China Bond Yield Hovers at 2.8%, Investors Remain Cautious
The yield on China's 10-year government bond hovered around 2.8% since mid-February, after touching two-year lows of 2.67% in January, as investors weigh signs of a slowing economy and prospects of a more aggressive tightening by the Federal Reserve. Partial or full lockdowns in several cities, including Beijing and Shanghai severely hurt consumer spending and disrupted industrial production. An ongoing property debt crisis and several defaults at developers including the Evergrande Group also added to concerns about the economic recovery, despite pledges for sustained support from the PBoC. At the same time, the Fed is set to tight monetary policy faster and the interest differential on Chinese and US government debt yields has narrowed, decreasing the appeal of buying riskier Chinese assets.
Madrid Stocks Edge Up
The Ibex 35 was trading slightly higher around 8,361 on Monday afternoon, tracking a cautious sentiment across international markets, amid fears of slowing global growth on the back of weaker-than-expected economic data from China. At the same time, the European Commission has announced that it lowered the euro area economic growth forecast for 2022 to 2.7% from February's forecast of 4%. Among single stocks, ArcelorMittal was leading the gains while IAG dragged the most.
Naphtha Struggles for Traction
Naphtha futures bottomed around the $920-per-tonne mark, now roughly 20% below a decade-high of $1,121.72 hit in early March, as bearish demand prospects offset supply concerns related to sanctions against Russia’s oil sector. China’s economy continued to struggle with lockdown measures in several cities, namely Shanghai, which accounts for about 4% of the nation’s oil consumption.
Heating Oil Eases Below $4
Heating oil futures traded below $4 a gallon, but remained not far from record levels seen at above $4.3 in March as traders assessed downside risks to oil demand and tight supplies. According to the EIA, domestic inventories of distillate fuels, which include heating oil and substitutes, shrank for the fifth time in a row in the week ending May 6th. Current levels are the lowest in 17 years, as refining capacity remained below pre-pandemic levels, and higher domestic and overseas demand drained stocks. Additionally, prospects that the EU could soon approve a Russian oil embargo strengthened the outlook for US heating oil exports.
Israel Inflation Rate at Near 11-Year High
Israel’s annual inflation rate rose to 4 percent in April of 2022, from 3.5 percent in the prior month and matching market forecasts, moving further away from the Bank of Israel’s annual target range for inflation of 1 percent to 3 percent. That was the highest rate since June of 2011, propelled by prices of transportation & communication (7 percent vs 5 percent in March); food (4.7 percent vs 4.8 percent); education, culture and entertainment (3.3 percent vs 2.8 percent) and housing (3.4 percent vs 3.3 percent).
On a monthly basis, consumer prices inched up by 0.8 percent, following a 0.6 percent increase in the prior month, in line with market estimates.
Italian Stocks Start Week Muted
The FTSE MIB index hovered around the flatline at the 24,050 level on Monday, as global recession fears offset strong performances in the energy and utilities sectors, while investors continued to digest corporate earnings results. Saipem and Tenaris were both over 3% higher, leading the energy sector as EU states continue to pressure Hungary to accept its flexible terms to the EU’s collective embargo on Russian oil. At the same time, Interpump Group shares surged over 6% following the manufacturer’s strong results for the first quarter. Still, tech stocks and the consumer discretionary goods sector booked declines, as Covid restrictions in China pressured industrial production and retail sales to fall, further spurring growth concerns. Nexi traded 2% lower, while Moncler fell more than 1%.
Turkey Budget Deficit Widens in March
Turkey's government deficit widened to TRY 50.1 billion in April 2022 from TRY 16.9 billion in the same month last year. Total expenditure surged to TRY 214.2 billion vs. TRY 110.7 billion a year ago as the country was in the midst of the slumping lira and jumping inflation, while revenues were set at TRY 116.1 billion compared to TRY 93.79 billion in April 2021.
Aluminum Prices Remain Under Pressure
Aluminum futures bottomed around the $2,800-per-tonne mark, down roughly 30% from their record peak touched in early March, as coronavirus-induced restrictions in top consumer China and the prospect of aggressive tightening from major central banks sparked concerns about weaker global growth hitting metals demand. Recent data from China exacerbate such a gloomy outlook, with the world's second-largest economy reporting that industrial output unexpectedly contracted in April. On top of that, soaring aluminum prices and disrupted exports from Russia helped Chinese smelters scale production to record levels. Once activity picked up, excess inventory would hit the global markets and pose a significant downside to prices.
Angola Inflation Rate Softens to 9-Month Low
Angola's annual inflation rate slowed to a nine-month low of 25.79% in April of 2022 from 27% in the previous month, helped by favourable currency movements. On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose 1.12%, the least since June of 2019, following a 1.56% rise in the previous month. Prices slowed mostly for food, beverages & tobacco (1.07% vs 1.74% in March); alcoholic beverages & tobacco (1.53% vs 1.68%); clothing & footwear (1.72% vs 1.93%), health (1.59% vs 1.80%) and transportation (0.73% vs 1.03%).
Russian Stocks Start Week Higher
The MOEX Russia Index was 1.4% higher at the 2,340 level on Monday, rebounding from the 3.6% slump in the previous week as investors continued to monitor the development of the sixth package of sanctions from the EU. Energy shares traded in the green, with Lukoil up 2.5% as reluctant states in the EU, mainly Hungary, continue to block the EU’s collective phase-out of Russian oil imports. Also, Gazprom traded 1.3% higher as flows through the Yamal pipeline remain restricted, after the Kremlin banned transactions between Gazprom and the pipeline’s polish owner, Europol Gaz, among other gas units in Europe. At the same time, the fertilizer sector booked sharp gains, with Acron and PhosAgro both gaining over 2.5% amid soaring world food prices. On the data front, Russian inflation climbed to a 20-year high of 17.8% in April, but the monthly increase came at 1.6%, significantly decelerating from the 7.6% surge in March.