Ketvirtadienis, 28 rugsėjo, 2023

Market Surprises: Budget Surplus, Oil Rally, and EV Worries Shake Investors

Market Surprises. In a week marked by mixed economic data and global economic factors, the US stock market exhibited a mixed performance. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 70 points lower on Wednesday, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq managed to secure modest gains of 0.1% and 0.3% respectively. Investors closely scrutinized the US Consumer Price Index (CPI) report for clues about the Federal Reserve’s future monetary policy decisions. Here, we delve into the key market developments of the day.

Mixed US CPI Report Sparks Uncertainty

The focal point of Wednesday’s market activity was the release of the US CPI report for August 2023. Headline inflation exceeded forecasts, rising by 0.6% month-over-month. This was in line with market expectations but marked an uptick from July’s 0.2% increase. The surge in gasoline prices, which contributed 10.6% to the increase, played a significant role in driving up overall consumer prices.

Energy prices surged by 5.6%, up from 0.1% last month. The shelter index rose by 0.3% for the 40th straight month. Food inflation held steady at 0.2% due to mixed home and away prices.

Market Surprises: Budget Surplus, Oil Rally, and EV Worries Shake Investors

Federal Budget Surplus Surprises

In a surprising turn of events, the US government posted a budget surplus of USD 89 billion in August 2023. This marked a stark contrast from the USD 219.6 billion deficit recorded in the same period the previous year and exceeded market expectations of a USD 240 billion deficit. This surplus was the first for the month of August since 1955 and was primarily attributed to the reversal of $319 billion in student loan forgiveness costs following a Supreme Court ruling in June.

This unexpected development caused government outlays to plummet by 63% from the previous year. Reaching $194 billion, while revenues declined by 7% to USD 283 billion. For the first eleven months of the fiscal year, the budget gap surged to USD 1.543 trillion, aligning with the White House’s latest forecast.

Oil Prices Surge Amidst Production Cuts

WTI crude futures soared above $89 per barrel, hitting their highest level in ten months. This remarkable rise was driven by expectations of ongoing production cuts by major oil producers. As indicated by the latest market outlook reports. OPEC projected a 2.25 million barrel per day increase in global oil demand for 2024. Anticipating a significant deficit of 3.3 million barrels per day in the fourth quarter of the current year.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicted a smaller deficit of 230,000 barrels for the next quarter. While the International Energy Agency (IEA) emphasized the impact of oil output cuts by Saudi Arabia and Russia, forecasting a significant deficit through the fourth quarter of 2023. However, it’s worth noting that US crude inventories unexpectedly rose by 3.954 million barrels last week. In line with the American Petroleum Institute (API) report from Tuesday.

Nickel Prices Face Pressure Amidst EV Slowdown

Nickel futures experienced a downward trend, dipping below the $19,700 per tonne threshold and approaching a 13-month low seen in mid-August. The slowdown in electric vehicle (EV) demand, coupled with increased battery stockpiles for manufacturers, has exerted pressure on nickel prices.

China’s weak macroeconomic data and fears of an impending economic downturn have led to a 10% reduction in battery prices in August, causing battery manufacturers to curtail their input buying activity. However, the discovery of a significant lithium deposit in the United States may further bolster the dominance of lithium-ion batteries in the EV market, potentially surpassing nickel-based alternatives.

Gold Prices React to Inflation Data

Gold prices remained near three-week lows, trading around $1,910 an ounce, as traders analyzed the latest US CPI figures. While headline annual inflation exceeded expectations in August due to high oil prices, the annual core rate slowed as anticipated. Market expectations for the Federal Reserve’s next steps remained largely unchanged, with a pause in rate hikes expected for the next week.

The odds of a 25bps increase in the fed funds rate in either November or December continued to hover around 40%. Additionally, investors eagerly await the European Central Bank’s (ECB) decision on monetary policy, with opinions divided on whether the central bank will pause or continue to raise borrowing costs.

Market Surprises: Budget Surplus, Oil Rally, and EV Worries Shake Investors
Gold futures

Dollar Index Remains Stable

The dollar index experienced fluctuations, initially rising to 104.93 before stabilizing as investors digested the latest inflation rate report. Annual inflation in the US increased for the second consecutive month to 3.7% in August, surpassing market expectations. The monthly Core CPI also exceeded forecasts, rising by 0.3% compared to the previous month’s 0.2%. Despite these developments, market sentiment remains divided regarding the Federal Reserve’s decision to hike interest rates again this year.

Currency Markets Exhibit Mixed Performance

In the currency markets, the Russian Ruble, Brazilian Real, and Polish Zloty emerged as the top gainers, while the Swedish Krona, Turkish Lira, and Norwegian Krone faced losses. These currency movements reflect the ongoing uncertainty and global economic factors influencing financial markets.


The US stock market’s performance on Wednesday reflected a complex interplay of economic data, government finances, and global factors. Mixed signals from the US CPI report, a surprising budget surplus, and volatile oil and commodity markets have created a challenging environment for investors. As central banks and policymakers navigate these uncertainties, market participants will closely monitor upcoming economic events and decisions to position themselves for potential opportunities and risks.

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