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Asia Stocks Mixed, US Dollar Down On Fed Minutes, ECB Up Next

Asia Stocks Mixed, US Dollar Down On Fed Minutes, ECB Up Next

David Cottle, Analyst

Talking Points

  • Asian stocks endured a tepid session as investors mulled the latest set of policy meeting minutes from the Federal Reserve
  • Further rate hikes have come under some question
  • The US Dollar weakened, never a sight Asian share investors much enjoy

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The US Dollar was wobbly in Asia Thursday after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting showed officials worried about soft inflation, worries which could potentially see rate increases delayed.

The minutes showed some on the Federal Open Market Committee calling for a halt to hikes until it was clear that inflation was picking up again. The Euro duly traded back above $1.1770, with USD/JPY dropping below 110.00. The Dollar Index, which tracks in the greenback against widely traded rivals, shrank back from Wednesday’s three-week high.

Asian equity indexes closed mixed, with most of them retreating back towards their opening levels. The Nikkei 225 fell 0.1% as did Australia’s ASX, with the Shanghai Composite up 0.3%. A weaker US Dollar held its customary poison for the region’s plentiful export names.

The day’s main Asia Pacific data release came in the form of an Australian employment roundup for July. Headline job creation was better than expected but the Australian Dollar failed to capitalize on this, probably because full-time job numbers fell quite sharply. The Aussie rose again later however as general US Dollar weakness prevailed.

Gold prices generally firm up when it looks as though US rates might not rise as sharply as markets thought and sure enough prices inched higher on Thursday. Crude oil prices edged up slightly but the usual dynamics of lower US inventory and high overall global supply remained dominant.

The rest of economic Thursday will bring UK retail sales numbers, the official account of the last European Central Bank policy meeting and US continuing jobless claims figures. The Philadelphia Fed’s business outlook is coming up too.

--- 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.