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In the loop 01 February 2024

In the loop

Shireen Darmalingam

What you should know this morning:

  • The rand is weaker this morning, at R18.68/$, after closing stronger yesterday (R18.66/$*).
  • EM currencies were mixed yesterday; the ZAR (+0.8%), HUF (+0.8%) and PLN (+0.5%) were the biggest gainers; the TWD (-0.5%), KRW (-0.4%) and THB (-0.3%) were the biggest losers.
  • Asian equity markets are mixed this morning; the Nikkei is down, while the Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite are up.
  • China’s Caixin manufacturing PMI remained unchanged, at 50.8, in January, with both supply and demand increasing.
  • However, employment remained in contraction, while price levels were subdued.
  • This data contrasts with the official manufacturing PMI data which contracted in January.
  • The US FOMC held the Fed funds rate steady yesterday, for a 4th consecutive meeting, as expected.
  • The Fed signalled its openness to a cutting cycle; the central bank, in its policy statement, has removed the previous assertion that a rate hike was possible.
  • The FOMC noted that it “judges that the risks to achieving its employment and inflation goals are moving into better balance”.
  • The Fed added that it would continue to “carefully assess incoming data, the evolving outlook, and the balance of risks”.
  • Fed Chair Jerome Powell commented that policymakers would move patiently when starting rate cuts.
  • He also indicated that it’s unlikely that rate cuts would start at the next meeting.
  • The BOE’s MPC decision is in the spotlight today; the bank is largely expected to keep its benchmark interest rate steady, at 5.25%.
  • Inflation has moderated significantly over the past few months, supporting the case for the central bank to consider cutting interest rates later this year.
  • Investors will keep an eye on the changes to the bank’s growth and inflation forecasts.
  • The BOE’s Decision Maker Panel survey for January, due out today, will provide an update on price and wage inflation expectations.
  • The data will be closely monitored to assess the risks around inflation persisting.
  • The Swedish Riksbank too will be meeting today and is likely to keep interest rates unchanged, at 4.0%; hawkish guidance, however, is expected.
  • The Eurozone CPI for January is expected to have eased, to 2.7% y/y, from 2.9% y/y in December.
  • A decline in road fuel costs is likely to have been one of the main drivers of the moderation in headline inflation.
  • However, increases in gas and electricity bills are likely to pose upside risks.
  • Core CPI for the region is also likely to have moderated in January, to 3.2% y/y, from 3.4% y/y in December.
  • Locally, the BER manufacturing PMI for January is due for release today; the index likely slipped to 50.0, from 50.9 in December.
  • The January Naamsa vehicle sales are expected to have fallen by 5.2% y/y, after having fallen by 3.3% y/y in December.
  • Electricity production and consumption releases for December are also on the cards today.
  • Eskom: Stage 3 loadshedding is currently in place until further notice.
  • Brent crude is down this morning, and up by 4.9% year-to-date.
  • The gold price is down this morning, and down by 0.8% year-to-date.
  • Brent crude oil is currently at $80.82/bbl; ($81.71/bbl*).
  • Gold is at $2045/oz ($2049/oz*).
  • SA CDS 229bps*, Brazil 137bps* and Turkey 331bps*.
  • Yields: US 10yr at 3.91%*, German bund at 2.16%* and SA 10-year generic at 11.11%*, SA’s R2030 at 9.74%*.

* Denotes yesterday’s close.

Key events and data:

  • 11h00: SA BER manufacturing PMI (January)
  • 11h00: Eurozone HCOB manufacturing PMI (January – final)
  • 11h30: UK S&P Global manufacturing PMI (January – final)
  • 12h00: Eurozone CPI (January), unemployment rate (December)
  • 13h00: SA electricity production and consumption (December)
  • 14h00: UK BOE interest rate decision – no change expected
  • 15h30: US initial jobless claims (27 January)
  • 16h00: UK Decision Maker Panel inflation expectations (January)
  • 16h45: US S&P Global manufacturing PMI (January – final)
  • 17h00: US ISM manufacturing (January)
  • SA Naamsa vehicle sales (January)

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