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Aussie traders shrugged off a weak building approvals and Chinese PMI report. Meanwhile, the plot just thickened for the U.S.-China trade war.

  • U.K.’s BRC shop price index (y/y) down by 1.0% after 0.8% decline in February
  • Australia’s retail sales up by 0.6% vs. 0.3% uptick expected, 0.2% previous
  • Australia’s building approvals down by 6.2% after 17.2% gain in January
  • China’s Caixin services PMI down from 54.2 to 52.3 in March

Major Events/Reports:

Mixed data from Australia

A report printed earlier saw Australia’s building approvals falling by 6.2% in February. However, the dip was somewhat expected after a 17.2% jump in January, and took a backseat to the retail sales surprise.

See, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shared that retail purchases in Australia had strengthened by 0.6% for the month of February. It’s the fastest rate since November 2017! The headline reading not only beat January’s 0.2% uptick, but also the 0.3% growth that analysts had estimated.

Full steam ahead for U.S. and China’s trade war

The plot thickens China and the U.S.! China’s Commerce Ministry condemned the United States earlier today after the Trump administration gave the go signal to push through with additional tariffs that would affect about $50 billion of China’s industrial and tech products.

Beijing promised that it “will soon take measures of equal intensity and scale against U.S. goods.” Not only that, but Beijing’s ambassador to the World Trade Organization, Zhang Xiangchen, urged members to “join with China in firmly resisting U.S. protectionism.

The Asian bourses, which initially extended the good vibes from the U.S. session, ended up with mixed reaction.

  • Nikkei is down by 0.02% to 21,288.4;
  • Australia’s A SX 200 is down by 0.24% to 5,737.3;
  • Hang Seng is down by 0.08% to 30,157.4, and
  • Shanghai index is up by 0.80% to 3,161.704.

Commodity prices were a little more mixed.

  • Gold, which benefitted from overall dollar weakness, is up by 0.18% to $1,334.70;
  • Brent crude oil is down by 0.41% to $67.86, and
  • U.S. WTI is down by 0.41% to $63.29.

Major Market Mover(s):

AUD
The Aussie clobbered its major counterparts after Australia printed a surprisingly upbeat retail sales report.

AUD/USD is up by 31 pips (+0.40%) to .7713;
AUD/JPY is up by 24 pips (+0.29%) to 81.14;
EUR/AUD is down by 39 pips (-0.24%) to 1.5924, and
AUD/CHF is up by 20 pips (+0.27%) to .7386.

USD
An escalating trade war kept traders away from the Greenback during the Asian session.

USD/JPY is down by 10 pips ( -0.09%) to 106.50;
USD/CAD is down by 28 pips (-0.22%) to 1.2778;
EUR/USD is up by 12 pips (+0.10%) to 1.2282, and
GBP/USD is up by 36 pips (+0.25%) to 1.4090.

NZD
The New Zealand dollar caught some of the good vibes from Asian session traders, partly due to a strong dairy auction that happened early in the session.

NZD/USD is up by 36 pips (+0.50%) to .7292;
NZD/JPY is up by 32 pips (+0.41%) to 77.66;
EUR/NZD is down by 67 pips (-0.40%) to 1.6841, and
GBP/NZD is down by 46 pips (-0.24%) to 1.9321.

Watch Out For:

  • 8:00 am GMT: Italy’s monthly unemployment rate (11.0% expected, 11.1% previous)
  • 8:30 am GMT: U.K.’s construction PMI (50.9 expected, 51.4 previous)
  • 9:00 am GMT: Euro Zone CPI flash estimate (y/y) (1.4% expected, 1.1% previous)
  • 9:00 am GMT: Euro Zone core CPI flash estimate (y/y) (1.1% expected, 1.0% previous)
  • 9:00 am GMT: Euro Zone core CPI flash estimate (y/y) (1.1% expected, 1.0% previous)