Asia markets fall as investors await economic data releases in week ahead
Singapore’s economy grew 3.6% in 2022, down from 8.9% in 2021
Singapore reported 3.6% GDP growth for 2022, less than the 8.9% growth in 2021.
In the fourth quarter, the city-state’s economy grew 2.1% on an annualized basis, compared with 4% in the previous quarter. That was slightly less than a Reuters estimate for a 2.3% expansion.
The country’s trade and industry ministry kept its GDP forecast for 2023 at 0.5% to 2.5%, saying the growth outlook for aviation and tourism related sectors in Singapore has improved.
The recovery in international air travel and inbound tourism is expected to accelerate, following the faster-than-expected relaxation of China’s border restrictions.
On the other hand, the growth outlook for other outward-oriented sectors remains “weak,” the ministry said, given the broader slowdown in the global economy.
It pointed at sectors like semiconductors, which is expected to be affected by weaker global demand, while precision engineering is projected to be weighed down by spending cutbacks by semiconductor manufacturers.
At the same time, growth in the wholesale trade, water transport, as well as finance and insurance sectors will be dampened by the slowdown in major external economies.
The Singapore dollar weakened marginally against the U.S. dollar, trading at $1.33 on Monday.
— Lim Hui Jie
DBS earnings show profit soared nearly 70% in fourth quarter
DBS Group Holdings in the central business district of Singapore.
Nicky Loh | Bloomberg | Getty Images
DBS’ fourth-quarter net profit rose nearly 70% to 2.34 billion Singapore dollars ($1.76 billion) compared with a year ago, the Singaporean bank said in a release.
Its full-year net profit rose 20% to a record S$8.19 billion, it said, adding that its return on equity rose to 17.2%.
Higher interest rates boosted its net interest income while offsetting a drop in non-interest income on worsened conditions for the global economy, it said.
— Jihye Lee
Week ahead: Japan GDP; Australia and South Korea’s jobs data; China housing index
Here are some key economic data expected to be released this week.
Japan will release its gross domestic product on Tuesday. Economists polled by Reuters expect to see the economy grow 2% in the fourth quarter compared to a year ago, and 0.5% on a quarterly basis.
All eyes will be on the government’s nomination for the Bank of Japan’s next governor expected to be announced to the parliament on Tuesday as well.
On the same day, Singapore’s government will present its draft budget for the fiscal year of 2023.
On Wednesday, South Korea will publish its unemployment rate for the month of January after seeing a 3.3% jobless rate in December. The country will also release revised trade data — the economy saw a trade deficit of $12.7 billion in the previous month.
Trade figures for Japan will be released as well on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters are expecting to see a 0.8% growth in exports and a 18.4% jump in imports.
Australia’s unemployment rate slated for release on Thursday will be a key factor for the Reserve Bank of Australia’s path forward. A Reuters poll showed economists are forecasting to see a 3.5% jobless rate.
Hong Kong will release its latest population estimates for 2022 on this day as well, a key indicator to see the impact of its stringent Covid rules and the passage of a draconian national security law that resulted in many leaving the financial hub.
The Philippines’ central bank is scheduled to announce its benchmark interest rate decision on Thursday as well — Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is expected to raise its rates by 0.5% to 6.0%.
China’s housing price indexes for January is expected to be released on this day as well.
Globally, the Munich Security Conference kicks off in German on Friday — where officials will hold talks until Sunday, nearly one year since Russia began its war on Ukraine.
— Jihye Lee
CNBC Pro: JEPI and more: Here are 5 ETFs that offer a yield of over 10% right now
Yield-hungry investors have more options after the Federal Reserve continually raised interest rates over the past year.
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— Ganesh Rao
CNBC Pro: ‘Play offense, not defense’: Analyst says buy the dip in these stocks
Markets are set to have “better than average” returns this year, after stocks posted their worst year in 2022 since the financial crisis, according to one analyst.
However David Katz, chief investment officer at Matrix Asset Advisors, said that he’ll be “buying on the dip not chasing the rallies.”
“We generally find that we’re successful buying fallen angels or growth stocks that have long trajectories at value prices,” he told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia.”
He named four stocks that he says are quality businesses at attractive prices right now.
CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.
— Weizhen Tan
Moody’s cuts outlook for some Adani Group companies
Moody’s lowered its outlook for four Adani Group companies on Friday, the ratings agency said in a notice.
It cut its outlook for Adani Green Energy from stable to negative, alongside Adani Green Energy Restricted Group, Adani Transmission Step-One and Adani Electricity Mumbai.
“These rating actions follow the significant and rapid decline in the market equity values of the Adani Group companies” after the release of a short-seller report, Moody’s said.
The report highlighted “governance concerns in the group,” the agency added.
Meanwhile, Moody’s maintained the current outlook for four other Adani group companies, including Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone and Adani International Container Terminal.
— Jihye Lee
Softbank’s Arm cuts up to 95 jobs in China joint venture: Reuters
The China joint venture of Arm, SoftBank’s chip technology firm, cut up to 95 jobs last week, on challenging business outlook for the year, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the situation.
Arm China has a total of roughly 700 employees prior to the recent layoffs, the report said, adding that there were no job cuts last year despite its parent cutting up to 15% of its global staff.
The latest moves come as Softbank seeks to publicly list Arm later this year.
— Jihye Lee
All eyes are on inflation data next week
Looking ahead to next week, investors are already readying for the latest consumer price index reading to see if inflation once again cooled.
The January reading for the index, which follows the prices of a wide basket of goods as a gauge of inflation, is due Tuesday. Economists polled by Dow Jones forecast a 0.4% increase in headline CPI on a monthly basis and a 6.2% gain from the prior year.
“Next week is really all about one thing, and that one thing is CPI,” said Scott Ladner, chief investment officer at Horizon Investments.
Market observers also expect the CPI reading to help dictate the Federal Reserve’s next move on interest rates. The central bank last implement a 25 basis point interest rate hike, while Fed Chair Jerome Powell noted inflation was starting to come down but had a ways to go.
Emmanuel Cau, an analyst at Barclays, said inflation data will likely be a market catalyst going forward.
“More than the central banks’ rhetoric, we think it is the inflation data that will dictate the direction of travel for markets from here,” he said in a note to clients Friday.
CNBC Pro subscribers can read more about what to expect in the coming week here.
— Alex Harring
Alphabet loses roughly $165 billion in market cap over two days
It’s been a tough week for Google-parent Alphabet, as the company’s recent moves in AI fail to impress investors. The stock is down about 9% week to date, on pace for its biggest weekly drop since November.
Tough week for Alphabet
In the last two days, the company lost roughly $165 billion in market cap.
“While the near-term move may be overdone and Alphabet will have a very strong foothold in the A.I. race (stock ticking up in the pre’ market), it is harder to imagine this overhang goes away anytime soon as Chatbots & A.I. do open up some hard to answer questions,” Goldman Sachs traders said in a note Friday.
— Fred Imbert, Michael Bloom
Consumer outlook improves in February, though inflation outlook up as well
Consumer sentiment has risen in February but so have short-term inflation expectations, according to a closely watched gauge.
The University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment‘s preliminary reading was 66.4 for the month, up from 64.9 in January and ahead of the Dow Jones expectation for 65.1. The current conditions index jumped to 72.6 from 68.4 in January, while the future expectations index edged lower to 62.3, down from 62.7.
On the inflation side, the one-year inflation expectations gauge increased to 4.2%, up from 3.9% in January. However, the five-year outlook was unchanged at 2.9%.
WTI had its strongest week since October
WTI closed on Friday with its best week since October.
It rose 8.63% this week, marking its strongest week since Oct. 7, when WTI gained 16.54%. This was also its first positive week in three weeks.
WTI settled up 2.13% at $79.72 and hit a session high of $80.33. This was the highest level since Jan. 30, when it traded as high as $80.49.
— Gina Francolla, Hakyung Kim
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