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A typical caution trading prevailed in Friday’s Asian session, as investors remained unnerved ahead of an uncertain outcome of this weekend’s key meeting on trade between the US President Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi. The US dollar remains on the defensive across its main competitors, as markets digest the latest FOMC minutes that showed the Fed kept the options on the interest rates open. Most majors stuck to tight trading ranges, with the Antipodeans little impressed by the official Chinese manufacturing PMI numbers. The Aussie wavered above the 0.73 handle while the Kiwi traded around the 0.6850 barrier. The Yen was underpinned amid moderate risk-aversion, keeping the USD/JPY pair sidelined near 113.40 region. The Euro was seen picking up some bids and tested the 1.14 handle and the Cable consolidated below the 1.2800 level.

Both crude benchmarks looked to stabilize while gold prices on Comex traded modestly flat near 1230, as the bulls were set to extend yesterday’s rally.

Main Topics in Asia

Japan’s Tokyo CPI hits expected 1% y/y, Unemployment ticks up to 2.4%

Japan factory output on the rise, expands most since 2015 – Reuters

Canada affirms new NAFTA signing

BOK: Growth forecast to be in line with October prediction, CPI likely to move higher

China trade hawk Navarro to attend Trump-Xi trade war dinner – SCMP

Mexico’s side: New NAFTA may take a year to get through the US Congress

UK PM Theresa May: UK will be more divided if parliament votes down Brexit deal

China Press: China to cut gasoline, diesel prices; more stimulus ahead?

China Press: Trade deal possible at G20 but US must be ‘fair minded’ – Reuters

Key Focus Ahead

We have a busy start to Friday’s EUR calendar, as the German retail sales, imports prices and UK Nationwide housing prices are all due at the same time, i.e., at 0700 GMT. Later in the EU session, the employment data and flash CPIs estimate will be published at 1000 GMT among other minority reports.      

In the NA session, the Canadian Q2 GDP figures will headline amid a data-quiet US docket, although markets will see the Bakers Hughes US oil rigs count data at 1800 GMT.

The following central bankers are due to deliver the speeches at their respective events later today.

1000 GMT: ECB Governing Council member Mersch

1245 GMT: ECB Governing Council member Coeure

1400 GMT: FOMC member Williams

However, the macro news and the central bankers” speeches are likely to play a second fiddle to the broader market sentiment that will be dominated by the expectations from the outcome of Trump-Xi weekend’s meeting on trade at the G20 meetings in Argentina.

World leaders arrived in Buenos Aires on Thursday ahead of the gathering of the Group of 20, where global trade tensions, fuelled by the US President Trump’s trade war with China, are expected to hog the limelight.

EUR/USD: Bull gaining strength ahead of Trump-Xi meeting

The odds of a rally to 1.1472 would rise sharply if the Eurozone’s preliminary consumer price index (CPI) for November, scheduled for release at 10:00 GMT today, blows past estimates, bolstering the possibility of an early  ECB  rate hike.

GBP/USD coiling around 1.2780 as markets head into Trump-Xi G20 headliner

GBP/USD is moving sideways at the 1.2780 level as markets gear up for this weekend’s G20 summit, where traders will be keeping their eyes peeled for headlines coming out of the Trump-Xi sideline meeting set to take place on Saturday.

Dollar Index: Teasing bearish reversal ahead of weekend’s Trump-Xi meeting

The recovery in Treasury yields likely indicates the markets have digested the tweak in Fed view. As a result, the greenback could draw a strong bid if the meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Argentina ends on a sour note.

All eyes on Argentina; US/China Trade Tensions dominate broader direction

With little of note on the domestic docket, today focus and attention remain squarely affixed to the weekend’s G20 summit for direction.

Canada’s GDP Preview: The black-box of forecasting rates will be unaffected with GDP slowing down

Canada’s third-quarter GDP is expected to decelerate to 2.0% over the year, but the overall growth picture remains favorable for Canada and the Bank of Canada will not be affected by the third-quarter deceleration.