Oil Remains Under Pressure
WTI crude futures bottomed around the $88-per-barrel mark, not far from an almost six-month low of $87 hit last week as concerns over a potential recession-driven demand downturn continued to hang over the market. Data released over the weekend showed that China, the world’s top crude importer, imported 9.5% less oil in July than a year ago as refiners continued to reduce inventories. Sour Chinese data followed US government figures last week, pointing to rising US crude inventories and declining gasoline demand. Still, upbeat US labor and Chinese export data helped ease some concerns about an imminent global recession.
Taiwan Trade Surplus Narrows Less than Expected
Taiwan's trade surplus narrowed to USD 5.03 billion in July of 2022 from USD 5.89 billion in the same month last year, compared to market expectations of USD 4.49 billion. Exports rose 14.2 percent from a year earlier to USD 43.32 billion, amid higher sales of machinery and electrical equipment (15.5 percent) and mineral products (123.4 percent). Among major destinations, sales advanced to China (6.1 percent) and the US (24.8 percent). Meanwhile, imports jumped by a faster 19.4 percent to USD 38.29 billion amid increased purchases of machinery and electrical equipment (11.1 percent). Imports advanced faster for China (9.8 percent) and the US (18.3 percent).
Indian Stocks at Near 4-Month High
The BSE Sensex added 460 points to close at a near four-month high of 58,850 on Monday, extending gains from the prior session with support from auto manufacturers. The bullish sentiment for equities was sparked as the marked downturn in prices of crude oil, one of India’s major imports, is set to ease pressures on the higher cost of living and spur demand for the country’s heavyweight auto sector. Mahindra & Mahindra was among the highest gainers of the session with a 3.3% jump, while Maruti Suzuki followed with a 1% advance. At the same time, financial stocks extended their rally as investors continued to assess the RBI’s expected 50bps rate hike on Friday. Bajaj Finzerv added nearly 3%, while Axis Bank closed 2.6%. higher. The BSE is closed on Tuesday for Muharram.
Silver Edges Higher
Silver futures hovered at the $20.1 per ounce mark, tracking other bullion to edge slightly higher amid lower risk-sentiment ahead of the US inflation reading this week. Still prices remained below the one-month high of $20.3 hit earlier in the month as strong labor data from the US compounded hawkish expectations for the Fed after multiple policymakers emphasized that bringing inflation down is a priority. The US economy added nearly 530 thousand jobs during July, more than double of analysts’ expectations, while the unemployment rate unexpectedly edged lower to 3.5%. The data led markets to consider a third consecutive 75bps rate hike in the Fed’s next meeting, driving investors away from bullion and to the US dollar.
Czech Trade Deficit Widens in June
The Czech trade deficit widened to CZK 12.1 billion in June of 2022 from CZK 8.7 billion in the corresponding month of the previous year. Exports rose 11.2 percent from a year ago to CZK 75.8 billion amid higher sales of manufacturing products (17 percent) and marine products (6 percent). Meantime, imports jumped at a faster 28.7 percent to CZK 106.8 billion, driven by purchases of fuels and lubricants (212 percent), industrial supplies (26 percent), and food & beverages (26 percent).
Greece Inflation Rate Eases from 1993-High
The annual inflation rate in Greece eased to 11.5 percent in July of 2022 from the 29-year high of 12.1 percent in the previous month. It was the first deceleration in consumer prices since the inflationary trend began in June of 2021, as costs rose at a slower rate for transportation (20.6 percent vs 25 percent in June), amid lower fuel and airfare prices, housing and utilities (30.8 percent vs 31.5 percent), as lower electricity costs offset the rise in natural gas, and clothing and footwear (3.4 percent vs 4.6 percent), due to more aggressive summer sales. On the other hand, the CPI rose faster for food and non-alcoholic beverages (13 percent vs 12.6 percent). On a monthly basis, consumer prices fell by 1.8 percent, the sharpest drop since January of 2019.
Steel Extends Upward Momentum
Steel rebar futures consolidated above the CNY 4,100-per-tonne mark, a level not seen in a month, on prospects of more robust demand. Demand has increased in July with buyers storing up volumes before the August summer holidays. On top of that, steel mill owners are slowly resuming production following a temporary halt amid squeezing margins. Still, keeping a lid on prices were lingering concerns about a potential global recession and China's property crisis.
Czech Unemployment Rate Above Expectations
The Czech unemployment rate rose to 3.3 percent in July of 2022 from 3.1 percent in the previous month, surpassing market expectations of 3.2 percent. It was the first monthly increase in the unemployment rate since January of this year, as the number of job seekers rose by 9.4 thousand from the prior month to 240.7 thousand individuals. Also, the number of vacancies fell by 6.2 thousand to 313.3 thousand. In July of the previous year, the unemployment rate was at 3.7 percent.
Palm Oil Rebounds Slightly
Malaysian palm oil futures regained ground above the MYR 4,000-per-tonne mark as bargain hunters took advantage of last week's massive decline to open new positions. On top of that, Indonesia's decision to lower its export tax threshold on crude palm oil lent further optimism to bulls. Still, fundamentals in the palm oil complex continue to be clouded by rising supplies from rival Indonesia and weak export demand from Malaysia. The world's top producer will allow exporters to ship nine times the amount sold domestically under the rule, up from seven times previously, attempting to clear the current high palm oil stockpiles and boost exports. Weak export demand from Malaysia is adding to the bearish outlook. According to cargo surveyors' data, exports of palm oil products from the world's second-largest producer for July rose by approximately 1% from the same period in June.
Hang Seng Snaps Three-Day Rally
Hong Kong shares snapped three sessions of gains on Monday, with benchmark Hang Seng pulling back from an over one-week peak to end below the 20,050 level dragged by technology stocks. Investors were rattled by headlines saying that Fitch Ratings noted that distress in the Chinese property market could lead to various effects extending beyond the sector. Meantime, Sino-US tensions mounted, with the White House saying that Beijing's actions around the Taiwan Strait were provocative. On the data front, China's trade surplus hit a fresh high in July, mainly due to a jump in exports, but was unable to lift sentiment amid worries that weakening global demand could drag on shipments in coming months. Shares of Country Garden Holdings and Alibaba Group Holding were among the top losers, down about 6.6% and 4.4%, respectively.