Early Morning Call: AUD jumps as RBA raises cash rate to 3.35%, signals more hikes to come
The Australian dollar climbed versus other G7 currencies after the Reserve Bank of Australia raised rates and indicated there is more to come.
Equity market overview
Equity markets are pointing to a positive session today, following yesterday’s consolidation.
In the APAC region, the Australia ASX 200 fell the most, after the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) raised its cash rate by 25 basis points to 3.35%, a 10-year high, as expected. This was the ninth hike since last May, lifting rates by a total of 325 basis points.
The RBA reiterated that further increases would be needed. Core inflation has been higher than expected in the fourth quarter (Q4), accelerating to 6.9% from a year ago, above the central bank's previous forecast of 6.5%. The Australian dollar jumped against all major currencies.
Also in Australia, trade surplus narrowed to A$12.23 billion in December, below market forecasts of an A$12.5bn surplus. Exports dropped 1.4% from a month earlier while imports rose 1%. This means that in 2022, Australian trade surplus increased to A$139.50bn, around A$20bn higher that in 2021.
According to the BRC and KPMG, UK retail sales rose 3.9% on a like-for-like basis in January year-on-year (YoY), after a 6.5% rise in December. UK head of retail at KPMG Paul Martin said: "As we head into a difficult time for consumers, the short-term outlook for the retail sector remains challenging." He added that "with the last interest rate rise and utility price increases heading our way, shrinking household incomes means we will continue to see a shift in what consumers buy and where they buy from."
The Halifax house price index remained unchanged in January compared to the previous month. The market expected a decline of 0.8% YoY, however, the index unexpectedly rose by 1.9% against expectations of a 0.3% fall.
In Germany, industrial production fell more than anticipated, by 3.1% in December month-on-month (MoM). Economists expected a 0.7% decline.
Profits at BP have doubled to a record $27.7bn lifted by a surge in energy prices since Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In the fourth quarter, underlying replacement cost profit, the company's definition of net income, reached $4.8bn, compared with forecasts of a $5bn profit in a company-provided survey of analysts.
Ironically these oil companies are now benefitting from a lack of investment over the last few years to pacify the green lobby which has managed to persuade big oil to invest in renewables. This has led to a lack of new oil coming onto the market which has supported prices.
BNP Paribas posted a lower-than-expected net profit in the fourth quarter. Net income fell by 6.7% from a year earlier to €2.15bn, missing the €2.37bn mean estimates compiled by Refinitiv. BNP Paribas posted a 44% rise in FICC trading revenue, and an 18.2% increase in revenue in its corporate and investment banking division in Q4.
But this performance was hampered by the fact the bank had to set aside €773 million for bad loans, up nearly 52% YoY. Still, BNP Paribas raised its 2025 targets and announced a €5bn share buyback program in 2023.
Bed Bath & Beyond seemed to have managed to delay bankruptcy. Yesterday, its shares almost doubled after the group said it was planning to raise some $1 billion through an offering of preferred stock and warrants.
Overnight, the Wall Street Journal revealed BBBY got investor backing for $1.025bn equity raise.
Oil prices are rising this morning for a second day. Operations at Turkey's oil terminal in Ceyhan have been halted after the earthquake that hit the region. The facility can export up to one million barrels per day of crude.
Oil prices are also lifted by hopes that demand in China will increase. The IEA expects half of this year's global oil demand growth to come from China.
Yesterday, Goldman Sachs raised its forecast for China's oil demand in 2023 by one million barrels.
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