Market Update 22 July 2022 | AMP Capital

Market Update 22 July 2022 | AMP Capital

Market Update 22 July 2022


Investment markets and key developments over the past week

Global sharemarkets have rallied again this week with US up 3.5%, Australia 2.9%, Europe 3.4%, Japan 3.8% while Chinese stocks are down by 0.3%. Positive gains in most sharemarkets recently after weeks of declines is leading to questions about whether we have seen the low in markets. Our view has not changed – we think the risk is of more downside to equities until there are clearer signs that inflation has peaked (which means central banks can pause on rate hikes) and until economic data troughs (but hopefully avoids a recession). On a 6-12 month view, we are more optimistic on shares as inflation recedes, central banks stop raising interest rates (and maybe even cut rates) and a deep recession is avoided.

The US 2/10-year bond spread remained inverted this week, European bond yields were a tad higher because of Italian political mayhem (Italian 10-year yields are up to 3.5% from 3.2% at the start of the week), the US dollar is down marginally from recent highs but is still elevated and the $A is at 0.69 USD.

After three key parties in Italian Parliament cast a “no confidence” vote over the government Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi resigned which means that an election will occur, on 25 September. Italy is no stranger to political instability (because of a highly fractured parliament with lots of minor parties) the last 161 years yielding 132 governments – that means an average 15-month tenure (Draghi’s government lasted 18 months – more than normal!). No doubt there will now be concern around whether this instability has implications for Italy’s membership in the Eurozone. The pandemic and war in Ukraine have strengthened the Euro and support for the Euro remains very strong in Italy, with the latest Eurobarometer survey showing that 72% of respondents in Italy supported the Euro (above the 69% reported for the EU 27). Nevertheless, new elections and populist parties increase the risk of calls for Italian independence. Italian bond spread to Germany were up again this week on political uncertainty but are well below previous peaks like in the Eurozone debt crisis or 2019/20 which also saw political uncertainty.

 Source: Bloomberg, AMP
capital.img.960.0 - 2022-07-22T191404.839Source: Bloomberg, AMP

Gas flows to Europe will restart from the Nord Stream 1 pipeline which has been halted since July 11 for scheduled maintenance. Reports are mixed but it seems that initial gas flows will be at 40% of capacity (the same as pre-maintenance) but it could go down to 20% if disputes over sanctioned parts of the pipeline are not resolved. This uncertainty around supply will keep gas prices high for now. While most metals and agricultural commodity prices have fallen in recent weeks, gas and coal prices remain elevated (see the chart below).

Source: Bloomberg, AMP
capital.img.960.0 - 2022-07-22T191410.520Source: Bloomberg, AMP

Lower commodity prices will be necessary to see a slowing in inflation. Our Pipleline Inflation Indicator (see chart below) continues to track down and points to a decline in inflation on a 6-12 month time horizon.

 Source: Bloomberg, AMP
capital.img.960.0 - 2022-07-22T191415.825Source: Bloomberg, AMP

Coronavirus update

Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 are causing a tick-up in global Covid cases, although new cases are well below the first Omicron peak and deaths have risen slightly, but still remain around their lows (see chart below).

Source:, AMP
capital.img.960.0 - 2022-07-22T191421.173Source:, AMP

Australian daily covid cases are close to 50K/day, which is still below the Omicron wave in January (when daily cases were around 100K) but deaths and hospitalisations are rising, so some restrictions around working from home mandates and masks could come back.

Source:, AMP
capital.img.960.0 - 2022-07-22T191427.980Source:, AMP

The good news is that the strains originally discovered in South Africa saw an initial spike in cases in April/May but was brought down relatively quickly with no major rise in deaths or hospitalisations.

Economic activity trackers

Our Weekly Economic Activity Indicators are flattening across Australia, US and Europe (see the chart below) which is expected as interest rates rise. The indicators have not fallen drastically despite economic fears and share market declines.

 Based on weekly data for eg job ads, restaurant bookings, confidence, mobility, credit & debit card transactions, retail foot traffic, hotel bookings. Source: AMP
capital.img.960.0 - 2022-07-22T191433.669Based on weekly data for eg job ads, restaurant bookings, confidence, mobility, credit & debit card transactions, retail foot traffic, hotel bookings. Source: AMP

Major global economic events and implications

Major global economic events and implications

New Zealand June quarter inflation data showed a 1.7% rise in quarterly consumer prices which was above market expectations and takes annual growth to 7.3%, increasing the risk that the Australian consumer inflation data (released next week) will also be higher than expected because of the high correlation between tradeable inflation across the two countries. Other data showed that consumer spending is not collapsing despite aggressive rate hikes by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, with credit card spending up by 1.3% in June.

The European Central Bank (ECB) met this week and delivered a 50 basis point rate hike, which was speculated in markets in prior days. This is the first interest rate hike by the ECB in 11 years and takes the main refinancing operations rate to 0.50% and the marginal facility rate to 0.75%, these are rates charged to banks that borrow with the ECB. The deposit rate lifted from -0.50% to 0% which is the rate charged to banks on deposits with the ECB (see the chart below).

capital.img.960.0 - 2022-07-22T191440.116

The other anticipated announcement was around the anti-fragmentation tool, called the “Transmission Protection Instrument” in response to the widening of spreads in bonds across Euro peripheral countries have been widening and causing concern around borrowing costs. Details around the program were vague but ultimately it will involve the ECB buying government or private sector debt.

Eurozone consumer confidence also released this week was down in July to its lowest level since the survey began in 1985.

US housing data continues to weaken (which is unsurprising given recent rate hikes, it would be more surprising to see housing indicators remain strong). Building permits fell by 0.6% in June, housing starts were down by 2% in June, the NAHB housing market index plunged in July, existing home sales fell by 5.4% in June and new purchase mortgage applications were down again over the week to 15 July. Initial jobless claims are also showing signs of ticking up.

Source: Bloomberg, AMP
capital.img.960.0 - 2022-07-22T191446.898Source: Bloomberg, AMP

US June quarter earnings has started with 19% of S&P500 companies reporting to date. Earnings estimates are holding up better than feared, with 72% of companies beating on expectations (slightly less than the historical average of 76% although a lot of the positivity is in higher energy profits (because of high prices) and earnings are on track for around a 5.7% rise (year on year). There was some concern about a slowing in hiring across large tech firms with Google and Microsoft making announcements around pausing hiring but this should not be too surprising as the labour market is probably close to full capacity (the unemployment rate is very low at 3.6% – close to its lowest point since 1969).

Source: Bloomberg, Credit Suisse, AMP
capital.img.960.0 - 2022-07-22T191453.415Source: Bloomberg, Credit Suisse, AMP

In the UK, inflation data was strong, with headline consumer price inflation up 9.4% year on year to June, the highest since February 1982 which will keep expectations of a 50-basis point hike in August alive. May employment data was solid overall, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.8%, employment growth was higher than expected but wages (as measured by average earnings) rose by less than expected, up by 6.2%pa.

Canadian inflation was also high in June, up by 8.1% over the year, the highest level since January 1983, although market expectations were looking for an even larger lift. Core inflation is tracking at 4.6% year on year.

Japanese inflation is also rising, up by 2.4% over the year to June and 1% on the core measure. There were no major updates from the Bank of Japan meeting that kept interest rates at -0.1%.

Australian economic events and implications

Australian economic events and implications

There was lots of “RBA speak” this week. The only major update in the RBA board minutes for July was the inclusion about the Board’s discussion of the neutral cash rate which the RBA assumes is at least 2.5% (but notes that there is a wide margin of error around this estimate) which means many more rate hikes from here. Governor Lowe’s speech on “Inflation, Productivity and the Future of Money” didn’t offer any new insights but reiterated the importance of defending the 2-3% inflation target which means that inflation expectations can’t shift up too much. Deputy Governor Michelle Bullock spoke on “How are households placed for interest rate increases?” and downplayed the potential impacts to indebted households from higher interest rates. Bullock highlighted the usual positive sentiments around households including high accumulated savings worth $260bn that can be drawn down and the large stock of mortgage prepayments, with the household credit to income ratio around the same level as in 2007 once you account for offset accounts (see the chart below).

capital.img.960.0 - 2022-07-22T191500.920

The RBA’s overall message is that the average household with mortgage debt will be able to withstand at least 300 basis points of rate hikes. We think this underestimates the risks to the economy from those borrowers which are heavily impacted by rate rises. On the RBA’s own estimates, around 38% of households with a mortgage will see a lift in monthly repayments of 40% or more, which is around 1.3 million households. Out of interest, for borrowers on fixed-rate mortgages expiring next year, the median increase is expected to be around $650/month. This is a huge increase and is too large to be compensated by a rise in wages growth. Along with higher inflation (particularly on essential items), these households will have a significant pull-back in spending, especially if the unemployment rate increases.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers formally announced the terms of reference for the review on the RBA this week which will be overseen by three exports, with a recommendation to the government by March 2023.

The June quarter NAB business survey was also released which showed a drop in drop in confidence over the quarter to June (down to 5 from 14 last quarter), after a fall in the March quarter. The July composite PMI fell to 50.6, from 52.6 last month, with a larger drop in services while manufacturing fell only slightly.

 Source: Bloomberg, AMP
capital.img.960.0 - 2022-07-22T191508.196Source: Bloomberg, AMP

What to watch over the next week?

What to watch over the next week?

Australian June quarter CPI data is released on Wednesday and we expect to see a 1.8% increase in headline inflation which would take annual inflation to 6.2%, its highest level since 2001, driven by further rises in petrol, electricity, gas, food and new home construction costs. We expect a 1.5% rise in the trimmed mean, with annual growth rising to 4.7%. We currently expect the RBA to lift the cash rate by another 50 basis points at its August meeting but if the trimmed mean is much stronger than we expect, a 75 basis point hike is a possibility. Other price indicators next week include export and import trade figures for the June quarter (we expect an 11% lift in export prices and a 7% lift for imports), June quarter producer prices, June retail spending (we are looking for a slowing to 0.3% over the month) and June credit figures (we expect a 0.7% lift in credit growth).

The main event in the US is the FOMC meeting on Wednesday. The Fed is expected to lift the fed funds rate by another 75 basis points, taking the fed funds rate to 2.25-2.5%. US economic data includes confidence indicators with the July Conference Board data (out on Tuesday) and the July University of Michigan index (released on Friday). Housing indicators include the June new home sales and pending home sales and durable goods order data is also released. June quarter GDP (on Thursday) will confirm whether the US economy is in a recession. The Atlanta Fed GDPNow measure is currently showing an -1.6% in June quarter GDP which would follow a negative first quarter but we do not think that the statistics agencies will classify it as a recession because of the strength in the labour market.

Eurozone PMI’s are released tonight and manufacturing and services activity is expected to show a further decline, although still remain above the 50 index level which means that activity is still expanding. The July Economic confidence index is expected to show a further decline, consumer price data for July (released on Friday) is likely to see headline inflation rise to 8.8% on a year ago and second quarter GDP should just be positive at 0.2%.

UK retail sales (released tonight) is likely to show a decline in June and PMI’s for July are likely to weaken compared to a month ago.

Outlook for markets

Outlook for markets

Shares remain at high risk of further falls in the months ahead as central banks continue to tighten to combat high inflation, the war in Ukraine continues and fears of recession remain high. However, we see shares providing reasonable returns on a 12-month horizon as valuations have improved, global growth ultimately picks up again and inflationary pressures ease through next year allowing central banks to ease up on the monetary policy brakes.

With bond yields looking like they may have peaked for now short term bond returns should improve.

Unlisted commercial property may see some weakness in retail and office returns (as online retail activity remains well above pre-covid levels and office occupancy remains well below pre-covid levels). Unlisted infrastructure is expected to see solid returns.

Australian home prices are expected to fall by 15 to 20% into the second half of next year as poor affordability and rising mortgage rates impact. Sydney and Melbourne prices are already falling aggressively, and most other cities and regions are seeing price gains slow ahead of likely falls.

Cash and bank deposit returns remain low but are improving as RBA cash rate increases flow through.

The $A is likely to remain volatile in the short term as global uncertainties persist. However, a rising trend in the $A is likely over the medium term as commodity prices ultimately remain in a super cycle bull market.

By Diana Mousina
Economist – Investment Strategy & Dynamic MarketsSydney, Australia


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Original Author: Produced by AMP Capital and published on 22/07/2022 Source