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With not a lot of major reports on the docket, Asian session players focused on easing tensions in the Korean peninsula as well as risk-taking from the previous sessions.

  • Japan clocks in 0.12T JPY trade surplus in March vs. 0.10T JPY expected, 0.21T previous
  • Australia’s MI leading index dips by 0.2% vs. 0.4% gain in February

Major Events/Reports:

Japan’s trade numbers

Data from the world’s third largest economy showed a trade surplus widening by 32.1% to 797.3B JPY from a year earlier in March.

Exports shot up by 2.1% following a 1.8% increase thanks to strong machinery sales. On the other hand, imports declined by 0.6% after rising by a whopping 16.5% from a year earlier in February.

In a nutshell, the numbers reflect car and machinery exports outpacing imports of gas, coal, and other major products.

Despite the relatively strong numbers, analysts worry that a stronger yen, as well as threats of tougher trade terms with Japan’s major trading partners would soon weigh on the economy’s trading activities.

Overall risk-taking

There were no major economic reports printed today, so a lot of Asian session traders took cues from their U.S. counterparts and bought higher-yielding assets.

It also didn’t hurt that Trump repeated his administration’s efforts to set up communication lines with North Korea.

In a picture-taking event with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump shared that the U.S. has been having direct talks with North Korea “at very high levels” and are working on setting up a meeting between the nations’ two leaders.

Of course, that was before Trump tweeted about possibly not participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal. But maybe that’s a problem for the next session’s traders?

  • Nikkei is up by 1.46% to 22,166.4
  • Australia’s A SX 200 is up by 0.01% to 5,850.1
  • Hang Seng is up by 0.28% to 30,146.4
  • Shanghai index is down by 0.37% to 3,055.435

Commodity prices also reflected the markets’ risk-friendly vibe. Oil even got an extra boost following a surprise draw in U.S. crude inventories.

  • Gold is down by 0.21% to $1,344.34
  • Brent crude oil is up by 0.33% to $71.91, and
  • U.S. WTI is up by 0.32% to $66.84.

Major Market Mover(s):

JPY
The risk-friendly vibe during the Asian session took its toll on the low-yielding yen:

USD/JPY is up by 31 pips (+0.29%) to 107.30
EUR/JPY is up by 50 pips (+0.38%) to 132.84
AUD/JPY is up by 28 pips (+0.34%) to 83.35
NZD/JPY is up by 18 pips (+0.23%) to 78.73

GBP
The pound was able to regain some of its losses from yesterday’s London session trading as pound bulls rode the risk appetite train ahead of today’s U.K. CPI release.

GBP/USD is up by 17 pips (+0.12%) to 1.4302
GBP/JPY is up by 63 pips (+0.41%) to 153.46
GBP/CAD is up by 45 pips (+0.25%) to 1.7972
GBP/CHF is up by 30 pips (+0.22%) to 1.3831

Watch Out For:

  • 8:30 am GMT: U.K.’s CPI (y/y) to remain at 2.7%?
  • 8:30 am GMT: U.K.’s core CPI (y/y) (2.5% expected, 2.4% previous)
  • 8:30 am GMT: U.K.’s PPI input (0.3% expected, -1.1% previous)
  • 8:30 am GMT: U.K.’s PPI output (0.1% expected, 0.0% previous)
  • 8:30 am GMT: U.K.’s retail price index (y/y) (3.5% expected, 3.6% previous)
  • 8:30 am GMT: U.K.’s house price index (y/y) (4.8% expected, 4.9% previous)
  • 9:00 am GMT: Euro Zone’s final CPI expected to remain at 1.4%
  • 9:00 am GMT: No changes expected from Euro Zone’s 1.0% core CPI