Country Garden, formerly the largest real estate developer in China by sales, is teetering on the brink of default after missing bond payments. Its shares plunged to record lows as numerous bonds were suspended from trading, sparking contagion fears. With sales plummeting 34% amid the property downturn and hefty debt payments looming, the once-mighty Country Garden seems unable to avoid default. While not as impactful as Evergrande's implosion, a Country Garden collapse could deal a further blow to already shattered confidence in private developers. It could also have ripple effects given banks' significant exposure to mortgages and construction loans in the property sector. The case signals a deepening turmoil in China's real estate market despite government efforts to instil stability.
Major indexes rose, led by a 7% jump in Nvidia after Morgan Stanley said the chipmaker's recent dip presented a buying opportunity, while Apple and other big tech names bounced back. However, regional banks fell as Moody's downgrades continued to weigh, and Walmart slipped before the retailer's earnings later this week.
Gold prices eased slightly on Tuesday as the US dollar remained strong and bond yields were high, though uncertainty about the global economy and stock markets kept gold from falling further. Gold is holding near the key $1,900 support level as investors await US retail sales data to gauge the impact of rate hikes on consumer spending. Demand for gold, however, remains weak, as evidenced by outflows from the SPDR Gold Trust ETF, whose holdings fell to their lowest level since January 2020.
Oil prices fell slightly early Tuesday as weak economic data from China hinted at slowing demand, though tight global supplies supported prices. Crude futures declined ahead of China's release of economic indicators for July, with other signs like falling new bank loans and deflation pointing to an economic slowdown. However, production cuts by OPEC+ countries are expected to reduce inventories and potentially lift prices through the end of 2023.
The U.S. dollar hit a one-month high on Japanese intervention to weaken the yen, which hit its lowest level against the dollar since November on aggressive bond buying. The Australian dollar slid to a three-month low due to worries about China's property sector, its key partner. Argentina's peso plunged after a libertarian presidential candidate who wants to eliminate the central bank and dollarize the economy won the primary election.