A whirlwind of economic happenings in Asia this Tuesday left traders both engrossed and apprehensive. The market mood was dampened further by China’s recent lackluster economic indicators, right on the heels of worries about the real estate sector.
Fresh insights on Tuesday pinpointed a decline in China’s manufacturing output and a slackening of retail sales in July. These indicators add more fuel to the growing anxiety about the shaky path to recovery for the globe’s second-largest economy after the pandemic.
In a surprising twist just moments before revealing the data, China dialed down some principal policy rates. This marks the second adjustment in a span of three months. Financial experts speculate this could lead to a decrease in China’s premier lending rate as early as the coming week.
Consequently, the MSCI’s most comprehensive index for Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, found itself hovering near a monthly low. Concurrently, China’s yuan plummeted to its weakest in almost ten months. In response, major Chinese banks took proactive measures in the spot market, stabilizing the currency as insiders reported.
China’s Response and Investor Sentiments
Last month saw Chinese decision-makers unroll several stimulatory strategies. These ranged from promoting the purchase of cars and household gadgets, loosening some housing sector norms, and assuring support for the private segment. However, the investing community seems to be signaling a thirst for even more proactive measures.
Economic Glimmers in Japan
In other news, Japan’s economy showcased a robust growth, surpassing projections in the months of April to June. A surge in car exports and a boost from incoming tourists seemed to counterbalance the slowdown in consumer activity in the aftermath of COVID-19.
Yet, the yen seemed relatively untouched by this news, now hovering below the 145 per dollar mark. This is noteworthy since this level had triggered market interventions in the past. The current focus for Japanese officials appears to be the rapid fluctuations in currency values, rather than their absolute values. The threshold for concern, however, remains undefined.
Australian Economic Snapshot
Down under in Australia, salary increments remained consistent in the quarter ending June. Yet, the rate of yearly salary awards saw a surprise deceleration. These factors, combined with the recent cautious minutes from the central bank’s policy discussion in July, strengthened predictions of the RBA maintaining steady interest rates.
In corporate revelations, Warren Buffett’s renowned Berkshire Hathaway disclosed investments in U.S. housing giants DR Horton, Lennar, and NVR. This move is intriguing, especially given the current backdrop of surging interest and housing loan rates impacting consumer demand. Nevertheless, Berkshire is forecasting a spike in construction activities, attributing it to a dearth in home listings.
Events to Monitor
Keep an eye out for these potential market influencers on Tuesday:
- Economic indicators: Inflation figures from Sweden and UK employment statistics.