Asian and Emerging Markets outstrip Western stocks as China begins to lift restrictions


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Asian and Emerging Markets outstrip Western stocks as China begins to lift restrictions

Chinese stocks rallied in a holiday-shortened week after policy makers began to ease some confinement measures including those imposed in Shanghai. Beijing also unveiled a series of support measures to tackle an economic slowdown that has resulted from the near zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19. Furthermore, some broadly supportive economic data suggested China’s factory activity shrank less severely in May than expected and the Caixin/Markit Manufacturing PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) also climbed off its recent lows. Chinese, Asian and Emerging Market equity indices were buoyed by the more positive news flow in a week that otherwise saw Western markets lose ground. The Shanghai Composite rose +2.1%, the Hang Seng added +1.9%, and MSCI Emerging Markets climbed +1.6% over the course of last week in local currency. [1]

US stocks surrendered a portion of the previous week’s strong gains as investors continued to question whether the Federal Reserve will be able to rein in inflation without causing a recession. Arguably, the week’s economic data eased fears of an impending recession as the US Labour Department reported that employers created 390,000 nonfarm jobs in May, well above consensus expectations of 320,000.

Eurozone consumer prices rose a record 8.1% year-on-year in May, increasing pressure on the European Central Bank to tighten monetary policy and abandon negative interest rates. Core inflation stands at 3.8%, whilst rises in producer prices have been even sharper. Major indices on the continent were modestly weaker; Germany’s DAX 30 Index was little changed whilst France’s CAC 40 dropped -0.5% and Italy’s FTSE MIB lost -1.9% for the week.

A double bank holiday in the UK to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign saw the FTSE 100 close a three-day week -0.7% lower. Investors continued to struggle with concerns about elevated inflation, slowing economic growth, the pace of central bank policy tightening, and the invasion of Ukraine.

Despite the effective confirmation of an OPEC production increase, Brent crude oil rose +4.7% to close Friday a shade over $121, whilst the price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate rose by a similar margin to $120.29. [2]


Week Ahead

There are limited releases from the UK in the upcoming week, with the Final Services PMI the only major publication. Forecasters are expecting a considerable decline from the previous reading. Heading across the Atlantic, US inflation data will be the focal point for many investors; month on month numbers are expected to rebound following a slowdown in April. In the Eurozone, the ECB will be releasing its latest monetary policy statement, while a revised GDP figure will be published. In Japan, finalised quarterly GDP figures are the main publication of note. In China, the Caixin PMI reading for services is expected to be weak. [3]


[1] T.Rowe price, 06/06/2022

[2] Refinitiv, 06/06/2022

[3] Forex Factory, 06/06/2022

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