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Trade War Fears to Drag Down Nikkei, Boost JPY – Asia Market Open

Trade War Fears to Drag Down Nikkei, Boost JPY – Asia Market Open

Daniel Dubrovsky, Contributing Senior Strategist


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See our 3Q forecasts for the US Dollar, Yen and Equities in the DailyFX Trading Guides page

US Session Developments – USD Gains, Trade War Fears Fall

The US Dollar advanced against its major counterparts during Tuesday’s US trading session. Its rally picked up pace with a combination of better-than-expected local data and a reduction in trade war fears. For the former, S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-City Index was up 6.51% y/y versus 6.40% expected. As for the latter, reports crossed the wires that the US and China will seek to restart talks to defuse a trade war.

Stocks rejoiced as the S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite rose 0.49% and 0.55% respectively. Anti-risk currencies like the Japanese Yen and Swiss Franc declined. Keep in mind the former was already battered by a relatively dovish Bank of Japan. USD/JPY had its best single day performance since July 11th, or just about three weeks ago. The sentiment-linked Australian and New Zealand Dollars rose, but gains were somewhat restrained thanks to a stronger greenback.

Current Market Developments – NZD Weaker, Trade War Fears Rise

Wednesday’s Asia/Pacific trading session was already off to a volatile start. First, the New Zealand Dollar edged lower against its major counterparts as a worse-than-expected local jobs report crossed the wires. In the second quarter, the unemployment rate rose to 4.5% unexpectedly from 4.4%. Meanwhile, average hourly earnings clocked in at 0.2% q/q versus 1.0% estimated. New Zealand two-year government bond yields fell, signaling ebbing hawkish RBNZ monetary policy bets.

Before the markets could fully digest this development, trade war concerns suddenly took a turn for the worst. Reports crossed the wires that the US is going to plan higher tariffs on $200b of Chinese imports. According to a person familiar with the matter, the official announcement should come over the next couple of days.

After rejoicing on earlier developments, S&P 500 futures tumbled. The sentiment-linked New Zealand Dollar, already hindered by the jobs report, fell even further and the Australian Dollar soon followed. Meanwhile, the anti-risk Japanese Yen strengthened. With that in mind, Asia/Pacific benchmark indexes might be heading for a rocky day. This could allow more room for JPY to gain at the expense of AUD and NZD.

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IG Client Sentiment Index Chart of the Day: NZD/USD

IG Client Sentiment Index Chart of the Day: NZD/USD

CLICK HERE to learn more about the IG Client Sentiment Index

Retail trader data shows 70.9% of NZD/USD traders are net-long with the ratio of traders long to short at 2.43 to 1. In fact, traders have remained net-long since Apr 22 when NZD/USD traded near 0.7276; price has moved 6.7% lower since then. The number of traders net-long is 7.0% lower than yesterday and 1.2% lower from last week, while the number of traders net-short is 2.9% lower than yesterday and 2.4% higher from last week.

We typically take a contrarian view to crowd sentiment, and the fact traders are net-long suggests NZD/USD prices may continue to fall. Yet traders are less net-long than yesterday and compared with last week. Recent changes in sentiment warn that the current NZD/USD price trend may soon reverse higher despite the fact traders remain net-long.

Five Things Traders are Reading:

  1. NASDAQ Supported by Apple Earnings, Offers Relief for FANG by Peter Hanks, DailyFX Research Team
  2. Upbeat New Zealand Employment Report to Curb NZD/USD Losses by David Song, Currency Analyst
  3. US Dollar Price Action Setups Ahead of FOMC, NFP by James Stanley, Currency Strategist
  4. USD/JPY Rate Eyes July-High as BoJ Ramps Up Dovish Forward-Guidance by David Song, Currency Analyst
  5. GBP/AUD Technical Outlook: Price Testing Major Trend Support by Michael Boutros, Currency Strategist

--- Written by Daniel Dubrovsky, Junior Currency Analyst for

To contact Daniel, use the comments section below or @ddubrovskyFX on Twitter

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