Futures Slide, Commodities Tumble On Chinese Covid Protests
US stock futures, and the entire risk complex tumbled on Monday amid growing concerns that China's economic reopening will not only be a disaster but will also be accompanied by violence following protests against Covid restrictions over the weekend. The entire risk complex was sharply lower, with S&P 500 futures down 0.7% as of 7:30 a.m. ET, trading just around 4,000 having dropped as much as 1% earlier, while Nasdaq 100 futures fell 0.9%. Crude crashed to $74, the lowest price since December 2021, while Asian stocks and the yuan plunged. Cryptos also slumped while the dollar and Treasuries ceded earlier gains that were fueled by investors’ dash to safety; the 10Y was last trading at 3.67%.
Among individual movers in premarket trading, Apple fell as much as 1.3% following a report that the turmoil at a key Chinese factory could lead to a production shortfall of close to 6 million iPhone Pro units this year. Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks declined, mirroring a fall in the price of Bitcoin. Bank stocks were also lower, putting them on track to snap a five-session winning streak. In corporate news, C.S. Venkatakrishnan, CEO at Barclays, has a form of lymphoma and will undergo treatment for several months. A survey of finance workers has found that some employees are ignoring return-to-work mandates, the latest sign of the challenges firms face in encouraging staff back to the office. Here are the other notable premarket movers:
Chinese shares listed in the US declined in premarket trading, with major internet stocks bearing the brunt of a selloff triggered by nationwide protests against Beijing’s Covid Zero policies. Alibaba Group fell 1.5%, JD.com slipped 2%; shares of electric car makers Nio and Li Auto also declined.
Talkspace shares surge 50% following a report in Israeli newspaper Calcalist that telehealth company American Well is in talks to buy the online therapy platform for ~$1.50 per share, representing a 150% premium to its last closing price.
Univar shares jump 11% as analysts say that Brenntag’s plans to acquire its US rival raise questions about the size of any deal and potential implications for an equity raise by the German chemicals distributor.
Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks decline, mirroring a fall in the price of Bitcoin, as worries over unrest in China and the country’s reopening weigh on risky assets. Coinbase -2.2%, Riot Blockchain -2.3%, Marathon Digital -2.2%
Keep an eye on Macau-exposed gaming stocks like Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands (LVS US), Melco Resorts (MLCO US) and MGM Resorts (MGM US) as Wynn Macau and MGM China climbed in Hong Kong, leading gains among six Macau casino operators that were awarded new licenses to continue running their businesses in the gambling hub.
Beyond Meat drops 2.9% and Tyson falls 2.1% as both stocks were cut to underweight from equal-weight at Barclays. which says that the majority of protein companies are facing a difficult outlook.
Activision Blizzard shares gained 1.3% after being upgraded to overweight from equal-weight at Wells Fargo. The video game developer is undervalued regardless of the outcome of the Microsoft merger deal, the broker says
Watch shares in online retailers like Amazon.com, Etsy, Shopify, EBay as analysts say that promotions during the Black Friday weekend were higher than last year. The discounts prompt a focus on any impact to retailers’ margins, though some are hoping that the promotions will have been enough to lure in shoppers and help boost sales.
Keep an eye on Williams-Sonoma shares as Morgan Stanley downgrades the home furnishings retailer to underweight from equal-weight, saying that earnings revisions could turn “sharply negative” in 2023.
Watch Live Nation as its stock was raised to buy from neutral at Citi, with analyst Jason Bazinet saying the risk-reward on the ticket-selling platform is now “more reasonable.”
As reported last night, global investor sentiment was hammered after news of the worsening protests affecting cities including Shanghai and Beijing. The latest developments contrast with reports earlier this month that China was toning down its Covid Zero curbs, which had sparked a rally in equities. Modest customer traffic and heavy discounting by American retailers on Black Friday also added to the downbeat tone.
"This latest wave of China’s pandemic could disturb global supply chains again, as did the previous wave earlier this year -- that could be inflationary,” analysts at Yardeni Research wrote in a note. “The recent stock market rally on hopes that the government will ease Covid restrictions is running out of steam.”
Coming off weekly gains amid bets that the Federal Reserve will scale back interest rate hikes, US stock indexes are looking to cap their second straight month of gains, paring this year’s selloff on concerns over tighter monetary policy and the possibility of a recession. Echoing Michael Wilson's call, Deutsche Bank strategists said they also expect the bear market rally to continue into the first quarter of 2023, but that the risk of an economic contraction will hammer equities in the third quarter. Goldman strategists Christian Mueller-Glissmann and Cecilia Mariotti also said US stocks are in for a wild ride next year as they don’t yet reflect the possibility of a recession.
Oil tumbled to the lowest level since December as a wave of unrest in China punished risk assets and clouded the outlook for energy demand, adding to the stresses in an already-volatile global crude market
In Europe, the Stoxx 50 dropped 0.7%, the UK's FTSE 100 outperforming peers, dropping 0.3%; Stoxx 600 lags, dropping 0.9%. Energy, real estate and retailers are the worst performing sectors. European energy stocks led declines in Stoxx 600 index on Monday as oil slid to the lowest level since December amid growing protests in China against Covid restrictions, with investors worrying about economic activity and demand for raw materials. The Stoxx Energy sub-index fell 1.8% as of 8:38 a.m. in London, though is still up almost 26% year to date. Here are the biggest European movers:
Elior rises as much as 6.7% as Bryan Garnier says a deal where it increases its share capital in exchange for the control of Derichebourg’s multi-services division will boost the French catering company’s earnings-per-share numbers.
AB-InBev shares rise as much as 4.5%, outperforming the Stoxx 600 Food, Beverage & Tobacco index (-0.3%), after JPMorgan downgraded the company to overweight.
Jet2 Plc rises as much as 4.6% after Stifel raises its price target on expectations that the carrier will “keep delivering profitable market share gains, whatever the economic weather.”
Leonardo advances in Milan, as much as 2.8%, after the companies said late on Friday that the Brazilian Army chose the Centauro II armored vehicle made by Iveco and Oto Melara as “top of the list” within a procurement process.
Brenntag shares drop as much as 10.6%, the most intraday since November 2015, after analysts said that plans to acquire US rival Univar raise questions about the size of any deal and potential implications for an equity raise by the German chemicals distributor.
Persimmon shares fall as much as 4.1% as UBS cuts the UK homebuilder to sell from neutral, saying the group is “losing its mojo.”
Evotec drops as much as 3.8% after RBC cut its price target for the German pharmaceutical firm, citing the risk of the company missing its guidance for 2022 Ebitda.
Aryzta shares fall as much as 3.3%. ZKB notes volume growth slowed somewhat more than expected even as the baker made a strong start to the new financial year as it performs well in the inflationary environment.
The building materials sector will be a “stockpicker’s dream” in 2023, Exane BNP says in a note downgrading its ratings on Kingspan, Rockwool and Travis Perkins.
Earlier in the session, Asian stocks fell as growing protests in China over pandemic restrictions and an advance in the dollar hurt demand for risk assets. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined as much as 1.7% before paring losses by more than half. Gauges in Hong Kong briefly tumbled more than 4% as citizens in major Chinese cities took to the streets to express anger over Covid curbs, complicating the path to reopening. Adding to pressures on regional shares, the dollar advanced earlier in the session amid worries about growth in the Chinese economy. Equity benchmarks in South Korea and Taiwan fell more than 1%, with the latter also hurt by the ruling party’s resounding defeat in island-wide local elections.
“The government, in order to survive, must crack down on any protests,” and this creates a lot of uncertainty, emerging markets investor Mark Mobius told Bloomberg Television, referring to developments in China. But “you can’t go much lower than we already are -- maybe a 5% or 10%” correction in China stocks is likely, he added. Gauges in China and Hong Kong pared losses during afternoon trading as some bets emerged that the social unrest may accelerate an exit from Covid Zero restrictions. Monday’s declines trimmed the Asian stock benchmark’s November gain to about 12%, but it’s still poised for its best month since 2009. In terms of catalysts, traders are looking ahead to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s speech Wednesday for clues about the central bank’s next policy decision.
Japanese equities also fell amid a broad selloff in the region as unrest in China damped investor sentiment. The Topix Index fell 0.7% to 2,004.31 as of market close Tokyo time, while the Nikkei declined 0.4% to 28,162.83. Toyota Motor Corp. contributed the most to the Topix Index decline, decreasing 1%. Out of 2,164 stocks in the index, 663 rose and 1,417 fell, while 84 were unchanged. “Protests against the Covid Zero policy have two sides,” said Shoji Hirakawa, chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute. “If the protests spread further it will be a negative factor, but if the policy changes, it will become a positive factor.”
Bucking the global trend, Indian stocks climbed to a new life-time high, with weaker crude oil prices and robust foreign purchases helping local shares to feature among top performers in major Asian markets. The S&P BSE Sensex advanced 0.3% to close at 62,504.80 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index was higher by an equal measure. The Sensex gained for a fifth day, extending this year’s gains to more than 7% and overtaking a 6.6% jump in the Jakarta Stock Exchange Composite Index. The rally in local shares has come on the back of easing commodity prices, with Brent plunging almost 15% so far this month to its lowest since early January. Foreign investors have also turned buyers of Indian shares, purchasing local equities worth $3 billion so far in November. The surge of Indian stock indexes to new peaks is a function of multiple factors, such as resilient corporate earnings, robust tax collections and a dip in retail inflation, according to Pankaj Pandey, head of research at ICICIdirect. With a drop of about 20% in crude oil prices in the last fortnight, inflation could ease further going forward, said Pandey, who has a 12-month target of 20,000 for the Nifty index.
In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gave up an earlier gain as the yen rallied by more than 1% against the dollar to touch 137.50. The euro and the Swiss franc also outperformed the greenback, while Commodity currencies, led by the Australian dollar, were the worst Group-of-10 performers.
In rates, Treasuries were narrowly mixed with the curve continuing to flatten, inverted by -80bp and pivoting around a little-changed 10-year yield, amid weakness in oil prices including YTD low for WTI crude futures. 10-year earlier declined as much as 5.9bp to lowest since Oct. 5 as WTI crude futures fell 3.5% on unrest in China; 5- and 3-year yields also declined to lowest levels since early October. Inverted 2s10s curve reached -81.1bp, a new cycle low; flattening trend has support from bigger-than-average index duration extension in month-end rebalancing. Most euro-zone 10-year yields are 3bp-8bp higher on the day. Italian government bonds underperformed bunds. European focus is on ECB speakers including President Christine Lagarde. Gilt curve bear-steepens with 2s10s narrowing 3.8bps. Bund and Treasury bear-flatten. Peripheral spreads are mixed to Germany; Italy widens, Spain widens and Portugal tightens.
In commodities, oil tumbled to the lowest level since December as a wave of unrest in China punished risk assets and clouded the outlook for energy demand, adding to the stresses in an already-volatile global crude market. WTI drifts 2.9% lower to trade near $74.05. Brent falls 3.1% near $81.06. Base metals are mixed; LME copper falls 0.3% while LME lead gains 0.6%. Spot gold rises roughly $6 to trade near $1,761/oz. BHP reached an accord with a union to avoid a strike at the Escondida mine in Chile. And W&T Offshore Inc. is among the most active resources stocks in premarket trading, falling 4%. Crude futures decline. Here’s a look at the news that may drive trading in North American resources stocks today:
West Texas Intermediate sank toward $74 a barrel following three weeks of losses, while Brent traded around $81. Protests over harsh anti-virus curbs erupted across the world’s largest crude importer over the weekend, including demonstrations in Beijing and Shanghai, spurring a broad sell-off in commodities as the week opened.
Commodities tumbled as China’s Covid outbreak worsened and a series of stunning street protests in cities across the nation threaten to derail economic activity and sap demand for energy, food and raw materials.
At least $25.7 billion of clean-energy factories are in the works, and the jobs they generate are winning over more Americans to solar, batteries and EVs.
Gold rose, erasing earlier declines, as traders weigh growing unrest in China over Covid restrictions and await key US economic data for its bearing on Federal Reserve policy.
Looking at today's calendar, it is a relatively quiet day with just the Dallas Fed manufacturing survey on deck.
S&P 500 futures down 0.7% to 4,004.75
MXAP down 0.6% to 153.18
MXAPJ down 1.1% to 488.71
Nikkei down 0.4% to 28,162.83
Topix down 0.7% to 2,004.31
Hang Seng Index down 1.6% to 17,297.94
Shanghai Composite down 0.7% to 3,078.55
Sensex up 0.4% to 62,571.65
Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.4% to 7,229.14
Kospi down 1.2% to 2,408.27
STOXX Europe 600 down 0.8% to 437.11
German 10Y yield little changed at 1.97%
Euro up 0.5% to $1.0450
Brent Futures down 2.9% to $81.23/bbl
Gold spot up 0.4% to $1,761.51
U.S. Dollar Index down 0.32% to 105.62
Top Asian News
Chair Jerome Powell is expected to this week cement expectations that the Federal Reserve will slow its pace of interest-rates increases next month, while reminding Americans that its fight against inflation will run into 2023
A sense of chaos and uncertainty swept through Chinese markets on Monday as growing protests against Covid curbs and a record number of infections complicated the nation’s path to reopening
The protests that erupted against China’s Covid Zero strategy represent one of the most significant challenges to Communist Party rule since the Tiananmen crisis more than 30 years ago. How Xi Jinping responds to it may end up being just as pivotal for the country’s future
Australia has a stronger probability of bringing its economy in for a “soft landing” than almost any other developed- world counterpart, Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe said, citing the nation’s still-contained wage growth
ECB Governing Council member Klaas Knot said risks to the outlook for consumer prices are still skewed to the upside, despite the euro area facing a recession
Egypt’s newly flexible currency is still too tame for a market that’s bracing for more disruption ahead
The Bank of Japan should conduct a review of policy under a new leadership from next year to make it more flexible, according to former board member Sayuri Shirai, who has been floated as a possible candidate for deputy governor
A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk
APAC stocks traded mostly lower with risk appetite sapped by the ongoing COVID-related issues in China where a fresh record number of daily infections were reported and with public unrest brewing after hundreds of people protested throughout the weekend in several major cities including Beijing and Shanghai. ASX 200 was lower with energy leading the declines after oil prices slumped to YTD lows and with sentiment also mired by the surprise contraction in Australian Retail Sales. Nikkei 225 trickled closer towards the 28,000 level with some utility names hit after reports that Japan’s FTC will issue a record fine on three regional power companies for antitrust violations. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were pressured as the PBoC’s recent 25bps RRR cut was overshadowed by the COVID situation in China and with tech also hit after US FCC banned equipment authorisations for Chinese telecommunications and video surveillance equipment deemed to pose a threat to national security, although casino names outperformed after Macau renewed the licences of the six existing operators.
Top Asian News
Hundreds of demonstrators conducted protests in cities including Beijing and Shanghai to express their discontent against China’s strict COVID measures, while the protests have so far lasted for 3 days, according to BBC and Reuters.
China’s Shenzhen announced to limit restaurants and other indoor venues to 50% occupancy and said new arrivals to the city will be barred from entering venues such as theatres and gyms for the first 3 days as part of COVID measures, while it also asked the public to work from home, according to Reuters.
Goldman Sachs said China could end its zero-COVID policy before April and earlier than widely expected with some chance of a “disorderly” exit, although it still sees a Q2 exit from zero-COVID as most likely with around a 60% chance.
Beijing has vowed to curb rapid increase in COVID cases, according to an official; Guangzhou is to resume public transportation in locked down areas, according to an official.
China is set to ease rules on developer bond state guarantees, according to Bloomberg.
US FCC banned equipment authorisations for Chinese telecommunications and video surveillance equipment deemed to pose a threat to national security, while the list of companies deemed to pose a threat includes Huawei, ZTE (763 HK) and Hytera Communications (002583 CH), according to Reuters.
US Space Force chief said the rapid progress of China's military capabilities poses a growing risks to US superiority in outer space, according to Sky News Arabia and Reuters.
Taiwan’s ruling DPP conceded defeat in the key Taipei mayoral election and Taiwanese President Tsai resigned as chairwoman of the ruling party following poor local election results but rejected an offer from Premier Su Tseng-chang to resign. Furthermore, the Chinese government said that the local Taiwan elections showed the mainstream opinion on the island is for peace, stability and a good life, while it will keep working with Taiwan’s people to promote peaceful relations and firmly oppose Taiwan independence, according to Reuters.
South Korean Transport Ministry is to meet with the striking truckers’ union on Monday, according to an official cited by Reuters.
Cash bourses in Europe hold the downside bias seen across APAC stocks overnight which emanated from China reporting a record increase in COVID cases, whilst social unrest in the country made the headlines over the weekend; Euro Stoxx 50 -0.7%. European sectors are in a sea of red and portraying no overarching bias, although some of the defensive sectors are slightly more cushioned than most peers. In early European hours, the ES (-0.9%) gave up the 4,000 level while slight underperformance is present in the tech-laden NQ (-1.0%), as participants look for month-end flows ahead of the US jobs report at the end of the week. Apple (AAPL) is poised to lose 6mln iPhone Pros from the unrest at its Chinese plant, according to Bloomberg. Shipments of smartphones within China declined 4.6% Y/Y to 19.84mln handsets in Sept, according to CAICT.
Top European News
UK PM Sunak is facing a rebellion from the ruling Conservative party as they seek to force the government to drop the ban on new onshore windfarms, according to Bloomberg.
UK housing market stalled in October with house price growth slowing to its lowest quarterly level since February 2020 amid a disastrous mini-budget and the cost of living crisis, according to Reuters citing data from Zoopla.
All EU market participant will have to hold "active accounts" at EU clearing houses for "systemically important" financial products, via Reuters citing an EU draft document.
ECB's Knot says underlying inflation trends are worrisome, risks to the inflation forecast are entirely tilted to the upside.
ECB's Kazimir says there is a growing risk of a recession in the Eurozone, hikes will continue despite unfavourable economic developments.
Dollar downed as risk aversion favours Yen and others, while month end rebalancing models signal broad selling requirement, DXY under 200 DMA and 105.500, USD/JPY eyeing 137.50
Euro through near term resistance vs Buck around 1.0450 and 100 DMA against the Pound on RHS flow for Wednesday
Aussie underperforms after weaker than forecast final retail sales and in sympathy with the Yuan on more Chinese CVOID contagion; AUD/USD heavy on 0.6700 handle, USD/CNH probes 7.2500 before pullback
Loonie and Nokkie undermined by collapse in crude prices, as USD/CAD rebounds through 1.3400 and EUR/NOK beyond 10.3500
PBoC set USD/CNY mid-point at 7.1617 vs exp. 7.1695 (prev. 7.1339)
Haven bid in bonds fades as Bunds retreat over 100 ticks from 141.42 Eurex peak, Gilts towards 107.00 after matching last Friday's 107.66 high and T-note between 113-17/113-02+ parameters.
BTPs underperform within wide 120.26-118.87 extremes on domemstic supply grounds.
WTI and Brent Jan futures have been under pressure since the reopening of futures trading, with Brent beneath USD 82/bbl for the first time since January (80.61-83.93/bbl daily range) and WTI printing a YTD low (73.60-76.49/bbl range) after Chinese daily COVID infections rose by a fresh record
Spot gold has been gaining in tandem with the losses in the US Dollar with the yellow metal gaining above USD 1,750/oz but still under November's high of around USD 1,786/oz.
Base metals are mixed, with the initial China-induced downside overnight somewhat trimmed/cancelled out by a slide in the USD, with 3M LME copper trading on either side of USD 8,000/t.
US Treasury Department is to issue a licence to allow Chevron to import Venezuelan crude oil to the US, while the licences will allow Chevron to take part in oil activities in Venezuela that were previously banned by the US and also permit them to send products to Venezuela needed to refine heavy crude into exportable grades. Furthermore, the licence is time-limited to 6 months and can be revoked if President Maduro does not negotiate in good faith or follow through on commitments, according to Reuters.
Iraq’s SOMO said the OPEC+ cut decision in October didn’t decrease Iraq’s crude exports and the decision to cut helps maintain market stability. Iraq also stated that it produces 11% of total OPEC+ output and noted that the upcoming meeting will take into account current market conditions, while it sees oil prices to range USD 85-95/bbl next year, according to Reuters. It was also reported that Iraq’s OPEC representative said the country will increase oil capacity by 150k-250k BPD by 2023 and that Iraq will add 1mln-1.5mln BPD of oil export capacity by 2025.
Kuwait’s KPIC shipped the first shipment of aviation jet fuel from the Al Zour refinery to UAE and Oman.
BP’s (BP/ LN) Rotterdam refinery is resuming some operations after being idle for a week amid a pay dispute with workers, according to Reuters.
Norway’s Gassco decreased the unplanned gas outage impact at fields delivering into Segal which was revised to a decline of 12.0 MCM/day from a decline of 14.9 MCM/day, according to Reuters.
UAE's ADNOC is reportedly to cut 5% of December's crude oil supply to some term-lifters in Asia, citing the operational tolerance clause, via Reuters citing sources; but, will provide full contractual volumes for January.
Russian Defence Ministry said nine Russian prisoners of war were released as part of a prisoner exchange with Ukraine on Saturday, according to Reuters citing Russian news agencies.
Energoatom President said there have been signs in recent weeks that Russians may be preparing to leave the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, according to Pravda.
UK military intelligence said Russia is likely removing nuclear warheads from ageing nuclear cruise missiles and firing unarmed munitions at Ukraine which highlights a depletion in its stock of missiles, according to Reuters.
UK PM Sunak said Britain will stand with Ukraine for as long as needed and will maintain or increase military aid to Ukraine next year, while he also stated that Britain needs to stand up to competitors 'not with grand rhetoric but with robust pragmatism', according to Reuters.
Senior Ukrainian government sources inform Mapl+ that Moscow is "ready to withdraw some heavy equipment such as tanks and artillery", according to Mail's Franey. In the context of the Zaporizhzhia plant
North Korean leader Kim ordered to promote officials and scientists responsible for nuclear forces and said that building the nuclear force is the most important cause, while their ultimate goal is to possess the world’s most powerful strategic force. Kim added that recent ICBM launches demonstrated their firm resolution and decisive ability to build the world’s strongest army, while its new ICBM clearly proved that North Korea is a full-fledged nuclear power and can withstand the supremacy of the US. Furthermore, Kim said scientists have made a ‘wonderful leap forward’ in technology for mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles and should continue to expand and strengthen the nuclear deterrent at an extraordinary pace, according to KCNA.
US Event Calendar
10:30: Nov. Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, est. -22.0, prior -19.4
12:00: Fed’s Williams Speaks to the Economic Club of New York
12:00: Fed’s Bullard Takes Part in MarketWatch Live Event
DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap
As we start a new week that will introduce us to December, the big story over the weekend has been the unrest in China around the handling of Covid restrictions with multiple protests and demonstrations reported across the country on mainstream and social media. This seems to be the most serious of President Xi's decade long tenure. In terms of Covid-19 cases, the ongoing outbreak remains elevated as the nation reported a record high of 40,052 local cases on Sunday up from 39,506 a day earlier.
The story is dominating Asian markets this morning. As I type, the Hang Seng (1.98%) is leading losses with the CSI (-1.58%) and the Shanghai Composite (1.03%) also sliding. Elsewhere, the KOSPI (-0.95%) and the Nikkei (-0.52%) are also weak. Outside of Asia, DM stock futures are also soft with contracts on the S&P 500 (-0.65%), the NASDAQ 100 (-0.83%) and the DAX (-0.50%) all lower. Meanwhile, 10yr USTs yields (-5.16 bps) have moved sharply lower for an overnight session trading at 3.63% with the 2s10s curve further inverting to -80.37 bps as we go to press. Elsewhere, oil prices are also lower in early Asian trade with Brent Crude (-2.79%) t $81.30/bbl and WTI (-2.95%) $74.02/bbl as demand fears from China are back in focus.
Over in the US, initial Black Friday weekend retail sales numbers are coming through. For example Adobe have said that Americans spent a record $9.12 billion online this Black Friday. The $9.12 billion figure is up 2.3% from previous year’s $8.92 billion and $9.03 billion in 2020. Clearly with inflation running between 7-9% this year that could be seen as a spending recession depending on how you want to spin it. Today is the usually very busy Cyber Monday so we’ll see what that brings.
Looking forward to the week now, it’s a big few days for US employment data, building to a crescendo with payrolls on Friday. We'll also get the latest PCE inflation reading and the ISM manufacturing print.
Elsewhere, European CPI releases will also be front and centre as inflation and recession risks in the currency bloc weigh on the ECB. In Asia, all eyes will be on China's PMIs and several key economic activity indicators from Japan. We will also hear from a number of key central bank officials, including Fed Chair Powell and ECB President Lagarde.
Going through the highlights in more detail and there’s only one place to start, and that is with payrolls. This will be the last one before the FOMC on December 13-14th. Our US economists expect a +200k print in November, down from +261k in October, and the unemployment rate to tick back down to 3.6%. Earnings are forecast to grow +0.3%, decelerating from October's +0.4%.
Prior to Friday we have the latest JOLTS report and ADP reports on Wednesday. In terms of the former, it’s long been our favoured measure of labour market tightness but it’s always a month behind other measures so as we approach a turning point in the labour market it might be tough to use it as a lead indicator. Our economists are focused on the micro of the report and recent evidence of less labour market tightness has been a little less evident under the surface given various sector mismatches. See their report here "Why the JOLTS data are not as encouraging as they appear" for more on that.
Rounding off the important labour market clues, tomorrow’s Conference Board's confidence measure on Tuesday will include the jobs-plentiful / jobs hard-to-get differential, which has historically been highly correlated with the unemployment rate. Our economists highlight that after peaking at 47.1 in March, consumer views on the labour market have cooled a bit with the differential falling to 32.5 in October. While the October level is still very healthy and in line with the near-recordlow unemployment rate, we need to see how quickly this now deteriorates for clues on the turn in the labour market.
Within Thursday's personal income (DB at Unch. vs. +0.4% last month) and consumption (DB at +0.7% vs. +0.6%) report the latest reading on the core PCE deflator will be a big release for Fed expectations. Given what we know from the CPI and PPI data earlier this month, our economists expect core PCE inflation to come in at 0.2% (vs. 0.5% previously). If their forecast is correct, the year-over-year rate will begin to fall, dropping a tenth to 5.0%. While only a small decrease in the yearover-year rate’s September peak, this would be the fourth lowest monthly core PCE print since the beginning of 2021, so it may help cement 50bps over 75bps in two weeks' time.
Business activity-related indicators due out include the manufacturing ISM index on Thursday. Our US economists expect the indicator to slip into contractionary territory (49.8 vs 50.2 in October) for the first time since the Covid depths in May 2020. The day before, we get the Chicago PMI (DB forecast 47.3 vs 45.2 in October) and the advance goods trade balance (DB forecast -$91.0bn vs -$92.2bn in September).
In Europe, the November CPI reports from across the Eurozone on TuesdayWednesday will be among the key data this week. As a reminder, the bloc-wide measure is now at 10.6%, the highest ever, in a sharp contrast to the US where the latest CPI (7.7%) is more than a percentage point below its recent peak (9.1%). With few indicators pointing to a significant slowdown in price increases for Europe, this week's print may keep up the pressure on the ECB to fight inflation despite growth concerns. In fact, as our European economists point out in their review of central bank's monetary policy accounts (link here) released this week, contrary to markets' initial perception, there was little dovishness in last meeting's message. The team is calling for a +50bps hike in December but acknowledging upside risks, especially if this week's prints come in above expectations.
We will also get the PPI and consumer spending for France, the PPI and the manufacturing PMI from Italy, as well as confidence indicators for the Eurozone throughout the week.
Over in Asia, all eyes will be on November PMIs from China on Wednesday and Thursday, with the Bloomberg consensus pointing to an unchanged manufacturing PMI on Wednesday (49.2) and a slight drop in the Caixin PMI on Thursday (48.9 vs 49.2). See the day-by-day week ahead for the full diary of events this week.
Recapping last week now, developments over the holiday-shortened week skewed towards impending recession fears, which drove global sovereign yield curves flatter but equities held up well. We had rising Covid cases and renewed restrictions in China, renewed fears over the energy supply to Europe (European natural gas futures climbed +8.30% over the week), contractionary PMIs across the developed world, while Fed staff noted in minutes to the November meeting that a recession was now likely pretty much their base case for next year.
Sovereign 2s10s curves flattened across the US, Germany, and the UK. 2yr Treasury yields were -8.0bps lower (-2.5bps Friday), while 10yr yields fell -15.1bps (-1.5bps Friday), with the curve ending the week at -78bps, its most inverted since the early 1980s. In Germany, 2yr Bunds increased +9.0bps (+8.3bps Friday) while 10yr yields fell -4.0bps (+12.4bps Friday). And in the UK 2yr Gilts climbed +11.4bps (+8.4bps Friday) in contrast to 10yr Gilts which fell -11.7bps (+8.5bps Friday).
The growth fears stoked a renewed bout of central bank pivot optimism, which buoyed equities over the week. The S&P 500 increased +1.53% (-0.03% Friday), the STOXX 600 was up +1.71% (-0.05% Friday), and the DAX lagged, climbing just +0.76% (-0.02% Friday). The biggest underperformers were Chinese equities following a surge in Covid cases which drove renewed lockdown measures. The NASDAQ Golden Dragon index fell -5.96% in response (-3.28% Friday).
“[…] we set out to explore the effects of removing p16Ink4a+ senescent cells on the proliferative capacity and mass of β-cells […].”
Credit: 2023 Bahour et al.
“[…] we set out to explore the effects of removing p16Ink4a+ senescent cells on the proliferative capacity and mass of β-cells […].”
BUFFALO, NY- January 31, 2023 – A new research paper was published on the cover of Aging (listed as “Aging (Albany NY)” by Medline/PubMed and “Aging-US” by Web of Science) Volume 15, Issue 2, entitled, “Clearance of p16Ink4a-positive cells in a mouse transgenic model does not change β-cell mass and has limited effects on their proliferative capacity.”
Type 2 diabetes is partly characterized by decreased β-cell mass and function which have been linked to cellular senescence. Despite a low basal proliferative rate of adult β-cells, they can respond to growth stimuli, but this proliferative capacity decreases with age and correlates with increased expression of senescence effector, p16Ink4a.
In a new study, researchers Nadine Bahour, Lucia Bleichmar, Cristian Abarca, Emeline Wilmann, Stephanie Sanjines, and Cristina Aguayo-Mazzucato from the Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard Medical School hypothesized that selective deletion of p16Ink4a-positive cells would enhance the proliferative capacity of the remaining β-cells due to the elimination of the local senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP).
“We aimed to investigate the effects of p16Ink4a-positive cell removal on the mass and proliferative capacity of remaining β-cells using INK-ATTAC mice as a transgenic model of senolysis.”
Clearance of p16Ink4a-positive subpopulation was tested in mice of different ages, males and females, and with two different insulin resistance models: high-fat diet (HFD) and insulin receptor antagonist (S961). Clearance of p16Ink4a-positive cells did not affect the overall β-cell mass. β-cell proliferative capacity negatively correlated with cellular senescence load and clearance of p16Ink4a positive cells in 1-year-old HFD mice improved β-cell function and increased proliferative capacity in a subset of animals. Single-cell sequencing revealed that the targeted p16Ink4a subpopulation of β-cells is non-proliferative and non-SASP producing whereas additional senescent subpopulations remained contributing to continued local SASP secretion.
“In conclusion, deletion of p16Ink4a cells did not negatively impact beta-cell mass and blood glucose under basal and HFD conditions and proliferation was restored in a subset of HFD mice opening further therapeutic targets in the treatment of diabetes.”
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Launched in 2009, Aging (Aging-US) publishes papers of general interest and biological significance in all fields of aging research and age-related diseases, including cancer—and now, with a special focus on COVID-19 vulnerability as an age-dependent syndrome. Topics in Aging go beyond traditional gerontology, including, but not limited to, cellular and molecular biology, human age-related diseases, pathology in model organisms, signal transduction pathways (e.g., p53, sirtuins, and PI-3K/AKT/mTOR, among others), and approaches to modulating these signaling pathways.
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Las Vegas December 2022: Visitor Traffic Down 4.6% Compared to 2019; Convention Traffic Down 38.2%
Note: I like using Las Vegas as a measure of recovery for both leisure (visitors) and business (conventions).From the Las Vegas Visitor Authority: December 2022 Las Vegas Visitor StatisticsFrom the initial shadow of the omicron variant to record‐shatte…
From the initial shadow of the omicron variant to record‐shattering room rates later in the year, Las Vegas enjoyed a robust recovery trajectory across core tourism indicators in 2022. With December 2022 visitation just 4.6% shy of December 2019, the year closed out with 38.8M annual visitors, 20.5% ahead of 2021 and ‐8.7% under 2019's tally.
Convention attendance for the year approached 5.0M attendees, dramatically ahead of pandemic‐suppressed volumes of 2021 and recovering to about three‐quarters of 2019's tally of 6.6M convention attendees.
Overall hotel occupancy reached 79.2% for the year , +12.4 pts YoY and down ‐9.7 pts vs. 2019. For the year, Weekend occupancy reached 89.3%, +8.0 pts over 2021 and ‐5.6 pts vs. 2019, while Midweek occupancy reached 74.7%, up 14.2 pts vs. 2021 but down ‐11.6 pts vs. 2019.
Strong room rates continued throughout 2022 as annual ADR reached $171, +24.5% higher than 2021 and +28.9% ahead of 2019 while RevPAR reached approx. $135 for the year, +47.6% YoY and +14.9% over 2019.
Click on graph for larger image.
The first graph shows visitor traffic for 2019 (dark blue), 2020 (light blue), 2021 (yellow) and 2022 (red)
Visitor traffic was down 4.6% compared to the same month in 2019.
Visitor traffic was up 10.1% compared to last December.
The second graph shows convention traffic.
Convention traffic was down 38.2% compared to December 2019.
Note: There was almost no convention traffic from April 2020 through May 2021.
US Job Opening Far Lower Than Reported By Department Of Labor, UBS Finds
When it comes to labor market data (or rather "data"), Biden's labor department is a study in contrasts (and pats on shoulders). One day we get a contraction in PMI employment (both manufacturing and services), the other we get a major beat in employment. Then, one day the Household survey shows a plunge in employment (in fact, there has almost been no employment gain in the past 9 months) and a record in multiple jobholders and part-time workers, and the same day the Establishment Survey signals a spike in payrolls (mostly among waiters and bartenders). Or the day the JOLTS report shows an unexpected jump in job openings even as actual hiring slides to a two year low. Or the straw the breaks the latest trend in the labor market's back, is when the jobs report finally cracks and shows the fewest jobs added in over a year, and yet initial jobless claims tumble and reverse all recent increases despite daily news of mass layoffs across all tech companies, as the relentless barrage of conflicting data out of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (which is the principal "fact-finding" agency for the Biden Administration and a core pillar of the Dept of Labor) just won't stop, almost as if to make a very political point.
But while one can certainly appreciate Biden's desire to paint the glass of US jobs as always half full, reality is starting to make a mockery of the president's gaslighting ambitions, as one by one core pillars of the administration's "strong jobs" fabulation collapse. First it was the Philadelphia Fed shockingly stating that contrary to the BLS "goalseeking" of 1.1 million jobs in Q2 2022, the US actually only added a paltry 10,000 jobs (just as the Fed unleashed an unprecedented spree of 75bps rate hikes).
Then, it was Goldman's turn to make a mockery of the "curiously" low initial jobless claims, by comparing them to directly reported state-level WARN notices (mandatory under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act) which no low-level bureaucrat and Biden lackey can "seasonally adjust" because there they are: cold, hard, fact, immutable and truly representative of the underlying economic truth, and what they show is that - as the Goldman chart below confirms - layoffs are rising far faster than what the DOL's Initial Claims indicates.
More importantly, Goldman also found that WARN notices also track the JOLTS layoff rate: WARN notice counts remained elevated in late 2020 even as the layoff rate declined, but this likely reflects unusual reporting delays during the pandemic and the exclusion of layoffs at closing establishments in the JOLTS survey, which WARN notices capture provided firms remain in business. Not surprisingly, Goldman's tracking estimate based on December and January WARN notices for the large states covered not only shows that the recent drop in initial claims is unlikely, but that it is also consistent with a layoff rate of around 1.1%, higher than the 0.9% in the November JOLTS report.
And now, another core pillar of the US labor market is being dismantled, and it has to do with the Fed's favorite labor market indicator: the JOLTS report of job openings.
As UBS economist Pablo Villaneuva writes in a recent report by the bank's Evidence Lab group, Job openings in the JOLTS survey have not declined much since the March peak. Indeed, the BLS reports that openings were only 12% below the March 2022 peak in November and remain 48% above the pre-pandemic, 2019 average. This slight move downward has, as we noted recently, led to only a small decline in the vacancies-to-unemployment ratio, from 1.99 in March to 1.74 in November, still well above the 2019 average of 1.19.
Of course, such a high level of job openings is alarming to the Fed for the simple reason that it means Powell has failed at his mission at cooling off what appears to be a red hot jobs market; no wonder the Fed Chair has frequently flagged the high level of job openings as a sign of ongoing strength in the labor market. The bottom line, as UBS notes, is that "the BLS measure, although it has declined, remains historically high."
However, as in the abovementioned case of unexpectedly low jobless claims, there may be more here than meets the eye. According to Villanueva, "a range of other measures of job openings suggest normalization in the labor market—softening much more convincingly, often to pre-pandemic levels" - translation: whether on purpose or accidentally, the BLS is fabricating data.Also, the UBS economist flags, job openings are not a great indicator of current labor market conditions—they lagged the last two downturns in the labor market.
So what's the real story?
Well, as usual there is BLS "data" and everyone else... and as UBS cautions, other measures of openings tell a very different story: "Our UBS Evidence Lab data on job listings is weekly and more timely than the BLS series. The last datapoint is for the week of December 31. It shows openings down 30% from the March 2022 peak and only 25% higher than the 2019 average."
While BLS bureaucrats and Biden sycophants can argue UBS data is inaccurate, other longer dated series also indicate weaker openings. Take for example the NFIB Small Business Survey includes labor market measures that have correlated strongly with the JOLTS data over time but have weakened more sharply than the JOLTS measure in recent months. The percentage of small firms unable to fill open positions has a correlation of 0.95 with JOLTS openings since 2000. This series has declined 20% relative to the peak in May 2022 and is only 13% above the 2019 average. The NFIB series on percentage of firms with few or no qualified applicants tells a similar story.
Finally, the "Opportunity Insights" measure of openings (see here) is also below pre-pandemic levels.
So what's going on here?
As the UBS economist puts it, "in short, other surveys of job openings generally suggest that the BLS measure may be overstating labor market tightness. One reason to think the accuracy of the JOLTS data may have declined is that the sample shrank noticeably at the start of the pandemic. In 2019, the survey response rate was 60%. In December, it was 30%."
Or perhaps it's not gross BLS incompetence (or propaganda): maybe it's just a data quirk at key economic inflection points. As UBS observed in August, job openings tend to lag other labor market indicators. Ahead of the 2001 recession, the private sector job openings rate was still rising as private employment peaked and started printing negative. Again in 2007, as job openings were peaking, payroll employment in the revised data had slowed considerably, and job openings remained near their peak as employment was beginning to contract outright.
Whatever the reason for the discrepancy in this latest labor series, the bigger picture is getting troubling.
We already knew that the employment as measured by the Household survey has been flat since March even as the Establishment survey signaled 2.7 million job gains since then. Shortly thereafter the Philadelphia Fed found that contrary to the BLS "goalseeking" of 1.1 million jobs in Q2 2022, the US actually only added a paltry 10,000 jobs in the second quarter of 2022. As such, the validity and credibility of the US nonfarm payrolls report is suspect at best.
And now, we can also stick a fork in the JOLTS report, whose accuracy has just been steamrolled by UBS with its finding that job openings - a critical component of the US labor market and the Fed's preferred labor market indiator - are far lower than what the Dept of Labor suggests.
Bottom line: while it is obvious why the Biden admin would try hard to put as much lipstick as it can on US jobs data, the same data when measured with alternative measures shows a far uglier picture, one of a US labor market on the verge of cracking and hardly one meriting consistent rate hikes by the Fed.
Which, considering that in less than 24 hours the Fed will hike rates by another 25 bps, is extremely important, and we wish that we weren't the only media outlet to lay out the facts as the negative impact of continued policy error and tightening by the Fed will impact tens of millions Americans, not to mention the continued errors - whether premeditated or accidental - by the US Department of Labor. Alas, as so often happens, since nobody else in the "independent US press" is willing to touch the story of manipulated jobs data with a ten foot pole, it is again up to us to explain what is really going on.