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2018 reaches a climax - APAC brief 17 Dec

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MaxIG

Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia

2018 reaches a climax this week: It’s effectively the last serious trading week of the year, and the economic calendar reflects that. Indeed, there’ll be a handful of days between Christmas and New Years to keep across, but with little news and thin trade, it’s tough to imagine anything coming out of them. The markets are still ailing, with the bears firmly in control of price action. There’s so many risk-events coming up this week, traders with a bearish bias are surely salivating. They did well to knock-off US equities in the final round of last week: the S&P500’s 1.9 per cent loss on Friday ensured another down-week for Wall Street. How this year is remembered and how next year will begin will in no small way be revealed in the next 5 days: if you’re a financial markets buff, it’s exciting stuff.

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Economic data: Concerns about future global economic growth tightened its grip on market participants last week. A slew of fundamental data was released across numerous geographies on Friday, and most of it was quite underwhelming. European PMIs undershot expectations, probably attributable in a big way to the impact of being caught in the middle of several domestic political crises and the US-China trade war. US Retail Sales data printed very slightly above expectations, to the relief of many, showing that the almighty US consumer is holding up well – at least for the time being. But it was a very soft set of Chinese numbers that had the pessimists tattling: the spate of economic indicators released out of China on Friday afternoon proved once more it’s an economy that is slowing down – and hardly in a negligible way.

Recession chatter: Market commentary is continually focused on what prospect exists of a looming US recession. Financial markets, as distorted as they have become, do not necessarily possess strong predictive power of economic slow-downs. Nevertheless, your pundits and punters have taken a significant preoccupation with whether 2019 will contain a global recession. The signs are there, at least in some intuitive way. A google trends search on the term recession has spiked to its highest point 5 years, for one. Bond markets are still flashing amber signals: the yield curve is inverting, and US break evens are predicting lower inflation. Equities are still moving into correction mode, demonstrating early signs of a possible bear market. Credit spreads are trending wider, especially in junk bonds, as traders fret about the US corporate debt load. And commodities prices are falling overall, with even oil still suffering, on the belief that we are entering a period of lower global demand.

2.jpg

Economic data: Concerns about future global economic growth tightened its grip on market participants last week. A slew of fundamental data was released across numerous geographies on Friday, and most of it was quite underwhelming. European PMIs undershot expectations, probably attributable in a big way to the impact of being caught in the middle of several domestic political crises and the US-China trade war. US Retail Sales data printed very slightly above expectations, to the relief of many, showing that the almighty US consumer is holding up well – at least for the time being. But it was a very soft set of Chinese numbers that had the pessimists tattling: the spate of economic indicators released out of China on Friday afternoon proved once more it’s an economy that is slowing down – and hardly in a negligible way.

Recession chatter: Market commentary is continually focused on what prospect exists of a looming US recession. Financial markets, as distorted as they have become, do not necessarily possess strong predictive power of economic slow-downs. Nevertheless, your pundits and punters have taken a significant preoccupation with whether 2019 will contain a global recession. The signs are there, at least in some intuitive way. A google trends search on the term recession has spiked to its highest point 5 years, for one. Bond markets are still flashing amber signals: the yield curve is inverting, and US break evens are predicting lower inflation. Equities are still moving into correction mode, demonstrating early signs of a possible bear market. Credit spreads are trending wider, especially in junk bonds, as traders fret about the US corporate debt load. And commodities prices are falling overall, with even oil still suffering, on the belief that we are entering a period of lower global demand.

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ASX in the day ahead: There are signs a general risk aversion is clouding the ASX to begin the week. SPI futures are pricing a 32-point drop for the Australian market this morning, which if realized will take ASX200 index through last Tuesday’s closing price at 5576. There has been the tendency for the market to overshoot what’s been implied on the futures contract of late, as fear and volatility galvanizes the sellers in the market. This being so, a new test of last week’s low of 5549 could emerge today, opening-up the possibility for the market to register a fresh two-year low. On balance, the day ahead looks as though it may belong to the bears, with perhaps the best way to judge the session’s trade by assessing the conviction behind the selling. Although it appears the less likely outcome, a bounce today and hold above 5600 would signify demonstrable resilience in the market.

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