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The CPI in Focus: Global Week Ahead

In the Global Week Ahead, the latest U.S. consumer inflation numbers will be the prime stock trader focus.

Especially since FOMC voting members have come out in force — to correct any misconception about their determination to slay decades-high consumer price inflation — with big Fed Funds rate hike moves.

Reuters also tells us that the fallout from Nancy Pelosi's high-profile visit to Taiwan will be watched closely, as will Chinese and U.K. data, while Ukraine is hoping for a debt payment freeze from international investors.

Next are Reuters’ five world market themes, reordered for equity traders.

(1) On Wednesday, the July Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) data for the USA arrives

Wednesday's July U.S. inflation print is shaping up as a key test for a summer rally in U.S. stocks that has lifted the S&P 500 to multi-week highs.

The benchmark index is up 14% from its mid-June low, supported in part by expectations that the Federal Reserve will be less hawkish than previously anticipated.

Fed officials have pushed back against the idea that they will be less aggressive in a so-called dovish pivot.

Any signs that inflation is not yet peaking after the Fed's 225 bps worth of rate hikes could provide a reality check to markets hopeful of a soft landing for the economy.

Analysts polled by Reuters forecast annual inflation at 8.9% in July versus 9.1% in June, which was the largest increase since 1981.

(2) Did Speaker Pelosi’s Taiwan trip cause any financial market shifts?

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, means U.S.-China tensions are rising again.

To be fair, the selloff in world stocks and the Taiwan dollar as well as the rush to safe havens such as U.S. Treasuries quickly subsided.

Still, market sensitivity to political risk is high since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February. China has launched unprecedented live-fire military drills in areas that ring Taiwan following Pelosi's visit. Taiwan says this violates United Nations rules and invades its territorial space.

Scalded by Russia, investment funds have already started to tread carefully in China. No doubt, investors will remain alert to further signs of trouble in the East.

(3) Cheap cash in Mainland China

Cash is cheap in China, because of an abundance of it sloshing around amid government measures to support an economy scarred by zero-COVID policies.

The key money rate — the overnight repo rate — is languishing at a 1-1/2-year low below 1%, and data due as early as Wednesday will show the state of new loans and total money supply.

Conditions need to be easy, with the country set to miss its original growth target of 5.5%. Beijing has shifted to trying to keep economic expansion within a "reasonable range.”
Thankfully, consumer price inflation has been manageable at 2.5%, well below the official 3% target, even if it is at nearly two-year highs. The latest reading is also due Wednesday.

COVID, though, has been more temperamental, with a new flare-up in the port city of Yiwu threatening further supply chain snarls.

(4) Is the U.K. close to falling into recession?

How close is Britain to falling into recession? That's the big question ahead of economic growth figures next Friday, following dismal Bank of England (BoE) forecasts.

The BoE reckons a new slump will begin at the end of this year but other top forecasters, such as the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, think it might start in the current quarter.

A darkening economy is impinging increasingly on Britain's leadership race, casting doubt on the merits of the feel-good tax-cutting pitch offered by front-runner Liz Truss, and calls for fiscal discipline from opponent Rishi Sunak.

Any nasty surprises in Friday's data — which cover monthly GDP for June and the second quarter as a whole — could further alter the tenor of the debate.

(5) Ukraine bonds are under pressure: no surprise there

Holders of Ukraine's international bonds have until August 9 to vote on whether to support Kyiv's request for a two-year debt payment freeze as the country's battered economy buckles under war there, now in its sixth month.

The government is facing a $1 billion bond maturing on Sept. 1 as policymakers struggle to plug a $5 billion-a-month fiscal gap with GDP expected to contract by 35-45% this year.

Meanwhile there are tentative signs that grain shipments could resume after the first vessel to leave a Ukrainian port in wartime passed through the Bosphorus Strait on Wednesday. Hopes are high that it will be the first of many to help ease a global food crisis and provide much needed FX revenue for Ukraine.

Chicago wheat futures have slipped to their lowest since early February.

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Key Global Macro

The big focus is Wednesday’s U.S. broad and core CPI print.

On Monday, before the U.S. markets have opened, we likely have already learned about Mainland China’s export growth for June (+15% y/y expected) and imports (+3.7% y/y expected.

Mainland China will also show the world it has $3.05T in foreign currency reserves now. Whew!

On Tuesday, the U.S. NFIB small business optimism index comes out for July. It was 89.5 in June.

On Wednesday, Mainland China’s CPI for July is likely +2.0% y/y, while the PPI is +8.0% y/y.

In comparison, the U.S. CPI ex food & energy should be +6.1% y/y, up from +5.9%.

However, the broad U.S. CPI likely declines to +8.7% y/y from +9.1% y/y.

On Thursday, the U.S. PPI for July is likely +10.4% y/y.

On Friday, University of Michigan consumer sentiment in the USA should be 52.3 in July, up from a nadir of 51.5 in June. Thank lower gasoline-at-the-pump prices for that, in advance.


Zacks Research Director Sheraz Mian had this to say, on August 4th, 2022—

“Including the large number of earnings releases from this morning (August 4th), we now have Q2 results from 410 S&P 500 members, or 82% of the index’s total membership.

“Total earnings for the companies that have reported are up +7.8% from the same period last year on +14.8% higher revenues, with 77.3% beating EPS estimates and 68.8% beating revenue estimates.

“This is a lower beats percentage for this group of 410 index members relative to what we have seen from the group in other recent periods. In other words, fewer companies are able to beat consensus estimates relative to other recent periods, and the magnitude of their beats are also smaller.

“On the whole, the tone and substance of management guidance and commentary has been reassuring enough; not great, but not bad either.

“On top of inflationary pressures and supply-chain challenges that companies have been dealing with for some time now, we are also hearing a lot more about the negative impact of the strong U.S. dollar and signs of weakness at the lower-income level of consumers.”

That’s it for me.

Have a great trading week!

Warm Regards,

John Blank
Zacks Chief Equity Strategist and Economist

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