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China and New Zealand’s data releases gave the comdolls a bit of a boost in Asia’s mixed trading scene. Meanwhile, the dollar lost some of its gains ahead of this week’s top-tier events.

  • New Zealand’s employment change inches 0.6% higher vs. 0.5% expected, 0.4% in Q4 2017
  • New Zealand’s unemployment rate dips from 4.5% to 4.4% as expected
  • New Zealand’s labor cost index rises by 0.3% vs. 0.5% expected, 0.4% previous
  • U.K.’s BRC shop price index (y/y) maintains 1.0% decline in April
  • China Caixin manufacturing PMI up from 51.0 to 51.1 vs. 50.9 expected
  • Japan’s consumer confidence down from 44.3 to 43.6 in April
  • Fitch reaffirms Australia’s AAA rating, outlook stable

Major Events/Reports:

New Zealand’s jobs data

Official data printed earlier showed New Zealand’s unemployment rate dipping further from 4.5% to 4.4% in Q1 2018. Not only does this mark the fifth consecutive monthly decline, but it’s also the lowest rate since Q4 2008. Wowza!

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, however. For one thing, labor force participation rate actually dipped 20 basis points to 70.8% in the quarter, which suggests that the decline in unemployment rate is due to workers getting discouraged from looking for jobs.

Wage inflation also remained muted, showing only a 0.3% growth on top of Q4 2017’s 0.4% uptick and clocking in a 1.8% gain from a year earlier in Q1.

Overall, the numbers point to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) keeping its rates steady for longer than rate hike junkies are hoping.

China’s Caixin PMI release

Caixin’s manufacturing PMI –which considers smaller businesses compared to the official readings – inched higher from 51.0 to 51.1 for the month of April. Analysts had been expecting a dip to 50.9 for the month.

For now, the report is a relief after Monday’s official release reflected a slight slowdown in the manufacturing sector.

Mixed market data

Asian session trading was a mixed bag of beans, as market players limit their positions ahead of the FOMC meeting, NFP report, and potential trade talks between China and the U.S. scheduled over the next couple of days.

  • Nikkei is down by 0.22% to 22,458.0
  • Australia’s A SX 200 is up by 0.56% to 6,040.1
  • Hang Seng is down by 0.60% to 30,622.7
  • Shanghai index is down by 0.38% to 3,070.447

Gold reflected the dollar’s retracement from its losses, while oil prices took a breather from their gains in the previous trading sessions.

  • Gold is up by 0.55% to $1,310.82
  • U.S. WTI is down by 0.20% to $73.18
  • Brent crude oil is up by 0.07% to $67.50

Major Market Mover(s):

AUD/USD is up by 15 pips (+0.19%) to .7505
USD/CAD is down by 18 pips (-0.14%) to 1.2827
NZD/USD is up by 10 pips (+0.15%) to .7015

Interestingly enough, the comdolls were particularly strong against the British pound.

GBP/AUD is down by 30 pips (-0.16%) to 1.8140
GBP/NZD is down by 25 pips (-0.13%) to 1.9407
GBP/CAD is down by 23 pips (-0.13%) to 1.7462

The Greenback lost a pip or two across the board as some traders take off their positions ahead of the FOMC statement scheduled later today.

USD/JPY is down by 14 pips (-0.12%) to 109.73
EUR/USD is up by 14 pips (+0.12%) to 1.2006
USD/CHF is down by 6 pips (-0.06%) to .9959

Watch Out For:

  • 5:45 am GMT: Swiss SECO consumer climate to remain at 5?
  • 7:15 am GMT: Switzerland’s retail sales (y/y) (0.3% expected, -0.2% previous)
  • 7:15 am GMT: Spain’s manufacturing PMI (54.2 expected, 54.8 previous)
  • 7:30 am GMT: Switzerland’s manufacturing PMI (59.9 expected, 60.3 previous)
  • 7:45 am GMT: Italy’s manufacturing PMI (54.4 expected, 55.1 previous)
  • 7:50 am GMT: France’s final manufacturing PMI to remain at 53.4?
  • 7:55 am GMT: Germany’s final manufacturing PMI expected to maintain 58.1 reading
  • 8:00 am GMT: No changes expected from Euro Zone’s final manufacturing PMI (56.0)
  • 8:30 am GMT: U.K.s’ construction PMI (50.5 expected, 47.0 previous)
  • 9:00 am GMT: Euro Zone’s preliminary flash GDP (q/q) (0.4% expected, 0.6% previous)
  • 9:00 am GMT: Italy’s preliminary GDP (q/q) (0.3% expected and previous)
  • 9:00 am GMT: Euro Zone’s unemployment rate expected to remain at 8.5%