US stocks are crumbling after Wall Street worries about economic growth after hearing a chorus of concerns of higher prices that won’t be easing anytime soon. The strength of the consumer will be tested as both Walmart and Target signal rising pricing pressures are not easing. The Dow Jones Industrial suffered its worst loss since 2020 as investors doubt the Fed will be able to deliver a soft landing as the inflation outlook might warrant much more aggressive tightening of monetary policy.
The S&P 500 index fell below the 4,000 level which opened the door for a wave of technical selling. Consumer discretionary got hit the hardest as investors are reassessing the timing of when inflation will ease. It looks like the consumer has got a couple of rough quarters ahead and that will continue to drive economic growth concerns over the next few months.
Crude prices tumbled as risk appetite fell off a cliff and China’s COVID situation took a turn for the worse. The crude demand outlook is not looking as optimistic as it was a couple weeks ago. The lower-income consumer will struggle with persistent pricing pressures that could lead to some crude demand destruction throughout what was supposed to be a very busy summer travel season.
China’s zero COVID policy will remain intact and that is why the crude demand outlook will get downgraded if more outbreaks occur. Beijing saw 69 new cases and Tianjin’s Binhai area saw two buildings put into lockdown.
The EIA crude oil inventory showed a surprise draw and a small recovery of US production. The production increase is not matching the steady rise in rig counts, which suggests this market will remain tight. The 3.4 million barrel per day headline draw was also accompanied by a 5 million release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Crude exports increased by 3.5 million barrels a day last week, which supports the narrowing spread between Brent crude and WTI.
The oil market is also witnessing a similar price for both Brent crude and WTI crude as the US oil demand outlook looks like it will remain extremely tight given expectations for a strong summer driving season.
Gold prices did not break after carnage on Wall Street, which means some investors are fleeing to gold for safety. The peak is in place for yields and that is good news for gold. If gold can distance itself from $1800, technical buying could help send prices to $1850.
Bitcoin was dragged down alongside most risky assets as Wall Street suffered the worst loss in almost two years. Bitcoin remains a risky asset and vulnerable to further pain if the de-risking continues tomorrow.
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