Here's our summary of key events over the weekend that affect New Zealand, with news China data is triggering investor fears.
But first in the US, the regular debt-limit impasses is upon us yet again with a shutdown looming from this Saturday night if a resolution can't be found. The key sticking point is over 'border wall funding', a pet project of the US President.
And the Federal Reserve is expected to lift rates once again on Thursday (NZT), with US policymakers expected to stick to their tightening path, for now at least.
American retail sales data for November came in flat compared with October and up +4.2% year-on-year. This matched analysts expectations and is seen as a good sign heading into the heart of the holiday shopping season.
US industrial production recovered slightly from a poor October, but the gains in November were 'average'.
It doesn't seem that December will be better however. The early December US PMI readings show the manufacturing sector expanding at its slowest rate in 13 months and the service sector is slowest rate in 11 months. It's a picture of slowing momentum.
In China, most of the data released over the weekend indicated growing weakness, data that may be behind the stock market reversals at the end of last week. Nominal retail sales in Chine rose +8.1% year-on-year and the slowest such growth rate in 15 years. Data for industrial production was down to +5.4% year-on-year and well below analysts estimates. Electricity production grew at only +3.6% pa (although to be fair that was higher than the November 2017 rise of +2.4% pa). But, of course, there's this to consider.
American exports at their biggest trans-Pacific trade gateway ports plunged last month, in an apparent sign of the impact of China’s retaliatory tariffs. Outbound container volume at the neighboring ports of Los Angeles (-14%) and Long Beach (-8%) fell -12% in November from the same month last year, the first decline after seven straight months of export growth. Imports were down too. This may pick up however as China has signaled that it will reverse tariffs hikes on corn and cars.
Japan is trimming its official growth forecast to +1.3% pa in 2019, from +1.5%.
In Hong Kong, home owners are turning jittery as house price falls now exceed -20%.
In official data, China's home prices have been described as 'stable', with growth evaporating as demand dries up. Meanwhile, there are reports that economic fears in China are reigniting the rush to buy overseas property. Sydney and Melbourne get a special mention, as does New Zealand's new unavailability.
Russia’s central bank unexpectedly increased borrowing costs for the second time this year, increasing them by +25 bps to 7.75%. It also signaled it may raise them again as inflation jumps to over +4% amid a tax hike and possible new American sanctions. Russia is the world's 12th largest economy, about the same size as South Korea (#11) and a bit larger than Australia (#13).
In Ireland, politicians responded to historic banking misdeeds by imposing severe limits on bonuses and banker pay. But that has caused a growing exodus of talent and revolving doors in key positions. In fact, Dublin has become so worried about bank management skills it is about to issue a report recommending a sharp easing of the restrictions. And it is doing so even though the politics will be difficult.
At the end of last week equity markets took a beating. It started in Shanghai with them closing down -1.5%. That has compounded to a -23% loss for the year and well into a bear market. Hong Kong was down -1.6% on Friday, Tokyo down more than -2%. That was influential in Europe where stocks fell about -0.7% on average across all markets. The DAX is now down more than -15% so far in 2018. That weakness flowed on to Wall Street with the S&P500 down -1.9%. From the start of October, the S&P500 is down more than -11%, and that means it is in a technical 'correction' phase. Where to from here is a key question for both investors, and business managers who need to make investment decisions. In the same period the NZX50 is down -6.5%, the ASX200 is down -9.5% and the Shanghai index is down -8.0% (Shanghai is down much more over a longer period.)
And December is on course to be first month without a sale of sub-investment grade corporate debt in the US - since the Lehman Bros. crash. American high yield bond markets are tightening, and fast.
The UST 10yr yield is starting the week at 2.90%. Their 2-10 curve has risen to just under +16 bps. The Aussie Govt 10yr is at 2.45%, the China Govt 10yr is at 3.37%, while the NZ Govt 10 yr is at 2.51%.
Gold has slipped back and is now at US$1,238, a -$10 fall over the week.
US oil prices are down sharply again to just over US$51/bbl. The Brent benchmark is now just over US$60/bbl.
The Kiwi dollar is starting the week softer at 68 USc. On the cross rates we are marginally softer at 94.7 AUc, and little changed at 60.1 euro cents. That puts the TWI-5 a little lower at 72.8.
Bitcoin is now at US$3,209 which is only a small -1.4% loss for the week. This rate is charted in the exchange rate set below.
This chart is animated here.
The easiest place to stay up with event risk today is by following our Economic Calendar here ».