U.S. Treasury auctions offering $271 billion of new debt and a key inflation report this week could end a recent lull in the bond market, reigniting a rise in yields that worried investors in the first quarter. Treasury yields have dipped since April 1 during a two-week pause in issuance, reversing some of the dramatic rise in February and March. Investors said weak demand at upcoming auctions, which kick off on Monday, could send bond prices lower and yields higher, albeit at a slower pace than in the first quarter.
(Bloomberg) -- A flurry of U.S. economic reports this week may signal the underlying strength of growth and inflation pressures as the country’s thaw from the coronavirus crisis begins to spread.One of the most-watched reports will be the consumer price index, with March data likely to show a heady acceleration from last year’s pandemic conditions. Economists may zero in on the monthly change to gauge momentum however, with a 0.5% gain forecast.Investors are watching such figures to determine the odds of elevated price pressures becoming self-sustaining, amid possible supply-chain constraints, massive fiscal and monetary stimulus and pent-up consumer demand.The March retail sales report will likely bear out that demand theme, which has prompted economists to raise growth forecasts for this year. Their median estimate calls for a 5.5% increase in purchases after a winter weather-depressed February.Meantime, industrial production at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities is projected to rebound strongly, led by robust manufacturing. Factory production is forecast to rise 4%. While lean inventories and solid demand are bolstering order books at manufacturers, materials shortages, elevated input prices and shipping delays are complicating production efforts.At week’s end, the government will issue its housing starts report for March, which may have rebounded from February when winter storms delayed construction efforts. While home sales have shown signs of leveling off, builder backlogs remain hefty.What Bloomberg Economics Says:“Narrow pockets of elevated demand and localized supply-chain disruptions will create price spikes in a limited subset of categories. However, the more dominant factor containing inflation will come from excess labor slack and the resulting absence of rising wage pressures.”--Carl Riccadonna, Yelena Shulyatyeva, Andrew Husby and Eliza Winger. For full analysis, click hereElsewhere, a slew of Federal Reserve and European Central Bank officials are scheduled to speak before the two central banks’ quiet periods set in and the World Trade Organization holds a meeting with vaccine makers on export restrictions. Turkey watchers will be keeping a close eye on the interest-rate decision on Thursday.Click here for what happened last week and below is our wrap of what is coming up in the global economy.U.S. and CanadaInvestors will be watching a phalanx of Fed speakers this week before they enter a pre-meeting quiet period. Chair Jerome Powell addresses the Economic Club of Washington on Wednesday, and at least seven of his colleagues are scheduled to make appearances. The Fed’s Beige Book -- a collection of economic and business activity assessments within each of the central bank’s 12 regions -- is also due.In Canada, the quarterly business sentiment survey will be the central bank’s last data point before its April 21 decision.For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for the U.S.AsiaChina’s trade data on Tuesday is set to show another surge in both exports and imports in March from a year earlier, when Covid-restrictions were still curbing commerce. On Friday, industrial production, retail sales and investment data for the same month and GDP figures for the first quarter are all projected to race higher for the same reason.Central banks in New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea all have meetings, with no changes to their main policy settings expected, according to early survey responses from economists.For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for AsiaEurope, Middle East, AfricaData in coming days will start hinting at how the region fared in the first quarter at a time of renewed lockdowns and varying efforts at vaccinations.In the U.K., gross domestic product probably rose in February, but by too small a quantum to cancel out the 2.9% drop recorded in the previous month. Meanwhile euro-zone industrial production is likely to show a decline in February, with data from national statistics offices so far pointing to a pullback in the sector.The coming week offers ECB policy makers a final chance to air views before a quiet period begins preceding their April 22 meeting. President Christine Lagarde will be among a line-up of speakers scheduled for the coming days. Executive Board member Fabio Panetta said in an interview published Sunday that two years of euro-area economic expansion may have been permanently lost.Elsewhere in Europe, Serbia’s central bank will probably keep its interest rate unchanged, while monetary officials in Ukraine may continue tightening policy as inflation surges and a deal with the International Monetary Fund remains far away.In Turkey, the new central bank governor, Sahap Kavcioglu, is expected to hold the benchmark rate at 19% at his first monetary-policy meeting on Thursday. He’s been fighting to win over investors with a commitment to tight monetary policy after his predecessor was fired following a 200 basis-point increase last month.Uganda may hold its key rate for a fifth straight meeting on Wednesday and the same day, the Bank of Namibia will probably leave its rate unchanged too after its neighbor South Africa held in March. Namibia’s benchmark is 25 basis points higher than South Africa’s, helping to protect the country’s reserves and currency peg.For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for EMEALatin AmericaThe faltering nature of recoveries in Colombia and Brazil should be laid bare by their February retail sales reports as the former again imposed restrictions to contain the virus while the latter’s national health crisis has deepened.Jobs reports in Mexico, Brazil and Peru can also be expected to underscore the damage inflicted by the pandemic. Millions of workers in the region’s two largest economies remain sidelined while the labor market in Peru’s capital, the megacity of Lima, is off last year’s lows but still far removed from pre-pandemic form.Argentina posts its March consumer prices report Thursday. Annual inflation is over 40% and some forecasts see 50% before year-end as midterm elections and stalled talks with the IMF on a $45 billion loan restructuring may serve to discourage fiscal restraint.A number of the region’s smaller economies join Brazil and Peru in reporting trade figures in the coming week. Taken as a whole, Latin America’s bigger economies saw a surge in trade surpluses in 2020 as the pandemic’s demand shock curbed imports.For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for Latin AmericaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- India’s deepening coronavirus crisis slammed the nation’s stocks and currency on concern it will deliver a fresh blow to an economy that’s only just recovering from the worst contraction in nearly seven decades.The Indian rupee dropped past 75 to a dollar for the first time since August 2020, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex Index declined 3.4%, the most in almost two months. India reported a record 168,912 new infections for a day, taking the tally to 13.53 million cases, the government said Monday.Many provinces across the nation, from the financial hub Mumbai to capital New Delhi, are bringing back stricter restrictions on movement of people to curb the surge in cases. Reports are emerging of hospital beds running short and immunization centers turning away people as they run out of vaccines.That and a vaccine shortage “are unnerving markets and no one is sure whether lockdowns will help bring cases under control,” said Deepak Jasani, head of retail research at HDFC Securities. Given the uncertainty, “the incentive to try and bottom-fish at this point is limited for traders.”Taking a BeatingThe NSE Nifty 50 Index dropped 3.5%, making India’s key stock indexes the worst performers in Asia on Monday. All 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. slipped, led by a gauge of property and industrial shares.India’s virus resurgence has prompted some brokerages to reconsider their preference for stocks, which are most sensitive to the economic recovery. Nomura cut the weight of financials and cement shares in its model portfolio, while Jefferies downgraded Indian banks to underweight from overweight.Not everyone is pessimistic. India’s long-term outlook remains strong and any decline in equities due to infections should be used as an entry point by investors, according to Prabhudas Lilladher Ltd. India’s gross domestic product is forecast to grow by as much as 12.5% this fiscal year, which would make it the world’s fastest-growing major economy.Bonds held on to last week’s gains, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year notes near the lowest since mid-February, amid optimism the central bank may keep its policy accommodative for long to support the economy. The rupee fell 0.4% to close at 75.0550 per dollar on Monday.“We expect the rupee to weaken versus the USD as have other EM currencies,” and given the slow progress of vaccination, the economy “will be slower to recover,” R Venkataraman, managing director at IIFL Securities, wrote in a note.(Updates with closing prices; adds IIFL analyst’s comment in last paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Max out your 401(k) each year, and be sure to get your 401(k) employer match, if you have one. And for you super savers, here are other ways to save for retirement.
(Bloomberg) -- China told Ant Group Co. to become a financial holding company that will be regulated more like a bank, directing an overhaul that was set in motion when the fintech giant’s record initial public offering was abruptly halted last year.At a meeting on Monday, the central bank ordered Ant to rectify its business in five areas, including eliminating unfair competition in its payments business, managing liquidity risks in its major fund products, ending a monopoly on information and improving corporate governance, according to a government statement. It also told the firm to cut the outstanding value of its money-market fund Yu’ebao.The overhaul creates a definitive supervision framework for the biggest player in the country’s sprawling fintech sector. The government shocked markets in November by suspending billionaire Jack Ma’s planned IPO of Ant, citing a changed regulatory environment, days before its trading debut.Several government agencies, including the People’s Bank of China, the banking and securities regulators met with Ant to dictate the overhaul.The recast is a step toward meeting the demands of China’s watchdogs, who have pledged this year to curb the “reckless” push of technology firms into finance and are examining monopolies online.Regulators also this month imposed a record $2.8 billion antitrust fine on Ant’s affiliate Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., lifting a cloud of uncertainty hanging over billionaire Ma’s e-commerce empire. Ma emerged in public in January for the first time since China began clamping down on his businesses, ending several months of speculation over his whereabouts.Still, there’s little clarity over how investors will now judge the firm, which fetched a $280 billion pre-money valuation before its $34.5 billion IPO was halted.“The darkest hour for Alibaba has passed, but I wouldn’t say so for Ant Group,” said Dong Ximiao, a chief researcher at Zhongguancun Internet Finance Institute. “The latest announcement clarified the framework for Ant’s restructuring, but the tone is still harsh and some of the requirements are tougher than expected. I don’t think the overhang is removed for Ant investors at this stage.”The measures are likely to drastically reduce Ant’s valuation in an IPO, according to estimates from Bloomberg Intelligence. It may be valued at less than 700 billion yuan ($108 billion) under previous draft proposals, which could reduce the value of Ant’s Alipay service by half, according to senior analyst Francis Chan.While the measures subject Ant to tighter regulations, it could leave the company’s overall structure intact. Ant generates synergy by directing traffic from its payments service Alipay -- which has a billion users -- to other financial services including wealth management, consumer lending and even on-demand neighborhood services and delivery.Authorities now require Ant to cut off the improper linking of its payments with other financial products including its Jiebei and Huabei lending services.In a statement, Ant said it could fold those lending units into the consumer finance arm and that it would apply for a company license for personal credit reporting and improve consumer data protection.Ant will plan its growth “within the national strategic context,” and make sure that it shoulders more social responsibility.China proposed measures to curb market concentration in its online payment market in January. The central bank said in draft rules that any non-bank payment company with half of the market in online transactions or two entities with a combined two-thirds share could be subject to antitrust probes.If a monopoly is confirmed, the central bank can suggest that cabinet impose restrictive measures including breaking up the entity by its business type. Firms already with payment licenses would have a one-year grace period to comply with the new rules, the People’s Bank of China said.Ubiquitous in China, Ant and Tencent have transformed how consumers shop through their mobile apps that are used by a combined 1 billion people.Mobile payments are only part of what contribute to online transactions, but they have become the most important platform in China. Alipay, the app operated by Ant, held 57% of the mobile payments market as of the second quarter last year, according to internet consultant iResearch. Tencent had a 39% share.Room for growth in online payments is limited after years of a head-to-head rivalry between Ant and Tencent’s Wechat Pay. Total transactions were 59.8 trillion yuan as of June 30, up 8.8% from a year earlier, according to iResearch. That’s sharply down from increases of 23% and 65% during the same period in 2019 and 2018, respectively.(Updates with more detail from regulator meeting with Ant)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- For Ahmad BinDawood, last year’s share offering in the eponymous Saudi grocery business was a chance to shape his legacy at the family firm he’s worked at since the age of eight, while cementing a $3.1 billion fortune built over the decades by his father and uncles.As the October public offering of BinDawood Holding Co. got underway, details emerged of some $76 million in previously undisclosed loans made by the Saudi company to family members. In a departure from the traditional secrecy associated with the kingdom’s family firms, Jeddah-based BinDawood revealed everything, put the IPO on hold and gave buyers the chance to take their money back.As the loans were quickly repaid, the sale resumed and eventually raised about $500 million for the family, attracting $29 billion in bids along the way.“We have to be very transparent with investors,” BinDawood said in an interview in Riyadh last month. “If there is any disclosure at any time that we need to make, we will go ahead and do it. So we took this on the shoulder and decided to announce it.”The success of the IPO has helped establish BinDawood, 37, as one of a new breed of Saudi executives rising within a corporate world that was largely off-limits to foreigners until a few years ago. What’s more, it has made him emblematic of a drive to shake up traditional ways of doing business, dovetailing with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s goal of transforming the oil-rich kingdom into a regional business hub.That mold-breaking character can even be seen inside BinDawood stores. The past few months have seen the company doing prominent Valentine’s Day and Easter promotions, a move unthinkable just a few years ago in a country that has historically adhered to a strict Wahhabist interpretation of Islam.Prince Mohammed’s commitment to reshaping the economy isn’t all working in BinDawood’s favor. A sudden decision to triple value added tax last year hit consumer spending. Higher customs duties and fees on expatriates are driving up costs for Saudi firms, too. And all at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has been stoking unemployment.“We remain cautious of near-to-mid term growth across the consumers space as market size shrinks on potential expat depopulation,” said Mehwish Zafar, a senior equity analyst at Arqaam Capital in Dubai who has a “hold” recommendation on the shares. Like-for-like sales growth will probably be negative until at least 2022, he said, with growth only coming from new store openings or acquisitions.Shares in BinDawood jumped more than 30% in the days immediately after the sale. They have since slipped back, showing as of Monday a gain of about 11.5% from the listing price.It’s a performance that has helped buttress the family’s bid to diversify into other assets while strengthening the core business, a goal identified by Ahmad BinDawood as key to avoiding the kind of strife his father feared might undermine the business as it passed to a new generation.“The majority of family businesses don’t survive the transition to the third generation, and that’s something that concerned my father a lot,” BinDawood said.Pilgrims ProgressThe rise of the BinDawood business has been some 40 years in the making. Once a small-time vendor of Arabian perfumes and groceries to pilgrims visiting the Islamic holy sites of Mecca and Medina, it is now a nationwide concern spanning supermarkets and hypermarkets, hotels and distribution centers. The grocery business alone employs more than 10,000 people across 74 stores.Ahmad BinDawood’s own destiny was sealed as soon as his father, Abdulrazzag BinDawood graduated in the 1980’s from the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran. Instead of following his peers into the oil industry, he decided to join his brothers Ismail and Abdullah in their burgeoning retail trade.Which is why Ahmad found himself on the front line at such a young age. At just eight, he was helping to sell items to the pilgrims during his school holidays, envious of friends who were away avoiding Saudi Arabia’s scorching summers.“Our friends were traveling and off enjoying themselves and sometimes we would would ask: why not us?” BinDawood said. “But that experience built the passion in us to stay in the business that our father and our uncles built.”A decision to push into online shopping and delivery helped prepare the firm for lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic, but couldn’t outweigh the hit from the absence of religious tourists who were prevented from entering the kingdom for much of the year. While profit climbed almost 7% last year, it had slumped more than 53% in the fourth quarter as Saudi Arabia reimposed travel restrictions.BinDawood is still optimistic that shoppers will return as travel resumes, though how quickly pilgrims come back to Saudi Arabia in anything like their previous numbers remains uncertain.Next up may be the purchase of a rival grocery chain to expand into neighboring countries, BinDawood said. At the same time, the IPO proceeds will help further develop the BinDawood Group family office, which Ahmad’s father is now running. That fortune, which is split across several family members, is estimated at about $3.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.“The IPO had two main angles to it -- sustainability and continuity of the business first, and second the diversification for the family,” he said. “We are in the process of building the family office and bringing in the right talent.”More family businesses are likely to follow in BinDawood’s footsteps. The IPO of Saudi Aramco in 2019, which many Saudis never thought they would see, “has been a massive driver in motivating families to take their operating businesses public to help grow their enterprises and generate new wealth,” said Tayyab Mohamed, co-founder of London-based family office staffing firm, Agreus Group.For all the challenges, Ahmad BinDawood is optimistic, citing his life-long involvement in the business as a foundation for success.“Retail is embedded in our DNA now,” he said.(Updates share performance in ninth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
HSBC and Huawei Technologies' Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou have reached an agreement in a dispute about the publication of documents relating to U.S. fraud allegations against her, their lawyers told a Hong Kong court. The legal dispute reached the Hong Kong court last month after a British judge in February blocked the release of internal HSBC documents relating to the fraud allegations against Meng.
Shares of GameStop Corp. fell 0.7% in premarket trading Monday, which puts them in danger of a sixth straight loss, after Ascendiant Capital analyst Edward Woo turned bearish on the videogame retailer, citing a "hazy" 2021 outlook despite strong new consoles launches. Woo cut his rating to sell after being at hold since June 2019. He lowered his stock price target to $10, which is 94% below Friday's closing price of $158.36, from $12, which makes him the most bearish of the seven analysts surveyed by FactSet. Woo said he remains "very concerned" about the long-term prospects for its video game business, "especially once hardware sales temper as the installed base matures. He also commented on the frenzied trading surrounding the meme stock. He said the stock's big rally over the past several months -- it's up 740.6% year to date through Friday -- is due to "wild investor optimism" about the company's prospects and valuation and "a humungous short squeeze," helped by the addition of Ryan Cohen to the company's board. "Due to the popularity of GameStop on Reddit chat boards and with Robinhood retail investors, GameStop shares appears to no longer trade on traditional fundamental valuations or metrics, but on retail investors sentiment, hope, momentum, and the powers of crowds," Woo wrote in a note to clients. "This makes short term price movement forecasts nearly impossible...but we believe that over the long run GameStop's current elevated share prices will come back down to match its current weak results and outlook." The stock has lost 17.3% amid a five-day losing streak through Friday, while the S&P 500 gained 2.7% last week.
As the president mulls Democrat calls to cancel up to $50,000 in federally-backed student loan debt via executive order, a new analysis shows how $10,000 in forgiveness would affect borrowers in each U.S. state.
High-margin medical cannabis businesses in Europe will help bolster the balance sheet and build up a war chest for U.S. acquisitions.
Cannabis deals in Europe will help pot giant Aphria build up a war chest ahead of an expected frenzy of M&A in the U.S., the company’s chair and chief executive told MarketWatch ahead of the group’s earnings on Monday.
Top news and what to watch in the markets on Monday, April 12, 2021.
Bill Reith felt the blast of February's freak cold snap in Texas almost immediately - from inside his office in northern Indiana. As head of the largest recreational vehicle division of REV Group Inc, a Milwaukee-based producer of specialty vehicles, he watched helplessly as the power grid in Texas buckled under some of the coldest temperatures seen in the state in decades, hobbling shipments of a mundane, but vital, commodity used in every one of his company's RVs: foam. Petrochemical plants of all types shut down in Texas because of the power cuts, including the only five in North America that produce propylene oxide - a critical raw material for the foam that goes into seat cushions and other RV components.
(Bloomberg) -- The Biden administration is stepping up scrutiny of China’s plans for a digital yuan, with some officials concerned the move could kick off a long-term bid to topple the dollar as the world’s dominant reserve currency, according to people familiar with the matter.Now that China’s digital-currency efforts are gathering momentum, officials at the Treasury, State Department, Pentagon and National Security Council are bolstering their efforts to understand the potential implications, the people said.American officials are less worried about an immediate challenge to the current structure of the global financial system, but are eager to understand how the digital yuan will be distributed, and whether it could also be used to work around U.S. sanctions, the people said on the condition of anonymity.A Treasury spokeswoman declined to comment. A National Security Council spokeswoman did not reply to a request for comment.The People’s Bank of China has rolled out trial issuance of a digital yuan in cities across the country, putting it on track to be the first major central bank to issue a virtual currency. A broader roll-out is expected for the Winter Olympics in Beijing next February, giving the effort international exposure.Many key details of the digital yuan are still in flux, including specifics on how it would be distributed. China’s recent establishment of a joint venture with SWIFT, the messaging nexus through which most cross-border settlements pass through today, suggests it is possible a digital yuan could work within the current financial architecture rather than outside of it.U.S. officials are reassured that China’s intentions aren’t to use the digital yuan to evade American sanctions, according to people familiar with the matter. The dollar’s current dominance in cross-border transactions gives the U.S. Treasury the power to cut off much of a business or even a country’s access to the global financial system.China’s officials have said the main intentions of the digital yuan are to replace banknotes and coins, to reduce the incentive to use cryptocurrencies and to complement the current private-sector run electronic payments system -- dominated by Ant Group Co.’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat Pay. The PBOC has been working for years on the digital yuan, also called the e-CNY, having set up a specialist research team in 2014.Here’s How a Central Bank Digital Currency Could Work: Chart“To provide a backup or redundancy for the retail payment system, the central bank has to step up” and provide digital-currency services, Mu Changchun, the director of the PBOC’s digital-currency research institute, said at an event last month.Beyond seeking a backup to privately run e-payments, Chinese regulators have more broadly been expanding their oversight of the country’s digital champions. Ant Group was told by Beijing to become a financial holding company, which will be regulated more like a bank. China also imposed a $2.8 billion antitrust fine on Ant’s affiliate Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.Read More: Ant to Be Financial Holding Firm in Overhaul Forced by ChinaThe PBOC is also examining the potential for using the digital yuan in cross-border payments, launching a project studying the issue with a unit of the Bank for International Settlements along with the United Arab Emirates, Thailand and Hong Kong’s monetary authority.The Biden administration isn’t currently planning to take any action to counter longer-term threats from China’s digital currency, the people familiar with the discussions said. However, China’s plans have given renewed impetus to efforts to consider the creation of a digital dollar, they said.Members of Congress have also been increasingly interested in a digital dollar, aware of China’s moves, and asked Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen about the issue in hearings earlier this year.Powell: Need for Digital Dollar Is an Issue for Congress, PublicPowell said in February the Fed was looking “very carefully” at a digital dollar. “We don’t need to be the first. We need to get it right.”Yellen has signaled interest in research into the viability of a digital dollar, a shift from a lack of enthusiasm under her predecessor, Steven Mnuchin.“It makes sense for central banks to be looking at” issuing sovereign digital currencies, she said at a virtual conference in February. Yellen said a digital version of the dollar could help address hurdles to financial inclusion in the U.S. among low-income households.A recent report from the U.S. Director of National Intelligence said the extent of the threat of any foreign digital currency to the dollar’s centrality in the global financial system “will depend on the regulatory rules that are established.”China’s currency makes up little more than 2% of global foreign exchange reserves compared with nearly 60% for the U.S. dollar. Policy decisions, rather than technical developments, will also be necessary to push forward yuan internationalization, as China maintains a strict regime of capital controls.China’s financial system is too “fragile and weak” to pose a real threat to the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency, according to Mark Sobel, U.S. chairman for the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum.“At the end of the the day the markets have more confidence in the Fed” than China’s central bank, said Sobel, a former senior U.S. Treasury official for international matters.(Adds reference to China’s regulatory measures in 10th paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
If successful, the acquisition would be Microsoft's second-largest ever, behind 2016's $24 billion purchase of LinkedIn.
Millions are newly eligible for policies at less than $50 a month, federal data shows.
(Bloomberg) -- No matter the asset class, the outlook is turning bleak for China’s financial markets.The nation’s stocks, bonds and currency are losing their shine after an impressive start to the year, overshadowed by a stronger dollar, higher U.S. Treasury yields and a domestic campaign to cut financial risk.China’s benchmark stock index remains 13% below a 13-year high in early February, following a brutal selloff that wiped out more than $1.3 trillion in market value. The yuan just suffered its worst month in a year in March, erasing all its 2021 gains against the greenback. Chinese sovereign bonds, a sanctuary during the recent global rout, saw foreign investors lower their holdings last month for the first time in more than two years.The sharp reversal of fortunes came as confidence grew in a strong U.S. economic recovery that is reclaiming the allure of dollar assets around the world. The latest underperformance of Chinese markets also resulted from Beijing’s decision to resume a battle on debt that was interrupted by the trade war with Washington and the pandemic.Concerns about inflation and tighter monetary conditions mean appetite for Chinese shares will likely remain subdued, while the country’s government debt market faces the test of a supply glut later this year, investors and analysts say. The yuan could weaken further as the dollar extends its global resurgence.“China’s bull run is being tested,” said Adrian Zuercher, head of global asset allocation of UBS Chief Investment Office. “Volatility will stay elevated in the near term.”Subdued TradingAfter delivering a world-beating rally earlier in the year, Chinese shares have reversed course since February, when it became increasingly clear that policymakers were shifting their priority to taming asset bubbles and reducing financial leverage.The broader de-risking campaign also includes a crackdown on the country’s internet and fintech giants. In the latest of such moves, the authorities slapped a record $2.8 billion fine on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. over the weekend after an anti-monopoly probe found it abused its market dominance.While the penalty triggered a relief rally of as much as 9% in Alibaba’s shares in Hong Kong, those of its peers including Tencent, JD.com and Baidu fell by at least 2.7% amid concerns that they could be among the next targets of Beijing’s clampdown.The onshore benchmark CSI 300 Index fell 1.4% at Monday’s midday break, bringing its year-to-date loss to 4.7% and down 14.5% from a peak in February.The world’s second-largest stock market is $838 billion smaller than at its February peak and trading interest has been waning. Daily average turnover on China’s two stock exchanges was 670 billion yuan ($102 billion) so far this month, the lowest since May, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.UBS’ Zuercher said he expects rising Treasury yields to be a major source of near-term volatility in China’s equity market, as it will continue to exert pressure on valuations of the country’s growth stocks and trigger rotation.Echoing the view, Herald van Der Linde, HSBC Holdings Plc’s head of Asia Pacific equity strategy, said there remains downside risk to Asian equities in the near term and “China is no exception”.Domestically, a central bank unwilling to keep funding conditions too loose, a contrast to its peers in other major economies, has also disappointed stock investors. Apart from its deleveraging campaign, signs of inflationary pressures, as shown in March’s consensus-beating 4.4% jump in China’s producer prices, could prompt Beijing to further dial back its pandemic-induced economic stimulus.“We believe monetary policy might be tightened,” Hanfeng Wang, a strategist at China International Capital Corp., wrote in a note this week, adding that investors should pay attention to policy signals from the next meeting of the Politburo, the Communist Party’s top decision-making body.Bonds PressuredWhile Chinese government bonds outpaced their competitors in the first quarter as their haven status helped them stand out as a bulwark amid the global slump, they are facing a host of challenges in the coming months.In addition to a longer-than-expected phase-in period for the inclusion in FTSE Russell’s World Government Bond Index, a surge in bond supply from local governments and a narrowing China-U.S. yield gap also threaten to reduce the appeal of Chinese debt.Now at 3.21%, yields on China’s benchmark 10-year sovereign notes are expected to rise to 3.5% by the end of this quarter, according to Becky Liu, head of China macro strategy at Standard Chartered Plc.As China’s yield premium over Treasuries thinned, global investors last month trimmed their holdings of Chinese government debt for the first time since February 2019, a trend that is expected to continue for some time. The yield gap fell to 144.8 basis points on March 31, the narrowest since Feb. 24, 2020 when it was 144.2 basis points.Weaker YuanThe dollar’s renewed strength, the tighter yield gap, as well as Beijing’s latest move to boost capital outflows also have prompted analysts, including ING’s, to lower their forecasts on the Chinese currency.After rising nearly 7% against the dollar last year and reaping further gains earlier this year, the yuan suffered its worst selloff in a year last month, arresting a steady advance since May.Read: Yuan Erases Year’s Gains Against Dollar as PBOC Steps AsideAlso weighing on the yuan is the slowing speed of capital inflows: Cross-border currency flows tracked by Goldman Sachs totaled $1.5 billion in the week ended on April 7, compared with about $3 billion in the previous week.“It’s about how views on the U.S. dollar have changed rapidly,” said Zhou Hao, an economist from Commerzbank AG. “People believe the U.S. economy will recover strongly in the next two years and that’s what stocks and bonds have been pricing in.”Zhou said he expects the yuan to weaken to 6.83 per dollar by the end of this year, from around 6.56 Friday.(Updates with performance of broader stock market and tech shares in the ninth and 10th paragraphs)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
J.P. Morgan serves up three reasons why stocks are shrugging off fears of higher corporate taxes.
Bitcoin (BTC) is up 116% from the year's low of $27,734 on Jan. 4. It crossed the $60,000 mark for the first time on March 13, hitting a record $61,781.83 on Bitstamp exchange, just after U.S. President Joe Biden signed his $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus package into law. Justin d'Anethan, sales manager at digital asset company Diginex in Hong Kong, said investors had turned their attention to stock markets and other cryptocurrencies in the past couple of weeks, leaving Bitcoin idling in the upper 50-thousand dollar levels.
(Bloomberg) -- Inside a six-story high warehouse near Singapore’s Changi airport, a vast hangar-like space is waiting to be filled with a precious metal that usually plays second fiddle to its more lustrous sibling.The vault that’s being built by Silver Bullion Pte Ltd. will -- when completed in the first half of next year --- be able to store 15,000 tons of silver. It’s only holding around 400 tons of the metal at the moment, but the vacant space is an indication that silver appears to be on the cusp of a promising few years.Demand for coins and bars is booming, fueled in part by a Reddit-induced buying frenzy in February that drove prices to an eight-year high. While the fervor has abated, retail interest is still elevated, valuations are relatively cheap and measures are being taken to meet the surge in demand. The amount of silver stored in vaults in London rose 11% in March to a record, according to the London Bullion Market Association.As well as the Singapore vault, JM Bullion, one of the biggest precious metals retailers in the U.S., plans to open a 25,000-square-foot-warehouse in Dallas in June that will be used for storing silver and other precious metals.The metal’s crucial role in the energy transition -- it’s a key component in solar panels -- also looks set to buoy consumption over the longer-term. All this has some analysts forecasting that silver will outperform gold this year.“The outlook for demand growth for silver over the next few years looks very positive, especially across a wide range of industrial applications, including solar, 5G and automotive,” said Philip Klapwijk, managing director of Hong Kong-based consultant Precious Metals Insights Ltd. “That, coupled with ongoing high levels of investment is likely to create the need for more dedicated storage space for silver in bullion and also intermediate forms.”Gregor Gregersen, founder of Silver Bullion, said he started searching for a bigger warehouse two or three years ago and that decision was vindicated last year when demand for the metal surged during the coronavirus pandemic. “The idea is to make this into a really iconic building,” he said during a tour of the vault that will be known as The Reserve. “There isn’t really a facility built specifically to store large quantities of silver securely.”Singapore has a reputation as a stable financial center and has taken steps to position itself as a bullion hub, exempting investment-grade gold, silver and platinum from a goods and services tax.Physical investment in silver, which covers bullion coin and bar purchases, is expected to reach a six-year high of 257 million ounces in 2021, according to the Silver Institute.Spot silver, currently trading around $25 an ounce, is forecast by Citigroup Inc. to peak at $28 to $30 in the second half, aided by “still solid” investment demand and an end to physical de-stocking in China and India. The lender sees the price averaging $27.30 this year. Morgan Stanley, meanwhile sees the metal averaging $25 an ounce in 2021, up 22% from last year.Gold, meanwhile, is stabilizing after its first quarterly loss since 2018 amid high bond yields and optimism over the global economic recovery from the pandemic that’s damping demand for the metal. Citi sees gold, currently fetching around $1,740 an ounce, falling to $1,575 in six to 12 months.Sill, there’s no shortage of silver. The Silver Institute expects the global market to remain in a surplus this year, although it sees the lowest excess since 2015. And even against a backdrop of strong electronics and automotive demand as well as growing solar power investment, silver’s failure to break higher suggests the gold price, real yields and the U.S. dollar remain powerful drags, Morgan Stanley said in a note.“Considering the high correlation of silver to gold, and our bearish outlook for the yellow metal over the next 12 months, we expect silver together with gold to continue to struggle amid higher real interest-rate expectations in the U.S.,” said Giovanni Staunovo, a strategist at UBS Group AG.JM Bullion Chief Executive Officer Michael Wittmeyer is more optimistic. The Reddit-fueled buying frenzy caused a spike in demand from existing silver bugs as well as bringing in a lot of first-time investors in the metal, he said. “We’re just trying to expand our capacity so that next time this happens, we’ll be able to get all these orders shipped more quickly.”The accelerating move away from fossil fuels should also provide an enduring tailwind for silver demand as investment in solar power ramps up. China, Japan and South Korea all set carbon zero targets last year, while the U.S. is considering emissions cuts of 50% or more from 2005 levels by 2030.The energy transition demand should give prices an extra boost, said CPM Group analyst Rohit Savant. Silver will average $27 this year and beat gold due to its relatively cheaper valuation and strong investment demand, he said.In Singapore, Silver Bullion’s Gregersen is confident all that currently vacant space in his vault won’t go to waste. “Silver is usually a forgotten metal that people don’t really care much about,” he said. “But it’s starting to shine a bit more and that trend will continue.”(Updates with more detail on Citigroup price forecast in 10th paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.