, especially on the oil and also the inflation because has the inflation really peaked already or are we going to see higher numbers coming up in the next month inflation report? That’s something that’s unknown for now.
In this episode, we talked about some really interesting tech earnings like of Facebook and Amazon, crude and natgas prices, and the bond market. How does the NFP data affect the bond market? Also discussed central bank’s reaction to inflation and why you should be keeping your eyes on the CPI?
This is the fifth episode of The Week Ahead in collaboration of Complete Intelligence with Intelligence Quarterly, where experts talk about the week that just happened and what will most likely happen in the coming week.
For those who prefer to listen to this episode, here’s the podcast version for you.
TN: Hi, everyone, and welcome to The Week Ahead. I’m Tony Nash. And I’m joined by Tracy Shuchart, Nick Glinsman, and Albert Marko. Before we get started, I’d like to ask you to subscribe to our YouTube channel. It helps us a lot get visibility, and it really helps you get reminded when a new episode is out so you don’t miss anything.
We had a lot this week. We had tech earnings, some really interesting tech earnings and market activity as a result. We had crude really ripping this week. And we had bonds raging at the end of the week. So really a lot happening across sectors, NASA classes.
So let’s start with the bond market, Nick. We seem to have gotten pretty much what you mentioned on last week’s show. So can you go into kind of what’s happened and what’s happening in the bond market right now?
NG: Yeah, we’ve basically been ambushed by inflation. That’s what’s happened. You saw yesterday out of the ECB, which was a hawkish twist, possibly one of the worst press conference performances I’ve ever seen in my life. But the facts of the matter are you’ve got five, six, 7% inflation in various countries of the EU. In Lithuania, you’ve got 12%. Okay. So they are failing at their predominant original mandate, which was inflation per the Bundes back from what I’ve been told, there were several members of the MPC.
TN: Sorry. When you say she, you mean Christine Lagarde?
NG: Christine Lagarde. Several members of the NPC wanted to get moved yesterday. Not going to happen but it’s reasonable to think perhaps two hikes this year, but that will still take us to -20 basis points. It will still be negative. Okay. And then that upset the European bond markets.
You have the Bank of England go first with 25 basis points, four dissenters wanting half a point. That started to rock the bond markets a little bit. Then the press conference out of the ECB, and you basically had, goodness how many Sigma move it was in two-year bubbles, two-year German government bonds. But they basically went up over 20 basis points in a couple of hours, terminating early this morning, and they’ve stayed elevated.
And then you had this non farm payroll data. Everybody got it wrong. And the thing is, if you think this month’s figures are nonsense, well, look at the revision.
TN: Sorry, when you mentioned the NFP data, what’s important about the NFP data? Because I think some people looked at the headline employment numbers, some people looked at the wage rate. So can you tell us what’s important there?
NG: Two things. One is nobody was expecting a non farm payroll at like this. Some people will say, well, it’s always going to be revised. Well, okay, then look at the near $400,000 upward revision for December. It’s. All their data. The way it’s coming out. The BLS isn’t necessarily the best, but everything that they look at is strong labor market.
The thing that really upset the bond market was the average hourly earnings. 5.7%. To Albert’s point last week. Wage inflation is here to stay. So having been inundated with calls this morning, that really affects what the Fed… The Fed actually are fighting for their credibility.
TN: When you say wage inflation is here to stay, but it’s really, is the Fed trying to break the back of wage inflation?
NG: Well, that’s something they could impact. Right. By increasing the demand side of the market. We’ll have another idea on inflation next week. The CPI. And the lowest forecast is 7%. The highest is 7.6%. They’re not getting the favorable comparisons because oil has continued to move up. Energies continue to move up. Right.
So assuming we’ve got a seven big handle and heaven help us if we haven’t hit the 8 handle at all, this Fed has no choice. Because as you can see with the bond market, the bond market is going to do the Fed’s job if they don’t do, it.
So every time we get to what you had over the last couple of days with a bit of pullback before the ECB had a bit of pullback by some of the Fed members, the FMC members, and the yoke of, steepened.
AM: I got a question for you, Nick. Can you buy bonds if oil goes vertical? Because I think we both think that oil is going 120 north.
NG: Yeah. Well, no. I think that’s another reason why you can’t be long bonds at the moment and the bond market will adjust to it.
Everybody said the bond vigilantes are dead. When you look at the percentage moves and the price of the bonds, they’re not these are big moves going on.
TS: Nick, can you address a little bit about what will happen to the credit markets as far as the bond movement?
NG: High yield seem to do okay today, which investment grade, fine. Historically, in rising rates, you should see investment grade is somewhat better. High yield, no. High yield. I mean, if these rates are going to start moving up and some of the stuff I heard today tells me “one and done” is not going to happen. It’s going to be more and they’re not going to have a choice.
And the central banks have been basically what you had in the last seven or eight days is the central banks admitting they made a policy error or two last year. And now they’re fearful of making further policy errors. So they’ve got to be seen to do.
And again, to Albert’s point last week, clearly the Biden administration is, had their backs on the inflation front. And I suspect from what I was being told, we’re going to be quite surprised at potentially how aggressive this Fed could be. Not 50 basis points in March. That will be too quick. Too much, too quick. But May, June could well be in play because these numbers aren’t coming down. They’re just not coming down.
TN: Okay. So regardless Q2 is when things start to happen on the interest rate front, on the rates front, right?
NG: Yeah. In terms of QT, I was told the second half, beginning of the second half. Second half.
TN: So does that mean July or November?
NG: Probably means July. Okay.
AM: I honestly think it’s a possibility we do that beforehand just because fiscal cliff is coming in March.
TN: How do they go from QE to QT? Just like that? They shouldn’t be doing QE right now anyway. That’s true. It’s still doing QE. So they missed a beat there.
AM: How do you taper if you’re doing QE still? Why doesn’t anybody ask that question or answer?
TN: I ask it every week.
AM: Tony, I was on this thing with Andreas and “we’re going to taper.” I’m like, “okay, sure.” On paper. But the reality is you’re not because the QE is continuous.
TN: I don’t know. It seems to me from what Nick is saying, it may not be continuous. It seems like that has to stop because the policy position is going to stop in March. Right?
NG: Exactly. Which is why I think 25 basis points, not 50. However, I think right now, until they’ve caught up somewhat forward guidance is not going to be with clarity.
They want to get back to normal so they can be forward guiding according to what we were used to in the deflationary times. Pre-Covid. Okay.
TN: Okay. So when you say pre-Covid, you mean pre-Covid in terms of interest rate and balance sheet?
NG: Yeah. I think it’s exactly what I’ve been told this morning. They want to get back to the interest rate level that was prevalent then. They want their balance sheet back at that level.
NG: And I think that what’s happened is not only have they been shocked by inflation, they shouldn’t be shocked by the false-ty of their forecast, but I think they were shocked by the fact that we’ve got a lot of bubbles going on.
Equity market value, housing market, NFT, crude oil. Crude oil’s not a bubble. Bonds have been a bubble. So I think we’ve got some surprise. And of course, that will then feed it.
Remember I said originally, there’s either a riot in the bond market or riot in equity market.
TN: That’s right.
NG: One or the other. It started with bonds, and then we got a bit of an equity riot yesterday, which was more earnings related. But the thing about it is if you look at interest rates as gravity, zero interest rates with basically zero gravity. So you’re on the moon. Equity starts have been up here. If they’re raising rates, they’re increasing the level of gravity. News and law means that something starts to fall.
I was also told if it’s not a cascade, if it’s orderly, sort of down 20% from here, they’re okay with it.
TN: Okay. That puts us at what, 36?
NG: 35, 36,000, which is still above where we were before Covid. Right?
NG: Fed will be happy with it. This put, is not, there’s no clarity on the put anymore.
TN: Okay. Is it safe to say that your view by the end of the year is sometime between now and the end of the year will hit 35, $3600?
NG: Look, the Fed. These rate markets will carry on. Any mistake by the Fed, any hesitation, it’s going to be punished by rates. And you’ve seen what’s happening, and it happens. It crosses over. You saw what happened in the European bond market as well this Thursday. Bank of England. You saw Gilts market also adjust, and that flowed through to the US market and it continued today.
TN: So do you think the ten-year crosses 2% next month?
NG: Oh, yeah. My target on the ten-year for this year is 260.
TN: Okay, great. So let’s take that and a central bank’s reaction, inflation. Tracy, we’re seeing crude prices just kind of a rocket ship. So can you talk us through that and let us know how does that contribute to next week’s CPI? And Nick mentioned CPI, but what do you expect for that as well?
TS: Well, I mean, I expect CPI to be high. However, the Fed doesn’t really include energy and housing in there and food in their metrics. So that doesn’t necessarily play into that.
That said, I think what we saw today was a lot of shorts being squeezed out of the market. That said, still expecting higher crude prices later this year into Q3.
The reason being because the global oil inventories just drew another 8 million. We have OPEC that just announced another 400K increase for next month this week. Right. And they haven’t even been able to keep up with their production increases. I mean, their compliance is over 132% right now. They just don’t have the spare capacity to move forward. US products consumed last week hit 21.6 million barrels. That’s over 2019 levels.
So globally, we’re seeing higher demand with lower supplies. So this market is likely to continue higher just because of actual supply and demand issues, which I’ve been talking about week over week.
What’s also interesting today is that nobody’s really talking about is that Saudi Aramco just announced that they’re mulling another 50 billion equity stake sale. Right. And so it would be a good thing to keep kind of oil prices higher and inventory is kind of lower. Right?
TS: There’s a lot going on in the market right now.
TN: Okay. And as we see this cold front come through different parts of the US, of course, it’s winter. But do you expect, say, Nat gas to continue to rally or say, for the next couple of weeks or next couple of months, or do you expect that we’re kind of in the zone where we’re going to be through the winter?
TS: I mean, I think we’re kind of in the zone. US nat gas prices are not as subject to the volatility or the constraints that say European nat gas prices are concerned. I mean, we have an overabundance of Nat gas, we tend to flare it.
We’re going to be this year the world’s largest exporter. Right. But that’s not necessarily going to bring I mean, you have to look at our gas prices trading at four or $5 compared to nat gas prices in Europe trading at $40. So I think we’re at a sideways market right now just because of the oversupply that we have.
What we are saying is depending on what area you live in, then natural gas prices tend to vary. So we’re looking at the North East, for example, where we have this cold front. Nat gas prices are at $11. Right. But Henry Hub, which is what everybody’s trading is still at 4 to 5. We’re going to see not gas prices rise in Texas right now because we have a cold front coming through. But again, that’s a regional market.
TN: I was just complaining about gasoline prices being $3 here in Texas earlier today, so I just can’t deal with it. Where is it where you guys are?
AM: $4.25 in Tampa.
TN: $4.25?! Holy cow. What about you, Tracy?
TS: $3.99 in the Northeast.
TN: We’re right at $3, and I can barely stand it.
Okay, let’s move along with the geopolitical stuff. So, of course, Ukraine is on everyone’s mind. And we’ll put a link to this in the show description, the video from the State Department spokesman and the AP diplomacy reporter. Albert, can you talk us through a little bit of that kind of what’s happening there and what is that doing to the situation to find a diplomatic solution?
AM: Well, simplistically, I mean, you have the Biden administration trying to amp up the rhetoric and make it more dramatic, basically to distract from what’s going on domestically in the United States from inflation and social issues, and SCOTUS picks down the list of the problems that are facing the Biden administration. That exchange was unbelievable.
You had an AP reporter just taking him to task and saying “where’s the declassified information? And his response was, “I’m telling you verbally right now, and that’s the declassified information.” That’s unbelievable. You’re not going to get away with that.
This is just more of a symptom of the ineptitude of Anthony Blinken as Secretary of State. He shouldn’t even be called “Secretary of State” anymore. It should be “Secretary of statements,” because that’s all he does. He doesn’t do anything else. And when it’s concerning with Ukraine and his method for, “diplomacy”, he’s a non factor. The United States is a non factor, right now.
They’re behind the eight ball where they keep talking up this rhetoric and putting their allies in Europe behind the black ball here. What do we do here? We need support from the United States to show strength, but realistically, we can’t stop them going into Ukraine.
TN: Okay. Yeah. So let’s just go onto a viewer question here from @SachinKunger. He says, what will happen if there is an actual escalation between Russia and Ukraine? What’s the likelihood of actual escalation and what do you think would happen? Both you and Tracy? Part of it is commodity prices. Is there an impact on commodity supply chains, meaning wheat and gas and other stuff to Europe or other places, or is that not necessarily a huge issue?
AM: Well, I believe we’re about 75% that they’re going to have some sort of incursion into Ukraine. I mean, you don’t mobilize that many people and create supply chain logistics to not do anything. That question really depends on the level of incursion. Right. Because if it’s just ten, 20,000.
TN: It goes back to Biden’s minor incursion.
AM: That’s the Pentagon’s working model. And that’s my working model. 10, 20 thousand, you go in the same place as you were before, you loot the countryside, cause a little disturbance. The west looks weak. You leave after a month or so. Right. That’s the likelihood situation.
Of course, the markets are going to freak out in day one.
TS: That’s exactly what I was going to say. I mean, obviously you’re going to see a reaction in the commodities markets just because we’ve had four years of really not much geopolitical risk factored into a lot of these markets, the agricultural markets, the energy market. Right. Pretty much after Libya had a ceasefire in 2020, all that risk premium kind of came out of at least the energy markets and the agricultural markets, we haven’t really seen a lot of geopolitical risks.
So of course, the markets will freak out. I totally agree with Albert on this point. Whether that’s going to last or not, that’s a totally different story.
TN: Yeah. I also think that we’ve had so much money supply that that cushions geopolitical risk on some level. And interest rates have been so low that that cushions geopolitical risk as well. So as we’re in this interest rate cycle and this balance sheet cycle, geopolitical risk counts for more. It’s more costly for companies, it’s more costly for countries and investors.
NG: I would add one other thing. These markets are not trading liquidly. So these moves on geopolitical risk could be exaggerated. Right?
TS: Exactly. My point is that geopolitical risk will be exaggerated at this point.
NG: You can see there’s no liquidity, right?
AM: Yeah. To be fair, any kind of event right now just makes the markets look like it’s a crypto exchange. 30% up, 30% down 300 points on the ES. That’s insane.
TN: On that, Albert, let’s move to some tech earnings and let’s talk about Facebook and Amazon. So if we want to talk about big moves, everyone kind of knows this, but can you talk us through a little bit of that? But I’m more interested in why it’s happening. Why is everyone negative on Meta and why are they positive on Amazon?
AM: Well, from my perspective, the Fed and their cohorts use maybe a dozen companies to pump the markets. Right. They’re mainly tech. Right. They’ve expanded out into a few other things, but it’s mainly tech, Facebook being one of them, Amazon being another. AMD and Google and all these guys. Right. All these big tech names.
Now when you see Facebook miss and a couple of other miss, and the markets start to get weak, there’s a point to where… This goes back to what Nick says about different levels in the markets and whatnot. He always stresses that with me. There’s a point to where if they break this level, we’re going down to 4100 or 4000 or God forbid, 3900. Right. So that lined up right when Amazon’s earnings were coming up. And I’m looking at the market and I’m looking at these levels and I’m like, there is absolutely no way they’re going to allow Amazon to miss. Whether they let them look the books or say something in guidance or whatnot. And lo and behold, what happened? Amazon beat. Did they really beat? Probably not. You know what I mean? Yeah. And then Pinterest that nobody cares about beats and then Snapchat. I don’t even know what the hell why they’re a company. They beat unbelievably. I think they were up like 50, 60% and after hours. Right.
So now they have their juice to pump the markets back up to 45, 30 or even maybe 4600 next week before the fiscal cliff becomes a problem.
TS: You also have to look at the bond market. Right? I mean, the more the ten-year tanks, the more that’s going to drag on tech.
TN: Right. So what does that tell us about the next couple of weeks, specifically next week? But the next couple of weeks? As we’ve seen, say Meta come down, Facebook come down. But we’ve seen these other things really rally. Where is tech as a sector?
AM: It’s a pump sector. That’s all it is right now. There’s nothing really behind it. It’s built on zero rates. Well, we know we’re going to get rate heights. So what are you betting on at the moment?
TN: Right. And that’s the basis of my question. If tech is a deflation play and we’re in inflationary environment and we’re going to have rate rises, what does that mean for tech in the near term? So are we at the kind of tail end of tech? That’s my real question.
NG: We’re at the tail end whilst we have to see these interest rate rises come through. And actually, you don’t necessarily have to see the central banks officially raise because if they don’t, the bond markets are… And then there’ll be a catch up. This is the problem. If they Underperform in their credibility catch up because they’ve already implicitly admitted their errors of policy, bond market will adjust and they have to catch up again.
Now, if they do something surprising on the rate side. So yesterday was an ECB shock, right? Today, there was nothing to do with the Fed. It was the data. Well, we’ve got that CPI date next week. Right. That’s going to be very interesting because I agree with Tracy. Core is at a certain level which is still too high. But it’s the full Monty, the full CPI that labor uses when they’re discussing their wage claims. Practically, that’s the behavior of economy.
TN: CPI is the single biggest event next week. Is that fair to say?
TS, AM, NG: Yes.
TN: Okay, so let’s look at that. What if it is, say seven, which is kind of the expectation, I guess the lower bound of expectation kind of. Right? So let’s say it’s seven or let’s say it’s even five. What does that mean for us? Does that mean continued, easy Fed? Or does that mean you have the same assumptions and that’s just kind of a milestone or something that we’re passing along the way to higher rates anyway?
NG: We’re on the way to higher rates anyway.
TS: I mean, if it’s five, the market, temporarily if it’s five, the market temporarily will probably rally because that lessens the effect that Fed is going to raise. Right. That percentage will probably go down. But that’s a temporary. If we’re just talking about market reaction on the data release, I don’t really see that happening. I don’t see 5% coming in. I don’t see that a possibility.
TN: But then let’s look at the other side. What if it’s eight and a half? What happens then?
NG: Well, then in the old days, it would have been an inter meeting rate hike.
TN: Okay. Right.
NG: And the bond market will just, it’ll be another riot. Even if the core is steady. Big figure eight on the full CPI? that would shock a few people. Like people were shocked today with the non- farm payroll data.
Literally, if you could watch Bloomberg TV, it was like. They couldn’t believe what was going on.
TN: So we’re in that place in the market where the porridge has to be just right. Is that fair to say?
TS: I think we’re in for volatility. Right? I mean, we’ve been experiencing volatility for the last month or so. I think this will continue until March, until we have some resolution of whether the Fed is going to raise rates or not.
In between, it’s going to be volatile because everybody’s looking at intermittent data saying, does this mean the Fed is going to raise rates? Does this mean the Fed is going to look do you know what I mean? So I think we’re in that pushbull thing, and I think that volatility will continue into next week. I think that volatility will continue until actually the March meeting, until we get some resolution on whether the Fed is going to raise rates and by how much.
TN: Okay. So if I just a couple of things for you to agree or disagree with, just short yes, no. Next week volatility in equities with downside bias, you agree or disagree?
TN: Disagree. Nick, you agree or disagree? Downside bias, you agree. Tracy, equities, agree or disagree?
TS: I think it depends on the sector. Okay. Give me one or two. I think we’ll see, my downside bias is in tech and then obviously, yes, because it’s heavy tech. Right. And so I think we see sideways markets in the Dow and the Russell.
TN: Okay, then let’s do the same exercise for commodities. I know there’s a lot of companies out there, but generally commodities. Choppy with an upside bias. Agree or disagree?
TS, AM: Agreed.
NG: That’s a dollar call.
TN: Okay. Explain that.
NG: Yesterday because of the dollar’s weakness against the Euro and the Dixie, I tend to agree with you. I think it’s going to be choppy until we see the color of the CPI number.
TN: Okay. Very good. Anything else to add for the week ahead?
NG: Just keep your eyes on the bond market. My mantra.
TN: Very good. Okay.
TS: Keep your eyes on B come.
TN: Thanks guys. Thanks very much. Have a great weekend. And have a great week ahead.
TS: Thank you.
TN: I don’t know the left side of my screen is the pineapple people.
AM: We’re going to call Nick Luke for the episode today.
NG: The professional version of Luke.
AM: Okay. Anyways, I’m done joking. Let’s get this thing on the road. Okay.
SM: BFM 89.9. Good morning. You are listening to the Morning Run. I’m Shazana Mokhtar together with Wong Shou Ning and Philip See. It 7:05am on Thursday 3rd of February. But first, let’s recap how global markets closed yesterday.
WSN: Well, the US had a pretty good day. That was up 0.7%, SP 500 up 0.9% while Nasdaq was up 0.4%. And for Asia, the only market that was really open with the Niki, and it was up 1.7%. Hong Sung, Shanghai, Singapore and our very own FPM KLCI.
SM: We were all closed for celebrating the Year of the Tiger. Speaking of meta, I think the results came out and they were not within forecast essentially.
WSN: Well, actually after hours, right. The trade actually the share actually tumbled more than 20% in extended trading earlier. And I think it’s on the back of like what you say, Charles. It’s disappointing earning results. And added to that, they are giving weak guidance and said that user growth has stagnated. Now that’s kind of scary for a company the size of matter.
Just to break down the numbers, earnings per share was at $367 versus the expected 384. Revenue was at $33.67 billion. The expected was 33.4, which wasn’t so bad. But Facebook also missed estimates with user numbers with his daily active users at one point 93 billion versus the expected one point 95 billion.
WSN: Now, I think why the markets are nervous is because when you think about it. Right, this company is at a critical juncture at this point. It’s fighting a regulatory battle on multiple France. And it’s also, remember, guys, it’s trying to shift into the Metaverse. And this shift is costing them an extremely a lot of money. So whether they can translate these KPCS that they’ve already kind of agreed to in terms of $2 and cents, that’s the question mark when your core business is not growing.
PS: I guess a big question of how do you monetize from meta and that pathway has not been articulated very carefully, isn’t it? But that’s a long term expectation. As you said, Shannon, there’s so much regulatory pressure on them. And I wonder with the whole discussion about your revenue source, whether you can rely on advertising revenue now going forward. That’s a big challenge for Facebook going forward and better.
SM: I mean, that’s going to be one of the major headwinds to them. I mean, Apple’s iOS changes affected ad targeting and measurements. That’s already a headwind. There’s also the fact that a lot of people are sort of flocking to other options when it comes to social media TikTok, YouTube. I think the advertising rates for Metsa’s own Reals on Instagram, that’s a lot lower than what’s available on other unfeeding stories.
WSN: No rewind, a few earning season rewind. Let’s go back a few quarters. And I think what has happened is that 18 year olds to 29 year olds were flocking to Facebook. Right. So the question is better, is it going to attract them? And what progress are they going to make? So that’s another thing that the markets are looking at.
SM: Joining us on the line now for analysis on what’s moving global markets, we have Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence. Tony, good morning. Thanks so much for speaking with us today. Can we get a quick reaction from you then on the disappointing results from Meta and Spotify? Does this mean something for tech bargain hunters?
TN: Well, I’d be really careful here because tech is really a deflation play. It’s not an inflation play. And so as we’re in the midst of the inflation cycle, there’s more movement to other sectors. So I don’t necessarily maybe it’s a short term opportunity, but again, if I was investing, I’d be really careful here with the Spotify and other misses.
PS: And can we get your perspective on the energy and financial sector? They helped the US Equities stage a mini rally over the last few days. Why are these economic sectors being buoyant while others like tech creating?
TN: Yeah, well, energy, commodities, finance, those are deflation plays or those are inflation plays. I’m sorry. And so that’s why more money is moving into commodities and energy and so on and so forth. So the market seems to be indicating that it doesn’t believe at least the equity market seems to be indicating that it doesn’t believe the Fed will fight inflation effectively. So they seem to be indicating that we’ll keep ripping on inflation.
WSN: So, Tony, how should we allocate our cash? Let’s say we have cash. Where would you be putting your money?
TN: Oh, gosh. Well, you really have to that’s an individual question. I just want to be really careful. So there’s a lot of money moving into commodities because there’s a belief that inflation is here to stay for a while. So if I were looking around, that’s really where I would look, of course, you have to have a risk allocation and you have to have some money and things like tech. But I would focus on companies that actually make physical stuff rather than, say, the work from home plays that we had over the last two years.
SM: And, Tony, let’s take a look at the US yield curve. It’s flattening even before the Fed has fired the first shot on rate hikes. What could possibly be causing this to happen? And do you see a short or long cycle of rate increases?
TN: Yes, I think to answer your last question first, I think what would be best is a short and abrupt cycle because it would really put a stop on the threat of inflation and so on and so forth. So like a 50 basis point hike in March would probably be the best solution we could find. But when we look at the yield curve flattening first, it is a traditional signal of a looming recession. So if you look at today’s employment data in the US, there was a loss of 300,000 jobs. So we’re in this weird place where we have booming inflation and a loss of 300,000 jobs. So it’s like the late 1970 stagflation. I’m not going to say we’re necessarily there, but if you just look at today, it seems like right. So what the yield curve flattening means is bond traders are pretty nervous and stagnation is ugly. So they seem to be saying that they don’t believe that the Fed will take the necessary action on inflation in the short term. So JPOW is not Volker is really what they’re saying. Paul Volcker from the 1980s. So bond traders can really make things difficult on both the Fed and equity markets.
So the Fed has a real balancing act to do. They don’t want equity markets to crater, but they don’t want bond traders to kind of extract their vengeance on the Fed and equity market. So if we don’t see rates rise, if we don’t see the balance sheet reduced, then bond traders are not going to be happy and it could get ugly in safety, too.
PS: I wonder what all this means for the US dollar. Where does the US dollar hit going forward and how do you see Euro and Yen perform against the greenback?
TN: Yes, again, that depends on which direction the Fed takes. If the Fed’s approach is weak and if fiscal support from Congress is weak or it doesn’t come, as many in equity markets seem to be implying, then the dollar will likely level out or even depreciate a bit. That would mean a stronger Euro and yen versus the dollar in a relative sense. And currencies are all relative. If the Fed resumes the hawkish talk that they started last week in Jpow’s comments and then on Sunday and Monday through some of the regional presence, then the dollar will strengthen and the Euro and the yen will weaken. Obviously on a relative basis. There’s not a lot of strength in Europe. And especially when you look at some of the geopolitical issues around, say, Ukraine and Russia, there’s a lot of risk in Europe. So people are really nervous about Europe and then Japan. Yeah, it’s stronger than Europe, but that’s really not saying a lot. So the yen will strengthen on a relative basis, but it’s not necessarily an endorsement of the strength of the economy.
SM: Tony, thanks so much for speaking with us this morning. That was Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence, talking to us about some of the trends that will be moving markets in the weeks and months ahead.
WSN: Yeah, it looks like markets are headed towards a very volatile period for the moment. So the Nest did really well. But what we do know is the results of Spotify and also Meta were disappointing. And after hours trading, these stocks took a huge hitting. Even PayPal, which results came out the night before, also is down 20 over percent. It looks like markets are seeing this glass as half empty rather than half full so the minute you disappoint right you really get whacked down because everyone basically was already making money the year before so their patience in terms of like writing out this maybe dip in earnings is just not there.
PS: It’s a consequence of so many issues, isn’t it? Because we saw this dip even before the real earnings came out, isn’t it? Because that was when JPY in the earlier minutes said that they were going to raise interest rates and also accelerate tapering and then I think these really disappointing earnings I think just compounded the matters worse but you do see some pickup going forward so whether they’re selective opportunities you don’t play the sector, you don’t play the themes but you really go stock by stock now, isn’t it?
WSN: Yeah, you have to take a very bottom up approach. The easy money is clearly made but you can see a shift of money and this is what Tony is saying is there’s a shift towards commodity prices right? So brand crew this morning is close to $90 barrel. It’s close to seven year high. This is despite the fact that OPEC has said that they are going to raise output but there’s a lot of judges because of the geopolitical tensions that we’re seeing coming out of Ukraine but maybe it’s also due to the fact that oil is truly an inflation play and inflation is here. It’s not transitory at all.
PS: Yeah, and I just think I do see some improvement also in Bitcoin right? If you can see across ECM and Bitcoin up actually marginally just one and a half percent you see some good news there but I wonder if this is a sign of whether that the pressure is really on the equities market going forward but the rest are still holding resilient.
We’re dissecting Jerome Powell’s latest announcement — what does that mean to markets this coming week? Will we see Powell’s inner Volcker this year? What are we expecting to happen in the energy markets considering the geopolitical risks in Russia and Ukraine? Has the White House and Treasury told the Fed to fight inflation as its top priority?
This is the fourth episode of The Week Ahead in collaboration of Complete Intelligence with Intelligence Quarterly, where experts talk about the week that just happened and what will most likely happen in the coming week.
TN: Hi, everyone, and welcome to The Week Ahead. I’m Tony Nash. And I’m joined by Nick Glinsman, Albert Marko, and Tracy Shuchart. Before we get started, I’d like to ask you to subscribe to our YouTube channel. It helps us with visibility, helps you get reminded of our new episode. So please do that.
While you’re thinking about it, this week was all about the Fed. Of course, we expected Monday and Tuesday to be choppy. We told you that on our last Week Ahead, which they were. We talked about it last week. We talked about the said meeting last week. And as Wednesday got closer, it appeared that Powell would be more bearish. And that seems to be exactly what we got.
So today we’d love to focus on a few things. Nick, let’s start with you. What were your main takeaways from the Fed?
NG: Okay, I’ve got three takeaways, most of which came after the Fed. Okay. The statement was sort of bland, almost appalling in terms of, it felt like it was leaving the risk markets to determine the Fed’s policy. And then, boy, Powell come out hawkish. He refused to give any direct answers but never denied any of the points and the questions such as how many rates, how many it takes?
So what was interesting is today, we had the first Fed Speaker, Neil Kashkari, the Uberdam for the FOMC.
TN: That’s right.
NG: And he basically came out and said whatever it takes, we’ve got to get inflation. I mean, shocking. Now where Powell got confirmed in his hawkishness came today with the ECI data. The base figure was slightly less than expected. But lift the bedsheets up and you are seeing major wage pressures.
If you look at some of the increases in wages and salaries, four and a half percent for all civilian workers, 5% for private sector workers, up from 4.2 and 4.6% respectively. If you go deeper, hospitality, health care, you’re looking at 7% and 8% increases.
TN: Nurses in many cases are making as much as doctors now in a number of cases.
NG: Exactly. So that basically confirmed Powell’s words of a rapid pace of wage grip. Okay. And I think that was a very key piece of data, which in fact, a Bongi like me would have been waiting for. Right now.
TN: We don’t see them bonds today, did we?
NG: What’s that?
TN: We didn’t see the action in bonds today, did we?
NG: They were down initially and then after the day, they rallied a bit. But I think that was more to do with reversing a very successful week of your well positioned. And what’s interesting, though, this came after that hawkish press conference. So typically what you have is the yoke of mutually reinforces the relationship with the Fed’s monetary policy. So simplistically, when an economy is strong and in danger of overheating, you are going to see the yield curve steeper. Long end, higher rates relative to the short end.
Now that then reflects that the rates have to rise, that’s the historical perspective. What was interesting this time was the curve was bare flat, and it was headed towards an inversion, the consensus. That’s a really bad signal of an approaching recession.
What it’s basically suggesting at that point, historically, the bond market tends to suggest Fed’s tighten too much. We’re going to get a recession. It needs to stop. Reassess, perhaps even cut. So what’s startling about this whole move is you got yield curve flat, bear flattening, coming so soon before the Fed has even started raising rates.
NG: So if you have a Swift move to inversion, it’s going to be slightly, somewhat harder for the Fed to carry out its hiking program over time. That tells me that you’re going to have it front loaded. It also suggests to me, which is what you got from Powell’s press conference, it may not be 25 basis points each hike. It may be 350s. Right. Especially with this inflation.
He was all about inflation risks to the upside and a very strong labor market.
TN: 350 basis point hikes. I just want to make sure we make sure that we know what you said.
NG: Yes. Basically the Yoker is suggesting that. But some of his comments were this is a labor market that’s rocketing. This is inflation that still has risk. The upside. We saw a bit of that today. He also said supply chains are not going to get resolved this year. We’re going to have to wait till next year.
TN: Okay. Let’s stop there, because I want to ask you something, and this may be an overly simplistic way of asking the question and Albert and Tracy jump in here.
But it seems to me that kind of what he’s saying indirectly is, hey, there are supply side inflation, okay. And we as the Fed can’t control the supply side, we can only control the demand side to some extent. And so what we’re going to do is we’re going to put a stopper on demand so that demand can come down to match up with the available supply. And that’s how we’re going to we don’t have the tools to put the kibosh on the supply side inflation. So we’re going to bring the demand down.
First of all, does that seem to be what he’s saying?
NG: I think that’s probably what he’s trying to say. I would add one other point. So we were all thinking that after the big rise in crude oil and energy prices last year, we would get some beneficial payback by the comparison, but we’re not oil still going up, so we’re not getting that.
And the most extreme version is, for example, Europe. These have all got to feed through from wholesale to retail.
NG: I think it was 95% of surveyed American CEOs. I can’t remember the sort of survey, but I can dig it out. Are expecting to raise prices.
AM: Yeah. The problem with them trying to limit demand, though, is it’s going to start affecting jobs. Labor market’s certainly going to weaken if demand starts to fall off. Because wage inflation is going nowhere. I’ll tell you that right now. Wage inflation is here to stay politically is absolutely just not going to ever come back down. So that’s going to be sticky for quite a while.
NG: But I think Powell was implying that where he basically said the labor market is super strong. So I don’t disagree with it will dampen it. The question is whether it turns around.
Remember, we’re getting all these people retiring and dropping out. Yes, that was your data, Albert.
TS: He kept reiterating the labor market is super strong. But the labor market really, if you look under the hood of it, it’s not really super strong. We all know that.
TN: That’s true.
NG: Yeah. Agreed. But it’s perceptions. Remember, these guys are basing their work off their forecasts. One of their forecasts have ever been right. Okay. Even worse in Europe. So the point I’m making is they have their parameters. They have the data that they look at and monitor and whether we agree with that data or not. And I mean, I would always disagree with the way the Fed measures, the BLS measures CPI, but it was impacted by Arthur Burns of the Fed in 1970s. Right.
So the point to be made is they have their data sets that they watch, and according to those data sets, they may be wrong. I don’t disagree.
TN: So just yes or no, because you’re implying some things that two weeks ago we talked about or last week we talked about, yes or no. Will we see J. Powell’s innver Volcker this year?
TN: We will?
NG: In the short term.
TN: Albert, what do you think? Yes or no? Will we see J. Powell’s inner Volcker?
NG: Mini Volcker.
AM: Mini Volcker, I agree with. One and done Volcker, a one week Volcker, yes, I agree with.
NG: If he does the one and done, the bond market will riot. If you look at the Fed meeting. But look at the statement. That statement said, basically risk assets will determine the level of Fed funds, right?
NG: Bond market’s sold off. Hold on. The bond market’s sold off, aggressively. Sold off all across the curve and particularly the long end. It didn’t start to flatten in a bare manner until that press conference.
TN: Sorry, guys, let me stop you both just for a second. Tracy, will J. Powell show his inner mini Volcker this year?
TS: I said this last week. I’m in the one and done camp, maybe two, but I’m cutting it out there. I know Bank of America came out today and said seven. They said the “seven” yes, today, which I think I don’t know what they’re smoking exactly. But I’ll go with max two on this one, even though I said one and done. I’ll stretch that out.
Maybe one more, but that’s where I stand on that one.
TN: Okay. So while we’re with you, Tracy, can you give us a quick view on what did markets get right and wrong this week from your perspective? What do you think is a little bit out of whack?
TS: Well, I mean, I think energy markets obviously remain elevated because of the Russia-Ukraine risk, right? Because Russia’s 10 million barrels per day, they produce a lot of gas. That’s here with us to say we have a northeastern so that kept a bid under at least the energy markets, right. I think last week we were talking about continued volatility all around in, say, the indices and obviously that trend is continued and probably likely will continue into next week.
Again, looking ahead to next week, I expect that probably we’ll still keep a bid under oil, but we did go kind of sideways this week. Even though we got new highs, I still think we’ll stay in that $82 to $87 range, probably for the next week or so, and then probably get a little bit. If nothing happens with Russian and Ukraine, we’ll get a little bit of pullback there. But still looking at the overall fundamentals of the market, they remain very strong. So I don’t think we’ll see any kind of material.
TN: Okay. This is on the commodity side. On the commodity side. Okay. What about the equity side?
TS: Well, it’s. Far as equities indices are concerned, I think that we’re again going to see continued volatility. What I think is very interesting. As long as the market is pricing in rate hikes, that’s going to put pressure on growth versus value. Right.
And so I think that trend will continue. I think we’re in for a rough note. Until that March meeting, until we actually hear an actual decision, we could be setting up for another volatile month in February.
TN: Okay. That’s fun. Right. Okay. So let’s take that and let’s swing over to geopolitics for a minute. And Albert, I want to ask you a couple of things about geopolitics. Tracy mentioned Kazakhstan, which we’ll get to in a minute. But has the White House told the Fed and treasury that inflation is a top priority? Is that what you’re hearing out of DC? Are they getting political pressure to make inflation their top priority?
AM: Oh, absolutely. Inflation is a nuclear bomb for politicians. I mean, gas prices rising, food prices rising. The job market is they can say it’s strong, but it’s not. I mean, realistically talking about 15%, 20% unemployment, so it’s not strong. So, yeah, inflation is absolutely priority number one for the next couple of months.
TN: Right. Okay. And then as we move into a little bit more on geopolitics, so we got a viewer question from at 77, Psycho Economics. He says, has Russia’s stabilization of Kazakhstan increased their influence over energy exports to Europe?
So give us a little bit of kind of overview of what you see happening in Kazakhstan. And then if you and Tracy can help us understand what’s happening with the energy exports to Europe, that would be really helpful.
AM: Yeah. Kazakhstan has been stuck between Russia and China for a couple of years now. But realistically, that’s Russia’s backyard. They control the area. Ever since the United States was booted out of Uzbekistan, they’ve lost a lot of sway in the region. So the energy sector from Kazakhstan all the way to Turkey and into the Mediterranean is pretty well dominated by the Russians right now.
TS: And I would agree with that. I would also like to mention just as an energy producer, I mean, Kazakhstan doesn’t produce all that much.
So if you’re looking at the commodity side, I would say Ukraine would have more of a dent because of how much they’re involved in the cereals markets. How much do they export in the cereals markets, how much they export in the uranium market. So that’s definitely more commodities heavy area that I would be concerned about then Kazakhstan, just from the energy standpoint.
AM: Yeah. And when you’re looking at Russia and talking about energy, it’s not necessarily you don’t single out just Russia’s energy production. They go out and they meddle everywhere they possibly can, whether it be Libya, Kazakhstan, Turkey, everywhere they can to sit there and depress those energy exports so they can pump out there. So that’s what I mean by Russian dominance in the sectors. Sure.
NG: Will Russia attack the Ukraine?
AM: You’re looking at maybe 1020 thousand conscripts that Russia probably hasn’t paid in a while to go and loot the countryside of Ukraine where it’s already Russian dominated speakers.
Biden comes out and talks about sacking Kiev as if it’s Hannibal on the gates of Rome. This is just absurdity. Russia has no military, nor does he want to go into Kiev and hold it. What’s the point of bombing the thing? Of course, they can go in and destroy Kia if they wanted to overnight, but that serves absolutely zero purpose. So are they going to invade? Yeah. I mean, I would give it a 60 70% chance, but would it be something some big kind of issue at. No, the market is looking at this issue as World War II. And it’s just nothing more than a little bit of a skirmish that’s kind of kinetic.
TN: But they’ve already invaded the economy. They’ve already invaded any investors who want to go into Ukraine, that nobody’s going to touch Ukraine for at least the next year. Right.
AM: Well, Tony, listen, I’ve been to that region, worked there for years in Georgia and Ukraine. I mean, Ukraine has corruption issues, of course, aside from the Russian problem. Right. They’ve got legal framework problems and corruption problems that it makes investing there quite difficult.
TN: Right. Okay, so you’re saying no, not going to happen. You’re saying maybe some looting in Eastern Ukraine.
AM: But they’ll reinvent the same areas that they did in 2014. They’ll make Biden and the west look inept, and that’s their goal. That’s it.
TN: Great. Okay. Sounds fun. As we look ahead, what milestones are you looking for? The week ahead, Nick, what are you expecting to see next week in markets?
NG: I’m fascinated to see the next bunch of Fed speakers come out. If we had the Uber Dove, very hawkish. That’s as hawkish as he’s ever spoken, Kashkari. I’m fascinated to see what the others are going to say.
What I can’t get a handle on is whether this is a genuine bear market inversion or flattening going on the bomb market. I still maintain the point that you’ve got to look at the market and watch what’s going on. Okay.
So I’ll be interested to see whether that continues. If it doesn’t continue, that tells me that it was actually a bit half partly people reversing bad positions on the Euro curve because really traditionally we should be having your curve deepening.
And then next week, well, we’ve got unemployment coming out on the Friday, so that’s going to be pretty fascinating. And then we’ll have the following week, all that inflation data starting to come through, and we won’t have the favorable comparisons from a year ago.
The banks have all jumped on like Tracy said, bank of America seven hikes. Goldman is four to five hikes. They are jumping on this. This did surprise the banking community, with maybe the exception of Goldman, who came out beforehand and said this is what I was thinking. So it’s a pull and push between what we’ve just been discussing. How many heights have we got a minivolk building up here in the Fed? If he’s got the support of the White House and treasury, then maybe we have. Right. I think he had to have that before he came out with that sort of speech.
So the question I mean, I looked at today’s equity market. To me that started off as a okay, let’s cover the shorts because we’ve had a good week and there’s no liquidity. So the market just carried on popping up be interesting to see what happens on Monday. And remember, we have holiday, new lunar year, holiday in the Far East. So the forest is shut, as it were, even less liquid.
TN: Right. So, Tracy, you’ve said for a long time that Yellen is a strong dollar Treasury Secretary. And so what Nick is saying about the Fed and the treasury and the White House being in sync, it seems to make sense if they’re tightening that that is certainly something that Yellen might want.
TS: Obviously, you’re going to see a strong dollar. The Feds raising rates, they’re taking liquidity out of the dollar market. Right. So in that environment, we are going to see a rising dollar. What we should be looking at, though, is emerging markets. Right that nobody’s really talking about. How does this affect emerging markets? Emerging market debt that’s denominated in USC as a dollar gets higher, that puts pressure on emerging markets, even though a lot of banks came out and said emerging markets should do better this year than DM markets, but in my opinion, not in an environment where we see a rising US dollar. So that’s something to look forward to.
TN: In the biggest emerging market. We saw the Euro really taken to the shorts this week. Right. So the Euro is really problematic and it’s probably the newest of the emerging markets, in my view. So they’ve got real problems. But yeah, I think watching emerging market currencies is something that we really need to do over the next probably month to see how dramatic will the shift that we saw this week, will that remain? Will that get even more dire? I think it will. Yeah.
And Albert, what are you watching for the next week?
AM: I have to reiterate what Tracy just said. Literally, it’s the US dollar in the first half of the week and then this bonds the second half of the week.
I think if the US dollar gets over 98, it’s a real problem for emerging markets.
AM: Especially the Europeans. You’re talking about the Euro. But the Europeans like the Euro suppressed right here because it’s boosting the manufacturing sector. So it’s like it’s a give and take with them. But yes, the dollar gets over 98. Start looking at problems.
TN: Well, and my big question is when will the CNT break? When will they finally say uncle and I’ve been saying for a while it’ll happen after lunar new year. They just can’t keep this up. And with an appreciated dollar, it becomes even harder for them to keep that CNY at six point 35 or whatever it is right now.
NG: Did we see a few little twitches of weakness today and yesterday?
TN: We did, yes.
AM: Just remember, Tony, October is a big meeting for the party in China and they are going to stimulate that economy sometime this year. It’s just a matter of when it starts and when you’re talking about the currency. Yeah. That’s going to be a problem that we have to tackle pretty quickly.
TN: Well, it’s monetary policy. Q one, Q two and it’s a lot of spending in Q two. Q three, right?
TN: They’re going to play with the currency in Q one. Q two and play with the triple R and all this other stuff in Q one, Q two. And then spending is going to rip starting in June.
AM: Oh, yeah. Full disclosure. I’m building big position in China names as we go here.
TS: And commodities will benefit from that as well. They start spending right. And you’re going to see commodities rip as well, which also hurts the inflation picture.
NG: I was going to say that will be a negative for the bond market.
TN: Okay, guys. On that note, thank you very much. It’s been great and have a great weekend. Thank you.
Companies are saying that the Q3 revenues will be down a bit. What’s really happening and how long will this last? Chief Economist for Avalon Advisors, Sam Rines, and a returning guest answers that with our first-time guest Marko Papic, the chief strategist for Clocktower Group.
In addition, both the Michigan Consumer Sentiment and the NY Manufacturing survey down as well. Watch what the experts are seeing and what they think might happen early in 2022.
This QuickHit episode was recorded on August 19, 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.
TN: So I guess we’ve started to see some negative news come in with the Michigan Consumer Sentiment with the New York Manufacturing Survey and other things. Most recently, we had some of the housing sentiment information come in. And I’ve heard companies talk about their revenues for Q3 will be down a bit. And so I wanted to talk to you guys to say, are we at a turning point? What’s really happening and how long do you expect it to last? Marko, why don’t you let us know what your observation is, kind of what you’re seeing?
MP: Well, I think that, you know, the bull market has been telling us that we were going to have an intra cyclical blip, hiccup, interregnum, however you want to call it since really March. And there’s, like, really three reasons for this. One, the expectations of fiscal policy peaked in March. Since then, the market has been pricing it less and less expansion of fiscal deficits. Two Chinese have been engaged in deleveraging, really, since the end of Q4 last year, and that started showing up in the data also on March, April, May.
And then the final issue is that the big topic right now is something we’ve been focused on for a while, too, which is this handover from goods to services, which is really problematic for the economy. We had the surge of spending on goods, and now we all expected a YOLO summer where everybody got to YOLO. It really happened.
I mean, it kind of did. Things were okay but, that handoff from good services was always gonna be complicated, anyways. And so I’m going to stop there because then I can tell you where I stand and going forward. But I think that’s what’s happening now and what I would be worried about. And I really want to know what Sam thinks about this is that the bull market been telling you this since March. There’s some assets that were kind of front load. The one asset that hasn’t really is S&P 500, as kind of ignored these issues.
TN: Right. Sam, what are you seeing and what do you think?
SR: Yeah, I’ll jump in on the third point that Marko made, which is that handoff from services or from goods to services. That did not go as smoothly as was planned or as thought by many. And I don’t think it’s going to get a whole lot better here. You have two things kind of smacking you in the face at the moment. That is University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment and the expectations. Neither of those came in fantastically. Today isn’t great. Tomorrow isn’t expected to be great.
Part of that is probably the Delta variant, depending on what part of the country you’re in, that is really beginning to become an issue. Not necessarily, I mean, it’s nowhere near as big of an issue as COVID was for death and mortality in call it 2020. But it’s a significant hit to the consumer’s mindset. Right?
And I think that’s the part, what really matters is how people are thinking about it. And if people are thinking about it in a fear mode, that is going to constrain their switch from goods to services and the switch from goods to services over time is necessary for the economy to begin growing again at a place that is both sustainable and is somewhat elevated. But at this point, it’s really difficult to see exactly where that catalyst is going to come come from, how it’s going to actually materialize in a way that we can get somewhat excited about and begin to actually become a driver of employment. We do need that hand off to services to drive employment numbers higher.
And what we really need is a combination of employment numbers going higher, GDP being sustainably elevated to get bond rates higher. So I think Marko’s point on what the treasury market is telling us should not be discounted in any way whatsoever.
The treasury market is telling us we’re not exactly going to a 4% growth rate with elevated inflation.
SR: It’s telling us we’re going to something between Japan and Germany at this point.
TN: Yeah. That’s what I’m a bit worried about. And with the consumer sentiment especially, I’m a bit worried about sticky sentiment where we have this Delta variant or other expectations, and they remain on the downside, even if there are good things happening.
Do you guys share those worries, or do you think maybe the Michigan survey was a blip?
SR: Oh, I’ll just jump in for 1 minute. I don’t think it was a blip at all. I think what people should be very concerned about at this point is what the next reading is. That reading did not include the collapse of Afghanistan. It did not include any sort of significant geopolitical risk that is going to be significant for a number of Americans.
Again, it’s kind of like Covid. It might not affect the economy much. It’s going to affect the psyche of America significantly as we move forward. And if consumer sentiment were to pick up in the face of what we’ve seen over the last few days, I would be pretty shocked.
TN: It would be remarkable. Marko, what do you think about that?
MP: So I’m going to take the other side of this because I have a bet on with Sam, and the bet is, by the end of the year, I’m betting the 10-year is going to be closer to 2%. He’s betting it’s going to be closer to 1%. So he’s been winning for a long time, but we settled the bet January 1, 2022.
Here’s why I think I would take the other side of a lot of the things, like when we think about where we’re headed. So first, I think there’s three things I’m looking at. There’s really four things. But the fourth is the Fed. And I’m going to like Sam talk about that because he knows a lot more than I do. The first three things I’m looking at is, as I said, there are reasons that the bond market has rallied. And I think a lot of these reasons were baked in the cake for the past six months, or at least since March.
The first and foremost is China. And China is no longer deleveraged. The July 30th Politburo meeting clearly had a policy shift, but I would argue that that been the case since April 30. They’ve been telling us they are going to step off the break. And, quite frankly, I don’t need them to search infrastructure spending a lot. I don’t need them to do a lot of LGFB. I just need them to stop the leverage. And so they’re doing that.
And the reason they’re doing that is fundamentally the same reason they crack down on tech. And it has to do with the fact that Xi Jinping has to win an election next year. Yeah. And an election. It’s not a clear cut deal. He’s going to extend his term for another five years. CCP, The Chinese Communist Party is a multi sort of variant entity, and he has to sell his peers in the communist party that the economy is going to be stable.
And so we expect there to be a significant policy shift in China. So one of the sort of bond bullish economic bearish variables is shifting. The second is fiscal policy. Remember I mentioned that in March, investors basically started, like the expectations of further deficit increases, basically whittle down. This was also expected.
The summer period was also going to be one during which the negotiations over the next fiscal package were going to get very difficult. I would use the analog of 2017. Throughout the summer of 2017, everybody lost faith in tax cuts by the Trump administration. And that’s because fundamentally, investors are very poor at forecasting fiscal policy. And I think it has to do with the fact that we’re overly focused on monetary policy. We’re very comfortable with the way that monetary policy uses forward guidance.
I mean, think about it. Central bankers bend over backwards to tell us what you’re going to do in 2023. Fiscal policy is a product of game theory, its product of backstabbing, its product of using the media to increase the cost of collaboration, of cooperation. And so I think that by the end of the year, we will get more physical spending. I think the net deficit contribution will be about $2 trillion, the net contribution to deficit, which is on the high end. If you look at Wall Street, most people think 500 billion to a trillion, I would take double of that.
And then the final issue is the Delta. Delta is going to be like any other wave that we’ve had is going to dissipate in a couple of weeks. And also on top of that, the data is very, very robust. If you’re vaccinated, you’re good. Now, I agree with everything Sam has said. Delta has been relevant. It has, you know, made it difficult to transition from goods to services, but it will dissipate. Vaccines work. People with just behavior. So.
TN: Let me go back to the first thing you mentioned, Marko, is you mentioned China will have a new policy environment. What does that look like to you?
MP: There’s going to be more monetary policy support, for sure. So they’ve already, the PBOC has basically already told us they’re going to do an interest rate cut and another RRR cut by the end of the year. Also, they are going to make it easier for infrastructure spending to happen. Only about 20-30% of all bonds, local government bonds have been issued relative to where we should be in the year. I don’t think we’re going to get to 100%. But they could very well double what they issued thus far in eight months over the next four months.
So does this mean that you should necessarily be like long copper? No, I don’t think so. They’re not going to stimulate like crazy. The analogy I’m using is that the Chinese policy makers have been pressing on a break, really, since the recovery of Covid in second half of 2020. They’ve been pressing on the breaks for a number of reasons, political, leverage reasons, blah, blah, blah. They’re not going to ease off of that break. That’s an important condition for global economy to stabilize.
Thus far, China has actually been a head wind to global growth. They’ve been benefiting from exports, you know, because we’ve been basically buying too many goods. They know the handoff from goods to services is going to happen. Goods consumption is going to go down. That’s going to hurt their exports. On top of that, they have this political catalyst where Xi Jinping wants to ease into next year with economy stable.
Plus, they’ve just cracked down on their tech sector. They’re doing regulatory policy. They have problems in the infrastructure and real estate sectors. And so we expect that they will stimulate the economy. Think about it that way. Much more actively than they have thus far.
TN: Great. Okay. That’s good news. It’s very good news. Sam?
SR: Yeah. So the only push back that I would give to Marko and it’s not really pushback, given his assessment, because I agree with 99% of what he’s saying. But the one place that I think is being overlooked is, one thing is the fiscal policy with 2 trillion is great, but that’s probably spread over five to ten years, and therefore it’s cool. But it’s not that big of a deal when it comes to the treasury market or to the economic growth rate on a one-year basis. It’s not going to move the needle as much as the middle of COVID.
TN: Let me ask. Sorry to interrupt you. But when you say that’s going to take five to ten years, when we think about things like the PPP program isn’t even fully utilized. A lot of this fiscal that’s been approved over the last year isn’t fully utilized. So when these things pass and you say it’s going to take five to ten years, there’s the sentiment of the bill passing. But then there’s the reality of the spend. Right. And so you just take a random infrastructure multiplier of 1.6 and apply it.
There’s an expectation that that three and a half trillion or whatever number happens, two trillion, whatever will materialize in the next year. But it’s not. It’s a partial of it over the next, say, at least half a decade. Is that fair to say?
SR: Correct? Yeah. Which is great. It’s better than nothing in terms of a catalyst to the economy. The key for me is it’s not being borrowed all at once. It’s not being spent all at once. Right.
If it was a $2 trillion infrastructure package to be spent in 2022, I would lose my bet to Marko in a heartbeat. It would be a huge lose for me, and I would just pay up. But I would caution to a certain degree, it’s $200 billion a year isn’t that big of a deal to the US economy, right. That’s a very de minimis. Sounds like a big number, but it’s rather de minimis to the overall scale of what the US economy is.
And you incorporate that on top of a Federal Reserve that’s likely to begin pulling back, or at least intimate heavily that they’re going to begin pulling back incremental stimulus or incremental stimulus by the end of 2021 and 2022. And all of a sudden you have a pretty hawkish kind of outlook for the US economy as we enter that 2022 phase. And it’s difficult for me, at least, to see the longer term, short term rates, I think, could move higher, particularly that call it one to three year frame. But the ten to 30-year frame, for me is very difficult to see those rates moving higher. With that type of hawkish policy in coming to fruition, it’s kind of a push and pull to me. So I’m not obviously, I don’t disagree with the view that China is going to stimulate and begin to actually accelerate growth there. I just don’t know how much that’s actually going to push back on America and begin to push rates higher here.
I think we’ve had max dovishness. And strictly Max dovishness is when you see max rates and when you begin to have incremental hawkishness on the monetary policy side and fiscal side. And 2 trillion would be slightly hawkish versus 2020 and early 2021. When you begin to have that pivot, that it’s hard for me to see longer term interest rates moving materially higher for longer than call it a month or two.
TN: Okay, so a couple of things that you said, it sounds like both you agree that China is going to do more stimulus. I think they’re late. I think they should have started five or six months ago, but better now than never. Right. So it sounds to me like you believe that there will be the beginning of a taper, maybe a small beginning of a taper late this year. Is that fair to say.
The IMF has upgraded its GDP forecasts for developed economies but what is the outlook like for developing economies in South-East Asia? The Morning Run asks Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence. They also get into insights from the earnings out of JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, as well as how traditional automakers will have to adapt in light of the EV boom.
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LM: The IMF has upgraded its GDP forecasts for developed economies, but what is the outlook like for developing economies in South East Asia?
TN: It’s actually not bad to look at this IMF report. We had such a pullback in economies in 2020 that we really have to look at the growth rates in 2019, 2020, and 2021. To understand it in context, Southeast Asia looks to be doing pretty well when we average those three years out. There’s growth in just about every country except Thailand, now with a slight pullback over that time. And so what that means is Thailand will not necessarily back up to the 2019 levels unfortunately, but Malaysia is 1.7%. In Asia, 2.4%. Singapore, 0.38%. So Southeast Asia is growing. Europe, on the other hand, there is only one country that shows growth over that period, which is the Netherlands within the Eurozone. So Europe has a bit of a problem. The US continues to grow, though around 1%.
NL: Meanwhile, is the sharp rise in March, U.S. CPI prices compared to February a good sign or something to be concerned about?
TN: We didn’t see long term inflation effects and a lot of kind of buzz about long term inflation affects or medium term inflation affects in the US. But our view is that this is two factors. One is the base effect, meaning we saw so much disinflation or deflation in 2020 that we’re seeing a base effect on that. The other one is supply constraint. So we’re seeing hold back in supply chains or we’re seeing supply chains catch up from closure.
There is a constrained supply which is driving up prices as supply chains continue to equalize and balance out. We should see those prices return to normal. If we go back to the IMF forecast, we don’t necessarily see rousing growth for 2021 compared to, say, 2019. So we have the manufacturing capacity in place. So I don’t necessarily see demand outstripping supply to create the inflation that many people are talking about.
NL: When do you expect the situation will normalize?
TN: It really all depends on when countries open up and and that sort of thing. I would do three of twenty one is when we start to see things more normal, I think it’ll work out in between now and then. Of course, currency dynamics have a lot to do with that, but we’ll have to see what happens with the dollar with CNY and the euro to really understand how that will shake out. But we think we’ll see normalization in Q3.
RK: The big Wall Street banks have kicked off earnings season with numbers from JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo. They beat estimates, but are these numbers sustainable or just a one off blip following a what was really a tough year?
TN: They both did really well in terms of return on equity. And that’s really one of the major requirements for banks. The real question is around loan. So we saw a spike in loans in the middle of 2020 in the US, largely on the back of small business loans and very low interest rates and government programs to push loans out. Loans are down in Q1 of ’21. There is an expectation that loans will perk up again in the second half of ’21. I’m not quite convinced we’ll see the loan growth that was talked about today with JP Morgan’s call. I think we’ll see loan growth in the second half of ’21, but I’m not necessarily sure that we’ll see the spike that we discussed on the call.
LM: So Tony, Legacy Cockburn’s and IT companies are both rushing into the electrical electric vehicle space out of these two, who’s likely to come out in front?
TN: I think it’s a combination. Car brands make really good hardware, but they’re really not great software makers. So I think there’s going to be a combination of the car brands relying on battery makers and relying on software to make great electric vehicles. There are a lot fewer parts in EVs. And so these supply chains that the car manufacturers had to have for internal combustion engines change pretty dramatically for EVs. They’re going to have to rely on battery makers and software makers.
I think the real question for the auto manufacturers is what is that business model going forward? I think they may learn from software makers with the recurring revenue model. So we may take a car and pay a monthly charge for that car, almost like combining finance and the car itself. So carmakers have a recurring revenue model with regular upgrades similar to the way maybe some mobile phone carriers operate, those sorts of things. I think it’s a stretch to have the one time payment. I think carmakers see that finance revenue go to other people and they may want to do that themselves with EV.
RK: Out of curiosity, do you have any thoughts on what will define whether a legacy car brand is going to succeed in the new car world? Because a lot of them have been hesitant to move. They’re going to have to make partnerships with the battery mate because they’re going to have to make partnerships with software makers is going to be the two defining parts who they’re putting on the battery and the software name.
TN: Yeah, I think it depends on, you know, the first mover is not necessarily the winner. So I think Tesla ultimately, they’re a great company. They make fine cars like every car company. They have problems. But I think they’re fine. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to be the winner. I think with Volkswagen announcing, you know, big moves in the market a couple of weeks ago, say if Toyota really I mean, of course, they’re going after it already. But if there are real moves in that direction, I think the very, very large scale carmakers will ultimately win.
A lot of this has to do with regulatory and subsidy regimes within the consumption countries. So it is more expensive to buy an electric car. There is not the infrastructure necessarily to have electric cars to drive long distances. So the subsidies that national governments put out to push that market forward are going to have a major impact on the adoption of those cars.
The real danger, I think, is it’s going to take a long time to rollout that infrastructure and other things. So the real danger for the guys who invest in EVs in a big way is a different type of technological change that could come around. I don’t know what that could be. It could be a more efficient internal combustion engine. It could be, you know, I don’t know, a different type of fuel or something that’s a lot cheaper and a lot easier to use.
So there are a lot of question marks around the rise of EVs. I don’t necessarily think that it’s guaranteed that EVs will take over and the big car companies are going to go on a percent to electric vehicles.
RK: The large scale makers like Volkswagen, Toyota, they’ve got they’ve got essentially a conglomerate of other brands within them. Do you expect to see more consolidation, especially as this? Because the car industry hasn’t been doing well that great over the last few years and we’ve seen more M&A. We should we expect more consolidation, especially after last year?
TN: I don’t know how much more there is to consolidate. I think it may get specialized boutique. When you have technology changes in an industry, you always have specialized boutique companies that come around. We saw this in mobile phones, say, 10 or 15 years ago, and those ended up being purchased. So I think we’ll have an era where we’ll have even more TV companies, small ones that end up being bought by the larger guys. So, you know, a technological change really pulls a lot of innovation. Big companies are really not good at innovation, so they typically have to acquire it. Will it Tesla be acquired? Probably not, at least not at this valuation. But other small companies, early stages could potentially if they have very good tech. So I think that’s the way they leapfrog. I don’t think it’s the massive processes that they have internally, like a Volkswagen today. I don’t think that’s the way they leapfrog.
LM: Thanks so much for joining us this morning. Tony, that was Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence, giving us some insight into what’s happening in global markets.
RK: So we are talking about cars very quickly. I see this headline here that Jilly’s Lotus cars, miles, raising four billion ringgit.
And they’re only doing this to help the iconic British sports and racing automobile brand to expand into the IV market in China, according to people familiar with the matter. And this is a story from Bloomberg. So Geely is working with advisers to slander potential investors interested in funding the round. And that could see that would value good value lotus operations at about five billion U.S. dollars. This is going to be interesting because this is, of course, was formerly part of the Proton Group, which was then bought by Geely.
LM: And so so we’re going to be heading into some messages now and then. Up next, taking a look at Mithras financing with financial columnist Pankaj Kumar. Stay tuned. BFM eighty nine point nine.