Chinese GDP fell below the 7% target for the first time since Q2 2009 and whilst higher than expected,….
declining sentiment put downward pressure on most asset classes last week. Combined with weaker Chinese industrial production and a stronger USD, commodities have given back most of their recent gains.
Stocks fell early last week before rebounding on the expectation of further stimulus from the European Central Bank by the end of 2015 and on the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) rate and reserve requirement ratio cut last Friday. Although the PBOC decision took the market by surprise, and initially buoyed sentiment, uncertainty surrounding the outlook for growth could weigh on sentiment for the coming week.
Softer Chinese economy weighs on commodities. Although above market expectations, China GDP for Q3 fell below the Chinese government 7% target for 2015. Combined with lower-than-expected industrial production and a stronger USD, commodities fell by 1.8% last week, giving back most of their previous weeks’ gains. Gold slipped 1.5%, closing at US$1,167/oz. on Thursday, 0.7% below its 200-day moving average while large increase in US inventories weighed on the price of WTI, down 2.2%. Coffee plunged 10% over the past week on lower beans quality in Columbia and rain in Brazil while sugar rose 3% on strong China imports in September. Although the past three weeks saw what looked like a bear rally, commodities came under pressure again last week. We expect that continued global demand combined with further production cuts will eventually ease pressure on many commodities.
Already buoyant stocks to increase risk appetite. Global stocks started last week negatively as Chinese economic growth slowed for the third consecutive quarter in Q3. While major equity indices rebounded on Thursday following the ECB meeting, China’s central bank unexpectedly cut its lending rates to 4.35% last Friday. This is the 6th time China’s central bank has cut rates since November 2014 with investors split on whether this is a good or bad sign. MSCI China A Index closed last Friday trading day up 1.5% while the EuroStoxx 50 rallied 2.5% on Thursday as ECB president Draghi indicated that they will be ready to act if China slowdown becomes a threat to the ECB efforts in supporting the Eurozone recovery. Stocks in the US also performed strongly last week on overall better-than-expected Q3 earnings among the 172 companies (35%) that have reported earnings so far.
The PBOC cut rates while ECB kept rates unchanged. The European Central Bank’s (ECB) appears ready to provide more stimulus, putting downward pressure on the Euro. We expect further weakness, particularly against the USD. Meanwhile, the PBOC cut its one-year lending rate by 25bps and the Reserve Requirement Ratio (RRR) by 50bps in response to falling domestic growth, dropping below the 7% target for 2015. The PBOC has however more room to support the Chinese economy and further declines in the CNY can’t be ruled out if it implements more aggressive monetary policy. While the PBOC cut its rate, a rate rise is still on the cards for the FED this year. Strong home sales and job data in the US lent support to the USD, up 2.1%, and this week’s FOMC meeting will be closely watched for clues as to the trigger for a rate hike.