China Slows, Ukraine Grain Ship, Shale Earnings - What's Moving Markets

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China Slows, Ukraine Grain Ship, Shale Earnings - What's Moving Markets
Credit: © Reuters.

By Geoffrey Smith

Investing.com -- China's economy slowed again in July, suggesting a rocky road to full recovery. PMIs from around the world point to a generalized slowdown except in India. Stocks are pausing for breath after last week's tech-driven rally, and grain and oil prices ease on brighter news out of Europe. Here's what you need to know in financial markets on Monday, August 1.

1. China slows; Beijing bristles as Pelosi prepares Taipei visit

China’s manufacturing sector slowed in July, amid signs of weak demand from core export markets and lingering disruptions from repeated outbreaks of COVID-19.

The Caixin Manufacturing PMI , which tracks activity among private-sector companies, fell to 50.4, only just above the 50 line that typically separates contraction from expansion, with firms reporting falling output and a sixth straight drop in employment.

The numbers suggest that China’s economy still faces huge challenges to meet an official growth target of around 5.5% this year. They were corroborated by HSBC adding another $150 million in credit loss provisions to its offshore Chinese loan book, a reflection of the grinding real estate crisis.

In other China-related news, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi begins a tour of Asia today that is scheduled to include a visit to Taiwan, despite strongly-worded warnings from Beijing against it.

2. India bucks worldwide PMI decline trend; German retail sales slump

Purchasing managers indices around the world also pointed to a slowdown, broadly confirming the preliminary data released a week earlier, except in India, where activity picked up strongly.

The Institute for Supply Management’s PMI will be released at 10:00 AM ET and is likewise expected to show a modest slowdown from June, albeit staying clearly in growth territory.

That contrast with the Eurozone , where manufacturing is already in contraction owing to the acute energy crisis and accompanying inflation problem. Those factors also contributed largely to the biggest annual drop in German retail sales since the country started collecting pan-German data in 1994.

3. Stocks set to open mixed; Shale earnings in focus later

U.S. stock markets are set to open the week flat to lower, pausing for breath after a vigorous rally last week in response to the quarterly results from Big Tech names.

By 06:30 AM ET (1030 GMT), Dow Jones futures were down 8 points, essentially unchanged, while S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures were both down 0.2%.

Most of the day’s earnings action comes after the close, with shale oil and gas producers Devon Energy (NYSE: DVN ) and Diamondback (NASDAQ: FANG ) in particularly sharp focus. Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI ), CF Industries (NYSE: CF ), Avis (NASDAQ: CAR ), and Vornado (NYSE: VNO ) also report late, while Jacobs Engineering (NYSE: J ) and Loews (NYSE: L ) head a thinner slate ahead of the opening.

4. Grain prices ease as first ship leaves Ukraine under UN deal

The Sierra Leone-flagged ship Razoni became the first ship to leave a Ukrainian port carrying grain under a landmark UN-backed deal, a tentative sign of progress in relieving a growing food crisis in the emerging world. Russia has been blockading Ukrainian ports since its invasion in February

The BBC quoted Turkish and Ukrainian officials as saying the ship left the port of Odesa early on Monday morning local time. It will arrive in Turkish waters for inspection on Tuesday. It is due to take its cargo of 26,000 tons of corn to the Lebanese port of Tripoli.

Grain futures eased again on the news, with U.S. corn futures falling 1.5% and wheat futures falling 1.4%.

5. Oil falls on report that marine insurance sanctions will not be enforced

Crude oil prices also eased after a report suggested that the U.K. and Europe will not after all try to stop all seaborne Russian oil cargoes from getting insurance. The initiative had formed a major part of the EU’s sixth sanctions package, with the capability to disrupt shipments to third-party countries such as China and India.

However, the Financial Times reported that the U.K. has not drafted the legislation necessary for that, under pressure from the U.S. which wants to bring oil prices down in time for the midterm elections in November.

By 06:30 AM ET, U.S. crude futures were down 1.3% at $97.31 a barrel, while Brent was down 0.9% at $102.98 a barrel.

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