Market Wrap: 20 January 2023

Market Wrap: 20 January 2023

Asian Stocks Edge Higher Ahead of Lunar New Year:

  • Hong Kong shares lead gains; US and European futures climb
  • Treasuries fall while the dollar holds steady; oil pushes up


Asian stocks shook off worries from rising interest rates and economic risks to advance on Friday before Lunar New Year holidays interrupt trading across many markets in the region next week.

Hong Kong equities led gains and shares in Japan reversed small initial losses. Futures for US stocks rose after the selloff on Wall Street showed some signs of easing Thursday, when the S&P 500 fell for a third day.

Commodities and Asian equities have shrugged off some of the bearish news this week out of the US as traders bet on China’s economic revival. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its estimate for the nation’s oil demand growth and said it’s reopening sooner and more rapidly than the bank originally expected.

Treasuries fell slightly with the 10-year yield climbing two basis points to take the edge off a drop in the rate earlier in the week.

Japan’s benchmark 10-year bond yield was at 0.405% versus the central bank’s 0.5% ceiling. Australian 10-year yields were up six basis points. 

The yen weakened slightly after consumer price data — which was in line with estimates — showed inflation at 4% for the first time in more than four decades. A gauge of dollar strength was little changed on the day and the week. 


Traders remain on the lookout for clues on the path ahead for the Federal Reserve. Vice Chair Lael Brainard, considered a dove, said Thursday rates would need to stay elevated for a period to further cool inflation. She didn’t state a preference for whether the Fed should downshift hikes at its next meeting or what peak rate she envisioned this year. 

Her comments came a day after Fed hawks called for boosting rates, with St. Louis Fed President James Bullard penciling in a forecast for a rate range of 5.25% to 5.5% by the end of this year. The current range is 4.25% to 4.5%. 


Adding to the somber mood in the US, the federal debt limit was hit and the Treasury Department began the use of special measures to avoid defaulting on any payments.

Data were mixed, with new US home construction declining for a fourth-straight month in December. Applications for US unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, sliding to the lowest level since September and underscoring a strong jobs market. That followed figures a day earlier showing producer prices and retail sales fell, while business equipment production slumped. 

Elsewhere in markets, oil headed for a second weekly gain as optimism over stronger Chinese demand overshadowed a weaker outlook in other major economies. 

Copper was poised for a fifth weekly increase, its best run since May 2021, with global supply risks persisting and inventories near historic lows. Gold steadied in Asia after jumping to an eight-month high in the previous session.

Key events on Friday:

  • US existing home sales, Friday
  • IMF’s Kristalina Georgieva and ECB’s Lagarde speak in Davos, Friday




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