Asian Stocks Mostly Higher on Trade Talks, Fed Rate Call Also Eyed
Asian Stocks Talking Points:
- Most stocks managed gains as anew week got under way
- Trade hopes were once again underpinning sentiment
- The US Dollar weakened on suspicions that its interest rate support could wane this week
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Asian stocks markets made broad gains Monday with trade hopes once again to the fore. China’s Vice Premier Liu He is heading to Washington this week. Investors reportedly remain leery that any sort of durable trade deal between China and the US is at hand, but there does seem to be some hope for constructive dialogue and, perhaps, a hold on the tit-for-tat tariffs imposed last year.
Trade isn’t the only factor driving markets of course. Investors will know current thinking at the US Federal Reserve this week. The central bank will give its January monetary policy call on Thursday Asia Pacific time. No change is expected to the Federal Funds rate.
Australian markets were closed for a holiday break on Monday, but most of the open Asian stock bourses managed to gain. The Shanghai Composite added 0.3% with the Hang Seng 0.4% higher. The Kospi was up by a similar amount as its close loomed, with the Nikkei 225 bucking the trend. It was down by 0.3%.
The US Dollar slipped back as investors bet that the Fed will signal much more data-dependent interest rate action ahead. The Fed may also acknowledge growing risks and uncertainties around global growth. In Asian hours Monday the Australian and Kiwi Dollars posted gains against the Greenback, with the Japanese Yen also gaining, despite Japanese inflation’s weakening last month.
AUD/USD continues to bounce at the upper limit of the daily chart downtrend channel which dominated 2018’s trade.
The Australian Dollar may well hold up above this level this week, especially if a more dovish Fed offers the US Dollar a general boost. However, the Aussie still conspicuously lacks interest rate support, and it’s possible that this fact will regain the driving seat in due course, taking AUD/USD lower yet.
Gold prices held up near seven-month highs as suspicions that US rates won’t rise much further bolsters the case for the non-yielding metal. Crude oil prices slipped on a rising US rig count and worries about further slowing in China.
Monday’s remaining data slate is a little sparse, but investors can still look forward to the Chicago Federal Reserve’s national activity index and the January manufacturing snapshot from the Dallas Fed.
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--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research
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DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.