Asia Stocks Wilt As N.Korea Spat Dominates, US CPI Looms
- Asia Pacific stock markets wilted Friday, across the board
- There was no let-up in the war of words between North Korea and the US
- Currency markets were calmer than they have been this week
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Bellicose rhetoric between Washington DC and Pyongyang continued to suck the risk appetite out of Asian markets as another week wrapped up.
Donald Trump called his previous comments -threatening fire and fury- “not tough enough” and warned North Korea that it would be in more trouble than any nation has ever been before should it threaten the US and its allies.
Unsurprisingly that was enough to see many equity investors abandon their posts, with falls of more than 1% visible across the region. The ASX lost 1.2% in the close, with Shanghai stocks down 1.5%. Friday lacked input from the bellwether Nikkei 225, however, with Japanese markets out for a holiday
The US Dollar slipped to eight-week lows against the Japanese Yen but recovered its poise to some extent to rise back above the 109 handle it had surrendered. The Australian Dollar also steadied after Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe, answering questions, said that he thought market interest-rate pricing was about right. Aussie rate futures put the chance of an interest-rate hike at better than even by August 2018.
Lowe also said that the RBA could intervene in the foreign exchange market in the event of extreme conditions, which he said currently did not pertain.
Crude oil prices lost about 30 cents/barrel as oversupply concerns continued to dog the market. Gold prices slipped a little but remain near two-week highs, unsurprisingly in a risk-averse environment.
The rest of the session’s economic news is firmly US-centred. July’s consumer price index is coming up, along with news of hourly and weekly earnings. Markets are looking nervously to the US inflation data, with weakness likely to weigh on forecasts for higher interest rates ahead. A Reuters poll suggested that a rise in the fourth quarter remains markets’ the base case.
--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research
Contact and follow David on Twitter:@DavidCottleFX