January 19, 2023
“Economists around the world are becoming more certain that the world’s biggest economy may soon face a recession. US data released yesterday showed a steep fall in retails sales last month and the biggest drop in manufacturing output in nearly two years, adding further concern to growth projections.”
Tim Hallinan – Trading Director
China has said it would welcome a visit by Janet Yellen this year after the US Treasury secretary met vice-premier Liu He in Zurich, marking the first top level economic meeting between the powers since Joe Biden took office. The meeting, which comes as US-China relations remain fraught over issues from Taiwan to trade and technology, was described by both sides as “candid.” In separate statements, both sides sought to ease concerns about a further deterioration in ties between the world’s two largest economies. The two officials agreed in a three-hour meeting that their economic and trade teams would “continue to maintain communication at all levels” and that Beijing would welcome a visit from Yellen “at a suitable time this year.”
About one-third of small to medium-sized enterprises feel less confident in their ability to grow this year after the government’s Autumn Statement, in a sign of the pessimism spreading among many of the UK’s more entrepreneurial companies. The number of SMEs planning to expand has fallen from 38 per cent in summer last year to 17 per cent now, according to a survey by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and the Corporate Finance Network. The accounting groups also found that only a fraction of companies intended to recruit new staff in 2023, ranging from about 10 per cent among businesses in London to just 1 per cent in the east of England.
Sterling is stronger against the dollar and weaker against euro this morning. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is due to tell the world’s financial elite in Davos that he wants to improve Britain’s relations with the EU, declaring the post-Brexit trade deal is damaging the UK economy “as every day passes.” The post-Brexit environmental watchdog has warned that progress towards the government’s 25-year plan to improve England’s natural environment has “fallen far short,” with a “chronic decline” in certain species continuing unchecked. More than a dozen companies have expressed interest in buying Britishvolt’s Northumberland factory site only hours after the battery group collapsed, as politicians warned the failure was a “disaster for the UK car industry.”
Euro is well bid against most major currencies this morning. French unions aim to bring much of the country to a standstill today in a protest against Macron’s plans to revamp the pension system. Workers in sectors including railways, schools, hospitals, and air-traffic control are taking part in a 24-hour strike. Unions will lead marches across the largest cities with the backing of left-wing political parties. Norway’s central bank will probably give its own tightening campaign a rest today, keeping the benchmark interest rate at 2.75% after inflation slowed. Turkey is also expected to hold, as policymakers shift their focus from rates to coming up with new steps to support the lira.
The dollar is weaker than most major currencies in the early morning trade. US climate envoy John Kerry said Europe should boost its spending to expand clean energy options and deal with climate change, in a defence of Washington’s green subsidies delivered at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Apple is working on more smart-home devices to challenge Amazon and Google. That includes a tablet that can control household thermostats and lights and handle FaceTime chats, people familiar said. A revamped TV box may come early next year, and a larger smart-home display could also be in the works. The company relaunched its HomePod speaker earlier in the day.
Treasuries rallied and equities were muted as growing signs of a global economic slowdown raised investor concern that the start-of-the-year rally in risk assets may have gone too far. Contracts on the S&P 500 Index were little changed after the benchmark slumped the most in a month amid weaker-than-expected economic data. Nasdaq 100 futures were also little changed. Europe’s Stoxx 600 gauge halted a six-day rally. The 10-year Treasury yield declined to the lowest level since September. A selloff spread across global markets, from Japanese shares to oil contracts. A rally driven by optimism over China’s economic reopening is beginning to fizzle as data releases signal a decisive slowdown in the rest of the world.
Main Economic Data/Central Banks/Government (All Times CET)
10:00 a.m.: Norges Bank Rate Decision
10:30 a.m.: Italy Nov. Current Account Balance
11:30 a.m.: ECB’s Largarde speaks at WEF
12:00 p.m.: Turkey Central Bank Rate Decision
1:30 p.m.: ECB Monetary Policy Meeting Minutes
2:00 p.m.: SNB’s Schlegel speaks
2:30 p.m.: US Jobless Claims, Dec. Housing Starts
3:00 p.m.: ECB’s Knot Speaks at WEF