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Market players took a chill pill during the Asian session, as they priced in easing concerns of Trump implementing stiff tariffs on its major trading partners.

  • Japan’s financial regulator punishes seven cryptocurrency exchanges
  • Japan’s bank lending up by 2.1% in February vs. 2.4% growth expected, 2.3% uptick in January
  • Japan’s current account surplus widens from 1.68T JPY to 2.02T JPY in January
  • Japan’s GDP revised higher from 0.1% to 0.4% in Q4 2017
  • Japan’s final GDP price index improves from 0.0% to 0.1% in Q4 2017
  • U.K.’s RICS house price balance dips from 7% to 0% in February
  • Australia posts 1.06B AUD trade surplus after seeing 1.15B AUD deficit in December
  • China’s trade surplus widens from 136B CNY to 225B CNY in February
  • China’s dollar-denominated trade surplus improves from $20.3B to $33.7B in February
  • Japan’s Economy Watchers’ Sentiment dips from 49.9 to 48.6 in February
  • China warns of “justified and necessary response” in the event of a trade war

Major Events/Reports:

Australia’s trade balance

Australia posted a seasonally adjusted trade surplus of 1.06B AUD in January, which is much better than the 1.15B AUD deficit that we saw back in December. That’s the largest surplus since September 2017, yo!

The 4% jump in exports and a 2% decrease in imports contributed to the strong turnaround. Specifically, significant jumps in gold and transport equipment exports as well as continued growth in LNG plants in Queensland boosted Australia’s trade numbers.

Overall, the huge improvement in trading activities pointed to a pretty strong start for Australia’s Q1 GDP.

China’s trade data

It’s two for two on upside trade surprises! Data from the second largest economy saw a surprisingly strong surplus for the month of February.

China posted a trade surplus of $33.7B in February, which is a jump from January’s $20.3B reading and the $0.1B surplus we saw a year ago.

A closer look tells us that exports had actually jumped by a whopping 44.5% from a year earlier when analysts had only been expecting a 13.6% growth. Meanwhile, imports grew by 6.3% and missed market players’ estimates of a 9.7% growth.

January and February numbers are usually distorted by China’s Lunar New Year celebrations, so traders chose to focus on the fact that China’s goods continue to see strong demand. See, the report only underscores Trump’s reasons for taking a tough stance against other major global trade players.

China’s trade surplus to the U.S. eased slightly, coming in at $20.96B in February against January’s $21.895 figure. Think this, as well as China’s threats to implement “necessary response” in case of a trade war are enough to keep the Donald off China’s back?

Overall risk sentiment

Market players took a chill pill during the Asian session, as they speculate that Trump won’t be as tough on Uncle Sam’s major trading partners as many had initially priced in.

Specifically, a White House official shared that Canada and Mexico will be offered a 30-day exemption on Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, and could be further amended depending on how the NAFTA negotiations turn out.

  • Nikkei is up by 0.45% to 21,347.5;
  • Australia’s A SX 200 is up by 0.40% to 5,943.5;
  • Hang Seng is up by 1.44% to 30,631.1, and
  • Shanghai index is up by 0.25% to 3,279.684.

Oil prices didn’t get a breather, however.

  • Brent crude oil is down by 0.09% to $64.45 and
  • U.S. WTI is down by 0.10% to $61.27.

Major Market Mover(s):

Lower oil prices ain’t stoppin’ the bulls today! The oil-related comdoll took back some of its intraweek losses on the back of easing concerns over Trump’s tough trade policy stance.

USD/CAD is down by 28 pips (-0.22%) to 1.2882;
CAD/JPY is down by 17 pips (-0.20%) to 82.30;
EUR/CAD is down by 41 pips (-0.26%) to 1.5982, and
GBP/CAD is down by 23 pips (-0.13%) to 1.7915.

The Australian dollar found support from surprisingly strong trade numbers from Australia and China as well as the risk-friendly environment in the Asian markets.

AUD/USD is up by 11 pips (+0.14%) to .7320;
AUD/JPY is up by 8 pips (+0.08%) to 83.05;
EUR/AUD is down by 19 pips (-0.12%) to 1.5847, and
AUD/CHF is up by 6 pips (+0.09%) to .7387.

The common currency lost some pips across the board as traders price in a potentially “meh” or even disappointing statement from the ECB.

EUR/USD is down by 4 pips (-0.03%) to 1.2407;
EUR/JPY is down by 8 pips (-0.06%) to 131.53;
EUR/GBP is down by 7 pips (-0.08%) to .8920, and
EUR/CHF is down by 11 pips (-0.09%) to 1.1699.

Watch Out For:

  • 6:45 am GMT: Switzerland’s unemployment rate (2.9% expected, 3.0% previous)
  • 7:00 am GMT: Germany’s factory orders (-1.9% expected, 3.8% previous)