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Just when it looked like Asian session traders will take their cues from the previous session, a surprise announcement boosted sentiment across the board.

  • NZ ANZ business confidence slips from -19.0 to -20.0 in March
  • Germany’s GfK consumer climate improves from 10.8 to 10.9 in March
  • Kim Jong Un visits Chinese President Xi Jinping, pledges denuclearization

Major Events/Reports:

Trade concerns add to overall risk aversion

The Asian bourses started the day on a weak footing following an end-of-quarter selloff in U.S. equities.

It also didn’t help that trade wars resurfaced, this time with China’s state-run Global Times reporting that China would soon announce retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports to China. This followed reports that the Trump administration is planning to limit Chinese investments to the U.S. tech sector.

  • Nikkei is down by 1.34% to 21,031.3;
  • Australia’s A SX 200 is up by 0.08% to 5,774.3;
  • Hang Seng is down by 1.65% to 30,282.5, and
  • Shanghai index is down by 1.09% to 3,132.093.

Commodities had a more mixed reaction, however.

  • Gold is down by 0.17% to $1,342.38;
  • Brent crude oil is up by 0.14% to $69.63, and
  • U.S. WTI is up by 0.09% to $64.70.

Kim Jong-Un visits China for the first time since he started his term in 2011

Nah, but he did lift other higher-yielding assets. See, a few hours earlier China has confirmed that the North Korean leader has made an “unofficial visit” to President Xi Jinping from Sunday to Wednesday.

Apparently, Jong-Un has pledged his commitment to denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, adding that the issue could be resolved if South Korea and the U.S. “respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability.” In addition, Jon-Un expressed his willingness to “have dialogue” with the U.S. And they say 2018 couldn’t get weirder.

Though it will be a while before we see any results (Kim is expected to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April and President Trump in May), the visit marked a huge step towards maintaining peace in the region.

Major Market Mover(s):

JPY
Whether it was end-of-quarter (and fiscal year for Japan) profit-taking or overall risk appetite from Kim Jong-Un’s Chinese visit, the low-yielding yen took heavy hits across the board.

USD/JPY is up by 22 pips (+0.21%) to 105.55;
EUR/JPY is up by 42 pips (+0.32%) to 131.04;
GBP/JPY is up by 59 pips (+0.40%) to 149.69, and
CAD/JPY is up by 25 pips (+0.31%) to 81.97.

AUD and NZD
Kim Jong-Un’s visit to China, as well as his upcoming meeting with South Korea’s President point to less geopolitical conflict in the region, which is good for China’s major trading partners.

AUD/USD is up by 24 pips (+0.31%) to .7701;
AUD/JPY is up by 39 pips (+0.48%) to 81.26;
AUD/CHF is up by 23 pips (+0.32%) to .7291, and
AUD/NZD is up by 31 pips (+0.29%) to 1.0590.

Meanwhile, NZD/USD is also up by 21 pips (+0.27%) to .7271 and
NZD/JPY is up by 21 pips (+0.27%) to 76.73.

Watch Out For:

  • 8:00 am GMT: Credit Suisse economic expectations
  • 10:00 am GMT: U.K.’s CBI realized sales (7 expected, 8 previous)