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Forex today in Asia was a quiet affair this Wednesday, as most majors remained confined within tight trading ranges amid a lack of fresh drivers and amid a broad-based US dollar comeback, which emerged the main underlying theme. The USD bulls attempted a tepid recovery after the overnight sell-off that knocked-off the USD index to three-week lows following the Fed Chair Powell’s patient stance on monetary policy path.

Among the Asia-pac currencies, the Aussie was weighed down by downbeat Australian Q4 construction output data, with the upside attempts capped by the 0.7200 barrier while the Kiwi also traded on the back foot amid a bigger-than-expected trade deficit reported earlier today. The USD/JPY pair was stuck in 10-pips extremely narrow range around 110.55 levels amid positive Asian equities and BoJ-speak on one side while falling 2-year Treasury yields on the other.

Amongst the commodities, both crude benchmarks traded firmer as OPEC output cuts outweigh Trump’s latest tweet bashing the OPEC. Gold prices on Comex traded a shade higher near 1330 levels, awaiting fresh cues heading into the European markets.

Main Topics in Asia

NZ: Trade deficit was larger than expected in January – Westpac

Australia: Weak Q4 construction activity – ANZ

Gold Technical Analysis: Bounce off the resistance-turned-support favors $1346 return

BoJ’s Kataoka: Disagree with view BoJ should persistently continue easy policy

Futures on S&P 500, treasuries, oil pause in CME Outage – Bloomberg

WTI Oil: Surprise API draw saved the day for the bulls

US two-year treasury yield hits 16-day low

US’s Pompeo urges India, Pakistan to avoid military action – Reuters

REC: UK employers’ confidence in economy slides before Brexit – Reuters

US Pres. Trump: N. Korea will thrive like Vietnam if it denuclearises, “potential is AWESOME”

US Pres. Trump: Will be signing big trade deals today, including on Boeing

BoJ’s Kuroda: Any exit from BoJ’s ultra-easy policy will be very gradual

Key Focus Ahead

Today’s EUR macro calendar is a busy one, with the Eurozone January M3 money supply and Swiss ZEW survey due at 0900 GMT. Amid a lack of first-tier economic releases, a flurry of Eurozone consumer, business, economic and industrial confidence numbers will drop in at 1000 GMT. At the same time, the speech by the ECB Vice President and Bundesbank Chairman Weidmann is scheduled. Weidmann is due to hold a press conference about the Bundesbank’s Annual Report, in Frankfurt.

Moving on, the NA session also has plenty of event risks, including the US goods trade balance and durable goods data slated for release at 1330 GMT alongside the Canadian CPI figures. Also, in focus remains the US pending home sales and factory orders data due at 1500 GMT, around the same time the round 2 of the Fed Chair Powell’s testimony is scheduled before the House Financial Services Committee, in Washington DC.

Meanwhile, for the oil markets, the US official government crude stockpiles data due to be released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) at 1530 GMT will remain in the spotlight.

EUR/USD: US-DE yield differentials break lower, Weidmann speech and Eurozone sentiment indices eyed

EUR/USD  is looking north as the spread between the 10-year US and German government bond yields looks set to drop in the EUR-negative manner in the near future.  

GBP/USD: Off 5-month high as lack of major catalysts trigger pullback, US data in spotlight

Investors have fewer UK catalysts to observe during the rest of the day. British MPs are likely to vote on the PM May’s yesterday’s motion and opposition might propose the second referendum.

XAU/EUR Technical Analysis: Teasing descending triangle breakout

Gold  in EUR terms (XAU/EUR) is probing the upper edge of the descending triangle seen in the hourly  chart.  An upside breakout, if confirmed, would signal an end of the pullback from recent highs near EUR 1,186 and could yield re-test of that level.  

China: Feb’s manufacturing PMI could be noisy – Citi

In the view of the analysts at Citigroup, the Chinese manufacturing PMI reading is expected to remain in contraction territory in February.