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Asian session traders caught up to their U.S. counterparts and priced in a not-so-hawkish FOMC statement. Meanwhile, the Aussie was dragged lower by a weak jobs report.

  • Australia’s unemployment rate inches back up from 5.5% to 5.6%
  • Australia employment change at 17.5K vs. 19.8K expected, 12.5K previous
  • Japan’s flash manufacturing PMI down from 54.1 to 53.2 in March

Major Events/Reports:

Australia’s jobs data miss

Data from the Land Down Under saw the unemployment rate tick higher from 5.5% to 5.6%.

The labour market also missed estimates when it only added a net of 17,500 jobs for the month when analysts had been expecting a 19,800 net increase. Meanwhile, January’s gains were revised lower from 16,000 to 12,500.

Details reveal that full-time employment made up most of the increase as 64,900 workers found full-time jobs while the part-time industry shed 47,400 jobs.

It’s not all gloom and doom, however. For starters, the 17,500 increase might be lower than market expectations, but it still marks the 17th consecutive month of net gains for employment.

The labour force participation rate also inched higher from 65.6% to 65.7%, which means that more workers in the labour force are optimistic enough to look for job opportunities. Last but not the least is the total monthly hours worked, which improved by 1.2% for the month.

Overall the reports still support the RBA’s optimism that improvements in the labour market would eventually translate to faster inflation.

Gloomy session for Asian bourses

A bit of bargain-hunting kept Nikkei afloat today, while other Asian equity markets priced in a not-so-hawkish FOMC statement from the previous session.

  • Nikkei is up by 0.49% to 21,486.8;
  • Australia’s A SX 200 is down by 0.09% to 5,929.7;
  • Hang Seng is down by 0.63% to 31,218.0, and
  • Shanghai index is down by 0.81% to 3,254.308.

Commodity prices also didn’t catch a break.

  • Gold is down by 0.15% to $1,330.20;
  • Brent crude oil is down by 0.53% to $69.43, and
  • U.S. WTI is down by 0.44% to $65.17.

Major Market Mover(s):

AUD
Traders got spooked by Australia’s weaker-than-expected jobs data, which is why they dragged the Aussie lower across the board.

AUD/USD is down by 22 pips (-0.28%) to .7743;
AUD/JPY is down by 50 pips (-0.60%) to 81.53;
EUR/AUD is up by 78 pips (+0.49%) to 1.5965, and
AUD/NZD is down by 43 pips (-0.40%) to 1.0699.

USD
With not a lot of fresh catalysts on the docket, Asian session forex traders focused on pricing in the FOMC’s less-hawkish-than-expected statement.

USD/JPY is down by 34 pips (-0.32%) to 105.71;
USD/CHF is down by 19 pips (-0.20%) to .9476;
GBP/USD is up by 21 pips (+0.15%) to 1.4161, and
EUR/USD is up by 25 pips (+0.21%) to 1.2363.

Watch Out For:

  • 8:00 am GMT: France’s flash manufacturing PMI (55.6 expected, 55.9 previous)
  • 8:00 am GMT: France’s flash services PMI (57.0 expected, 57.4 previous)
  • 8:30 am GMT: Germany’s flash manufacturing PMI (59.8 expected, 60.6 previous)
  • 8:30 am GMT: Germany’s flash services PMI (55.0 expected, 55.3 previous)
  • 9:00 am GMT: Euro Zone’s flash manufacturing PMI (58.1 expected, 58.6 previous)
  • 9:00 am GMT: Euro Zone’s flash services PMI (56.0 expected, 56.2 previous)
  • 9:00 am GMT: Germany’s Ifo business climate (114.7 expected, 115.4 previous)
  • 9:00 am GMT: Euro Zone’s current account (30.2B EUR expected, 29.9B EUR previous)
  • 9:00 am GMT: ECB’s economic bulletin
  • 9:30 am GMT: U.K.’s retail sales report (0.4% expected, 0.1% previous)