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Softer risk tones continued to prevail in Asia this Wednesday, as renewed US-China trade tensions remained a drag on the risk associated space while having benefited the safe-haven Yen the most. The USD/JPY pair fell below the 110 level for the first time since end-March.

Meanwhile, the Kiwi gave up the 0.66 handle and eroded 70+-pips to hit fresh half-yearly lows at 0.6529 after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) Official Cash Rate (OCR) to a new record low of 1.5% amid the weaker economic situation. The spot, however, reversed most losses to now trade near 0.6585 region, despite the RBNZ Governor Orr flagging US-China trade concerns. The Aussie, on the other hand, maintained the bid tone above the 0.7000 level amid mixed Chinese trade balance data and risk-off moods, helped by the rebound in commodities prices. Both crude benchmarks traded nearly 0.80% higher while gold and copper prices on Comex advanced to trade near 1289 and 2.81 levels respectively, as the Asian equity markets traded in the red zone.  

Amongst the European currencies, the EUR/USD pair held onto gains above the 1.12 handle, despite positive Treasury yields while the Cable was sidelined near 1.3070 amid renewed UK political jitters.

Main Topics in Asia

RBNZ cuts OCR

Reserve Bank of New Zealand cuts key interest rate to 1.50%

RBNZ: Concerned about a continued global slowdown rather than a faster recovery

RBNZ’s Orr: US – China trade war one of the Bank’s major concerns

Other headlines

US Sec. of State Pompeo makes unannounced visit to Baghdad amid rising tensions with Iran – The Washington Post

Labour: No agreement reached in Brexit talks – RTE

New Brexit talks deadline delays PM May’s departure – The UK Times

Gold technical analysis: $1288/90 is the area to cross for the bulls

China’s Xinhua: US approach to trade talks “regrettable”

China will keep calm in face of trade talk challenges – People’s Daily

JP Morgan’s Dimon: Sees 80% chance of US-China trade deal being done

China’s trade balance (CNY): Surplus expands less than expected in April

China’s April trade data (USD): Exports drop sharply, imports rebound

Asian stocks decline during the eventful session

Key Focus Ahead

Another light EUR macro calendar for today, with the Swiss jobless rate to drop in at 0545 GMT, soon followed by the key German industrial production data at 0600 GMT. The German industrial figures are expected to show a sharp drop of 2.8% y/y in March vs. -0.4% previous. Later in the European session, the speech by the BOE policymakers Ramsden will remain in focus amid a lack of significant economic news from the UK docket while Brexit/ UK political uncertainty will continue to temper the market mood amid looming US-China trade concerns.

Heading into the NA session, the ECB President Draghi’s speech will be closely eyed at 1130 GMT for fresh hints on the monetary policy outlook. Further, the speech by the FOMC member Brainard will also grab some attention at 1230 GMT. On the data front, the Canadian housing starts will be reported at 1215 GMT and the US EIA crude stocks data will be released at 1430 GMT, as the US calendar remains data-thin.

When is German industrial production and how it could affect EUR/USD?

German data scheduled for release at 06:00 today are expected to show the industrial production in the Eurozone’s biggest economy contracted 0.5% month-on-month in March following a 0.7% expansion in February.

GBP/USD moves little from 1.3070 despite Brexit/ UK political uncertainty

The  GBP/USD  pair clings to 1.3070 ahead of the London open on Wednesday. The pair showed little reaction to the prevalent  Brexit pessimism and doubts over the PM May’s future position.

Brent technical analysis: Golden crossover confirmed, bigger rally ahead?

With Brent’s 34.5% rally from December lows, a widely tracked long-term technical indicator has turned bullish for the first time in since September 2017.  

Australian Dollar Prospects

The end of the US/China trade argument is not yet written but it will go further to determining the direction of the Australian economy and its dollar than any other factor.