The Fed has finally increased interest rates hikes for the first time since 2018 by 25 basis points, but what are the implications for the market? Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence shares his thoughts on this
This podcast first appeared and originally published at https://www.bfm.my/podcast/morning-run/market-watch/could-stagflation-be-a-worry on March 17, 2022.
SM: BFM 89 Nine. Good morning. You are listening to the Morning Run. It’s 706:00 A.m. On Thursday, the 17 March. I’m Shazana Mokhtar in studio today with Tan Chen Li and Wong Shou Ning. It’s looking quite foggy outside our studio windows here. So if it’s raining out there, we hope you stay safe on the road as always at this time of day. Let’s recap how global markets closed.
WSN: Yesterday in US, Dow was up 1.6%, SMP 500 up 2.2%, Nasdaq up 3.7%. Asian markets actually quite happening there. Nikki up 1.6%, Hong Kong and up 9%, and Shanghai Composite up 3.5%, STI up 1.7%. FBM KLCI up zero 9%.
SM: So I think we can see that the Asian markets are really rallying on the back of some news coming out of China, the fact that Chinese authorities are going to intervene to kind of support the market after this historic route that we’ve seen over the past few years.
TCL: So basically they came out with a statement with very positive market measures, one of which is that they’re going to emphasize financial stability. They’re not going to go after the technology companies. So as a result, all US China listed stocks actually sought the most. In fact, NASA Golden Dragon jumped 33% on Wednesday.
SM: All right, well, not only are we seeing announcements coming out of China, but we also saw the Fed make an announcement yesterday about the raising of rates. So joining us for some thoughts on where markets are headed, we have on the line Tony Nash, the CEO of Complete Intelligence. Tony, good morning. Thanks for joining us today. So let’s talk about the Fed announcement. After much anticipation, the Fed has finally increased rates for the first time since 2018 by 25 Bips. They also signaled six more hikes for this year. So markets seemed really relieved. We see the green rally across US markets. But has this truly been priced in?
TN: Well, I think people feared worse, but what you need to know is they raised by 25, but it was a range of 25 to 50, so there will be movement in that range over time.
TCL: Okay. But the Feds also said that they will be starting to shrink its US. 8.9 trillion billion balance sheet. Do you think that’s going to shape markets more than the height which have been talked about a lot?
TN: Yeah, I think the shrinking the balance sheet will have a big impact on the available currency in the market. Inflation is already killing available money. It’s eating people’s purchasing capability. But shrinking the balance sheet takes money out of circulation and so that will make the economy feel higher.
WSN: The US PPI numbers jumped 10% while the New York State manufacturing index recorded a steep drop in economic activity. Are we looking at possible staff stationary signs in the US economy?
TN: Yes, I think that’s a very real worry with the labor market where it is with elevated salaries, with inflation, the 10% CPI there or the PPI there. Sorry. And with manufacturing sluggish, really, supply chains are hurting manufacturing still, and that’s hurting available inventory. So we are really looking at a stagnationary environment.
SM: And Tony, oil prices have been on a roller coaster from a peak of $130 to below $100 a barrel. Now, can you give us some insight into the current supply demand dynamics underpinning these price levels?
TN: Yeah. Obviously, things are tight with the embargoes on Russia, not necessarily as tight in AMS, as crude as being sold in China and other places, but it’s certainly tight in Western markets. And we don’t necessarily see that alleviating anytime soon.
TCL: And just curious, right. About the Russian bond situation. Do you see that deteriorating? Perhaps.
And even the rubber coming under increasing pressure. It’s already down more than 40%.
TN: Yeah. And the rubber appreciated just a little bit. But the debt issue is a real problem, and I think that’s going to get worse before it gets better.
TCL: But will there be a contagion effect on global markets if the Russian bonds actually default?
TN: There would be. You’re already seeing impact on European banks, which are the banks that own the most Russian debt. So we’ve seen a lot of pressure there, but some of that has been alleviated in recent days, but still, that real debt pressure is there mostly for European banks.
SM: Tony, thanks very much for speaking to us this morning. That was Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence, giving us some quick takes on some of the trends that are affecting markets, from the Fed raising of rates to what’s going to happen to Russian bonds, whether they’ll be able to make those payments.
TCL: Yeah, but staying on the topic of the Fed, I think the 25 Bips was pretty much anticipated. It was probably priced in. But what I find interesting is that they are continuing on their policy normalization, which is six rate hikes for the rest of the meetings this year. And they’re also launching a campaign to tackle the fastest inflation in four decades, even though I think there are concerns that global growth might be slowing down as a result of this Ukraine Russian war, not helped by the fact that China is actually some key cities like Sunshine and Shanghai are in lockdown. So clearly impacting the global supply chain.
WSN: And the Fed also said that they are going to allow the 8.9 trillion balance sheet to shrink at the coming meeting, but they didn’t elaborate more about this.
TCL: Yeah. The question is, can they engineer a soft lending to the world’s economy? Because you always have this concern that the Fed will over tighten, and when they over tighten, that might cause global markets to kind of crash. It’s a very delicate balance because inflation is extremely high, so it’s probably going to come in above 8% at the next reading.
WSN: Yes. CPI is about I think the last one was 7.9% in terms of inflation. Fed actually have a projection on it, and it’s 4.3% this year, which is still coming down to 2.3% in 2024.
TCL: I think this 4.3% is a bit like Malaysia CPI official figure of 2.5%. If you tell anybody that, they’ll start laughing.
WSN: Yeah, I think this is an inflation number, not the CPI number, though.
TCL: No, I know. But you have official numbers and unofficial numbers, right?
SM: That’s right.
TCL: But other I think interesting news Is coming out of China because we mentioned earlier the NASA Golden Dragon index hit a high of actually went up 32%, closing and even hang Seng yesterday closed up 9%. That’s a Whopper jump on a one day basis. And that’s very much driven by the fact that China came up with some key announcements to keep the markets going. And this was on the after a top financial policy committee Led by Vice President Yuha, who is the top economic official. So he made some promises, Stabilized better financial markets, Ease regulatory crackdown, Support property and technology companies While stimulating the economy.
WSN: But a lot of investors are also wondering, are they just words? What exactly are they going to do? They need more than just words. They need more action.
TCL: Yeah, but you just want to say this to calm markets down. It’s not the first time he’s done it. In 2008, this exact official said the same thing. It wasn’t really followed by a lot of action, but it’s a signal to the market that maybe they will ease off in terms of any crackdowns, which they did last year, Especially for the technology companies, Gaming companies, Healthcare companies, Education companies, when trying to pursue this common prosperity model. So I think they said, okay, we’re done with what we want. So you investors, maybe you don’t have to worry so much about policy risk.
SM: I think.
SM: So it’s going to be interesting to see whether this will actually put an end to the route. This could just be the calm before the storm, as some analysts say.
WSN: But they actually address all the five major issues that’s actually plaguing the market. They want to keep the stock market stable. Tech crackdown will be nearing an end, which you said resolve property risk support, overseas listings and also on us goods dialog on ADRs. So these are the things that have been plaguing investors, and they try to address all these concerns.
TCL: We will be asking Brock silvers These exact questions. He’s the chief investment officer Of Kayan capital to do tune in at 915. Maybe he might give us an indication of what to buy, actually, in regards to anything China related.
SM: All right. Well, it’s 7:14 in the morning. Stay tuned to BFM 89.9.