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There were plenty of weekend geopolitical news for Asian session traders to chew on, but they were mostly ignored in favor of cautious risk appetite.

  • Australia’s AIG construction index improves from 56.0 to 57.2 in March
  • Japan’s current account surplus tightens from 2.02T JPY to 1.02T JPY in February
  • Japan’s consumer confidence down from remains at 44.3 vs. 44.6 expected
  • Switzerland’s unemployment rate remains at 2.9%

Major Events/Reports:

Weekend geopolitical updates

In early Tokyo trading we saw news reports citing U.S. officials who confirmed that Kim Jong Un is indeed willing to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Apparently, State Department officials have been talking to North Korean representatives through its United Nations mission. If you recall, the U.S. had mostly been using its ally South Korea to communicate with the hermit kingdom.

The communications are still at their “preliminary stage,” but are big steps ahead of Trump and Jong-Un’s meeting in May.

Meanwhile, state-run Syrian Arab News Agency is accusing the U.S. of attacking the T-4 airbase with “several missiles” in early Monday local time. This comes hours after the Donald had pointed fingers at Russia and Iran for being their support of “Animal Assad” being responsible for a recent chemical attack in Syria.

Cautious optimism in the Asian markets

Geopolitical news got nothing on a bit of market optimism today, it seems. Thanks to strong U.S. earnings, easing trade war fears, and a bit of optimism seen on U.S. stock futures, the Asian bourses saw a healthy start to the week.

  • Nikkei is up by 0.63% to 21,703.0
  • Australia’s A SX 200 is up by 0.90% to 5,797.1
  • Hang Seng is up by 1.76% to 30,371.0
  • Shanghai index is up by 0.37% to 3,143.582.

Even commodity prices reflected the overall risk-friendly environment.

  • Gold is down by 0.08% to $1,332.38
  • Brent crude oil is up by 0.58% to $67.39
  • U.S. WTI is up by 0.65% to $62.30.

Major Market Mover(s):

Easing trade war concerns boosted sentiment for China’s major trade partners like Australia and New Zealand.

AUD/USD is up by 19 pips (+0.24%) to 1.0549
AUD/JPY is up by 31 pips (+0.37%) to 82.36
EUR/AUD is down by 51 pips (-0.32%) to 1.5951
AUD/CAD is up by 27 pips (+0.27%) to .9827 and
AUD/CHF is up by 28 pips (+0.38%) to .7386

NZD/USD is up by 17 pips (+0.23%) to .7294
NZD/JPY is up by 28 pips (+0.36%) to 78.07
GBP/NZD is down by 40 pips (-0.21%) to 1.9326 and
EUR/NZD is down by 51 pips (-0.30%) to 1.6827.

Watch Out For:

  • 5:00 am GMT: Japan’s Economy Watchers sentiment (48.1 expected, 48.6 previous)
  • 6:00 am GMT: Germany’s trade balance (23.1B EUR expected, 21.3B EUR previous)
  • 7:30 am GMT: U.K.’s Halifax house price index (0.1% expected, 0.4% previous)
  • 8:30 am GMT: Euro Zone Sentix investor confidence (21.2 expected, 24.0 previous)