Bears in a China shop


A look at the day ahead in Asian markets from Jamie McGeever

As evidenced by another decline on Wall Street, the dollar climbing to a fresh 20-year high, and a sharp sell-off in UK government debt, the squeeze on global markets and investor confidence around the world shows little sign of easing.

This is likely to subdue Asian markets early on Wednesday, particularly tech stocks – the Nasdaq fell for a seventh straight session on Tuesday, its longest losing streak since 2016.

It is also the backdrop against which investors will receive a batch of key Chinese economic indicators and second quarter GDP figures from Australia.

Beijing is expected to report slowing import and export growth in August, leading to a narrower trade surplus of $92.7 billion. The country’s stash of FX reserves is also expected to decline in the month to $3.079 trillion.

The health of China’s economy is a concern for Beijing – and increasingly, the world. The yuan hit at a two-year low on Tuesday close to 7.00 per dollar, and the PBOC said it would cut the amount of FX reserves that financial institutions must hold, the latest measure aimed at slowing the yuan’s decline.

The Asian FX spotlight is shining even more brightly on the Japanese yen, which has sunk to a fresh 24-year low of 143.00 per dollar. A test of 150.00 appears likely as U.S.-Japanese yield spreads widen, and dollar/yen is eyeing its best year since the era of free-floating exchange rates began in 1971.

Economists expect Australia’s economic growth accelerated in the second quarter, and a decent 3% fall in oil prices on Tuesday could help soothe sentiment. But not much.

Key developments that should provide more direction to markets on Wednesday:

China trade, current account (Aug)

China FX reserves (Aug)

Japan FX reserves (Aug)

Australia GDP (Q2)