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A pretty busy day for Asian session traders, as they priced in Japan’s trade balance, Australia’s job reports, China’s data dump, and a new government for New Zealand.

  • Japan’s trade surplus widens from 3.67B JPY to 670.2B JPY in September
  • Australia’s unemployment rate dips from 5.6% to 5.5%
  • Australia’s employment change clocks in at 19.8K vs. 15.0K expected, 53.0K previous
  • AU NAB quarterly business confidence slips from 8 to 7 in Q3 2017
  • China’s GDP up by 6.8% from a year earlier in Q3 2017 as expected
  • China’s industrial production (y/y) rises from 6.0% to 6.6% in September
  • China’s fixed asset investment up by 7.5% so far this year vs. last year
  • China’s retail sales (y/y) up by 10.3% vs. 10.2% expected, 10.1% previous
  • Japan’s all industries activity up by 0.1% vs. 0.2% expected, -0.1% previous

Major Events/Reports:

Japan’s trade data

Earlier today the world’s third largest economy printed a wider-than-expected trade surplus in September.

Japan’s trade surplus widened to 670.2B JPY for the month, which is much better than the 486.6B JPY deficit a year ago and the expected 559.8B JPY reading.

Apparently, exports popped up by 14.1% on top of August’s 18.1% growth. This might have ended the nine-month streak of faster exports growth, but it’s not too bad either. Meanwhile, imports also increased by 12.0% from a year earlier.

Unfortunately for yen bulls, Asian session traders paid more attention to other top-tier reports on tap.

Australia’s job reports

The Land Down Under pulled another one on the markets today as it printed another set of strong employment numbers.

Data printed earlier saw a net of 19,800 workers finding jobs in September. And while this is peanuts to last month’s gains (and in fact the smallest since February), it’s also higher than the expected 15,000 uptick.

A net of 6,100 job-seekers found full-time positions while 13,700 workers found part-time jobs. Unemployed workers looking for both full-time and part-time jobs both declined, though, which is probably why the unemployment rate also dipped from 5.6% to 5.5%, the lowest since May.

Overall, the numbers support the RBA’s recent optimism over the labour market. But the dominance of part-time jobs, decrease of workers looking for work, and uncertainty ahead of other top-tier events kept some of the Aussie bulls at bay.

China’s data dump

Earlier today China printed its retail sales, industrial production, and GDP data.

The world’s second largest economy grew by 6.8% from a year earlier in Q3 2017 following 6.9% growth in the last two quarters. This marks the weakest rate since Q4 2016 still met analysts’ expectations and is still ahead of the government’s estimates of a 6.5% annual growth.

Meanwhile, China’s statistics bureau shared that retail sales grew by 103% from a year ago in September, which is a bit higher than the 10.1% growth seen in August and the expected 10.2% uptick.

Industrial production also printed a strong 6.6%, which is higher than August’s 6.0% increase and the expected 6.2% reading. A closer look tells us that faster output for manufacturing, electricity, gas, and water production helped push the report to its strongest growth since June.

Last but not the least is non-farm fixed asset investment, which is up by 7.5% so far this year and marks the weakest gain since December 1999. Apparently, investment in ongoing construction projects grew at a slower pace while domestic-funded investment also slowed down.

NZ First sides with Labour Party in forming new coalition

In a suspenseful presser that’s worthy of a The Bachelor’s finale, New Zealand First “kingmaker” Winston Peters announced that he and his party would side with the Jacinda Ardern and her Labour party.

This, together with the Greens’ support, paves the way for 37-year old Ardern to form a coalition and become New Zealand’s third female Prime Minister.

Read more about the Labour party’s progress in our latest Reuters post.

Major Market Mover(s):

AUD

Australia’s strong jobs numbers, along with China’s positive data releases, boosted the Aussie in mid-session trading. The bulls weren’t able to sustain the momentum, though, thanks to uncertainty ahead of other top-tier reports.

AUD/USD hit a session high of .7872 before settling down to .7851;
AUD/JPY shot up to 88.87 before slipping to 88.76;
GBP/AUD dipped to 1.6788 before rising back up to 1.6825, and
AUD/CAD popped up to .9808 before retracing to .9787.

NZD

Market players got antsy with Kiwi when it looked like Winston Peters would delay his decision (again). His actual decision didn’t help the New Zealand dollar at all, however, as uncertainty surrounding a possible leadership change soon dragged Kiwi lower.

NZD/USD is down by 25 pips (-0.35%) to .7128;
NZD/JPY is down by 25 pips (-0.31%) to 80.50;
EUR/NZD is up by 66 pips (+0.40%) to 1.6558, and
AUD/NZD is up by 77 pips (+0.70%) to 1.1017.

Watch Out For:

  • 6:00 am GMT: Switzerland’s trade balance (2.47B CHF expected, 2.17B CHF previous)
  • 8:30 am GMT: U.K.’s retail sales report. Read Forex Gump’s trading guide if you’re planning on trading the event!