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The RBA kept rates on pause on Tuesday, firmly in line with expectations, and only days after the US Fed did the same last week. ANZ now expects Australia to cut rates in February of 2025 – along with Morgan Stanley, UBS and Citigroup. Morgan Stanley thinks the August meeting could see a hike. Let’s hope not.

Interest rate pressures remain the quo, notwithstanding recent cuts from the ECB, other parts of Europe, and the Bank of Canada. The Bank of England (BoE) kept rates on pause this week, but is still expected by some to cut before the Fed.

The fact pressures remain in major economies can be clearly exemplified by an uptick in M&A activity broadly through 2024, with the US boasting a 56% share of all M&A globally. That hasn’t happened since the 90’s, and it points to a trend of big companies snatching up smaller companies while they can.

Meanwhile, in Asia, Chinese house prices continue to slump – despite the best efforts of a government seemingly desperate to stimulate the sector. Evergrande, Country Garden, and now a housing oversupply: the world’s second largest economy can’t catch a break. 

That data was released alongside mixed economic reporting on Monday, which showed industrial production below estimates, but Chinese retail sales higher than thought. Once again, nobody really knows what to make of the Red Dragon with a view to outlook. Iron ore traders have an idea: sell, sell, sell. Prices fell below US$105/tn on Monday following the data drop but pared losses by Friday.  

Worth adding: Chinese aluminum production hit a 10 year high in May of 2024, according to government data. Attributed to solar panel and EV production, that mightn’t mean much outside of China, given the US tariffs on China net zero tech. But that’s not all that’s going on in Asia. 

Here’s an interesting one to watch: cheap power and land costs in Malaysia have led to that country becoming the region’s fastest growing market for data centre growth.

Kicked off by the tech boom that COVID lockdowns necessitated, Malaysia has remained an emerging market of favour for giants such as Microsoft and NVIDIA. Typically that tech has gone to Japan in Asia, but a city on the border with Singapore, Johor Bahru, could one day steal the crown.

Also in Asia: Hyundai wants to list in India on the Mumbai exchange. One to watch, especially seeing as India’ Nifty 50 has firmly shaken off the panic which was triggered when Modi’s election wasn’t quite as strong as thought.

Oh: and Guzman y Gomez shedded nearly -5% on Friday, a day after listing – the biggest event of the week as far as the ASX is concerned. (Commonwealth is giving BHP’s market cap a run for its money, too.)

Australian Equities

  • Guzman y Gomez listing steals the show, overshadowing VanEck Bitcoin ETF
  • Commonwealth hits all time high; approaching market cap of BHP
  • Droneshield hits new all time high of $1.70 before falling 10c on Friday

Australian Economy

  • Morgan Stanley, Citi & UBS calling February 2025 RBA cut, Stanley cites hike risk
  • RBA keeps interest rates on pause in line with expectations
  • ABS reports business innovation slowing in response to cost pressures

International Equities

  • India shakes off weak Modi election result
  • Hyundai wants to list in Mumbai as part of an Indian market IPO
  • NASDAQ becomes the world’s single most valuable company

International Economies

  • US accounts for 56% of global M&A activity YTD in 2024: LSEG
  • Chinese home price data on Monday shows further slump, stimulus not working
  • Malaysia emerges as SEA’s fastest-growing hotspot for data centre growth on AI boom

Commodities & Odds and Ends

  • Chinese aluminum output hit 10-year high in May per state government data
  • Sweden fines NASDAQ US$10M over regulatory breaches
  • Ferrari’s first EV to cost half a million USD

Geopolitics

  • The EU and China are now gearing up for their own trade war
  • Israel warns Lebanon of ‘all out war’ following prolonged Hezbollah attacks
  • Vietnam welcomes Putin in visit not long after North Korea
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