MARKETS

US equities fell .4 % in a choppy session to start the week with little change to the broader macro or recessionary narrative.

Markets remain in fight or flight mode while rolling the dice on recession odds.

Still, traders seem to be in the mood to stay bearish until proven otherwise. However, there is still a lingering risk- on tone despite horrific Chinese data.

Investors’ hopes remain elevated that yesterday’s worse than expected Chinese outruns could prove to be a ‘whatever it takes” moment, and local policymakers will step hard on the stimulus pedal.

OIL

Oil prices are up near 2.5 % on a confluence of anticipated Chinese demand returning amid Russian supply concerns. But China’s covid slowdown is music to oil bull’s ears as the breadth of the shift is where the surprise lies.

In addition, Shanghai has announced a gradual reopening starting immediately. It aims to return to everyday life by June 1, so we should expect mobility to return to its usual post haste.

But importantly, this could mean more stimulus down the pipe as even a gradual reopening increases the prospects for policy easing.

China’s official institutions have been reluctant to enact an adequate stimulus program as the locked-down economy is not giving policymakers bang for their buck via the multiplier effect.

Oil investors will continue watching the China covid curve while playing the China rebound story through Oil futures and XLE

FOREX

CNH

Traders have moved off, at least this one has, the CNH/JPY competitive advantage trade as a motive to sell the Yuan. And are now looking at the typical RMB correlation associated with local equity markets.

While a depreciating RMB is theoretically positive for export-oriented firms, it is generally associated with lacklustre overall share market performances.

With a good chance, policymakers could use yesterday’s economic data low point as a watershed moment to release a flood-like stimulus once the economy opens. There should be a positive bounce in Chinese equities and possibly change the tide for USDCNH. But mainland stocks will need to do the heavy lifting, not the PBoC

JPY
For the yen, the tide may be starting to turn. The Japanese currency broke nine successive weeks of losses against the US dollar last week.

There has been a notable change in how the pair operates in the last week.

US rates had been behind the currency moves – pushing the US dollar higher against the yen, euro, franc, and Aussie.

Now the drivers are more technical. When rates go up and equities go down – the S&P 500 had fallen 6.4% since May 4 when the Federal Reserve lifted rates by 0.5 percentage points – dollar-yen is not rallying as much. Instead, it is now trending down.

Traders want to buy the yen – and the classic ‘risk-off’ hedge of holding yen calls. Again, this is rolling the dice on US recession odds which could cause a significant spill across the global markets.

Originally published by Stephen Innes Managing Partner SPI ASSET MANAGEMENT