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Global Markets on Alert: A Week of Vital Economic and Political Developments


Lauren Miller

May 12, 2024 - 22:55 pm


Global Markets Brace for Impact Amidst Economic Hurdles and Geopolitical Tensions

In the wake of looming economic slowdown signs from the US and worrying demand trends in China, Asian stock markets are gearing up for a sluggish start to the week. With investors worldwide taking stock of recent data, futures across Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, and mainland China suggest modest losses are on the horizon.

Market Sentiment Cools as Economic Data Disappoints

The S&P 500 showed signs of struggle on Friday as consumer confidence dipped to a six-month trough, and short-term inflation expectations surged, presenting further challenges to the Federal Reserve's policy outlook. US futures did not fare much better, as the market grappled with these cautionary signals.

Trepidation among Asian investors is amplified by a slew of worrisome financial indicators from China. Despite a slight rise for a third consecutive month in consumer prices, the protracted descent in industrial prices persisted. Furthermore, for the first time since April, credit has contracted, exacerbated by a slowdown in government bond sales and loan expansion falling short of anticipations.

Economic Forecast: No Cause for Panic Yet

Larry Hu, a highly regarded economist at Macquarie Group, weighed in on the matter, advocating for calm. He acknowledged the concerns raised by the striking shortfall in China's April credit data, attributing it largely to temporary technicalities rather than a fundamental downturn in the economy's health.

Resilient Global Stocks and the Fed's Rate Conundrum

Contrasting the somber mood, global stocks have rallied for three consecutive weeks, propelled by robust earnings growth, especially from artificial intelligence-centric companies. This optimism sustained, even as 10-year US Treasury yields rose and inflation expectations for the following year reached a new peak since November.

The upcoming US inflation report on Wednesday is set to critically test the resilience of this month's market rally, initially sparked by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell dismissing concerns about potential rate hikes. While the market has pared back its expectations for rate cuts this year, there is more than a 50% chance of a move come September, according to traders. This speculation persists despite comments from bank officials like Dallas Fed President Lorie Logan cautioning that it's too soon to consider policy relaxation.

The Tug of War Between Consumer Resilience and Inflation

Subadra Rajappa, head of US rates strategy at Societe Generale in New York, suggests that as long as the labor market remains robust, consumers' resilience could continue to stall the anticipated reduction in inflation rates. A demonstrable return to a deflationary trajectory is crucial for the Fed to contemplate a policy cut within this year.

The Spotlight on Commodities Amidst Political Shuffle in Russia

Commodities such as gold and oil will be under intense scrutiny at the week's outset, particularly following President Vladimir Putin's unexpected replacement of his defense minister while Russian forces look to strengthen their position in the Ukraine conflict. Notably, this development occurs just before Putin's scheduled visit to China and a crucial NATO military assembly in Brussels. Early trading showed a slight dip in oil prices.

US and Israel: Escalation Concerns Surfacing

The US heightened its warnings over Israel's approach to its Gaza operations, suggesting a risk of bolstering a Hamas insurgency. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken publicly remarked on the absence of a credible Israeli plan for civilian protection or a coherent strategy for the post-conflict period.

The Forex Market Response to Global Unrest

The forex market remained unfazed in the wake of these geopolitical concerns, with haven currencies like the US dollar and the Swiss franc showing little movement in early Asia trading. Investors are closely monitoring the delicate balance between economic indicators and geopolitical developments.

A Packed Economic Calendar Ahead

The week ahead is brimming with policy decisions and economic reports that could significantly influence market dynamics. China's policy rate decision, Eurozone's inflation and growth updates, and copious speeches from Federal Reserve officials, including Powell, are all on the agenda. Australia's job data and budget outline are also due, signifying a busy period for investors worldwide.

Key Economic Events to Watch This Week:

  • Australia's business confidence and New Zealand's food prices both come into focus on Monday, alongside India's CPI and trade data. Euro-area finance ministers are set to meet in Brussels the same day.
  • Tuesday holds more critical indicators with Australia's budget announcement and Japan's corporate goods price index, along with inflation data from Germany and job market updates from the UK.
  • The action continues through midweek, highlighted by the US inflation report on Wednesday, which may offer pivotal insights into the inflation trajectory and the potential Federal Reserve response.
  • Towards the week's end, more data from Australia, Japan, and China will come into play, culminating on Friday with the Eurozone's CPI release.

Main Shifts in the Global Markets:

In Asia's early morning hours, a slight tension was palpable across various market indices:


  • The S&P 500 futures saw a marginal 0.1% decrease.
  • Hang Seng futures recorded a 0.2% dip.
  • Futures in the S&P/ASX 200 and Nikkei 225 each exhibited a minor retreat of 0.2% and 0.1%, respectively.


  • The euro, Japanese yen, and the offshore yuan largely stood their ground, showing negligible changes, maintaining stability despite fluctuating market conditions.
  • The Australian dollar also remained steady, reinforcing the cautious sentiment pervading currency markets.


  • Bitcoin managed to hold its value with insignificant changes, while Ether experienced a modest gain of 0.2%.


  • On Friday's close, yields on 10-year Treasuries made a modest advance, underscoring the growing investor attention to the bond market amidst economic uncertainties.


  • Crude oil prices, specifically the West Texas Intermediate, edged down slightly by 0.3%.
  • Spot gold remained mostly unchanged, reflecting a subdued trading atmosphere in the commodities sector.

This comprehensive news story has been curated with the aid of Bloomberg Automation, providing a meticulous consolidation of crucial market information for this week.

Click here for the full Bloomberg report

In Conclusion

The upcoming week is poised to be an acid test for global markets, with an extensive lineup of economic, political, and geopolitical events capable of influencing investor sentiment and market movements. With all eyes on the unfolding economic narratives in both the US and China, coupled with unfolding stories from the Eurozone and the broader geopolitical landscape, investors brace themselves for potential volatility. It is a critical juncture that will require market participants to remain vigilant and responsive to the flurry of information set to emanate from every corner of the globe.

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