Asia markets to trade lower after Wall Street falls on concerns of more Fed rate hikes ahead

Singapore non-oil domestic exports fall 25% in January, further than expectations

Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports in January saw a 25% drop as compared to a year ago, following the 20.6% fall recorded in December 2022.

The drop was steeper than economists polled by Reuters had expected estimated forecasting a 22% drop on an annualized basis.

Meanwhile non-oil re-exports fell 10.4% in January, following the 7.2% decline in December.

Total trade also fell by 10.4% with total exports dropping 9.6% and imports contracting by 11.3%

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— Lim Hui Jie

Standard Chartered expects China’s economy to grow 5.8% this year

Standard Chartered expects China’s economy to expand by 5.8% this year, CEO Bill Winters said in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe.”

“We’re expecting China to grow 5.8% this year, obviously coming back from quite a difficult Covid period,” Winters told CNBC’s Geoff Cutmore, adding that “Hong Kong is back to life.”

“The recession outlook does look a bit tough in the west, [but] the markets where we do the bulk of our business Asia, Africa and the Middle East, are looking pretty good,” he said.

China’s economy grew by 3% in 2022, according to data released in January.

— Jihye Lee, Hannah Ward-Glenton

CNBC Pro: This semiconductor stock is soaring — and is set to rise another 20%, Morgan Stanley says

Investor interest in the semiconductor sector has rebounded in recent months with the iShares Semiconductor ETF up nearly 50% from its October lows.

2023 will be a “recovery year” for semiconductors, according to Morgan Stanley, and the bank has raised its price target on one “high quality” chip stock.

Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Zavier Ong

CNBC Pro: We’re ‘a long way’ from this rally’s top, says Morgan Stanley’s Slimmon, who names stocks to buy

Have markets hit “peak pessimism”? Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s Andrew Slimmon says that stocks are set to rally further.

“With the [S&P 500] up 8% [year-to-date], some of that pessimism has started to recede but we are a long way from the top in this rally,” he said.

He also named three stocks to buy.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

Australia central bank chief warns of ‘damaging’ and ‘corrosive’ high inflation

Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe warned of the risks that high inflation will have on the country if it is not brought under control in a timely manner.

Speaking to the standing committee on economics in Australia’s House of Representatives , Lowe noted that inflation in the country had reached 7.8% in December 2022, the highest rate since 1990.

Calling high inflation “damaging” and “corrosive”, Lowe also noted that “It would be dangerous, indeed, not to contain and reverse this period of high inflation.”

“If we don’t get on top of inflation and bring it down in a timely way, the end result will be even higher interest rates and more unemployment in the future,” he added.

— Lim Hui Jie

Asia currencies weaker as concerns over more Fed hikes grow

Currencies in the Asia-Pacific traded at weaker levels on Friday morning on concerns of more U.S. rate hikes to come.

The Japanese yen weakened 0.16% to 134.16 against the U.S. dollar, South Korea’s won also weakened 0.16% to 1,291.53 against the greenback.

The Australian dollar fell 0.22% to 0.6862 and the Chinese yuan weakened 0.1% to 6.8760 against the U.S. dollar.

— Jihye Lee

Pentagon’s top China official to visit Taiwan: Financial Times

The U.S. Department of Defense’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for China, Michael Chase will visit Taiwan amid growing tensions between the two countries over a suspected spy balloon from China, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar.

He would be the first senior official from the Pentagon to visit Taiwan after Heino Klinck, the report said, who visited in 2019 and marking the most senior-level trip in four decades.

Chase is now in Mongolia for military discussions, the report said.

— Jihye Lee

Standard Chartered ‘absolutely not’ for sale, bank CEO says

Standard Chartered is “absolutely not” for sale according to the bank’s CEO.

Bill Winters told CNBC’s Geoff Cutmore Thursday that a potential sale is not what the company is focused on.

Standard Chartered CEO says the bank has not engaged with prospective bidders

“On the right terms, somebody wants to come and thinks that they can so something, I would encourage engagement rather than … speculation through the press,” he said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe.”

The comments come after First Abu Dhabi Bank said Friday that it was not evaluating an offer for Standard Chartered.

The full story can be read here.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Fed’s James Bullard sees possible half-point rate hike ahead

St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said Thursday that he pushed for a higher interest rate increase at the last meeting and could see a more aggressive move ahead.

The policymaker said he advocated for a half percentage point rate increase at the Jan. 31-Feb. 1 Fed meeting and said he wouldn’t rule out pushing for one at the March session.

“I was an advocate for a 50-basis-point hike and I argued that we should get to the level of rates the committee viewed as sufficiently restrictive as soon as we could,” Bullard said during a speech in Tennessee, according to Reuters.

Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester also said Thursday she wanted a higher increase than the quarter-point approved by the Federal Open Market Committee. Neither Mester nor Bullard vote this year on the FOMC.

Bullard added that he sees the larger economic trend moving toward disinflation, despite recent high readings for inflation.

“In part due to front-loaded Fed policy during 2022, market-based measures of inflation expectations are now relatively low,” Bullard said.

“Continued policy rate increases can help lock in a disinflationary trend during 2023, even with ongoing growth and strong labor markets, by keeping inflation expectations low,” he added.

The comments come despite separate data releases this week showing that both consumer and producer prices increased more than expected in January. Bullard acknowledged that inflation is still too high, but said higher interest rates will keep it in check despite continued economic growth and a robust labor market.

“These factors may combine to make 2023 a disinflationary year,” Bullard said.

—Jeff Cox

Dow falls to daily low in final minutes of trading, stocks close lower

Stocks sold off sharply in the final minutes of trading Thursday, sending the Dow to a fresh daily low. All three indexes ended the day lower.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 431 points, or 1.26%. The S&P 500 dipped 1.38% and the Nasdaq-Composite fell 1.78%. Microsoft and Disney contributed the most to the Dow’s decline, down more than 2% each.

—Carmen Reinicke

Wholesale prices rise more than expected in January

The producer price index, an inflation indicator that tracks wholesale prices, rose 0.7% in January, topping a Dow Jones consensus forecast for a 0.4% increase.

This is the latest inflation report this week to come in above expectations. On Tuesday, the Labor Department said the consumer price index — a widely followed inflation gauge — rose 0.5% last month. That surpassed a consensus estimate of 0.4%.

— Jeff Cox

Weekly jobless claims show a surprise dip

Initial claims for unemployment benefits dipped 1,000 to 194,000 for the week ended Feb. 11, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Economists polled by Dow Jones had forecast jobless claims at 200,000.

The number from the prior week was revised to 195,000 from 196,000, according to the Labor Department.

The labor market has remained resilient even amid the Federal Reserve’s series of interest rate hikes.

— Yun Li