S&P 500 Correction or Asian Currency Meltdown in the Cards

The Sell-in-May phenomenon kicked off early this year as Tuesday’s abrupt yield-driven selloff marked the end of April’s trading. Stocks stuttered ahead of a pivotal Fed decision, compounded by disappointment from AI leaders.

In a note to clients, Freya Beamish, head of macro research at TS Lombard, sounded a warning bell, predicting an imminent correction in the S&P 500 or even a potential meltdown in Asian foreign exchange markets.

Beamish highlights mounting discrepancies among major economies, with China, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of England scrambling to counter the Fed’s anti-inflation measures to prevent currency devaluation. Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan aims to stimulate its economy by capping interest rates, although the yen’s struggles persist.

“The pressure for currency depreciation will persist until the U.S. finds its equilibrium,” Beamish asserts. “Ideally, inflation should hover around 3%, not 4%, while sustaining robust enough growth to bolster the global recovery narrative.”

S&P 500

One pressing concern is the weakening U.S. job market, signaled by various indicators like deteriorating hiring plans for small businesses and a sharp decline in the PMI’s employment index.

“While concrete data, notably the upcoming jobs report on Friday, may not yet reflect these warning signs, independent surveys with a track record of predicting downturns in employment are flashing red,” Beamish explains.

“At present, leading indicators suggest a period of sluggishness ahead, which could rattle markets but also prompt the Fed to intervene, leading to a swift economic rebound,” she adds. “However, Asian currencies hinge on the U.S. data aligning favorably over the next few months to avert escalating pressure on policymakers.”

Beamish emphasizes the precarious balance for Japan’s monetary policy, where misjudging U.S. inflation and job figures could result in sluggish rate adjustments. Additionally, she underscores the challenge for China’s PBOC in maintaining currency stability against a rising dollar, requiring favorable U.S. economic indicators to avoid further strain.

In summary, Beamish urges vigilance amid growing economic disparities, emphasizing the critical role of U.S. data in shaping global financial dynamics in the months ahead.

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