ETF Securities Multi Asset Weekly: Low commodity prices overshadow Q2 earnings

Commodities extended their declines this week and their impact was clearly resonated as the world’s leading energy and mining stocks across the globe posted losses in their Q2 earnings release. As these..

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companies trim future revenue outlooks and cut capex and therefore reduce production, their impact should work their way back in the form of higher commodity prices. Greece’s stock markets are set to  open today marking a slight hope of stabilization after weeks of riots, bank closures and emergency financing. Looking ahead the PMI Manufacturing data in the Eurozone, jobs data in the US and central bank meetings in Japan and UK will be the focus of next week’s economic calendar.


Weak Chinese demand weighs on commodity prices. Copper stockpiles are at their highest in 18 months as reported by the LME. Amidst the backdrop of copper price trading at a 6 year low, the world’s largest producers namely Freeport McMoRan, First Quantum and Antofagasta planned to cut back on production as they struggle to remain profitable. Power restrictions, delayed projects and cost cutting threaten to curtail supply, which we believe will be supportive for copper prices. Despite the unexpected decline in stockpiles of 4.2m barrels to 459.7m against the market forecast for 850,000 barrel increase, oil continued to tread in bear market territory as negative sentiment on China’s growth prospects weighed on prices. Corn fell by 7.4% after the International Grains Council raised its estimate for Chinese corn production by 5m metric tonnes to an all-time high 225m tonnes, allaying concerns of bad weather damaging corn fields in the U.S. and Europe. Tin rose 8.6% last week on the back of lower Indonesian exports (the world’s largest supplier).


European and US earnings garner momentum for equities. Despite a volatile start to the week led by the decline in Chinese benchmark indices, corporate earnings in the US and Europe helped restore confidence in global equity markets. European & US stocks posted an 8.3% and 4.5% earnings surprise among the 65% and 70% of companies that reported so far on the Eurostoxx 600 and S&P 500 Index respectively.
Investors are increasingly realigning their portfolio towards Europe over US equities as better valuations, lower euro and improving economic growth favor the region. Meanwhile MSCI China A-Shares ended the week 9.8% lower.


US dollar appreciates as the Federal Reserve conditions the market for rate increases this year. In its latest statement the Fed said it needs to see “some further improvement in the labor market,” adding the modifier “some,” to its previous statement (indicating it is closer to the mark). This week’s US payrolls data will therefore carry a lot of weight in determining the timing of rate increases. Weak oil prices took its toll on the Canadian economy, with monthly GDP declining for a fifth consecutive month, supporting the Central bank of Canada’s July 15 decision to cut borrowing costs. The Canadian dollar depreciated 4.2% against the US dollar. Despite Swedish GDP beating expectations (3% vs 2.5% y-o-y expected), the Swedish Krona depreciated as the market expects interest rates to remain negative rates to maintain that pace of growth.


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