Tuesday saw the worst day for Asian stocks since June. While there is hope for a turnaround, risks include an anticipated increase in Australian interest rates, possible critical remarks from Fed Chair Jerome Powell, and escalating U.S.-Sino tensions.
Wall Street’s Monday closing in the red won’t help the chances of a rebound much either, as American markets sway to account for a higher and lengthier Fed this year.
The Reserve Bank of Australia’s rate decision and subsequent policy guidance will be the high points of the Asian economic data and events schedule.
After inflation unexpectedly increased last year to a 33-year peak of 7.8%, the RBA is anticipated to announce a fourth straight quarter-point increase in interest rates to 3.35%.
However, data released on Monday revealed that retail sales are declining for the first time in a year, suggesting that increased interest rates may already be having an impact.
Meanwhile, in Japan, discourse over who will be the next governor and leading authority of the Bank of Japan is warming up. The Nikkei daily reports that the Japanese government is considering Masayoshi Amamiya, the deputy governor of the BOJ, to succeed Haruhiko Kuroda.
He is viewed by many experts as a sensible policymaker who would rather take it slowly than make abrupt changes to a stimulus programme he helped design. He will likely choose to quit the BOJ’s ultra-easy monetary policy.
The yen is also losing ground. It had its greatest two-day decline in three years on Monday and has been down 3% since Friday.
In general, Asian markets are experiencing the temperature from the abrupt change in the expectation for U.S. interest rates following Friday’s announcement of the startlingly positive U.S. jobs report for January.
Markets are now raising prices by only 20 basis points of relieving this year, and the two-year yield has skyrocketed by about 40 basis points.
The Fed’s inferred “terminal” rate in June is now significantly above 5.00%, the presumed year-end rate is greater than the present fed funds range, and the implied year-end cost is increased than the current Fed funds range.
This might be the tightening of economic circumstances sought after by Fed Chair Powell and his colleagues.
Alternatively, they might be irrational and unjustified market swings brought on by a single piece of data, which will cause Powell to respond when he talks at the Economic Club of Washington on Tuesday.
Monday marked the worst day for the MSCI Asia formerly-involved-in-Japan index since June of last year. Chinese equities suffered their worst day of the year (also attributed to tensions between Beijing and Washington), and Hong Kong tech shares plummeted 3.6%.
On the back of rising food costs, Philippine overall inflation blew past forecasts in January to hit a new 14-year high, increasing the likelihood that the central bank will raise interest rates further to cool prices when it resumes this month.
The consumer price index (CPI) increased by 8.7% in January, according to the statistics agency on Tuesday, above both the 8.1% pace in December is when the central bank had anticipated prices to spike, and the 7.7% forecast in a poll.
From 6.9% in December, core inflation—which excludes volatile goods like food and fuel—rose to a more than two-decade peak of 7.4%, indicating that pricing pressures are still widespread.
When it meets on February 16 to discuss interest rates, the Philippine central bank announced on Saturday that it will focus on inflation instead of the Federal Reserve’s previous 25-basis point boost. The central bank had predicted January CPI to fall between 7.5% and 8.3%.