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Asian Stocks Stymied By Geopolitics Once Again

Asian Stocks Stymied By Geopolitics Once Again

David Cottle, Analyst

Talking Points

  • Asian stocks fade again as global geopolitics continue to dominate
  • A weaker USD/JPY made the going especially tough for the Nikkei
  • Plentiful mixed Asia/Pacific economic data were eclipsed by falling risk sentiment

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Troubled geopolitics again dominated trading through Asia’s Wednesday, with investors casting nervous glances at US policy toward Syria- in the wake of last Friday’s missile strikes- and North Korea, which now has a US aircraft carrier group in close proximity.

In the face of increasingly belligerent US commentary toward the latter country, China’s President Xi Jinping has reportedly urged a peaceful solution.

The US Dollar was stuck near five-month lows against the Japanese Yen, which weighed on it against other regional currencies. The greenback has been hit by lower Treasury yields and on ongoing haven bid for the Japanese unit. USD/JPY got as low as 109.535.

Predictably none of this was taken well by local stock markets. The Nikkei slipped 1.04% into the close. Most other Asia Pacific bourses were lower too, if by a smaller amount. Australia’s ASX managed to buck the trend to some extent. It was flat late in the afternoon.

Crude oil prices rose a little on reports that Saudi Arabia was seeking behind-the-scenes consensus on an extension of this years’ production cuts from major producing nations. Meanwhile gold prices made another new, five-month high as investors continued to favor haven plays. It edged up to $1,274.91/ounce, with US futures gaining about 0.3%.

The Asia session’s economic data attracted little market attention, with the focus clearly elsewhere. It wasn’t without interest though. Japanese factory gate prices continued to strengthen, according to official data, while China’s consumer prices came in close to market expectations. Australian consumers were found to have been feeling a little more cautious in April, according to local lender Westpac. Its survey reflected the findings of others released earlier.

The rest of the global session will bring official employment data out of the UK, along with US import and export price numbers and some more oil and oil product inventory data.

Central bankers are clearly in communicative mood also. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney will speak in London and his Bank of Canada counterpart Stephen Poloz meets the press in Ottwa with Deputy Carolyn Wilkins. Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert Kaplan speaks in Fort Worth.

--- 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.