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Talking Points:

  • Asian stocks followed Wall Street losses on US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson getting ousted
  • Tomorrow, New Zealand’s fourth quarter GDP release stands as a major economic event risk
  • The Nikkei 225 seems to be struggling to make progress to the upside, stuck under 21,937

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Asian stocks were mostly down on Wednesday, having a chance to react to news that unnerved investors in the US session. There, President Donald Trump announced the replacement to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as CIA Chief Mike Pompeo. The markets seemed to take Tillerson’s replacement as a move that supports the president’s agenda, raising questions if he will favor his protectionist approach.

The Nikkei 225 was down 0.6 percent by the lunch break. Meanwhile the ASX 200 declined as much as 0.8 percent, with every other Asian bourse in the red heading towards the close. On the currency side of things, the Australian Dollar got a little boost on some broadly upbeat Chinese economic data. There, industrial output rose 7.2% y/y versus 6.2% expected.

Bank of Japan’s Governor Haruhiko Kuroda did appear in front of parliament today. The central bank head noted that they are “not at the point to consider exit details as 2% is far”. Mr. Kuroda did have a few words about the future of their immense balance sheet. He said that they can use the maturing of their held government bonds as reinvestments to shrink the balance sheet later on.

Looking ahead, tomorrow’s New Zealand fourth quarter GDP release stands as one of the most important event risk for that day. Implied volatility levels for NZD/USD are elevated ahead of this release. Economists are calling for growth to clock in at its highest since 2016. Senior Currency Strategist Ilya Spivak will be covering the release live and you may join the session here.

Nikkei 225 Technical Analysis

Asian Stocks Echo Wall Street Drop on Tillerson Oust, NZ GDP Due

The Nikkei 225 appears to be struggling to make progress to the upside, stuck under the 38.2% Fibonacci retracement around 21,937. A push above that exposes the 50% level at 22,367. On the other hand, if prices head lower the 23.6% Fibonacci retracement at 21,404 could stand in the way as near-term support. A break below that exposes the 14.6% minor level at 21,075.

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