Today’s Outlook:
• Major U.S. stock exchanges closed in red, averaging 1 percent as investors weighed a surge in the 10-year Treasury yield, corporate earnings results and remarks from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. The Cboe Volatility index jumped to its highest close since March. Powell said that the US central bank will continue its cautious monetary policy following the spike in Treasury bond yields that contributed to significantly tightening financial conditions, but he also said that continued economic growth could force the Fed to tighten its policy further. This statement came right after the Initial Jobless Claims data showed that the labor market remains strong: this week’s jobless claims last came out at 198K, lower than the predicted 212K & previous week’s 211K and the lowest point in 9 months; thus, confirming a strong & resilient US economy, pushing the 10-year Treasury yield close to 5% for the first time since 2007. Existing Home Sales (Sept.) data also showed September housing starts increased by 3.96 million units, also higher than the estimate of 3.89 million; although the figure fell -2.0% mom. On the other hand, the Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index stated that the outlook for business conditions remains relatively weak for October in the Philadelphia region.
• ASIA MARKETS: Japan reported Trade Balance in September managed to be in surplus, at JPY62.4 billion, which is the second surplus in the period since September 2021 and in the last 4 months; due to their Export position which increased significantly by 4.3% yoy from the previous month -0.8%, but Imports still slowed down at -16.3% yoy. As for today, Japan has released National CPI at 3.0% yoy (sloping from the previous month’s 3.2%). Likewise, the National Core CPI was successfully reduced from 3.1% in August to 2.8% yoy this September. South Korea again held their benchmark interest rate at 3.5%. Meanwhile, Indonesia unexpectedly raised BI7DRR by 25 bps to 6.0% in an effort by Bank Indonesia to stabilize Rupiah. Today, it is China’s turn to announce their interest rate decision, which was originally still on hold at 3.45%. The domestic news that we are waiting for today is the growth of Foreign Direct Investment in Q3, versus the 14.2% that was recorded in Q2.
• EUROPEAN MARKETS: not many economic data releases are awaited by traders at the end of the week, important ones include: UK Retail Sales (Sept.), German PPI (Sept.).
• COMMODITIES: World crude oil prices rose for the third consecutive day on the back of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s vague and unconvincing remarks about an interest rate hike at the November 2 FOMC Meeting. Another supporting sentiment was contributed by the worsening Israel-Hamas war, which raised concerns about potential disruptions to crude oil production or transportation out of the Middle East, although there are no signs of this happening yet. Earlier in the session, crude oil prices fell more than 1% as the United States granted a six-month waiver of economic sanctions imposed on Venezuela, in exchange for the South American country’s pledge to hold free and fair elections. WTI crude oil for November contract closed up 1.5%, at USD89.37 per barrel. For the week, the New York based crude benchmark posted a 0.6% gain. Meanwhile, Brent crude for the most active December contract ended Wednesday’s session at USD92.38/barrel, up nearly 1%. For the week, the London-based global crude benchmark has surged 2.3%. A weaker US Dollar also makes US-denominated commodities more affordable for non-US international buyers. Meanwhile, Gold also maintained its gains for the third consecutive day on Thursday trading (19/10/23) due to the falling USD plus the risk of Middle East conflict escalation. The most active Gold futures contract on New York’s Comex, for December closed up or 0.6% at USD 1,980.50 per ounce. With three  days of rallying, Gold has gained more than 2% this week, adding to the previous week’s surge of more than 5%.
• After the surprise announcement of Bank Indonesia’s BI7DRR rate hike to 6%, it answered why JCI seemed hesitant to cross the crucial 6950 Resistance level. Investors are preparing for the worst possibility of a BI rate decision beyond market expectations, amidst an increasingly helpless Rupiah exchange rate position at IDR 15,863/USD. NHKSI RESEARCH estimates that this consolidation will still last at least to test the Support from the previous Low level around 6840-6825, or indeed to fulfill the target pattern in the range of 6780. Therefore, a Hold/Wait & See attitude is the most appropriate at the end of this week.

Company News
• HRUM : Injecting USD 300 Million into Nickel Smelter Subsidiary
• BBYB : Right Issue 5 Billion Shares
• AKRA : Chinese Investors Book Land in KEK JIIPE Gresik

Domestic & Global News
• Ministry of Manpower Signals UMP Rise in 2024, Entrepreneurs Respond
• Nokia to Cut Up to 14,000 Jobs as Us Demand Shrinks, Growth Uncertain

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