Asian stocks have opened on a weaker footing after official data highlighted contraction in China’s manufacturing sector continuing through October. Although the factory activity came in higher than the….
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previous month at 48.3, the reading remains below 50 dampening hopes of an expansion and renewing oncerns of a slowdown in the world’s second largest economy. The release of the figures saw oil come under pressure. As US policy makers continue to eye December as a possible lift-off date, the October jobs report will provide further clues on the trajectory of interest rates. This week central banks in UK and Australia will announce their key interest rate decision.
Gold under pressure after 2015 rate hike odds stacked at 50/50. Gold slid to $1134 last week hitting its lowest level in four weeks after the Federal Reserve concluded its last meeting on an unexpectedly hawkish note, bolstering the US dollar. Silver declined to $15.5 tracking gold lower. Wheat posted its biggest weekly gain in four months rising 6.4% as weather concerns in Ukraine, Russia and Australia continue to remain supportive of the price. Concerns are lingering over the quality of the wheat crop in Australia that is forecast to receive heavy rain in the days ahead. In addition better than expected export sales reported by the US department of Agriculture (USDA) improved the demand outlook for wheat. The ninth consecutive week of decline in the US oil rig count helped WTI crude and Brent oil rise rally 4.5% and 3.3% respectively.
Change in Fed’s tone sees choppy trading week for global stocks. Global stocks traded higher after the Federal Reserve softened their stance towards global financial risks and hinted at the possibility of a 2015 rate hike at the December meeting. However a lacklustre Q3 earnings season coupled with weaker US GDP data and falling consumer confidence forced markets to concede most of their gains last week. Eurozone and German inflation climbed out of negative territory and consumer confidence rose unexpectedly. In the US Exxonmobil and Chevron emerged as the latest victims of declining oil and gas prices, reporting a 63% and 47% drop in earnings per share for the third quarter while downstream operations rose. In Europe, Royal Dutch Shell announced its worst loss in 16 years.
Hawkish Fed raises the prospect of a 2015 rate hike. The greenback rose sharply after the Federal open market committee (FOMC) meeting but retraced all its gains after a slew of weak US economic data. The October jobs report is now all the more import as guide for a December lift off by the highly data dependent Fed. Sweden’s Riksbank left its key rate unchanged but expanded the QE bond buying program by another SEK 65bn. The New Zealand central bank hinted at rate cuts ahead but opted to leave rates unchanged. The Chinese Yuan posted its largest one-day gain in 10 years on speculation the central bank would introduce reforms to foster yuan denominated trading to foreign firms. The 1% rise in Japanese industrial production after a 1.2% contraction in the previous month strengthened the Bank of Japan’s case
to keep policy unchanged helping the Yen trade higher. The Aussie dollar remained lower after a weaker inflation reading raised hopes of a rate cut this week.