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Top-tier economic reports took a backseat to news of an imminent meeting between Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.

  • Japan’s household spending up by 2.0% vs. 1.1% decline expected, 0.1% dip in December
  • Japan’s average cash earnings remain at 0.7% in January
  • China’s new loans edge down from 8900B CNY to 839B CNY in February
  • China’s CPI (y/y) up by 2.9% vs. 2.5% expected, 1.5% previous
  • Japan makes no changes to monetary policies in March
  • Markets cheer planned meeting between Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump

Major Events/Reports:

China’s inflation report

Consumer prices in the world’s second largest economy rocketed by 2.9% from a year earlier in February, which is a heck of a lot stronger than the expected 2.5% increase and last month’s 1.5% reading. Not only that, but it’s also the fastest rate since November 2013!

Apparently, food prices shot up by 4.4% and marked its first increase since January 2017. Cost of non-food, consumer goods AND services also rose faster.

On a monthly basis, prices had risen by 1.2% compared to January’s 0.6% uptick, hitting its highest monthly reading since February 2016.

Despite these, not a lot of market players were impressed. For one thing, the uptick was kinda expected given the week-long holiday that usually makes prices volatile.

In addition, the report would hardly convince the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) to alter its course, though a slow and steady tightening is still expected from the central bank.

Donald Trump to meet with Kim Jong Un?

What tariffs? All other U.S.-related headlines took a backseat against the possibility of the POTUS meeting with North Korea’s top boss.

If you recall, the two haven’t exactly been besties after calling each other names last year.

But, hey, if Rome can see snowfall in winter, then I guess anything is possible this year, amirite? Let’s hope the meeting doesn’t turn into a six-day thumb-wrestling match.

The easing of geopolitical tensions, combined with Trump’s softer tariff stance for Canada and Mexico, have contributed to a round of risk-taking during the Asian market.

  • Nikkei is up by 0.89% to 21,559.1;
  • Australia’s A SX 200 is up by 0.18% to 5,963.3;
  • Shanghai index is up by 0.14% to 3,292.958, and
  • Hang Seng is up by 0.85% to 30,914.9.

Commodity prices have yet to get the memo, however.

  • Dollar demand put downward pressure on gold (-0.31%) at $1,317.70;
  • Brent crude oil is down by 0.11% to $63.76, and
  • U.S. WTI is down by 0.15% to $60.20

Major Market Mover(s):

The low-yielding yen took the biggest hit on a round of risk-taking and a bit of pre-NFP profit-taking in the markets.

USD/JPY is up by 53 pips (+0.50%) to 106.72;
EUR/JPY is up by 66 pips (+0.50%) to 131.39;
GBP/JPY is up by 71 pips (+0.48%) to 147.32, and
CHF/JPY is up by 48 pips (+0.43%) to 112.10.

Watch Out For:

  • 6:30 am GMT: BOJ’s press conference
  • 7:00 am GMT: Germany’s industrial production (0.6% expected, -0.6% previous)
  • 7:00 am GMT: Germany’s trade balance (21.2B EUR expected, 21.4B EUR previous)
  • 7:45 am GMT: France’s government budget balance
  • 7:45 am GMT: France’s industrial production (-0.2% expected, 0.5% previous)
  • 9:30 am GMT: U.K.’s manufacturing production (0.2% expected, 0.3% previous)
  • 9:30 am GMT: U.K.’s goods trade balance (-12.0B GBP expected, -13.6B GBP previous)
  • 9:30 am GMT: U.K.’s construction output (-0.4% expected, 1.6% previous)
  • 9:30 am GMT: U.K.’s consumer inflation expectations
  • 9:30 am GMT: U.K.’s industrial production (1.5% expected, -1.3% previous)