September 05, 2022: Asian markets were mixed Monday as the positive vibes from a US jobs report were offset by growing fears about an energy crisis in Europe, Chinese Covid lockdowns, and geopolitical tensions.
The closely watched payrolls for August showed employment growth moderating and unemployment ticking higher, easing pressure on the Federal Reserve to sharply lift interest rates.
In response to the figures, traders lowered their expectations for a third successive three-quarter point hike this month, with many now predicting 50 basis points.
"The increase in the participation rate and a softening in average hourly earnings may be a tentative sign that intense labor market tightness is starting to ease slightly," said National Australia Bank's Tapas Strickland.
He added that it "eases some of the fears stemming from other indicators such as job openings. Markets interpreted the print as lessening the chances of a 75 basis point hike".
The news helped send European markets surging and provided a boost to Wall Street.
However, all three main indexes in New York reversed after Russia's Gazprom said it would not restart gas supplies to Europe citing problems with a pipeline.
The announcement came the same day as the G7 nations said they would work to quickly implement a price cap on Russian oil exports, a move that would starve the Kremlin of critical revenue for its war effort.
The news, which came after European trading ended, ramped up an energy crisis in the continent caused by sanctions on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine in February.
It has sent shockwaves through the eurozone economy and fanned expectations it will sink into recession while sending the euro tanking to a 20-year low against the dollar.
The issue has given the European Central Bank a huge headache — it is forced to lift interest rates as it struggles to contain runaway inflation.
Policymakers are due to announce a second straight lift at its meeting this week, with some observers betting on a 0.75 percentage point rise.
"The outlook is poor for Europe — it started to get choppy at the tail end of last week, and it is almost certainly going to get worse," Gordon Shannon, of TwentyFour Asset Management, said.
"The ECB had only just started to catch up with the Fed in terms of hiking rates, but if we are going into a prolonged recession, I think this slows down their attempts."