The reason for the upward spike in the ASX 200 is clear. While shortage in iron ore supply may be temporary, while Brazil reviews mine safety, it is sufficient to cause spot prices to jump 20% in the last week.
Windfall profits are likely to benefit not only the Materials sector but the entire economy over the next few months. The ASX 200 Materials Index ran into resistance at 12500 while a bearish divergence on Money Flow continues to warn of selling pressure.
The ASX 200 broke resistance at 6000 but remains in a bear market. Reversal below 5650 would signal a primary decline, with a target of the 2016 low at 4700.
ASX 200 Financials Index rallied on release of the Royal Commission on Banking final report. The outcome could have been a lot worse, or so the market seems to think.
I suspect the bank rally will be short-lived. Credit growth is falling and broad money warns of further contraction.
House prices are falling and concerns over a slowing economy have caused many to call for further rate cuts. I believe this is short-sighted.
One of the biggest threats facing the economy is ballooning household debt. Tighter credit and falling house prices are likely to curb debt growth….provided the RBA doesn’t pour more gasoline on the fire.
I have been cautious on Australian stocks, especially banks, for a while, and hold more than 40% in cash and fixed interest investments in the Australian Growth portfolio.
The ASX 200 found support at 6120/6150, with a long tail indicating buying interest. Follow-through above 6250 would suggest another advance. Breach is now unlikely but would warn of a test of the rising long-term trendline at 6000.
A rally on resources stocks helped support the overall index. Expect the ASX 300 Metals & Mining index to test 4000.
Miners were helped by a weakening Aussie Dollar. Breach of support at 71 US cents offers a target of 69 cents. Trend Index peaks below zero warn of strong selling pressure.
Banks, on the other hand, are weakening. The ASX 300 Banks index broke support at 7700, with a declining Trend Index warning of selling pressure. Expect a test of primary support at 7300.
Falling broad money and credit growth warn of a contraction — unless an unlikely Chinese-led mining boom can keep the wolf from the door.
House prices are falling.
Returns on bank equity are declining due to increased capital requirements, lower credit growth and narrow margins.
I remain cautious on Australian stocks, holding over 30% cash in the Australian Growth portfolio.
Huw McKay at Westpac writes:
“The Jan-Feb FX positions of China’s banks imply that FX reserves fell in the early part of the year, despite back to back monster trade surpluses of $US60 billion. The logical conclusion is that money flowed out in a big way on the financial account.”
There are two reasons why capital would flow out on the financial account. The usual explanation is the PBOC buying US Treasuries, exporting capital to prevent the yuan appreciating against the Dollar. But Huw points out that the PBOC balance sheet shows a slight decline in foreign assets held. This could be a smokescreen, with investments channeled through an intermediary. Otherwise, it could be a sign that private capital is leaving for safer shores. This from the Business Times:
More than 76,000 Chinese millionaires emigrated or acquired citizenship of another country in the decade through 2013 amid global expansion by the nation’s companies.
Australia was among the most favored destinations, broker Knight Frank LLP said on Thursday, citing data compiled by law firm Fragomen LLP. The Chinese accounted for more than 90 percent of applications for the country’s significant investor visa in the two years to the end of January, representing 1,384 people. They also make the most applications for high-net-worth visas in the UK and the US.
Consumer confidence is below 2008/2009 levels and declining.