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Asia-Pacific market mixed; Thailand election results in focus as baht strengthens

57 minutes ago

The Thai baht rises against the dollar as opposition parties make significant gains in the election

The Thai baht rose on Monday, strengthening 0.6% to 33.73 against the US dollar, as Thailand’s opposition parties look set to be the biggest winners in Sunday’s general election.

The baht hovered at its strongest levels since February earlier this year when it traded below the 33.5 threshold.

The currency saw its last weakest point in October last year when the US central bank continued its tightening cycle to above 38.3 against the dollar, the weakest the Thai currency had been since August 2006, Refinitiv data showed.

The Thai currency shrugged off weakness seen across the forex market among Asian currencies on Monday, with the Japanese yen weakening 0.06% to 1[ads1]35.79 against the US dollar and the Chinese yuan onshore relatively flat.

Citi economist Nalin Chutchotitham said Thailand’s medium-term economic outlook “may see heightened risks of populist economic policies that could raise questions about future fiscal discipline,” she wrote in a Sunday note.

– Jihye Lee

An hour ago

South Korea’s trade deficit narrows for the fourth consecutive month

South Korea’s trade deficit narrowed for a fourth straight month to a revised figure of $2.65 billion in April, a Monday publication showed, slightly higher than the preliminary figure of $2.62 billion released earlier this month.

The latest reading follows a deficit of $4.74 billion seen in March and marks the 14th consecutive month the country’s trade balance remains in deficit, where imports exceed the amount of exports.

The revised figure was also lower than the $2.89 billion deficit expected by economists polled by Reuters.

April’s exports came in at $49.58 billion, down 14.3% compared to April last year, while imports were at $52.23 billion, down 13.3% from a year earlier.

Trade in the first ten days of May also indicated that exports fell by 10.1%, while imports also fell by 5.7%, a separate release from last Thursday showed.

— Lim Hui Jie

2 hours ago

Asia week ahead: Thai GDP, China data, Philippines central bank, G-7 summit

Economic data releases and a Group of Seven summit in Japan will be the highlights of this week’s events in the Asia-Pacific.

On Monday, Thailand’s gross domestic product for the first quarter will be released tomorrow morning. Economists at Goldman Sachs expect the economy to grow 1.8% quarter-on-quarter as consumption picks up and inventories pick up due to lower factory activity.

China releases a series of economic data on Tuesday: Industrial production, retail sales, growth in investment in fixed assets and unemployment. Compared to a low base seen in April a year ago, market watchers largely expect the economic indicators to reflect a rebound in growth.

Economists polled by Reuters forecast industrial production to grow 10.1% year-on-year in April after a 3.9% rise the previous month. They also see retail sales rising 20.1% for the month after the economy saw a 10.6% jump in March.

Australia’s central bank statement as well as their first quarter wage price index will be released on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

New Zealand will reveal its annual budget for the year on Thursday, with the finance minister describing it as focusing on returning to “a more sustainable fiscal position”.

The Philippines’ central bank will meet and is widely expected to keep its policy rate unchanged at 6.25% on Thursday, especially after the economy saw a slight easing in inflationary pressures earlier this month.

If the central bank pauses the rate hike cycle, it will mark the first since March 2022.

– Jihye Lee

An hour ago

CNBC Pro: UBS is betting on European banks over automakers right now. Here’s why

European bank stocks are poised to outperform carmakers for the foreseeable future, according to UBS.

The investment bank highlighted three structural changes that could lead to significant gains for banking stocks relative to auto counterparts, despite similarities in their economic cycles.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more about these three reasons here.

– Ganesh Rao

An hour ago

CNBC Pro: Bank of America loves these 10 unloved global stocks with big upside

Bank of America strategists have named the ten European stocks that they believe are currently undervalued and could provide significant investment returns.

These selections, which the investment bank refers to as the “Beat Factor Top 10,” consist mainly of industrial and financial companies.

One of the stocks offers more than 60% upside over the next 12 months, according to the investment bank.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

– Ganesh Rao

Fri May 12, 2023 12:33 PM EDT

17 S&P 500 stocks hit new highs

Seventeen stocks in the S&P 500 hit fresh highs on Friday, with many trading at all-time highs. Food companies were among the notable names.

New S&P 500 52-Week Highs:

  • O’Reilly Auto traded at all-time highs dating back to its April 1993 IPO
  • PulteGroup traded at all-time highs dating back to its IPO in 1972
  • General Mills traded at all-time highs dating back to when it began trading on the NYSE in 1928
  • Pepsico traded at all-time highs dating back to Pepsi-Cola’s 1965 merger with Frito-Lay to form Pepsico
  • First solar trading at levels not seen since September 2008

Meanwhile, 11 stocks hit 52-week lows:

  • Match Group which traded at an all-time low back to its IPO in November 2015
  • Organon trading at all-time lows back to June 2021 Merck spin-off

– Chris Hayes, Sarah Min

Fri May 12, 2023 10:14 AM EDT

Consumer sentiment falls more than expected in May

Consumers became more pessimistic in May as persistently high inflation and problems in the banking industry weighed on sentiment.

The University of Michigan’s Survey of Consumers showed a reading of 57.7 for the month, down from 63.5 in April and below the Dow Jones consensus estimate of 63.

Inflation expectations a year from now fell to 4.5%, but rose on the five-year outlook to 3.2%, tied for the highest since June 2008.

-Jeff Cox

Fri May 12, 2023 9:04 AM EDT

Bitcoin is headed for its worst week of the year

Bitcoin is about to end the week down 10.6%, which would make it the worst week since November 11, in the days following the FTX collapse, according to Coin Metrics.

It last traded down more than 1% to $26,416.31. Earlier, it touched a low of %26,138.19, its lowest level since March 17. The crypto asset has fallen all week as investors weighed a number of negative developments, including:

  • A false alarm suggesting the US government’s move of bitcoin for potential sale, which triggered a wave of long liquidations;
  • Network congestion and higher fees, which led to Binance halting bitcoin withdrawals;
  • Market makers Jump and Jane Street announce a reduction in their US crypto operations, pressured by the regulatory crackdown and adding to the existing liquidity problem in crypto,
  • Uncertainty about the US debt ceiling and Federal Reserve policy.

Bitcoin has ended lower or less than 1% higher over the past six days. That in itself could weigh on sentiment, said Yuya Hasegawa, a crypto market analyst at Japanese bitcoin exchange Bitbank.

– Tanaya Machel

Fri May 12, 2023 7:31 AM EDT

The Fed’s Michelle Bowman warns that more rate hikes may be necessary

More rate hikes may be needed if economic data do not show more convincing signs that inflation is on the way down, Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman said on Friday.

“Should inflation remain high and the labor market remain tight, further monetary policy tightening is likely to be appropriate to achieve a sufficiently restrictive monetary policy stance to lower inflation over time,” Bowman said in prepared remarks for a speech in Frankfurt, Germany.

Although consumer and producer price indices this week showed that the annual pace of inflation cooled slightly in April, the central bank official said those figures, combined with last week’s report on non-farm payrolls, “have not provided consistent evidence that inflation is on the way down. . “

-Jeff Cox

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