Ahead of the game: May 15, 2023
Your weekly financial calendar for market insights and key economic indicators.
Reading time: 5 minutes
IT WAS A MIXED WEEK for key US stock indices as the Dow Jones closed lower eight sessions in nine, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq closed at its highest level in nine months (August 22).
The push to fresh highs in the Nasdaq followed a cooler-than-expected April CPI report which showed headline inflation fell to 4.9% - its lowest level in over two years, raising hopes that the Fed will pause its rate hiking cycle when it next meets in June.
Also, this week, the Australian Federal Treasurer, Jim Chalmers, handed down the Federal Budget and announced the first budget surplus since the 2008 financial crisis pushed the Australian budget into deficit.
The week of May 15 will be another big week, headlined by the RBA meeting minutes as well as employment data in Australia and the UK and likely feature more headlines around the US Debt Ceiling negotiations as the “X-date” approaches.
- The Federal Treasurer announced Australia’s first budget surplus since 2007/08
- US President Biden and Speaker McCarthy's meeting made no progress on the debt ceiling, which could hit the "X date" in early June
- The SLOOS survey revealed that the lending standards' tightening wasn't as severe as feared
- Republic First Bancorp shares rose 8% and PacWest traded at $6.08, moving away from last week's $2.48 low
- Core US CPI rose by 0.4% in April, allowing the annual rate to ease to 5.5% from 5.6% previously
- Headline inflation increased by 0.4% MoM, and the annual rate fell to 4.9% - the first time below 5% in two years
- The tech-heavy Nasdaq traded to its highest level in nine months
- As expected, the BOE raised rates by 0.25% to 4.50% and sounded hawkish on potential further tightening
- Oil's rebound lost momentum before hitting $75.00, due to Russia failing to follow through on its promised production cut, and recession concerns resurfaced
- The measure of fear on Wall Street, the Volatility (VIX) index, fell 1.43% to 16.93.
- AU - RBA Meeting Minutes (Tuesday, May 16 at 11.30 am AEST)
- AU - Wage Price Index (Wednesday, May 17 at 11.30 am AEST)
- AU - Labour Force Report (Thursday, May 18 at 11.30 am AEST)
- CN - Industrial production, retail sales, FIA and Unemployment (Tuesday, May 16 at 12.00 pm AEST)
- JP - Q1 GDP (Wednesday, May 17th at 9.50 am AEST)
- JP - Inflation (Friday, May 19 at 9.30 am AEST)
- US - Retail Sales (Tuesday, May 16 at 10.30 pm AEST)
- US - Philadelphia Manufacturing Index (Thursday, May 18 at 10.30 pm AEST)
- UK - Employment (Tuesday, May 16 at 4 pm AEST)
RBA Meeting Minutes
Tuesday, May 16 at 11.30 am AEST
The Minutes from the Reserve Banks meeting in May are scheduled to be released Tuesday, May 16, at 11.30 am. At its meeting in May, the RBA surprised the market by raising the cash rate by 25bp from 3.60% to 3.85%, ending its pause after just one month.
The RBA's eleventh rate rise in twelve months defied consensus expectations that the RBA would extend its pause to permit the RBA time to achieve its stated goal of allowing more time to assess the impact of its rate hiking cycle.
The decision came despite a weaker-than-expected Q1 2023 inflation report released just a week earlier. The RBA noted in the statement that accompanied the surprise rate hike that “inflation in Australia has passed its peak, but at 7% is still too high and it will be some time yet before it is back in the target range.”
The RBA retained its tightening bias and noted that a further tightening of “monetary policy may be required to ensure that inflation returns to target in a reasonable timeframe, but that will depend upon how the economy and inflation evolve."
The Board meeting minutes would be expected to reiterate the sentiments outlined above. They will be closely scrutinised for any signal on the timing or metrics that would prompt the RBA to act on its tightening bias and what factors might see the RBA pause its rate hiking cycle.
RBA cash rate chart
Australian Labour Force Report
Thursday, May 18 at 11.30 am AEST
The Australian Labour Force report for April is due for release Thursday morning, May 18, at 11.30 am AEST.
After a decline in January (-10.9k), employment bounced back strongly in February (+64.6k) and remained strong in March (+53k), keeping the unemployment rate steady at 3.5% - at 50-year lows.
The market will seek evidence that the RBA’s aggressive interest rate hiking cycle is taking some heat out of a very hot labour market. Aware that another robust jobs report would increase the likelihood that the RBA raises its cash rate at its next meeting in June by 25bp to 4.10%.
Currently, the interest rate market sees ~ an 8% chance that the RBA will raise rates by 25 bp in June. However, as we learned from the May meeting, the RBA is unafraid to go against market pricing.
Australian unemployment rate chart
UK Unemployment data
Tuesday, May 16 at 4 pm AEST
Last month the unemployment rate in the UK increased by 0.1% to 3.8% in the quarter to February 2023. It was the highest level since the second quarter of 2022, providing preliminary evidence that a red-hot labour market is finally cooling.
The March employment report is expected to see the unemployment rate remain at 3.8%. However, a higher rate would go some way to putting the minds of a hawkish BoE at ease who expect the unemployment rate to “remain below 4% until the end of 2024, before rising over the second half of the forecast period to around 4½%.”
UK unemployment rate
Q1 2023 earnings reports
Earnings season continues with reports set to drop from companies including giant retailers Home Depot (May 16), Target (May 17), and Walmart (May 18).
According to FactSet, with 85% of the S&P 500 companies having reported, EPS growth is -2.2% YoY vs. -6.7% expected, and 79% of companies have beaten EPS expectations by an average of 7%.
All times shown in AEST (UTC+10) unless otherwise stated
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