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rRisk appetite was the name of the game during the Asian session, though that didn’t stop the low-yielding yen from jumping higher against its major counterparts. What’s up with that?!

  • China’s markets out on Spring Festival holidays
  • Japan’s core machinery orders drops by 11.9% vs. 1.9% decline expected, 5.7% growth in November
  • Australia’s MI inflation expectations dips from 3.7% to 3.6% in January
  • Australia’s unemployment rate falls from 5.6% to 5.5% as expected
  • Net of 16,000 workers found jobs in Australia vs. 15,300 expected, 33,500 previous

Major Events/Reports:

Australia’s jobs numbers

Earlier today we saw Australia print better-than-expected headline labour market numbers.

January’s unemployment rate slipped from 5.6% to 5.5% as market players had expected. In addition, a net of 16,000 workers had found jobs for the month, which is lower than December’s 33,500 increase but is still higher than estimates of a 15,300 gain.

Details of the report aren’t as rosy, however. For one thing, the net jobs increase came from 65,900 workers finding part-time work and offsetting the 49,800 full-time workers who lost their jobs.

If you recall, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is betting on continued improvement in the labour market to eventually stimulate consumer spending and the economy. But with workers mostly finding part-time work, wage earners will likely be more conservative in their spending habits.

Overall risk appetite

Asian session traders took cues from their U.S. session counterparts and pushed equity and commodity prices higher.

  • Nikkei is up by 0.42% to 21,450 and
  • Hang Seng is up by 2.27% to 30,515.60.

Meanwhile, overall dollar weakness and hints of Saudi Arabia extending its commitment to cap its oil production boosted gold and oil prices higher.

  • Gold is up by another 0.27% to $1,357.2;
  • Brent crude oil is 2.53% higher to $64.02, and
  • U.S. WTI is up by 3.04% to $61.38.

Major Market Mover(s):

JPY

Yen bulls shrugged off a sharp decline in Japan’s volatile machinery orders report and proceeded to price in Japan’s Finance Minister basically saying that the yen’s current levels don’t require any immediate intervention.

USD/JPY is down by another 53 pips (-0.50%) to 106.47;
EUR/JPY is down by 50 pips (-0.38%) to 132.68;
GBP/JPY is down by 50 pips (-0.33%) to 149.23, and
AUD/JPY is down by 25 pips (-0.30%) to 84.54.

USD

A bearish momentum from the previous session and overall risk appetite in the markets dug a deeper hole for the Greenback today.

EUR/USD is up by 14 pips (+0.11%) to 1.2463;
GBP/USD is up by 19 pips (+0.14%) to 1.4017;
AUD/USD is up by 16 pips (+0.20%) to .7425, and
USD/CHF is down by 23 pips (-0.24%) to .9272.

Watch Out For:

  • 9:00 am GMT: Italy’s trade balance (4.44B EUR expected, 4.83B EUR previous)
  • 10:00 am GMT: Euro Zone trade balance (22.4B EUR expected, 22.5B EUR previous)