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Forex today witnessed broad-based US dollar strength in Tuesday’s Asian trading, mainly driven by moderate risk-aversion on fading US-China trade optimism as China slowdown worries resurface following softer Chinese GDP target and dismal services PMI. Most majors traded in the red zone, with the Kiwi having emerged the main laggard followed by the Aussie and the Sterling. The Aussie managed to find some respite following the RBA’s status quo, but remained capped below the 0.71 handle. Meanwhile, rising bets of a hard Brexit ahead of the Parliamentary approval of the EU-UK deal next week added to the negative bias in the Cable. The Yen also remained on the back foot, as the USD/JPY pair continued it struggle to regain the 112 handle.

Among the related markets, the Asian equities traded lower, led by the losses in the Japanese stocks amid recent Yen weakness. Both crude benchmarks traded nearly 0.50% lower, with WTI holding above the 56 level. Meanwhile, gold prices on Comex attempted a minor bounce near 1290 levels amid subdued Treasury yields.

Main Topics in Asia

China softens GDP target to a range of between 6-6.5%

Australian Account Balance Q4 2018 deficit AUD -7.2bn vs AUD -9.2bn

China NPC: Will keep leverage stable in the economy

WTI: Buyers struggle around $56.70 in spite of positives to cherish

US Pres. Trump: Will remove India and Turkey from GSP beneficiary companies

China’s Caixin services PMI drops to 51.1 in February, a negative surprise

China’s Guo: China did not engage in competitive devaluation of the Yuan

Reserve Bank of Australia leaves rates on hold, as widely expected

RBA: Trade tensions remain a sense of domestic uncertainty

China’s CommerceMIn Zhnogn: US-China trade talks have been ‘difficult’

UK Trade Minister Fox’s department cancels business Brexit briefings – FT

Russian Energy Minister: Russia to speed up oil out cuts this month – TASS

Key Focus Ahead

Tuesday’s EUR macro calendar is a heavy-showing, kicking-off with the Swiss February CPI report at 0730 GMT. The February services PMI reports from across the Euro area economies and the UK will dominate the session ahead while the Eurozone retail sales and Italy’s Q4 final GDP data will be also closely followed. Among the services PMI readings, the one from Germany and entire bloc will have a major impact on the EUR trades.

Moving on, the NA session sees the releases of the services PMI from both Markit and ISM due later at 1445 GMT and 1500 GMT respectively. Ahead of the PMIs, the US building permits will drop in at 1230 GMT and New Zealand’s GDT price index around 1400 GMT. The main highlight remains the BOE Governor Mark Carney’s testimony (due at 1535 GMT) on Brexit, inflation, and the economy before the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, in London.

EUR/USD: On the defensive ahead of Eurozone services PMIs

A big miss on the German services PMI data, due today, could trigger expectations of a dovish turn, leading to deeper losses in the common currency ahead of the  ECB.

GBP/USD drops toward 1.3110 ahead of UK Services PMI, Carney’s testimony

Looking forward, February month release of the UK Services PMI, crucial to the British GDP, is up for release at 09:30 GMT today. The headline sentiment index may join Monday’s construction PMI and slip beneath the 50.00 mark “¦

Gold Technical Analysis: Minor bounce likely

The yellow metal is looking south, having established a bearish lower high and lower low pattern in the last few days.   That said, the 14-hour relative strength index (RSI) has diverged in favor of the bulls.  

US Non-Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index Preview: Following manufacturing down

The non-manufacturing purchasing managers’ index is predicted to rise to 57.2 in February from 56.2 in January. The business activity index is expected to increase to 59.9 in February from 59.7.  

Australia: Q4 GDP likely to have risen by a soft 0.2% – ANZ

Felicity Emmett, senior economist at ANZ, are expecting Australia’s Q4 GDP to have risen a soft 0.2% q/q, following the 0.3% q/q rise in Q3, which would see annual growth decline to 2.4%.