It was a very slow Asian trading session following on from the United States 4th July holiday. However, there was news flow in the form of Services PMIs from Japan and China.
Notably, a global slowdown is underway as both readings declined in June from May. However, both remained in expansion and not in contraction territory.
Looking at the data, the Caixin China General Services PMI fell to 53.9 in June 2023 from 57.1 in the previous month. The reading pointed to the sixth straight month of expansion in services activity but the softest pace since January amid moderated demand.
New orders eased to a six-month low amid reports of new export business grew solidly, despite the rate of increase edging down to the softest since January. Meanwhile, employment climbed for the fifth consecutive month, with the speed of job creation being the strongest in three months.
On prices, input prices rose solidly due to elevated staffing costs and higher prices for raw materials. Meanwhile, output cost increased only slightly amid the strong competition.
Finally, business sentiment improved for the first time in five months amid hopes of stronger economic conditions and greater amounts of new work to support growth.
The au Jibun Bank Flash Japan Services Business Activity Index was revised lower to 54.0 in June 2023 from 54.2 in the flash estimates, and after a record-high of 55.9 in May, signalling the softest upturn in activity for four months but one that was still strong overall.
New orders continued to grow, with new export orders rising for the tenth consecutive month and at a moderate pace overall. Also, employment moderated while backlogs of work increased at a slower rate.
Prices data, meanwhile, pointed to a further sharp rise in input costs, despite the rate of inflation dipping to a 15-month low. Meanwhile, cost-charged rose for the fourteenth month in a row.
Finally, sentiment stayed positive despite the reading weakening to a three-month low on hopes of further economic recovery boosted domestic and external demand.