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Asian Stocks Gain As US Dollar Firms, Fed Minutes Keenly Awaited

Asian Stocks Gain As US Dollar Firms, Fed Minutes Keenly Awaited

2018-02-21 07:02:00
David Cottle, Analyst
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Talking Points:

  • Asian stocks were broadly higher
  • The US Dollar firmed as Treasury yields made gains
  • Much hawkishness is expected from forthcoming Federal Reserve minutes

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Japanese stocks led Asia upwards on Wednesday as a stronger US Dollar stoked demand for the Nikkei 225’s plentiful exporter names.

It was a choppy session, however, which saw many indexes start weak only to perk up later. The Nikkei ended in the green, up by 0.2%, with the ASX up just 0.05% at the close. The Hang Seng did better with financials in the lead after HSBC’s satisfactory profit reading in the previous session.

The US Dollar posted broad if modest gains as investors look toward the release of miunutes from the Federal Reserve’s last Open Markets Committee Meeting, which will be released later on Wednesday (Thursday morning for Asia). A hawkish tinge is expected to the commentary, and it is this forecast which seems to be supporting the greenback. The Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates once more next month.

Local economic data were sparse, but the Australian Dollar got a little lift from official wage figures which managed to beat forecasts despite remaining historically low.

Gold prices hit a one-month low on that stronger US Dollar, while oil prices slipped on reports that already-rampant US supply is set to rise.

Still to come Wednesday, various Purchasing Managers Indexes from around Europe along with official employment and public-borrowing numbers out of the UK. From the US will come PMI released for February along with exiting home-sales rates. Central bank watchers can look forward to multiple Bank of England speakers from London including Governor Mark Carney.

--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research

Follow David on Twitter:@DavidCottleFX or us the Comments section below to get in touch

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