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Asian Stocks Mixed After Fed Hike, US Tarriffs In Focus Again

Asian Stocks Mixed After Fed Hike, US Tarriffs In Focus Again

David Cottle, Analyst


Talking Points:

  • Asian stocks were mixed Thursday
  • The Nikkei made gains but Chinese and Australian stocks slipped
  • A possible increase in US trade barriers didn’t help the general mood

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Asian stocks traded mixed Thursday as investors digested the Federal Reserve’s March monetary policy decision which came just before local markets openend.

The Fed raised rates as expected but declined to bolster some market suspicions before the fact that it might now do so again three more times this year. Another two rises remain its central prognosis, and the lack of an additional potential rise weighed a little on the US Dollar.

The Nikkei 225 powered back after a holiday break Wednesday to gain 1% by the close. Chinese stocks failed to hold on to early gains, possibly thanks to reports that the US will later announce more tariffs against the country. Australia’s ASX slipped by 0.2%.

The New Zealand Dollar was quite steady even as the Reserve Bank held interest rates steady and downgraded its inflation view. Markets were not looking for early rate rises before the fact. They’re still not. Indeed, the currency looks increasingly heavy on its daily chart, with a clear NZD/USD downtrend developing which has taken the pair below previous significant lows. Focus is now on the channel bottom which comes in admittedly some way below the market at 0.7108.

Meanwhile The Australian Dollar edged lower following the release of an official employment report which slightly missed expectations.

Gold prices got a lift from that generally weaker US Dollar while crude oil prices were firm thanks to news of a surprise inventory drawdown and ongoing supply reductions from traditional producers.

There’s still plenty of meat on Thursday’s economic bones. The Bank of England will give its March monetary policy call. With rates not expected to move, focus will be on who votes for what on the nine member Monetary Policy Committee. Markets probably expect a 7-2 split in favor of leaving rates alone. If more than two vote for tightening, Sterling could rise.

Purchasing Managers Indexes are due from around Europe, with Germany’s closely watched Ifo survey also heading this way. Official UK retail sales figures round out the European session then it’s over the Atlantic for US initial jobless claims and PMI numbers.

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--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research

Follow David on Twitter @DavidCottleFX or use the Comments section below to get in touch!

DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.