Article Highlights

  • AU Westpac consumer sentiment dips from 2.3% to 0.1% in March
  • AU new motor vehicle sales drops by 2.7% vs. 0.5% increase in January
  • Japan’s industrial production revised from -0.8% to -0.4% in January
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The dollar inched higher across the board, as Asian session forex traders took profits from their higher-yielding bets ahead of the FOMC statement due in a few hours.

Major Events:

Australia’s consumer data – The Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment index only inched 0.1% higher for the month of March after showing a 2.3% gain in February. The index remains at 99.7, which is juuuuust below the 100.00 mark between overall optimism and pessimism.

Apparently, concerns over family finances trumped optimism over the longer-term economic outlook. Bill Evans, Westpac’s chief economist, noted consumers had become more risk averse in the saving habits. Duhn duhn duhn.

Australia’s new motor vehicle sales weren’t any help either. The report reflected a 2.7% decline for the month of February after inching 0.6% higher in January. On a yearly basis, this translates to a 4.1% decline after already slipping by 0.9% in January.

Cautious optimism – With not a lot of data scheduled for release, Asian session traders mostly extended yesterday’s market themes. This means a bit of profit-taking for the equities market and extended dollar strength ahead of the much awaited FOMC statement as well as cautious trading ahead of Netherland’s elections.

READ: 4 central bank decisions you can trade this week

Nikkei slipped by 0.32% and Hang Seng dipped by 0.05% while the Shanghai index gained 0.08% and Australia’s A SX 200 inched 0.14% higher.

Meanwhile, oil prices continued their climb after a report by the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed a surprise draw of 531,000 barrels when analysts had expected a 3-million barrel buildup.

As of writing, Brent crude oil is up by 0.72% to $51.64 while U.S. crude oil prices also inched 0.80% higher to $48.52.

Market Movers:

USD – The dollar’s price action was a mixed bag of nuts, as it lost pips to the European currencies and the comdolls but lost pips to its lower-yielding counterparts.

EUR/USD inched 10 pips (+0.09%) higher to 1.0616 and USD/JPY shot up by another 13 pips (+0.11%) to 114.85 while AUD/USD is up by 6 pips (+0.08%) to .7569, USD/CAD slipped by 16 pips (-0.12%) to 1.3469, and NZD/USD gained 8 pips (+0.12%) to .6929.

Watch Out For:

  • 7:45 am GMT: French final CPI expected to remain at 0.1%
  • 8:15 am GMT: Switzerland’s PPI expected to remain at 0.4%
  • 9:00 am GMT: Italy’s retail sales (0.1% expected, -0.5% previous)
  • 9:30 am GMT: U.K. unemployment rate to remain at 4.8%?
  • 9:30 am GMT: U.K. average earnings index (2.4% expected, 2.6% previous)
  • 9:30 am GMT: U.K. claimant count change (3.2K expected, -42.4K previous)
  • 10:00 am GMT: Euro Zone employment change (0.2% expected and previous)

See also:

U.S. Session Recap
London Session Recap

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