Our 2023 Outlook

This is our last newsletter for the year, where we take the opportunity to map out what we see as the major risks and opportunities facing investors in the year ahead.

US Economy

The Fed has been hiking interest rates since March this year, but real retail sales remain well above their pre-pandemic trend (dotted line below) and show no signs of slowing.

Real Retail Sales

Retail sales are even rising strongly against disposable personal income, with consumers running up credit and digging into savings.

Retail Sales/ Disposable Personal Income

The Fed wants to reduce demand in order to reduce inflationary pressure on consumer prices but consumers continue to spend. Household net worth has soared — from massive expansion of home and stock prices, fueled by cheap debt, and growing savings boosted by government stimulus during the pandemic. The ratio of household net worth to disposable personal income has climbed more than 40% since the global financial crisis — from 5.5 to 7.7.

Household Net Worth/ Disposable Personal Income

At the same time, unemployment (3.7%) has fallen close to record lows, increasing inflationary pressures as employers compete for scarce labor.

Unemployment

Real Growth

Hours worked contracted by an estimated 0.12% in November (-1.44% annualized).

Real GDP & Hours Worked

But annual growth rates for real GDP growth (1.9%) and hours worked (2.1%) remain positive.

Real GDP & Hours Worked

Heavy truck sales are also a solid 40,700 units per month (seasonally adjusted). Truck sales normally contract ahead of recessions, marked by light gray bars below, providing a reliable indicator of economic growth. Sales below 35,000 units per month would be bearish.

S&P 500

Inflation & Interest Rates

The underlying reason for the economy’s resilience is the massive expansion in the money supply (M2 excluding time deposits) relative to GDP, after the 2008 global financial crisis, doubling from earlier highs at 0.4 to the current ratio of 0.84. Excessive liquidity helped to suppress interest rates and balloon asset prices, with too much money chasing scarce investment opportunities. In the hunt for yield, investors became blind to risk.

S&P 500

Suppression of interest rates caused the yield on lowest investment grade corporate bonds (Baa) to decline below CPI. A dangerous precedent, last witnessed in the 1970s, negative real rates led to a massive spike in inflation. Former Fed Chairman, Paul Volcker, had to hike the Fed funds rate above 19.0%, crashing the economy, in order to tame inflation.

S&P 500

The current Fed chair, Jerome Powell, is doing his best to imitate Volcker, hiking rates steeply after a late start. Treasury yields have inverted, with the 1-year yield (4.65%) above the 2-year (4.23%), reflecting bond market expectations that the Fed will soon be forced to cut rates.

S&P 500

A negative yield curve, indicated by the 10-year/3-month spread below zero, warns that the US economy will go into recession in 2023. Our most reliable indicator, the yield spread has inverted (red rings below) before every recession declared by the NBER since 1960*.

S&P 500

Bear in mind that the yield curve normally inverts 6 to 18 months ahead of a recession and recovers shortly before the recession starts, when the Fed cuts interest rates.

Home Prices

Mortgage rates jumped steeply as the Fed hiked rates and started to withdraw liquidity from financial markets. The sharp rise signals the end of the 40-year bull market fueled by cheap debt. Rising inflation has put the Fed on notice that the honeymoon is over. Deflationary pressures from globalization can no longer be relied on to offset inflationary pressures from expansionary monetary policy.

S&P 500

Home prices have started to decline but have a long way to fall to their 2006 peak (of 184.6) that preceded the global financial crisis.

S&P 500

Stocks

The S&P 500 is edging lower, with negative 100-day Momentum signaling a bear market, but there is little sign of panic, with frequent rallies testing the descending trendline.

S&P 500

Bond market expectations of an early pivot has kept long-term yields low and supported stock prices. 10-Year Treasury yields at 3.44% are almost 100 basis points below the Fed funds target range of 4.25% to 4.50%. Gradual withdrawals of liquidity (QT)  by the Fed have so far failed to dent bond market optimism.

10-Year Treasury Yield & Fed Funds Rate

Treasuries & the Bond Market

Declining GDP is expected to shrink tax receipts, while interest servicing costs on existing fiscal debt are rising, causing the federal deficit to balloon to between $2.5 and $5.0 trillion according to macro/bond specialist Luke Gromen.

Federal Debt/GDP & Federal Deficit/GDP

With foreign demand for Treasuries shrinking, and the Fed running down its balance sheet, the only remaining market  for Treasuries is commercial banks and the private sector. Strong Treasury issuance is likely to increase upward pressure on yields, to attract investors. The inflow into bonds is likely to be funded by an outflow from stocks, accelerating their decline.

Energy

Brent crude prices fell below $80 per barrel, despite slowing releases from the US strategic petroleum reserve (SPR). Demand remains soft despite China’s relaxation of their zero-COVID policy — which some expected to accelerate their economic recovery.

S&P 500

European natural gas inventories are near full, causing a sharp fall in prices. But prices remain high compared to their long-term average, fueling inflation and an economic contraction.

S&P 500

Europe

European GDP growth is slowing, while inflation has soared, causing negative real GDP growth and a likely recession.

S&P 500

Australia, Base Metals & Iron Ore

Base metals rallied on optimism over China’s reopening from lockdowns. Normally a bullish sign for the global economy, breakout above resistance at 175 was short-lived, warning of a bull trap.

S&P 500

Iron ore posted a similar rally, from $80 to $110 per tonne, but is also likely to retreat.

S&P 500

The ASX benefited from the China rally, with the ASX 200 breaking resistance at 7100 to complete a double-bottom reversal. Now the index is retracing to test its new support level. Breach of 7000 would warn of another test of primary support at 6400.S&P 500

China

Optimism over China’s reopening may be premature. Residential property prices continue to fall.

S&P 500

The reopening also risks a massive COVID exit-wave, against an under-prepared population, when restrictions are relaxed.

“In my memory, I have never seen such a challenge to the Chinese health-care system,” Xi Chen, a Yale University global health researcher, told National Public Radio in America this week. With less than four intensive care beds for every 100,000 people and millions of unvaccinated or partially protected older adults, the risks are real.

With official data highly unreliable, it is hard to track exactly what impact China’s U-turn is having. Authorities on Friday reported the first Covid-19 deaths since most restrictions were lifted in early December, but there have been reports that funeral homes in Beijing are struggling to handle the number of bodies being brought in.

“The risk factors are there: eight million people are essentially not vaccinated,” said Huang Yanzhong, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“Unless this variant has evolved in a way that makes it harmless, China can’t avoid what happened in Taiwan or in Hong Kong,” he added, referring to significant “exit waves” in both places.

The scale of the surge is unlikely to be apparent for months, but modelling suggests it could be grim. A report from the University of Hong Kong released on Thursday warned that a best case scenario is 700,000 fatalities – forecasts from a UK-based analytics firm put deaths at between 1.3 and 2.1 million.

“We’re still at a very early stage in this particular exit wave,” said Prof Ben Cowling, an epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong. (The Telegraph)

China relied on infrastructure spending to get them out of past economic contractions but debt levels are now too high for stimulus on a similar scale to 2008. Expansion of credit to local government and real estate developers is likely to cause further stagnation, with the rise of zombie banking and real estate sectors — as Japan experienced for more than three decades — suffocating future growth.

S&P 500

Conclusion

Resilient consumer spending, high household net worth, and a tight labor market all make the Fed’s job difficult. If the current trend continues, the Fed will be forced to hike interest rates higher than the bond market expects, in order to curb demand and tame inflation.

Expected contraction of European and Chinese economies, combined with rate hikes in the US, are likely to cause a global recession.

There are two possible exits. First, if central banks stick to their guns and hold interest rates higher for longer, a major and extended economic contraction is almost inevitable. While inflation may be tamed, the global economy is likely to take years to recover.

The second option is for central banks to raise inflation targets and suppress long-term interest rates in order to create a soft landing. High inflation and negative real interest rates may prolong the period of low growth but negative real rates would rescue the G7 from precarious debt levels that have ensnared them over the past decade. A similar strategy was successfully employed after WWII to extricate governments from high debt levels relative to GDP.

As to which option will be chosen is a matter of political will. The easier second option is therefore more likely, as politicians tend to follow the line of least resistance.

We have refrained from weighing in on the likely outcome of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Ukraine presently has the upper hand but the conflict is a wild card that could cause a spike in energy prices if it escalates or a positive boost to the European economy in the unlikely event that peace breaks out.

Our strategy is to remain overweight in gold, critical materials, defensive stocks and cash, while underweight bonds and high-multiple technology stocks. In the longer term, we will seek to invest cash in real assets when the opportunity presents itself.

Acknowledgements

  • Hat tip to Macrobusiness for the Pantheon Macroeconomics (China Residential) and Goldman Sachs (China Local Government Funding & Excavator Hours) charts.

Notes

* The yield curve inverted ahead of a 25% fall in the Dow in 1966. The NBER declared a recession but later changed their minds and airbrushed it out of their records.

ASX double-bottom breakout

The ASX 200 completed a double-bottom reversal with breakout above 7100, suggesting another test of resistance at 7600. The signal is strengthened by subsequent retracement that respected the new support level at 7100, as well as 100-day Momentum crossover above zero.

ASX 200

Australian Bond ETFs are forming a base, signaling that expectations of long-term interest rates have plateaued.

Australian Bond ETFs

A-REITs rallied off support at 1200, penetrating the descending trendline which suggests that a base is forming. However, the move has not been confirmed by 100-day Momentum which remains well below zero.

ASX 200 REITs

Financials have made a stronger recovery, breaking above their August high, with Momentum crossing above zero. We expect a test of 7000.

ASX 200 Financials

Housing price growth is slowing as the RBA hikes interest rates.

Housing

But low unemployment keeps bank loan impairments down.

Unemployment

Net interest margins remain under pressure, however, as liquidity tightens.

Net Interest Margins

Consumer Discretionary continues to test resistance at 3000 but respect remains likely, which would warn of further consolidation.

ASX 200 Discretionary

Staples rallied off long-term support at 12000 but Momentum remains below zero. Breakout above resistance at 13000 would signal another test of 14000.

ASX 200 Staples

A higher trough on Health Care and 100-day Momentum cross to above zero are bullish signs. Breakout above 44K would signal another advance, with a target of 49K (44K + 44K – 39K).

ASX 200 Health Care

Information Technology remains weak, with 100-day Momentum deep below zero. Expect another test of 1250.

ASX 200 Information Technology

Utilities broke resistance at 8400, signaling an advance. Momentum crossover to above zero strengthens the bull signal..

ASX 200 Utilities

Industrials are headed for another test of resistance at 6700. But further ranging between 6000 and 6750 remains likely.

ASX 200 Industrials

Telecommunications are slowly edging towards resistance at 1500 but Momentum below zero indicates weakness.

ASX 200 Telecommunications

Energy remains in a long-term up-trend, testing resistance at 12000. Retracement that respects support at 11000 would strengthen the bull signal.

ASX 200 Energy

The ASX 300 Metals & Mining index broke resistance at 5650, signaling an up-trend. Retracement that respected the new support level and 100-day Momentum cross to above zero both strengthen the bull signal.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

But weakness in major metal groups makes us wary. Declining iron ore prices are testing support at 90. Breach would signal a test of $50/tonne

Iron Ore

Base metals are similarly testing support at 150. Breach would warn of another test of 100.

DJ Industrial Metals Index

The All Ordinaries Gold Index broke through resistance at 5500, with retracement respecting the new support level to confirm the breakout. But 100-day Momentum is a long way below zero, warning buyers to be wary. Expect further tests of the new support level.

All Ordinaries Gold Index

The Australian Dollar is ranging between A$2500 and A$2700 with no clear direction at present.

Gold in Australian Dollars

Conclusion

Growth in Australia is slowing but recession is unlikely unless there is a sharp rise in unemployment — and fall in the housing market — or a global recession.

ASX 200 completed a double-bottom reversal, offering a target of 7600, but we do not believe this to be the start of a bull market. A negative yield curve in the US, warning of a recession next year, makes a bull market unlikely. Respect of resistance at 7600 would confirm that we are still in a bear market.

Our weighting for ASX sectors (ST = short-term, LT = long-term):

  • A-REITs: ST underweight, LT overweight in industrial REITs
  • Financials: overweight
  • Staples: overweight
  • Discretionary: ST underweight, LT neutral
  • Utilities: overweight
  • Industrials: neutral
  • Telecommunications: neutral
  • Health Care: overweight
  • Information Technology: underweight
  • Energy: overweight
  • Iron ore & Base Metals: ST underweight, LT neutral
  • Critical Materials: heavily overweight
  • Gold: ST neutral, LT overweight

Base case: global recession

The Treasury yield curve is flattening, with the 10-year/3-month yield differential plunging sharply, to a current 0.24%. Another 75 basis point rate hike at the next FOMC meeting is expected to drive the 3-month T-Bill discount rate above the 10-year yield, the negative spread warning of a deep recession in the next 6 to 18 months (subsequent reversal to a positive spread would signal that recession is imminent).

10-Year & minus 3-Month Treasury Yield

The S&P 500 is retracing to test short-term support at 4200. Breach would warn of another decline, while follow-through below 3650 would signal the second downward leg of a bear market.

S&P 500

 

21-Day Volatility troughs above 1% (red arrows) continue to warn of elevated risk.

S&P 500

Dow Jones Industrial Metals Index is in a primary down-trend, warning of a global recession.

DJ Industrial Metals Index

Supported by a similar primary down-trend on Copper, the most prescient of base metals.

Copper

Brent crude below $100 also warns of an economic contraction. Goldman Sachs project that crude oil will reach $135 per barrel this Winter, while Ed Morse at Citi says that WTI Light Crude will likely remain below $90 per barrel. Obviously, the former foresees an economic recovery, while the latter sees an extended contraction. Of the two, Morse has the best track in the industry.

Brent Crude

Natural gas prices are climbing.

Natural Gas

Especially in Europe, where Russia is attempting to choke the European economy.

Russia: EU Gas

Causing Germany’s producer price index to spike to 37.2% (year-on-year growth).

EU: PPI

Conclusion

Our base case is a global recession. A soft landing is unlikely unless the Fed does a sharp pivot, Russia stops trying to throttle European gas, and China goes all-in on its beleaguered property sector. That won’t address any of the underlying problems but would kick the can down the road for another year or two.

Global recession warning

Copper broke primary support at $9,000 per metric ton, signaling a bear market. Known as “Dr Copper” because of its prescient ability to predict the direction of the global economy, copper’s sharp fall warns of a global recession dead ahead.

Copper (S1)

The Dow Jones Industrial Metals Index broke support at 175, confirming the above bear signal. A Trend Index peak at zero warns of strong selling pressure across base metals.

DJ Industrial Metals Index (BIM)

Iron ore retreated below $125 per metric ton, warning of another test of $90. Further sign of a slowing global economy.

Iron Ore (TR)

The Australian Dollar is another strong indicator of the commodity cycle. After breaking primary support at 70 US cents, follow-through below support at 68.5 confirms a bear market. A Trend Index peak at zero warns of selling pressure.

Australian Dollar (AUDUSD)

Brent crude remains high, however, propped up by shortages due to sanctions on Russian oil. Penetration of the secondary trendline (lime green) is likely, as signs of a slowing economy accumulate. Breach of support at $100 per barrel is less likely, but would confirm a global recession.

Brent Crude (CB)

Long-term interest rates are falling, with the 10-year Treasury yield reversing below 3.0%, as signs of a US contraction accumulate.

10-Year Treasury Yield

ISM new orders fell to their lowest level since May 2020, in the midst of the pandemic.

ISM New Orders

The Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow forecast for Q2 dropped sharply, to an annualized real GDP growth rate of -2.08%.

Atlanta Fed GDPNow

Conclusion

We would assign probability of a global recession this year as high as 70%.

ASX confirms a bear market

The ASX 200 broke primary support level at 7000, confirming a bear market.

ASX 200

Long-term interest rates are rising, with bond ETFs falling.

Australia: Bond ETFs

A-REITs respected resistance at the former primary support level of 1500, confirming the primary down-trend. Trend Index peaks below zero warn of strong selling pressure.

ASX 200 REITs

Financials fell dramatically last week, testing primary support at 6000, as the prospect of falling residential property prices and rising defaults looms. Higher interest rates and wider net interest margins should offset this to some extent. Expect retracement to test resistance at 6000. Follow-through below this level would confirm a primary down-trend and strengthen the overall bear market (Financials have been one of the stronger sectors).

ASX 200 Financials

Consumer Discretionary respected resistance at 3000, signaling another decline with a target of 2600 [3000-400]. Trend Index peaks below zero warn of strong selling pressure.

ASX 200 Consumer Discretionary

Consumer Staples broke support at 13K, with respect of the new resistance level warning of another test of 12K.

ASX 200 Consumer Staples

 

Utilities continue their primary up-trend, rising Trend Index troughs indicating strong buying pressure.

ASX 200 Utilities

Industrials are headed for another test of support at 6350. Breach would warn of another test of primary support at 6000.

ASX 200 Industrials

Telecommunications broke support at 1400, signaling a primary down-trend. Trend Index peaks below zero warn of strong selling pressure. Breach of support offers a target of 1200 [1400-200].

ASX 200 Telecommunications

Health Care is consolidating below 42.5K. Reversal below 40K would warn of another test of primary support at 37.5K. A Trend Index peak close to zero would warn of fading buyer interest.

ASX 200 Health Care

Information Technology continues in a primary down-trend, with Trend Index peaks below zero warning of selling pressure. Follow-through below 1400 would offer a target of 1100 [1500-400].

ASX 200 IT

The Energy sector is advancing strongly, while Trend Index troughs above zero signal buying pressure. The prospect of Chinese lockdowns easing is likely to boost demand for oil and gas, sending prices soaring.

ASX 200 Energy

Metals & Mining respected resistance at 6250, warning of another test of 5500. Declining Trend Index peaks suggest buyer interest is fading. Respect of support at 5500 would signal that the up-trend is intact but breach seems more likely and would offer a target of the November ’21 low at 4750.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

The broad DJ Industrial Metals Index respected resistance at 200, while Trend Index peaks below zero warn of strong selling pressure. Easing of lockdowns in China may increase demand but a bear market remains likely.

DJ Industrial Metals Index

Iron ore is also undergoing a correction. Breach of support at 125 would warn of another test of primary support at 90.

Iron Ore

The All Ordinaries Gold Index is again testing support at 6000, while Trend Index below zero warns of selling pressure.

All Ordinaries Gold Index

The price of Gold in Australian Dollars, however, is trending upwards, with rising Trend Index troughs indicating increased interest from buyers. Expect a test of A$2800 per ounce. Breakout would offer a target of A$3400 [2800 + 600].

Gold in Australian Dollars

Conclusion

ASX 200 broke support at 7200, confirming a bear market. Rising long-term interest rates and a poor global economic outlook are expected to weaken most sectors, while easing of China’s lockdown restrictions should provide some relief to energy and metals.

Our weighting for ASX sectors is:

  • A-REITs: heavily underweight
  • Financials: neutral
  • Staples: neutral
  • Discretionary: heavily underweight
  • Utilities: overweight
  • Industrials: neutral
  • Telecommunications: underweight
  • Health Care: neutral
  • Information Technology: heavily underweight
  • Energy: heavily overweight
  • Iron ore & Base Metals: underweight
  • Critical Materials (e.g. Lithium and Rare Earth Elements): heavily overweight
  • Gold: overweight

Inflation is coming

Inflation tops investor concerns according to Fed report

Concerns over higher inflation and tighter monetary policy have become the top concern for market participants, pushing aside the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Reserve said on Monday in its latest report on financial stability. ….Roughly 70% of market participants surveyed by the Fed flagged inflation and tighter Fed policy as their top concern over the next 12 to 18 months, ahead of vaccine-resistant COVID-19 variants and a potential Chinese regulatory crackdown. (Investing.com)

The market is no longer buying the Fed’s talk of “transitory” inflation.

Fed’s Bullard expects two rate hikes in 2022

St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard on Monday said he expects the Fed to raise interest rates twice in 2022 after it wraps up its bond-buying taper mid-year, though he said if needed the Fed could speed up that timeline to end the taper in the first quarter. “If inflation is more persistent than we are saying right now, then I think we may have to take a little sooner action in order to keep inflation under control,” Bullard said in an interview on Fox Business Network……Bullard has been among the Fed’s biggest advocates for an earlier end to the Fed’s policy easing, given his worries that inflation may not moderate as quickly or as much as many of his colleagues think it will. (Reuters)

The Fed are reluctant to hike interest rates, to rein in inflationary pressures, as it would kill the recovery.

Producer Price Index

Producer prices (PPI) climbed more than 22% in the 12 months to October 2021, close to the high from 1974 (23.4%). Consumer prices have diverged from PPI in recent years but such a sharp rise in PPI still poses a threat to the economy.

Producer Price Index (PPI) & Consumer Price Index (CPI)

Iron and steel prices, up more than 100% year-on-year (YoY), will inevitably lead to price increases for automobiles and consumer durables. Other notable YoY increases in key inputs are construction materials (+30.6%), industrial chemicals (+47.3%), aluminium (+40.7%), and copper (+34.5%).

Producer Price Index: Commodities

Underlying many of the above price rises is a sharp increase in fuel, related products and power: up 55.7% over the past 12 months.

Producer Price Index: Fuel & Energy

Conclusion

Inflation is coming, while the Fed are reluctant to hike interest rates. Buy Gold, precious metals, commodities, real estate, and stocks with pricing power —  a strong competitive position which enables them to pass on price increases to their customers — if you can find them at reasonable prices. Avoid financial assets like bonds and bank term deposits.

Productivity not population key to Aussie living standards | Macrobusiness

From Leith van Onselen at Macrobusiness:

Former ALP minister Craig Emerson has penned an article in The AFR calling on the Morrison Government to tackle Australia’s declining productivity growth, which is central to boosting the nation’s living standards:

“Productivity growth has contributed 95 per cent of the improvement in Australians’ material living standards since 1901”.
“From the turn of the century, Australia’s productivity performance began to slide and the longer it has gone on the worse it has gotten”.
“Over the period from 2015 until the COVID-19 pandemic struck, actual productivity growth was worse than the low-productivity scenario included in the 2015 intergenerational report”.
“In the decade since 2010 – even excluding last year – Australia recorded its slowest growth in GDP per capita of any decade in at least 60 years”.
“Without a comprehensive economic reform program, Australia will inevitably have weak growth in living standards during the remainder of the 2020s and into the 2030s”.

Craig Emerson’s assessment is broadly correct, as evidenced by the stagnant real per capita GDP, wage and income growth experienced over the past decade (even before the coronavirus pandemic).

Sadly, however, the Morrison Government with the help of the Australian Treasury seems hell bent on leveraging the other ‘P’ – population growth – to mask over Australia’s poor productivity performance and to keep headline GDP growing, even if it means per capita GDP, income growth and living standards deteriorate.

Rather than using the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to reset the Australian economy to focus on quality over quantity, the Morrison Government is intent on repeating the policy mistakes of the past by returning to the lazy dumb growth policy of hyper immigration.

Rebooting mass immigration will inevitably contribute to Australia’s poor productivity growth by:

  • Crush-loading cities, increasing congestion costs and rising infrastructure costs;
  • Encouraging growth in low productivity people-servicing industries and debt creation, rather than higher productivity tradables; and
  • Discouraging companies from innovating and adopting labour saving technologies.

It’s time to put the Australian Treasury’s Three-Ps framework to rest once and for all, along with the snake oil solution of mass immigration.

Policy makers must instead focus first and foremost on boosting productivity, followed by lifting labour force participation. These are the two Ps that actually matter for living standards.

We agree with the concern over poor productivity growth, but focusing on labor force participation is putting the cart before the horse. The key cause of low productivity growth is declining business investment.

Business Investment

Without business investment, new job creation and wages growth will remain low. The way out of this trap is to prime the pump. Boost consumption through infrastructure programs — investment in productive infrastructure that will boost GDP growth (to repay the debt). Boost business investment through strong consumption, a lower Australian Dollar and tax incentives (like accelerated write-off) for new investment.

The lower exchange rate is important to rectify a serious case of Dutch disease1 from the resources industry. There are only three ways to achieve this:

  1. Increase imports, which would be self-defeating, destroying jobs;
  2. Reduce exports; or
  3. Export capital, of which Australia has little.

China is doing its best to help us with the second option, by restricting imports of a wide variety of Australian resources, but that has so far achieved little. David Llewellyn-Smith came up with an interesting alternative:

If we accept that the CCP is the latest manifestation of the historical tendency to give rise to political evils intent on dominating the lives of freedom-loving humanity, then why don’t we cut the flow of iron ore right now…….

The results would be instant. The Chinese economy would be structurally shocked to its knees. 30% of its GDP is real estate-related. 60% of the iron ore that drives it is sourced in Australia. Roughly speaking that is 18% of Chinese GDP that would virtually collapse overnight. Vast tracts of industry would fall silent. An instant debt crisis would sweep the Chinese financial system as its bizarre daisy chain of corruption froze. Local governments likewise. Unemployment would skyrocket.

…..What we can say with confidence is that it would pre-occupy the CCP for many years and hobble it permanently. Its plans for regional domination would be set back decades if not be entirely over.

The problem is how to convince the old boys around the boardroom table at BHP that this would be in their interest as well as in the country’s interest.

Notes

  1. Dutch disease is a term coined by The Economist to describe the impact on the Netherlands’ economy of a resources boom from discovery of large natural gas fields in 1959. The soaring exchange rate, from LNG exports, caused a sharp contraction in the manufacturing sector which struggled to compete, in export markets and against imports in the domestic market, at the higher exchange rate.

ASX: Financials suffer, A-REITs advance on lower rates

The ASX 200 advance is tentative, with a short doji candle signaling hesitancy, and we expect retracement to test support at 7000.  The Trend Index trough above zero indicates longer-term buying pressure. Respect of support is likely and would signal a fresh advance.

ASX 200

Financial Markets

Bond ETFs broke through resistance, signaling falling long-term interest rates.

Australian Bond ETFs

A-REITs advanced on the prospect of lower long-term interest rates.

ASX 200 Property

Bank net interest margins, however, are squeezed when interest rates fall.

Bank Net Interest Margins

ASX 200 Financials retreated to test support at 6500. The trend is unaffected and Trend Index troughs above zero indicate long-term buying pressure.

ASX 200 Financials

Mining

Mining continues to benefit from the infrastructure boom, with iron ore respecting support at $200/ton1. Troughs above zero, flag buying pressure, and respect of support both signal another advance.

Iron Ore

The ASX 300 Metals & Mining index is again testing resistance at 6000. Breakout would signal another advance, with a target of 65002.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

Health Care & Technology

Health Care respected its new support level and is advancing strongly. Expect resistance between 45000 and 46000.

ASX 200 Health Care

Information Technology recovered above former resistance at 2000, warning of a bear trap. Expect resistance at 2250; breakout would signal a new advance.

ASX 200 Information Technology
Gold

The All Ordinaries Gold Index (XGD) is testing resistance at 7500. Breakout would signal a fresh advance, with a target of 9000.

All Ordinaries Gold Index

The Gold price is retracing to test the new support level at A$2400 per ounce. Respect of support is likely and breakout above A$2500 would be a strong bull signal for Aussie gold miners.

Gold in AUD

Conclusion

We expect A-REITs and Bond ETFs to advance on the back of lower long-term interest rates.

Financials are expected to undergo a correction as interest margins are squeezed.

Metals & Mining are in a strong up-trend because of record iron ore prices.

Health Care is recovering well and expected to test resistance.

Technology had a strong week but the outlook is still uncertain.

We expect the ASX 200 to retrace to test support at 7000 as its largest sector (Financials) undergoes a correction.

Notes

  1. Tons are metric tons unless otherwise stated.
  2. Target for Metals & Mining is calculated as support at 5000 extended above resistance at 5750.

ASX Technology stocks fall

The ASX 200 continues to test its February 2020 high at 7200. Narrow consolidation below resistance is a bullish sign but we need to keep a weather eye on the US and China.

ASX 200

Financial Markets

Bond ETFs, in a sideways consolidation, indicate that long-term interest rates are holding steady. Inflation remains muted and the RBA is following through on their stated intention to suppress long-term yields.

Australian Bond ETFs

A-REITs are testing resistance at 1500. Reversal below 1340 is unlikely but would warn of a double-top reversal.

ASX 200 REITs

Financials are testing resistance at 6500. A rising 13-week Trend Index — with troughs above zero — flags buying pressure, suggesting that a breakout is likely.

ASX 200 Financials

Health Care, Discretionary & Technology

Health Care is testing resistance at 42500. The rising Trend Index is bullish but failure to cross above zero would confirm long-term selling pressure. Breach of 40000 would complete a bull-trap (a bear signal for investors) and warn of another test of primary support at 37500.

ASX 200 Health Care

Technology broke support at 1900 to signal a primary down-trend, imitating the pattern in US markets. Breach offers a medium-term target of 14001.

ASX 200 IT

Consumer Discretionary is testing its rising trendline. We expect a test of support at 2900 as the impact of government stimulus fades.

ASX 200 Discretionary

Mining

Iron ore retreated slightly, to $210/metric ton. Chinese steel mills are stockpiling — due to rising tensions with Australia and anticipated production curbs in China (to reduce pollution levels). The boom is only expected to last as long as stockpiling continues. Then prices are likely to fall steeply as mills run down stockpiles. Reversal below support at $175-$180 would warn of a sharp decline.

Iron Ore

The ASX 300 Metals & Mining found resistance at 6000. A tall shadow on this week’s candle warns of short-term selling pressure. Another test of support at 5000 is likely.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

The All Ordinaries Gold Index (XGD) continues to test its new support level at 7000. Follow-through below recent lows would warn of another test of 6000, while recovery above 7300 would signal a fresh advance. Breakout above the long-term descending trendline would strengthen the bull signal. Gold bullishness is fueled by rising inflation fears.

All Ordinaries Gold Index

The Gold price, in Australian Dollars, is testing its descending trendline and resistance at 2400. Breakout above the two would deliver a strong bull signal.

Gold in AUD

Conclusion

Technology stocks have commenced a primary down-trend. Metals & Mining look highly-priced and susceptible to a sharp reversal. They have looked that way for months but sooner or later we are bound to see a rapid re-pricing.

Steady long-term interest rates and a buoyant housing market are lifting REITs and Financials respectively. Health Care and Consumer Discretionary look hesitant, while Gold stocks are making a tentative rally.

Notes

  1. Target for XIJ is its 2400 peak extended below 1900.