The dollar lost some of its shine during the Asian session, as forex traders continued to price in the U.S. possibly making missiles rain on Syria and North Korea.
- U.K. BRC retail sales monitor drops by 1.0% vs. 0.4% decline expected
- AU NAB business confidence slips from 7 to 6 in March
- AU NAB business conditions jumps to highest since 2008
- Japan’s preliminary machine tool orders (y/y) jumps to 22.6% vs. 9.1% in February
Australia’s business surveys – With not a lot of data on the docket, Australia’s business surveys caused one or two blips in the Aussie’s price action.
Surveys from National Australia Bank (NAB) saw business confidence slipping a notch from 7 to 6 in March. A closer look tells us that the 13-point drop in confidence among wholesalers and a 3-point slip in personal services led the decline.
Fortunately, higher commodity prices and improved global economic sentiment have kept business conditions – especially in the mining and services industries – afloat. NAB’s business conditions index rose five points to 14 in March, its highest reading since 2008.
Alan Oster, NAB’s chief economist, said that “the bounce in business conditions this month came as a bit of a surprise, especially the big improvement in Queensland in light of the likely disruptions from Cyclone Debbie in late March.”
Overall, the numbers point to strong near-term prospects for Australia’s economy. Longer-term forecasts, however, are still hampered by low growth concerns.
New Zealand’s electronic card spending – New Zealand’s retail spending using debit and credit cards fell by 0.3% in March following a 0.6% dip in February and a 2.7% jump in January. Core retail spending, which excludes vehicle-related industries, also dropped by 0.1% for the month.
Details of the report show that fuel-related spending took the biggest hit (-1.9%) while spending for consumables also slipped by 0.2%.
What caught the investors’ attention, though, is the 0.3% drop in durables spending, which marks the fifth decline in six months.
The category includes items like home furnishings, you see, and the dip could mean that the slowdown in the housing market has taken its toll on consumer spending.
Anti-dollar sentiment – Asian session forex traders took cues from their U.S. counterparts as they continued to drag the Greenback lower across the board.
As I mentioned in my U.S. session recap, traders mostly shrugged off Yellen’s hawkish speech amidst concerns that the U.S. might not be playing nice with other kids in the playground.
Remember that just last Thursday the U.S. made missiles rain in western Syria in response to the government allegedly releasing sarin gas on civilians.
Then, yesterday word got around that a Navy strike group is making its way to the Korean Peninsula in preparation for a celebration in North Korea that might feature the nation’s military strength.
Of course, it also doesn’t help that China and South Korea earlier today have promised to impose tougher economic sanctions should North Korea pursue its nuclear or long-range missile tests.
Other high-yielding bets aren’t doing so great either. Geopolitical concerns, not-so-fantastic economic data, and possibly profit-taking ahead of a long weekend weighed on the Asian bourses and even oil prices.
Nikkei is down by 0.57% as of the mid-day break. Ditto for the the Shanghai index, which is also down by 0.46% and Hang Seng, which is down by 0.79%. Australia’s A SX 200 bucked the trend, though, and gained 0.47% during the session.
Meanwhile, oil prices slipped after showing strong gains in the last two trading sessions. Brent crude oil is down by 0.27% to $55.83 as of writing, while U.S. crude oil prices is also down by 0.32% to $52.91.
JPY – The low-yielding yen was king of pips during the Asian session, as overall risk aversion and the dollar’s non-appeal sent forex traders into the arms of the low-yielding currency.
USD/JPY fell by another 26 pips (-0.23%) to 110.70 and EUR/JPY dropped by 36 pips (-0.31%) to 117.17. Meanwhile, GBP/JPY slipped by 16 pips (-0.12%) to 137.53 and AUD/JPY declined by 23 pips (-0.28%) to 82.98.
NZD – Overall risk aversion and New Zealand’s weak credit card spending data weighed on the Kiwi during the session.
NZD/USD is down by 10 pips (-0.14%) to .6950, NZD/JPY fell by 25 pips (-0.32%) to 76.93, and AUD/NZD inched 9 pips higher (+0.08%) to 1.0787.
Watch Out For:
- 8:30 am GMT: U.K.’s CPI (y/y) (2.2% expected, 2.3% previous)
- 8:30 am GMT: U.K. core CPI (y/y) (1.8% expected, 2.0% previous)
- 8:30 am GMT: U.K. PPI input (-0.5% expected, -0.4% previous)
- 8:30 am GMT: U.K. house price index (y/y) (6.1% expected, 6.2% previous)
- 9:00 am GMT: German ZEW economic sentiment (13.2 expected, 12.8 previous)
- 9:00 am GMT: Euro Zone industrial production (0.2% expected, 0.9% previous)
- 9:00 am GMT: Euro Zone ZEW economic sentiment (25.0 expected, 25.6 previous)