China Caixin manufacturing PMI, which is more export-oriented, rose to 51.2 in June from 50.7 in May, the most robust improvement rate recorded since December 2019, which is signalling that the manufacturing sector continued to recover.
The key is that the upturn was supported by further relaxation of epi controls, which enabled more firms to resume the regular order of business. Indeed, business confidence rose to a 4-month high, while firms expanded their purchasing activity at a quicker rate.
But the new export orders continued to be a sore point suggesting external demand remains weak. This may be due to anti-China sentiment or nothing more sinister than consumer uncertainty around the pandemic overseas. We will soon find out.
Still, we will likely need several months of improving data to bridge the consumer’s dichotomy between current buoyant conditions and subdued future expectations. But one needs to ask if portfolios are ready for a 55 or 60 PMI print in the coming months?
Still, China’s string of data beats supports the notion that global economic recovery is well underway.
Gold market conversations
For the last week or so there the discussion on how to hedge against inflation has been non-stop. No one expects a massive breakout, but everyone realizes portfolios are well under positioned for even a modest uptick in inflation.
So, this is where gold shines even if the US dollar does not cooperate, gold remains the best non-USD hedge.
The consensus has been that the dollar will decline, as inflation (the right kind) would represent recovery and lead to the global rotation trade.
I remain reticent to the view, and when we return to all systems go, or at least as close to all orders go as systematically, possibly the US markets will only game in town. US exceptionalism will reign supreme, and the dollar will remain supported by inflation.
Currency Markets: Euro remains supported
The Euro remains supported, while Covid-19 concerns in Europe remain but do not seem as acute as in parts of the US, potentially adding some support to the cross-Euro plays.
Heavy selling pressure over the past week or so was notably lighter overnight, and calendar-related flows and positioning undoubtedly played a part in the rebound. Monday’s lows towards 1.2250-55 remained intact overnight with the pair seeming finding support around 1.2260 earlier in the session, comments from BOE’s Haldane predicting a V-shaped recovery and stating the UK is rebounding sooner, faster than expected perhaps adding a touch of support as the USD began to slip GBP outperformed into the close of the US session.
The Aussie dollar was suitably under pressure during the latter part of the APAC session finding supply from 0.6885 with the pair trading on to as low as 0.6833 in early Europe, before decisively turning bid from those lows accelerating to the topside into the European close as risk rebounded convincingly as risk sentiment flourished. Still, calendar-related flows and positioning undoubtedly played a part in the AUD zig zag.
Oil prices stabilising
Good news for risk markets is that oil prices are stabilizing higher after the API survey, but on a more somber tone, not much can be gleaned from overnight price action as the two most active sessions for the global oil markets were a tale of two trends.
Oil prices at the New York open surged as a tailwind from OPEC extraordinary compliance and improving cyclical data shot prices higher only to get knocked lower between most actively trading hours due to COVID-19 headwinds.
But in the meantime, expect the bid to be bought on the improving inventory backdrop and of the API survey is confirmed by the EIA prices higher is one of the two bullish market conditions that have been met, which is the inventory draw.
The other is a drop-in virus case counts in at least one of the most populous US states, although that argument is falling into the heads I win tails you lose file at the moment, it’s just that unpredictable to forecast over the near term.
Asia markets analysis and insights from Stephen Innes, Chief Global Market Strategist at AxiCorp