Moving Markets Today: Australia Slips, Asia Closed for Holidays, Bitcoin Surges, Gold Pauses in Light Trading; Focus on Tuesday’s U.S. Inflation Report and Fed Official Speeches
Stock markets in the Pacific region saw declines, with mainland China and Hong Kong closed for Lunar New Year celebrations, while Japan and South Korea observed national holidays. Oil prices traded lower after Israel declared the end of strikes in southern Gaza. Bitcoin has surged in its largest weekly rally seen in the past four months. Investors are eagerly awaiting U.S. consumer price index (CPI) data on Tuesday, retail sales data on Thursday, and producer price index (PPI) data on Friday. Moreover, they are keen on hearing insights from at least seven Federal Reserve officials throughout the week. Here are five key takeaways for your day.
China Sets Record High for January Bank Loans Amid Policy Support
In January, China’s new bank loans hit a record high of 4.92 trillion yuan ($683.7 billion), surpassing expectations and indicating strong efforts by the central bank to bolster the economy. The surge, which quadrupled compared to December’s figures, suggests potential for further stimulus measures in the coming months.
UK Employers Forecast Reduced Pay Raises for 2024: CIPD Survey
British employers are planning smaller pay rises in the coming year compared to three months ago, marking the first drop in nearly four years. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) survey reveals they expect a 4% increase in basic pay over the next 12 months, down from the previously expected 5%, Reuters reported. This adjustment reflects reduced tolerance for higher labour costs and is the first decline since early 2020.
Oil Prices Begin Week Lower Following Israel’s Conclusion of Gaza Strikes
Early Asian trade saw oil prices fall as Israel announced the conclusion of strikes in southern Gaza, easing concerns about Middle East supply. Brent crude futures dropped 42 cents to $81.77 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 43 cents to $76.41 a barrel. Last week, geopolitical tensions drove prices up about 6%. Trading is likely to be quiet during Asian hours, as a significant portion of the region, including China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Malaysia, observes holidays and their markets remain closed.
What’s Coming Up
Looking ahead to the coming week, there’s an array of significant economic data releases to anticipate. In the US, updates on the consumer price index (CPI), producer price index (PPI), retail sales, and industrial production are eagerly awaited. Both Japan and the European Union will unveil their initial estimates for fourth-quarter GDP growth. Meanwhile, the UK is gearing up to release estimates for Q4 GDP, CPI inflation, retail sales, as well as employment and wages data. Additionally, Germany will be publishing its latest ZEW report. Moreover, there’s a lineup of central bank speakers prepared to offer insights exclusively for Premium subscribers. Additionally, earnings reports from British utilities companies, European banks, and US consumer goods manufacturers will continue to unfold throughout the week.
Australian Market Dips; Indian Shares Begin Muted
The S&P/ASX 200 index fell by 0.3% to 7,618.70, following a slight gain on Friday. Indian stocks had a quiet start, with energy shares weighing down due to lacklustre performances from Oil & Natural Gas Corporation and Tata Power Company. The NSE Nifty 50 index slipped by 0.05% to 21,770.15, while the S&P BSE Sensex edged up by 0.02% to 71,612.43. Gold prices remained flat amid holiday trading, having dropped last week. Bitcoin rose 1.24% to $48,139 on Monday, following a 5% surge on Friday, driven by increased buying activity ahead of April’s halving event and reduced outflows from exchange-traded funds.