As the world keeps a close watch on evolving events, here are some crucial issues and updates to follow today:
1. U.S. Stock Markets: The Dow Jones on the New York Stock Exchange showed a slight uptick in its performance on Thursday. However, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed in negative territory, partly influenced by the decline in Apple’s stock value. Concerns are brewing among investors following reports of restrictions on iPhone use in China. Additionally, the sharp decrease in U.S. unemployment benefit applicants to a seven-month low has raised speculation about the Federal Reserve’s stance on maintaining high-interest rates to combat inflation.
2. Hong Kong Schools Closed: Due to the ongoing impact of a super typhoon that has hit Hong Kong since last week, the Hong Kong government has decided to shut down all schools today. The region has experienced heavy rain and flooding, particularly across Hong Kong Island. The opening of the Hong Kong stock market is also postponed, with potential trading suspensions if storm warnings are raised by 9:00 am local time.
3. Japanese GDP Growth: Japan’s Cabinet Office has reported that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2023 grew by 4.8% year-on-year. This figure is slightly lower than initial estimates of 6.0% growth and falls short of market expectations, which were at 5.5% growth.
4. Fed Interest Rate Speculation: Investors are adjusting their forecasts regarding the Federal Reserve (Fed) raising interest rates at its November meeting. This shift comes on the heels of the U.S. announcing the lowest number of unemployment benefit claims in seven months. The latest CME Group FedWatch Tool indicates that investors now place a 44.8% likelihood of the Fed increasing interest rates by 0.25% to a range of 5.50-5.75% at its meeting on November 1st. This is up from the 37.1% probability assigned last week and the 28.6% probability from the previous month.
5. ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement Review: Officials have announced that India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will be reviewing their Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in November. The review is expected to conclude by 2025, potentially impacting trade dynamics in the region.
6. COVID-19 Hospitalizations in the U.S.: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported a concerning trend. Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are on the rise across the United States for the first time this year. The rate of new hospital admissions surged by 16% last week, marking a reversal of the declining trend seen since January.
7. Kia’s Expansion in Thailand: South Korean car manufacturer Kia Corp. is planning to establish an automobile production facility in Thailand, with an annual capacity of 250,000 vehicles. This move represents Kia’s first foray into automobile production within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and signifies the company’s commitment to expanding its global footprint.
8. Economic Data Reports: Investors are eagerly awaiting the release of the U.S. wholesale inventory stocks data for July, set to be reported at 21:00 Thai time today. Additionally, all eyes will be on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for August in the United States, scheduled for release on Wednesday, September 13th. This data will play a crucial role in shaping expectations regarding the direction of interest rates ahead of the Fed Committee’s monetary policy meeting on September 19-20.