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Asian Stocks Rise as First 2017 Fed Meet Looms

Asian Stocks Rise as First 2017 Fed Meet Looms

David Cottle, Analyst

Talking Points:

  • Asian shares managed to rise on Wednesday, in a relatively quiet local session
  • The US Dollar also fought back from Tuesday’s lows
  • China’s manufacturing PMI did just enough to convince

Asian shares were mostly higher Wednesday as markets looked ahead to the next session and the US Federal Reserve’s first monetary-policy conclave of 2017.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.6%, with the benchmark taking its customary solace from a weaker Yen. In Australia, the ASX also gained 0.6% as gold and energy producers both rose.

Gold prices themselves were steady on Wednesday, having hit a one-week high the session before. Crude oil prices dipped a little, still dogged by supply worries despite production cuts from major producing countries.

Although the Fed is looming, it’s not expected to alter the policy settings this early in the New Year. Instead, global markets will be keen to know whether the central bank’s December expectation – three 0.25 percentage point interest rate rises this year – has come through the turbulent birth of Donald Trump’s Presidency intact.

The US Dollar edged up against a basket of its major traded peers through the Asia/Pacific session. It slid to seven-week lows the session before as investors feared that the Trump White House could step away from Washington’s venerable “strong dollar” policy. However, those falls were enough to bring out the buyers on Wednesday.

On the data front investors learned that New Zealand’s job creation underwhelmed as 2016 bowed out. Official unemployment figures became just the latest in a string of rather creakier numbers from the country.

China’s economy meanwhile showed more signs of stabilization, with the official manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index up a bit, and its service-sector equivalent up a bit more. Chinese markets will be closed through Thursday for the Lunar New Year break.

The remainder of the session will offer the Institute for Supply Management’s monthly survey of the US manufacturing sector, although that might have to really diverge from the expected 55 level to tear markets away from Fed-watching.

Steady near the highs. Gold in Wednesday’s Asia session.

Asian Stocks Rise as First 2017 Fed Meet Looms

Chart compiled using TradingView

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--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research

Contact and follow David on Twitter: @DavidCottleFX

DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.