May 15, 2019, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
Data published overnight showed that China’s growth eased in April, with industrial output, retail sales and investment all slowing more than economists had forecast. With the ruling Communist Party’s promise to double the size of the nation’s economy between 2010 and 2020 already under pressure from U.S. tariffs, investors see the latest data as more reason for policymakers to add stimulus. The Shanghai Composite Index ended the session 1.9% higher, while the CSI 300 jumped 2.3%. President Donald Trump seems to be hoping that the Federal Reserve will also get on the stimulus bandwagon, tweeting yesterday that it would be “ game over” if the bank matched China moves.
The oil market, torn between tensions in the Middle East risking supply on the one hand and trade war hurting demand on the other, has been choppy this week. This morning’s International Energy Agency report which cut its demand growth forecast has helped give some direction. That, coupled with an industry report that signaled a jump in U.S. inventories, means that a barrel of West Texas Crude for June delivery dropped as much as 1.2% in trading this morning.
Remember all the excitement earlier this year as British Prime Minister Theresa May repeatedly put her Brexit deal to Parliament and repeatedly was defeated? Well, it seems she is going to have another go next month. The move comes after talks with the main opposition Labour Party have yielded nothing. Getting the vote through now assumes a change of heart from some members of Parliament who helped defeat it. The pound remained mostly unmoved by the development, trading just above $1.29 this morning.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.4% while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.6% higher as equities in the region were bolstered by bets on more Chinese stimulus. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.4% lower at 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time with carmakers among the biggest drags on the gauge. S&P 500 futures pointed to some red at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.380% and gold gained.
Economists are forecasting a considerable slowdown in U.S. retail sales in April, with predictions for 0.2% growth, well below March’s 1.6%. The data is published at 8:30 a.m., with Empire Manufacturing at the same time. Industrial production numbers at 9:15 a.m. are also expected to be soft, with little change expected. Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Randal Quarles testifies before the Senate Banking Committee today and Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin speaks later in New York. Hedge funds must make their first-quarter 13F filings showing their investments by the end of the day.