US stocks weakened today after better-than-estimated economic data was released today, further emphasising the robustness of the US economy to handle the hit of higher interest rates. Job openings rose unexpectedly in December to 9m vacancies, while fewer employees quit jobs, indicating a more cautious approach to labour market employment. Despite the recent uptick, the performance of recent months remains below the long-term average, suggesting the labour market is easing historically. At the same time, US consumer confidence climbed 114.8, the highest level since the end of 2021, as inflationary expectations for the next 12 months fell to the March 2020 low of 5.2%. Easing pricing pressures and the overall strength of market conditions are likely to keep confidence elevated in the coming months, despite elevated financing rates. While the Fed is set to keep the rates unchanged during tomorrow's meeting, the timing and scale of upcoming cuts is being priced further down the line. That eased some of the expectations for a May cut; however, the chance still remains elevated at 70%. This has kept the dollar and the 10-year Treasury yield rangebound today. Elsewhere, the eurozone avoided another contraction, at 0.0% in Q4 2023, in line with our expectations. We believe that the bloc will continue to avoid a full-blown recession as business and consumer confidence is bound to improve with price pressures abating.
Base metals' price moves were muted once again today, with macro noise having little impact on price moves. Recent economic data further highlights the resilience of many developed nations to higher interest rates, and we believe that base metals prices have now factored that in. Liquidity is ample, and metals such as aluminium and copper are able to take any external shocks and return to the mean in due time. Aluminium held above the $2,250/t level today, while copper struggled above $8,600/t. Nickel once again tried to test the $16,500/t level but struggled above it, closing at $16,508/t.
Oil futures remained elevated, with WTI and Brent trading at $77/bl and $82/bl, respectively. Likewise, precious metals held their nerve, causing gold and silver to finish the day at $2,033/oz and $23.06, respectively.
All price data is from 30.01.2024 as of 17:30