By Alden Bentley
(Reuters) – A look at the day ahead in Asian markets from Alden Bentley.
A 13.6% year-over-year drop in South Korea’s March exports, reported on Saturday, was not as steep as feared, given the slowdown in global growth and a prolonged semiconductor slump.
Asia will awake to another important breaking news story: An OPEC+ surprise 1.16 million barrels per day output cut announced on Sunday, which could well send crude prices higher on Monday. Asia’s data calendar across the rest of the week otherwise looks fairly tame and the main economic event for global markets will be U.S. payrolls data on Friday.
Indeed, the week will be dotted with market closures for a variety of regional holidays leading up to Good Friday, when many global money centers shut for a day or more including Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bombay and the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq. Japan’s Nikkei and Seoul’s KOSPI will remain open.
Those two on Friday ended the quarter up 7.5% and nearly 11% respectively, dovetailing with 7% S&P 500 and near 17% Nasdaq rallies in the first three months of 2023, even while those performances, the strongest quarter since June 2020 in Nasdaq’s case, belied traumatic slumps in global banking shares.
While worry rightfully persists over bank capitalization, duration mismatches and general risk management after a year of central bank hikes, such positive overall quarters aren’t exactly the returns one might associate with panic over the global financial system — the existential crises of Credit Suisse, Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank and First Republic Bank notwithstanding.
So given the number of markets that are closed on, or before, Friday, the week could bring surprises of a pleasant, or not pleasant, variety. Investors might welcome a breather after the crisis/not-crisis, of recent weeks. But any surprise headlines, be they OPEC or bank related, will have to be digested by thinned markets, which can bring excessive market swings. So even with the buoyant benchmark quarters, it is hardly a moment for complacency.
This week will bring CPI releases from Indonesia on Monday, South Korea on Tuesday and Thailand and the Philippines on Wednesday. The Reserve Bank of India meets and is expected to raise it’s repo rate on Thursday by 25 basis points to 6.75%.
Here are three key developments that could provide more direction to markets on Monday:
– S&P Global final March manufacturing PMIs will be out
– US ISM March manufacturing and prices paid indexes at 1400 GMT
– Fed Board Governor Lisa Cook speaks at 2015 GMT
(Reporting by Alden Bentley; Editing by Josie Kao)