Asian Stocks Talking Points:
- Indexes were weaker across the board
- China’s worst export data for three years did the damage
- US labor numbers may be able to lift the mood
Find out what retail foreign exchange investors make of your favorite currency’s chances right now at the DailyFX Sentiment Page
Asia Pacific stocks were broadly lower Friday, with the Shanghai Composite down nearly 3% on the day thanks to very weak Chinese trade data.
Exports shrank by 20.7% in February in US Dollar terms, a far deeper fall than the 5.2% expected and the worst showing for three years. Even allowing for distortions related to the long Chinese New Year break this looks like yet another very feeble set of numbers from the world’s second largest economy. What’s more they came only hours after the European Central Bank cut eurozone growth forecasts and put more stimulus on the table, and Wall Street stocks heading lower on mounting global-economic concerns.
Given all of the above it’s hardly surprising that Asian equity found Friday tough. The Nikkei 225 shed 2.5%, with the ASX 200 down 1% and the Hang Seng off by 1.50%. Shanghai stocks had the worse of it though. The were down 2.90% just ahead of their close.
The Euro remained under pressure from Thursday’s ECB decision, with the Australian Dollar lower on those China trade worries. The US Dollar was also down a little against a basket of its major traded rivals, with the Japanese Yen catching its usual haven bid.
EUR/USD is now down to lows not seen since mid-2017, with the strong daily-chart downtrend channel seen since September 2018 very much entrenched.
Crude oil prices slipped on those same economic concerns, with the bulls cause not helped by Thursday’s news of soaring US supply. Gold prices were steady, but still look set for a second straight weekly fall.
Immediate focus now will be on February’s nonfarm payroll count. It is expected to have increased by 187,000, for an unchanged unemployment rate of 3.9%, down from the previous month’s 4%.
Friday’s remaining economic data schedule also offers Canadian jobless numbers and US housing-start and building-permit figures. German factory orders figures are coming up too, but those US labor market statistics will be the main event for traders, as usual.
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--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research
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