1) Thai stock market overview
Thailand’s SET Index closed at 1,685.75 points, increased 14.29 points or 0.85% with a trading value of 63 billion baht. The analyst stated that the Thai stock market moved in a positive trend, boosted by retail and electronics stocks as Nasdaq closed higher in the previous session, up 10.7% in January and its best performance since 2001. Meanwhile, the market expected Fed’s meeting tonight to be less aggressive on the policy rates.
2) South Korea records worst trade deficit in history as exports fall
South Korea declared a trade deficit of $47.5 billion in 2022, as shown by the official data from the customs agency. It was the worst trade deficit since the customs agency started collecting data in 1956 and more than the trade deficit in 1996 at $20.6 billion.
In January, exports dropped by $46.3 billion or 16.6%, more than the expected drop of 11.3%. Meanwhile, imports fell by $59 billion or 2.6%, which was less than expectations of 3.6%. That resulted in a deficit of $12.7 billion in January, which was more than the expectations of Reuters’ economist poll for a $9.27 billion deficit.
3) Eurozone annual inflation falls to 8.5% in Jan as energy prices subsided
Preliminary data released on Wednesday showed that inflation in the Eurozone dropped to 8.5% in January due to sustained decline in energy prices.
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushed up energy and food prices across the bloc, the 20-member region saw significant price spikes in 2022. However, inflation began to moderate in late 2022, with headline levels falling for two months in a row. In December, the inflation rate stood at 9.2%.
The European Central Bank (ECB) has already raised interest rates four times in 2022 in response to higher inflation, and futures markets predict at least two more hikes in the upcoming meetings.
4) Eurozone factories downturn eases further in January
Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) from S&P Global rose to a five-month high of 48.8 in January, up from December’s 47.8 (in accordance with a preliminary reading), but still below the 50 level separating growth from contraction.
Despite manufacturers in the eurozone reporting lower output and weaker order books in January, as S&P Global’s senior business economist Chris Williamson phrased it, “the picture is considerably brighter than the lows seen back in October heading into the winter.”
Data from Eurostat released on Tuesday showed that the eurozone’s GDP grew by 0.1% in the last three months of 2022, escaping a recession and beating the 0.1% contraction predicted by a Reuters poll.