While most of the global economy continues to fall in line with expectations there are always events on the horizon which can change outlooks. The question is where risk will come from and how it can be measured. Some investors have grown nervous because of the Ukrainian crisis, but while the political situation seems destined to escalate the scope of geo-economic damage caused from this chaos still appears like it can be contained. Russia, Ukraine, and Europe will all have knock on effects but is this the biggest risk economically? A temporary truce has been ‘agreed’ on it should be mentioned. Tensions remain high and very fluid in the Ukraine, events are developing anew every moment.
Asia produced poor data early this morning. Japan Trade Balance numbers were bad and Chinese Flash Manufacturing PMI results from HSBC were negative too. Asian equity markets nearly all traded lower on Thursday. And while Asian economic data may not be as worrying as the riots taking place in the Ukraine, investors would be wise to examine what is happening in Japan and China closely.
Japanese monetary policy has not been able to jumpstart the economy as of yet. It has only been a short-term thus far politically and economically for the ‘new’ Japanese government but the clock is ticking and if results do not begin to change soon it will be more than interesting to see what the patience level of the public is and the pressure that ensues within Japan. Growth has remained stagnate for nearly two decades in Japan and questions grow.
More alarming however is that China continues to struggle with data. There have been loud whispers about Chinese data for nearly two years and doubts about statistical figures that have been published by the government. China is looked upon as a major economic engine and if it continues to stumble it will certainly hamper the global economy, and if it should fall it would cripple many.
The EUR has maintained a rather good value as of this morning as it tests its high range. The GBP also traded within a fairly comfortable range yesterday. Risk pressures on Wednesday were felt by investors and FX & equities both showed plenty of caution.
Gold is trading slightly lower and is near 1314.00 USD as of this morning. Crude Oil (WTI) increased again yesterday. The broad commodity market had mixed results, but the overall market has seen a higher valued trend via its indexes such as the Reuters/Jeffries CRB.
Housing data via Building Permits and Housing Starts were negative from the States but bad winter weather was blamed. Today from Europe a large amount of PMI data will be published from Germany and France including the Flash Manufacturing and Services marks. Core CPI numbers will come from the U.S. along with the Philly Fed Manufacturing Index later.
And to complete this circle of risk, the BoJ (Bank of Japan) Monetary Policy Meeting Minutes publication will be brought forth very early on Friday. Investors will have their plate full these last two days of trading this week. While most aspects of risk management seem to be in control, and ‘punishments’ seem to have been delivered via messages to the Ukrainian bond market that saw its borrowing costs rise gravely, concerns and uncertainty still have to be measured carefully. Caution has been seen across the broad markets but not outright fear. While there are not ‘black swan’ signposts to be weary of yet, the entire notion of the ‘black swan’ is that it can emerge faster than one expects.
In other words be faithful to risk management and reap the rewards.