Asian Markets Slip as Quarter-End Looms, ASX Shines
- Most Asian stocks slipped back on Thursday, with quarter end now in sight
- Falls came despite a stronger US Dollar, European political risk seems to have kept heroics to a minimum
- The bullish ASX stood out as a resolute gainer
Asian stocks fell on Thursday as the end of 2017’s first quarter loomed. The US Dollar gained, a sight which usually buoys the region’s bourses, but uncertainties such as those surrounding Brexit seemed to keep the bulls cautious.
The Nikkei ended down 0.8%, with stocks in South Korea, mainland China and Hong Kong also under pressure. Shanghai stocks took a big, 1.1% hit, on continued liquidity worries and a muted earnings season. New local listings were especially heavy.
Australia’s ASX 200 was the standout contrarian performer, rising 0.4% as its energy sub-index gained with oil prices. The ASX has managed to be a little more independent than most of late, and has staged a strong turnaround from last week. The economic data have also been supportive with one survey showing that job vacancies rose 1.8% between December and February, for the best showing since May 2011.
The US Dollar also rose, with its position against a basket of widely traded rivals rising to nine-day highs. The Euro had slipped on Wednesday following a report that European Central Bank policymakers were wary of stepping away from monetary easing.
Crude oil prices edged up again extending gains into a second day thanks to supply disruptions in Libya. Well-stocked US inventories reportedly continue to weigh, but some drawdown rates are now increasing. Gold prices headed lower, likely thanks to a stronger greenback. However, rising European uncertainties such as the Brexit process, now officially started, and upcoming French elections kept its losses in check.
There’s plenty of economic life left in the global session after Asia/Pacific trade winds down. Investors can look forward to official German consumer price data for March, another shot of US growth in the final quarter of 2016, along with weekly and continuing jobless claims.
There are a few central-bank speakers coming up too. Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert Kaplan, New York’s William Dudley and San Francisco’s John Williams are all due to talk.
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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.