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CPI Preview: Inflation to fall below 14% YoY in May

Asian shares make slight advances with US inflation data on horizon

Asian markets retreat on US rate concerns
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April 09, 2024 (MLN): Shares in Asia showed modest gains in range-bound trading, as investors looked for new themes ahead of key US inflation data due Wednesday, as Bloomberg reported.

Benchmarks rose in Australia and Hong Kong, with those in Japan lifted by a weaker yen that helps exporters.

Their counterparts in South Korea and mainland China slipped. US equity futures were little changed.

Treasury yields steadied after those on the 10-year note rose to the highest since November, a whisker away from the psychologically important 4.5% level.

Traders’ conviction on three quarter-point rate cuts from the Federal Reserve this year is quickly dissipating, with markets now favoring just two reductions.

The dollar was flat, with the yen hovering around the closely watched 152 level that many say will trigger Japanese authorities to act.

“We are seeing more interesting hints of cyclicality and value tilt in the global equity market environment in past few weeks, and such an environment tends to be favorable to Asian equity markets in general,” said Homin Lee, senior macro strategist at Lombard Odier.

“We will see if the US CPI report for March tomorrow will change this dynamic,” he added.

Elsewhere, oil traded near a five-month high as investors weighed simmering tensions in the Middle East and persistent supply concerns.

West Texas Intermediate traded below $87 a barrel after closing lower Monday for the first time in seven sessions.

Israeli officials said progress has been made in negotiations for a cease-fire in Gaza, signaling a potential easing of hostilities, but Hamas denied the claim.

Sticky Inflation

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast Wednesday’s consumer price index will show some easing of inflation pressures.

Yet the core gauge, which excludes food and energy costs, would be up 3.7% from a year earlier, above the Fed’s 2% target.

With some Fed members questioning the wisdom of cutting rates if inflation remains in a “sticky” holding pattern, this week’s inflation figures may have a lot riding on them, according to Chris Larkin at E*Trade from Morgan Stanley.

“While the Fed was hesitant to read too much into back-to-back months of higher-than-expected inflation data, a third month may lead them to change their tune,” he said.

imply around 60 basis points of US monetary easing this year, which means two cuts is the most likely outcome with the first expected by September, according to Bloomberg pricing.

On Friday, the chance of a third cut was still above 50%.

“The recent resiliency of inflation reduces the immediacy of rate cuts, which puts more pressure on earnings to drive future market gains,” said Richard Saperstein at Treasury Partners.

“Given the elevated market multiples and rising bond yields, we remain cautious on stocks until earnings season delivers clear evidence of earnings growth,” he added.

In the corporate world, Blackstone Inc. is nearing a deal to take L’Occitane International SA private, according to people familiar with the matter, potentially ending the global cosmetics company’s 14-year run on Hong Kong’s stock exchange.

In other commodities, gold held a record high, up more 17% since mid-February.

Bitcoin’s nearest rival Ether grabbed the cryptocurrency spotlight after posting its biggest jump in more than a month, a surge pegged to speculation about the outlook for applications to start US exchange-traded funds for the token.

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Posted on: 2024-04-09T09:47:13+05:00