Tony Nash gave the BFM 89.9: The Morning Run his thoughts on how the sooner-than-expected Fed rate hikes could affect global markets. Will inflation derail hastening of the tapering talk? How does crude oil look like in the next few months? As the Christmas season is coming, how much of a concern supply chains will be for the consumers and the economy? When the Fed begins normalizing rates, which currencies will be vulnerable if or when this happens?
This podcast first appeared and originally published at https://www.bfm.my/podcast/morning-run/market-watch/bottlenecks-to-ease-with-xmas-coming on November 25, 2021.
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SM: BFM 89.9 good morning. You are listening to the Morning Run. I’m Shazana Mokhtar together with Khoo Hsu Chuang and Philip See. It’s 9:07 in the morning. Thursday, the 25 November. If we look at how the US markets closed yesterday, the Dow was down marginally by 0.3%. The S&P 500 was up 0.2%. Nasdaq was also up 0.4%. So for some thoughts on where international markets are headed, we have with us on the line Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence. Good morning, Tony. So the Fed minutes revealed that the pace of tapering may be hastened, while macro data points from personal spending to job data suggest that the US economy is in quite the sweet spot, but will inflation derail this?
TN: Yeah. There was a statement from one of the Fed governors today talking about that inflation is not transitory in their mind or could potentially not be transitory in their mind. That’s a real danger to people who are thinking that we’re really in a sweet spot right now because it could mean Fed intervention, meaning tightening sooner than many people had counted on. So I think people had counted on some sort of intervention, maybe in Q2, but it may be happening sooner. That would have a real impact on the dollar. The dollar would strengthen, and that would have a real impact on emerging markets all around Asia, all around Africa. People would feel it in a big way where there is US dollar debt.
KHC: We are seeing that strengthening US dollar in our currency now. But I just want to get your perspective on crude oil because various countries from the US to China are now tapping into their strategic crude reserves to alleviate the present energy crisis. But if you look at crude now, it’s not really being responsive, right to these actions?
TN: Right? That’s right. So what the US agreed to release is about two and a half days of consumption. Not much. The releases agreed in the UK and India, for example, were really token releases. They weren’t really major portions of their consumption. So these countries are kind of giving a nod to the Biden administration, but they’re not really alleviating the supply concerns that are spiking prices. So it really has been a dud for the White House. It’s been kind of an embarrassment because crude prices haven’t fallen, really. They fell initially, but they really came back after the release announcement was absorbed.
PS: Yeah. Tony, that trickling in oil supply releases from the US government hasn’t done much to alleviate the supply concerns. Gas prices in America have been on a massive uptrend as well, just in terms of inflation and not being as transitory as people expected, as we enter Christmas season, how much of a concern is it for consumers as well as the economy?
TN: It’s a real concern. I have to tell you, I’ve driven halfway across the US for our Thanksgiving holiday, which is tomorrow morning. It’s Thursday here, and we’ve seen a lot of trucks with cargoes on US roads, and I make this drive pretty regularly. So it seems like a lot more on roads than I normally see. So that’s good in terms of the domestic supply chain.
I think it’s the international supply chain that is really concerning, and we still have those backups in the Port of Long Beach. That is the real main constraint for supply chains in the US. So I don’t think we’re going to see major disruptions outside of other ports. But through Long Beach, we definitely see issues.
The semiconductor supply chain is the main impact for, say, electronics and automobiles in the US. We did see semi manufacturers start to produce more auto related semiconductors, say mid-Q3 and into Q4. We should start to see those automotive supply chains, the semiconductor dependent issues and automotive supply chains alleviate, probably in Q1. So that will help.
But for the Christmas season, I’m not sure that there’s a whole lot that’s going to help with electronics and say automobiles.
PS: Yeah, Tony with JPowell still back and still in the fair chair in terms of his reappointment. And he does hike rates earlier than expected to address inflationary concerns. How much of a dangerous is to slowing down the economy in America and as the rest of the world.
TN: Sure, it is a risk in America. I think it’s really hard to hire people in the US right now. There’s a lot of job switching happening and people haven’t come back into the workforce. We lost about 5 million people in the workforce in the US through the Covid period. So that’s a real issue. Anything that raises the cost of doing business is problematic for the US and will inhibit growth. The main problem in the US is that the environment right now, it continues to crush small companies. It’s very difficult for small companies. And while it may seem that small companies don’t matter that much, they are the main employer in the US and the main growth engine in the US. And the Biden administration hasn’t helped this with a lot of their policies. Their policies have been very favorable toward big companies. If the Fed pushes inflation, it will make borrowing a little bit harder. I’m sorry if the Fed pushes the interest rate, it’ll make borrowing a little bit harder. But the collapsing, say, the tapering of the Fed balance sheet will have a bigger impact on liquidity in the US.
SM: And if I could just touch on large US dollar debt and what happens to emerging markets when the Fed begins normalizing rates, which currencies do you see as going to be particularly vulnerable if or when this happens?
TN: Well, I think one that I’m really keeping an eye on is the Chinese Yuan because it’s a highly appreciated currency right now. And the Chinese government has kept the CNY strong so they can continue to import commodities and energy for the winter. And they’ll likely keep it strong through Chinese New Year. We expect CNY to really start to weaken, say, after Chinese New Year to help Chinese exporters. So winter we mostly pass. They want to help kind of push a Chinese export, so they’ll start to really devalue, seeing why probably end of Q1 early Q2.
We do see pressure, the Euro, as you’ve seen over the last three weeks, there’s been real pressure on the Euro as well. Other Asian currencies. We do think that there will be pressure on other Asian currencies. Sing Dollar will likely continue to stay pretty consistent. But we’ll see some pressure on other Asian currencies simply because of the US dollar pressure. The US dollar is something like 88% of transnational transactions. So the US dollar as a share of transnational transactions actually come up over the past two to three years. So there’s much more pressure with an appreciated dollar and it’s coming.
KHC: Just like the one. Tony, India Indian equities record high. Have you reached to speak considering PTM’s IPO failure?
TN: Yeah. I think there’s been a lot of excitement there, and I think it’s at least for now. I think it has I don’t think you can ever really claim that an equity market has hit its peak, but I think for now, a lot of the excitement is dissipated. It may come back in a month, it may come back in six months. But I think that momentum is really important. And as you see, failed IPOs, I think it’s really hard for equity investors to kind of get their mojo back.
SM: Tony, thank you so much as always for speaking to us and happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. That was Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence, giving us his thoughts on how the sooner-than-expected Fed rate hikes could affect global markets.