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Asian Markets Mixed As US CPI Data Loom, US Dollar Firmer

Asian Markets Mixed As US CPI Data Loom, US Dollar Firmer

2018-03-13 07:00:00
David Cottle, Analyst

Talking Points:

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  • Asian stocks were mixed
  • A lack of local cues and the wait for US inflation numbers made for a patchy session
  • Australian business confidence data contained plenty of good news

Asian stocks put in a mixed and rather listless session Tuesday. Wall Street offered a gloomy lead as stocks there failed to hold on to Monday’s gains and investor activity was probably limited anyway by the wait for official US Consumer Price Index numbers which will be released later.

Still, the Nikkei 225 ended up 0.7%, with the ASX down 0.4%, the Kospi slightly higher and Chinese indexes in the red. Steelmakers took a hit across the region once again with US tarriffs in focus.

The Japanese Yen was a little weaker against the US Dollar, probably not helped by a political scandal now lapping very close to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The Ministry of Finance said on Monday that it had altered documents relating to the discounted sale of state land to a school operator with ties to Abe’s wife. If Abe’s ratings take a hit his chances of a third term as leader of the Liberal Democratic Party could be jeopardized. Market reaction seems to suggest that without Abe, the Yen-weakening policies he has long pursued could be watered down.

Economic data were sparse through the session but the Australian Dollar got a lift from National Australia Bank’s monthly business confidence snapshot. Overall confidence slipped back a little but firms’ assessment of current conditions hit a record high, with employment intentions also up.

Gold prices inched lower –another market closely eyeing those US inflation numbers. Crude oil prices fell too, reportedly thanks to an ongoing rise in US oil output.

Still to come Tuesday are those US CPI data and they’ll be the day’s highlight. They’re not quite alone on the sked though. US weekly and hourly earnings numbers are coming too and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz is fie to speak.

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--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research

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