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Asian Markets Wilt With Commodity Prices, US Payrolls Loom

Asian Markets Wilt With Commodity Prices, US Payrolls Loom

David Cottle, Analyst

Talking Points

  • Asian markets took a knock as commodity prices weighed
  • The Euro got up to six month peaks as markets hope for a friendly French election result
  • The New Zealand Dollar was buoyed by inflation expectations

What’s going to drive Asia/Pacific market trends into mid-year? Check out our forecasts.

Most Asian markets were lower Friday as traders looked toward official US labor data and commodity prices slid yet further.

Australia’s ASX 200 finished down 0.7%, with resource-sector weakness all-too evident. There was a strong rise for banking major Macquarie following a profit beat. Shanghai stocks lost 0.9%, as did their counterparts in Hong Kong. Children’s Day saw markets closed in South Korea and Japan.

Commodities felt more widespread falls as investors lost faith that oil-supply cuts will meaningfully reduce the world’s long-standing glut. They were also casting worried glances at China where fiscal tightening may see reduced activity ahead.

Crude-oil prices did manage some early gains from Thursday’s five-month lows, but they didn’t last long. Both US crude and international benchmark Brent were looking at further losses of around 1.5% apiece as Asian trade wound down.

In currency markets the Euro traded near six-month peaks against the Dollar thanks to expectations that centrist Emmanuel Macron will win Sunday’s French Presidential election. The Australian Dollar slid, meanwhile, probably taking a commodity related hit. News of fairly robust Australian construction activity failed to shore up its position but AUD/USD did regain some composure into the local-market close.

The New Zealand Dollar did better. NZD/USD shot quickly up to session highs on news of elevated inflation expectations in its home country, only to see those gains erased, then almost remade, in later trade.

Gold prices inched up. However the oldest haven is looking down the barrel of its worst week since late 2016 thanks to perceptions that French political risk is receding and expectations of higher US interest rates.

Those expectations will be in the spotlight again later when official US labor statistics see daylight. The markets are looking for an April rise of 190,000 nonfarm jobs. As always on Payroll Fridays those data are likely to comprise the only game in town for investors. However, there is more on offer, notably Canadian unemployment figures and some more Purchasing Managers Indexes from around Europe.

Federal Reserve Vice Chair Stanley Fischer will round out the week. He's due to speak at Stamford.

--- 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.