Consumer Sentiment Will Dampen Outlook
Corporate earnings are pretty much in line with expectations — where are stocks heading now? And what about the Congress-approved stimulus package, will that help the market this year? Also, with the rising Covid cases again in the US and China, how will this affect the two countries? Both countries have drastically low consumption. How much effect does one have to another? Lastly, will crude continue on the downtrend?
This podcast first appeared and originally published at https://www.bfm.my/podcast/morning-run/market-watch/consumer-sentiment-will-dampen-outlook on August 17, 2021.
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WSN: The business station BFM 89 nine good morning is 07:00 Tuesday, the 17 August and you’re listening to the morning run. I’m Wong Shou Ning and joining me in the studio this morning is Philip See. In the meantime, how are markets, Philip? Because I think it’s a bit of a red day.
PS: Yes, it was a red day, but actually the down SMP hit record higher up 3% other than the SEC was down 2%. Now if you cross over to Asia pack, it was also, as you said, a red day. Nikkei was down one 6% hunting negative 8%. Although in Shanghai marginally up zero 3%. Singapore was down 6%. Back home, a BNI interesting development went down quite a bit but recovered a bit to basically just be down 2% yeah.
WSN: Actually, I would have to say the LCI did better than expectations. The ring it actually initially weakened, but it’s somewhat recovered to the US dollar 4.2370. The currencies are always the first thing that gets hit, but against the pound is 5.8651 and against the sin dollar is 3.1250. Whether there’ll be continued weakness over the next two days is going to be a question Mark. We have to bear in mind that foreign are holding for equities is probably an all time low at 20%. Something will be asking Alexander Chia, regional head of research at RHB at 915 later on this morning.
So do tune in. But in the meantime, we’re going to find out where global markets are hidden with Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence. Good Morning Tony, thanks for speaking to us again. Now, US markets, despite a bit of a wobbly start, they seem to recover. They’re at their peaks and corporate earnings pretty much in line with expectations, although this week I think it’s going to be a heavy week for earnings. Now, which direction do you think stocks are set to trade ahead of the fat minutes that are supposed to be out this week?
TN: Well, ahead of the minutes. I think we’ll continue to see more of the same. The Fed is really in charge of markets now. We’ve seen earnings come in really stellar over the last few weeks, and we’ll continue to see that for ’23, ’22 earnings. But we’re expecting three earnings really to come in a little flat. We’ve started to see some people say that their revenues are down and to issue some earning warnings. I wouldn’t say before Wednesday, but I would say over the next few weeks we expect to see more rotations going on. We’ve seen rotations away from tech over the last few weeks and we expect to see some defensive rotation in the next couple of weeks, consumer cyclicals utilities, consumer staples, utilities, health care and so on.
PS: Do you think the stimulus packages that were approved by Congress will add a bit of steam going forward?
TN: Well, I think the infrastructure package is going to take ten years, really, that’s going to be spent over a decade. They’re going to claim that it’s going to be spent quickly, but it can’t really. And plus, it’s less than half a trillion dollars or something like that. So that money trickled out over ten years or something. I think there’s a rule of thumb for infrastructure is in. It has a 1.6 times economic impact. So let’s say it was 300 or $500 billion. It would be 1.5 times that impact on the economy.
So it will have a decent impact. It will just be spent over a protracted period of time. There are the budget cap battles coming up over the next two to three months in the US. So there’s a real expectation that a lot of the stimulus that the Congress has planned may not necessarily be approved because of the budget cap discussions that are coming up.
WSN: Meanwhile, Tony, I want to look at the relationship between US and China because we do know that the China themselves are battling the Covid crisis again and the recovery the data seems to be faltering in terms of how strong the economy is. How related are both these countries?
TN: Yeah. The worrying part about China right now, of course, COVID and a lot of the issues there. But we’re also seeing ports really start to really slow down. A lot of the throughput factories slow down, and it’s really concerning. So despite the red upgrades we’ve seen over the last several years about the US and China, they are really important trade partners, and their economies are really, really tied. So when we see a dramatic slowdown in China that affects everybody in Asia, it affects the US. When you see a slowdown in the US, it affects China. It affects Europe. So we don’t want to see a slowdown in China, seeing the resurgence of COVID and the impact on the economy. There is not good for anybody. Least of all US.
And so we still have a lot of supply chain issues globally, partly owing two COVID slowdown in China, Japan, Korea, elsewhere. Right. So we don’t want to see this. We will see restrictions in the US, not code restrictions, but restrictions to supply chains because of issues coming out of China again. And so this is bad all around. And we want China to succeed. Everyone wants China to succeed. So they’re in a boat together.
PS: But, yeah, in a double whammy. Right. China consumptions spent sentiment is at an all time low. And also US consumption sentiment is also registering a drastic drop in August. What does this mean for the US dollar and treasuries?
TN: No. Right. So with the US, we have inflationary pressure. We have pressure, workforce pressure. It’s been hard to fill spots. And companies we also have the central government stimulus is wearing off. And so with all three of those things happening, it’s a really rough period for consumers. And for companies. So we had what’s called the New York Fed Manufacturing Index come in today and excel from a a month reading is 43. This month’s reading is 18. Anything above zero is grow. So it’s still growing, but it’s slowed down dramatically. Companies, manufacturing companies are seeing things slow down. This is because of things like new orders. Slowing down. Shipments are slowing down. Orders that are on hold are rising. Consumers and manufacturers have started to feel it dramatically in August.
WSN: Okay. And the other thing we want to ask you about is oil, which is related to consumer behavior. I have noticed that Brent crude is $69 a barrel. WTI dropped to $67 per barrel. It’s been three days of declines. What are your expectations in terms of all prices? Is this the beginning of a downward trend?
TN: We’ve included is kind of range trading for a few months. I think just today, OPEC announced that they’re going to deny Biden’s request to increase their output because of peer pressure and all prices. So we think that Cuba bounce between saying mid 60s and the 70s somewhere in that range for quite some time. If we do see things and trying to get worse, if we do see more coded lockdowns and restrictions, and of course, we see downside there. I’m hoping, although the rate of recovery is slowing down, our hope is that it stays positive.
Okay, that way will contingency pressure on cure prices, but it will be in a range because OPEC still have something like 6 million barrels a day sitting on the sidelines, so they can always come in to add additional resources to reduce prices if needed.
WSN: All right. Thank you for your time. That was Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence, BFM 89.9.