Article Highlights

  • Australian company operating profits up by 1.7% for Q4 2013
  • Nikkei closes with 1.27% loss
  • Chinese services PMI climbed from 53.4 to 55.0
  • Chinese HSBC Feb manufacturing PMI revised from 48.3 to 48.5
  • PMIs due from Switzerland, U.K., Spain and Italy
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It wasn’t such a manic Monday in today’s Asian trading session (Perhaps everyone was busy watching the Oscars!), although those huge weekend gaps did put traders on their toes. Market participants focused on the happenings in Ukraine and Russia, as the latter announced an interest rate hike in order to preempt risks of inflation and financial instability stemming from the heightening tension in the region.

Credit rating agency Moody’s already declared that the conflict between Ukraine and Russia is negative for the region’s banks, as the depreciating currencies would hurt domestic companies. The G7 has already condemned Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and decided to cancel the upcoming G8 Summit in Sochi.

Risk aversion was pretty evident in the markets, as the Nikkei closed with a 1.27% loss for the day and weighed on most of the yen pairs. Not even the improvement in Chinese data, comprised of an upward revision in the HSBC Feb manufacturing PMI from 48.3 to 48.5 and a climb in the official non-manufacturing PMI from 53.4 to 55.0, was enough to spur risk-taking behavior. Australia followed up its streak of bleak data with its weaker than expected company operating profits report, which showed a mere 1.7% increase instead of the projected 2.3% rise.

Up ahead, manufacturing PMIs are up for release from Switzerland, the U.K., Spain and Italy. Swiss SVME PMI is projected to climb from 56.1 to 57.2 while the U.K. manufacturing PMI could tick a couple of notches up from 56.7 to 57.9. Spain and Italy are also expected to show small gains in their PMI readings, which might be enough to help EUR/USD close the weekend gap.

See also:

U.S. Session Recap

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