Global stocks dip on Fed tightening, China prices

AFP , Monday 11 Apr 2022

Asian stocks posted losses on Monday as unease lingered over tightening monetary policy by the Fed and rising prices in China.

China prices

The drop followed a negative lead from Wall Street. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq retreated as the yield on the 10-year US Treasury note climbed above 2.7 percent -- a signal markets are preparing for more tightening as the Federal Reserve battles inflation.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei closed 0.6 percent lower, while Hong Kong and Shanghai lost more than three percent and two percent respectively.

Taipei and Seoul were also down, while Sydney and Jakarta posted slight gains.

In early European trade, the Paris CAC 40 shed 0.6 percent and Frankfurt's DAX slid 1.2 percent. London's FTSE 100 index slid 0.6 percent on news that the UK economy had ground to a near halt.

"Stocks are soft at the Monday (Asian) open on increasing evidence the Federal Reserve will take a more committed approach to its monetary policy inflation-fighting stance," said Stephen Innes at SPI Asset Management.

"However, markets have been surprisingly resilient as discussions under the surface debated whether this week's US March CPI data will hint at the peak of the inflation cycle and help the Fed's chance to better engineer a soft landing, however narrow that path may seem."

The US central bank has recently taken a hawkish tone as it embarks on an aggressive tightening path, prompting traders to fret over the prospect of higher interest rates.

"Today, the mantra for many investors is 'Don't fight the Fed when it is fighting inflation'," Ed Yardeni, president of Yardeni Research, wrote in a note.

In China, factory-gate inflation was higher than expected in March, official data showed, as Russia's war on Ukraine pushes up oil prices while a domestic Covid-19 resurgence strains food supplies and consumer costs.

The producer price index -- measuring the cost of goods at the factory gate -- grew 8.3 percent on-year, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) figures showed.

"It is China's Covid situation that is making Asia nervous," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst with OANDA. "The weekend press was full of stories of locked down Shanghai residents unable to secure food supplies, with cases rising to 27,000 yesterday."

"With China's government doggedly sticking to its Covid-zero policy, fears are increasing that an extended lockdown in China, which may spread to other major industrial cities will darken an already cloudy outlook for China's growth."


- Indonesia's GoTo soars on debut -


In Jakarta, Indonesia's biggest tech firm soared on its debut after a billion-dollar IPO -- the world's fifth-biggest this year.

GoTo's shares jumped by up to 23 percent in initial trading and hovered around 15 percent at 388 rupiah during the session.

"Despite global market volatility, investor interest has been strong, reflecting the rapidly growing demand in Southeast Asia for our on-demand, e-commerce and financial technology services, as well as confidence in GoTo's position as the largest digital ecosystem in Indonesia," CEO Andre Soelistyo said in a press release.

The euro climbed against the dollar over the course of the day, suggesting some relief over the French election.

Investors had fretted about the implications of a victory for President Emmanuel Macron's nationalist rival Marine Le Pen in the midst of the war in Ukraine, given her long-standing sympathies for Russia.

Macron was set to beat Le Pen in the first round of elections Sunday by a larger-than-expected margin, the two candidates advancing to a run-off later this month.

"Make no mistake: nothing is decided," Macron told supporters.

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