Morning Bid: PMI-fest kicks off new month, spotlight on China

By Thomson Reuters Jun 2, 2024 | 4:47 PM

By Jamie McGeever

(Reuters) – A look at the day ahead in Asian markets.

Asia kicks off the new trading month for global markets on Monday, with manufacturing PMI data from the continent’s biggest economies setting the local tone and investors still banking on U.S. and other interest rates coming down soon.

Purchasing managers index figures will show how factory activity in China, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, South Korea and India fared last month, and Indonesia’s latest inflation figures will also be released.

The most important Asian PMI for markets will be China’s unofficial Caixin number, which is expected to inch up to 51.5 from 51.4.

That would be welcome relief following the disappointing official PMI figures on Friday that showed factory activity contracting again, reviving doubts about the strength of China’s economic recovery.

Economists at Barclays reckon growth in the second quarter will be virtually zero, and Citi’s economic surprises index for China is negative for the first time in nearly four months.

Japan’s flurry of economic indicators late last week sent mixed signals. Surprisingly strong retail sales suggests the consumer is in good health, but the same cannot be said for the industrial sector as production was much weaker than expected.

Global economic signals may be beginning to deteriorate too. Regional U.S. business activity data on Friday were much weaker than expected, bolstering the view that the Federal Reserve will cut rates soon, and the Atlanta Fed’s Q2 GDP Nowcaster growth tracker fell to 2.7% from 3.5%.

The European Central Bank is set to cut rates this week, and Citi’s economic surprises indices across major and emerging economies have all fallen substantially recently.

Asian markets also wake up on Monday to news that OPEC+ has agreed to extend most of its deep oil output cuts well into 2025, exceeding expectations, to offset tepid demand growth, high interest rates and rising rival U.S. production.

Elsewhere on the Asian data front, Indonesia’s annual inflation rate is expected to have cooled slightly in May to 2.9% from 3.0% in April, slipping further into the central bank’s target range of 1.5% to 3.5%.

Although inflation appears to be under control, the central bank unexpectedly raised rates in April to support the rupiah, which had fallen to a four-year low against the U.S. dollar.

The rupiah’s bounce lasted only a few weeks. The currency is back probing fresh four-year lows, and last week fell 1.6% for one of its biggest weekly losses since the pandemic.

On the political front, Indian markets will give their initial verdict on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s likely victory in the country’s election.

Exit polls released this weekend after six weeks of voting projected Modi’s alliance will increase its 303 seats in the 543-member lower house and likely get the two-thirds majority needed to initiate amendments to the constitution.

Here are key developments that could provide more direction to markets on Monday:

– Manufacturing PMIs – China, Japan, South Korea (May)

– Indonesia inflation (May)

– India exit polls reaction

(Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Diane Craft)