Fed signals send shares on a bumpy ride

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Recap: Global markets were mixed yesterday after being whipsawed throughout the week as investors reacted to Federal Reserve signals pointing to aggressive monetary tightening, while US GDP data showed surprisingly strong growth in the fourth quarter despite the spread of Omicron.

The SET index moved in a range of 1,617.87 and 1,654.99 points this week before closing yesterday at 1,639.51, down 0.8% from the previous week, in daily turnover averaging 83.74 billion baht.

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Foreign investors were net buyers of 4.38 billion baht and retail investors bought 1.58 billion. Institutional investors were net sellers of 3.83 billion baht and brokerage firms offloaded 2.12 billion baht worth of shares.

Fed signals send shares on a bumpy ride
Global Tech News Daily

Newsmakers: The Federal Reserve gave a clear signal this week that it is ready to raise US interest rates in March for the first time since cutting them to zero after the arrival of Covid-19.

Equity markets tanked on Thursday following a late sell-off on Wall Street in reaction to a surprisingly hawkish turn by US Federal Reserve boss Jerome Powell.

Global Tech News Daily

The US economy grew at a much better-than-expected pace to end 2021, helped by sizeable boosts in inventories and consumer spending. GDP expanded 6.9% year-on-year, resulting in full-year growth of 5.7%, the strongest since 1984.

Soaring global oil prices are not expected to exceed $100 per barrel despite worries over supply disruptions caused by conflicts in exporting countries, says national oil and gas conglomerate PTT Plc.

The IMF on Tuesday called on El Salvador to change course and stop using bitcoin as legal tender, citing “large risks” posed by the cryptocurrency.

The World Trade Organisation on Wednesday handed a victory to China, permitting it to slap duties on $645 million worth of US imports per year, in a long-running anti-dumping dispute with Washington.

Apple reclaimed its position as the top smartphone seller in China after six years, recording a record market share in the final quarter of 2021 as US sanctions hit rival Huawei, according to researchers.

Microsoft beat market expectations on Tuesday with a strong quarterly performance in cloud computing and software, still benefitting from the shift online of work, play, shopping and learning.

Australia-based Woodside Petroleum is the latest international energy firm to exit junta-run Myanmar, following the pullout of TotalEnergies and Chevron from their Yadana gas venture.

Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production Plc (PTTEP), a partner with TotalEnergies and Chevron in Myanmar’s biggest gas field, is expected to take over the operation of the venture, industry analysts say.

Hotels in Asia-Pacific are likely to receive investment of more than US$9 billion this year, a 30% increase from 2021, as countries begin to ease their Covid restrictions and some confidence returns to the hospitality sector, according to JLL.

The beleaguered Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific’s passenger capacity is forecast to remain at just 2% of pre-pandemic levels, hampered by the city’s strict Covid travel curbs, while rivals such as Singapore Airlines recover to almost 50%.

AirAsia Group said it carried 2.7 million passengers in the fourth quarter, more than double from a year earlier, after Malaysia eased travel curbs. AirAsia Malaysia saw a 164% jump in passengers but numbers for AirAsia Thailand were off 59%, it said.

The Philippine economy rebounded more strongly than expected in 2021 after a relaxation of Covid rules fuelled consumer spending and got more people back to work, as officials forecast a return to pre-pandemic growth this year.

South Korea’s Kospi, down 20% from its July 2021 peak, is Asia’s worst performer this year. It entered a bear market this week as a selloff intensified after the latest Fed rate signals.

The Bank of Thailand is expected to be the last in Southeast Asia to lift rates, leading to one of the steepest yield curves in the region, as other countries brace for the first US rate hike since 2018, HSBC analysts say.

The central bank says it has not detected any signs of a surge in non-performing loans (NPLs) amid various measures to support debtors. NPLs stood at 3.14% of lending at the end of September, compared with 3.04% in the first quarter of 2020.

The government is considering taxing stock trading for the first time in more than three decades, along with a tax on crypto trading profits, as the government hunts for revenue to fund pandemic relief.

Regulators intend to ban cryptocurrencies as a means of payment for goods and services, citing risks to financial stability, but the BoT is considering promoting the use of stablecoins for certain types of payments, saying it could promote financial innovation.

Consumer spending over the Lunar New Year could drop for a third straight year to an 11-year low of about 40 billion baht due to the sluggish economy, the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTTC) predicts.

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit has pledged to tackle high palm oil prices after cooking oil prices jumped to nearly 70 baht per bottle from 56-60 baht at the end of last year.

The cabinet on Monday approved a proposal to include chickens and chicken meat on the state price control list, along with tougher measures for chicken raisers, slaughterhouses and feed meal factories.

Car exports are expected to increase to 1 million units for the first time in two years as the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) pins its hopes on a limited impact of Covid and the global semiconductor shortage on the automotive industry.

The FTI is working to help 2,500 auto parts manufacturers accustomed to producing parts for internal combustion engines to shift to making components for electric vehicles.

Toyota Motor Thailand expects its car sales in the country to rise 18.5% to 284,000 vehicles this year, the company said on Thursday.

The Office of the Insurance Commission (OIC) says Southeast Insurance has not been approved for liquidation, stressing that all coverage is still in place. Parent Thai Group Holdings said earlier that it had shut down the insurer because of rising claims for Covid insurance payouts, but that it would be able to pay all claims.

Fed signals send shares on a bumpy ride

Coming up: China will release January manufacturing PMI on Monday. Japan will release December jobs data on Tuesday. The same day, Australia will release December retail sales and its central bank will announce its latest policy decision. Germany will release January manufacturing PMI and unemployment, and the US will release January manufacturing PMI.

New Zealand will release fourth-quarter employment data, the euro zone will release January consumer prices and the US will release January nonfarm employment on Wednesday.

The Bank of England and European Central Bank will announce policy decisions on Thursday, Australia will release December trade figures and the US will release updated productivity data. On Friday, the US will release January nonfarm payrolls and unemployment.

Fed signals send shares on a bumpy ride

Stocks to watch: Capital Nomura Securities recommends companies expected to record good performance in 2021, including PLANB, BE8, SPALI and AP, and companies with good growth potential in the long term after the Fed raises interest rates, including KBANK, SCB and KKP. Telecommunication stocks will continue to record high growth even as the pandemic persists. Top picks from the group are ADVANC and TRUE.

KTB Securities Thailand recommends high-dividend stocks, including TISCO, KKP and PTT. The brokerage picks seven stocks for a portfolio, including TIPH (15%), BAM (15%), KCE (15%), BBL (15%), PTT (15%), IVL (10%), and GULF (10%).

Technical view: Capital Nomura sees support at 1,617 points and resistance at 1,650. DBS Vickers Securities sees support at 1,610 and resistance at 1,650.

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