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Asia Market Update: AU jobs and CN Trade data surprise to upside; Markets directionless on the back of conflicting US data and FOMC Minutes.
– Australian bond yields rose on better than expected jobs data and markets moved to price in a slightly higher chance (up to 17%) for a 25 basis point hike when the Reserve Bank of Australia next meets in May.
– China trade data was better than expected on a surprise in exports; Is the data sustainable?
– Overall, stocks in Asia saw lethargic price action as markets weighed lower headline inflation in the US but with higher core than expected – along with FOMC minutes that together with comments from Fed Daly (dovish) and Barkin (hawkish) has left participants a bit confused as to future direction.
– However, the Hang Seng was sharply down in early trading, weighed down by tech giants Alibaba (BABA) and Tencent (700.HK) stock sale concerns. (Japan’s Softbank moving to sell down most of its Alibaba stake, while China property developer Sunac (1918.HK) was indicated to open 68% lower in Hong Kong auction [shares had been halted for 1 year].
– The Nikkei225’ largest component, Fast Retailing will report after the markets close today.
– Korean won rallied on the back of the Bank of Korea being in talks to form an FX Swap with National Pension.
– Looking forward to tomorrow, the PBOC conducts MLF Operations around the 15th of the month, while a large US Bank says China PBOC may lower policy rates [reverse repo and MLF rates] by 10bps in Apr (See China section below).
– Most analysts see the Singapore Central Bank tightening again Friday with its rate decision.
– (AU) ASX 200 opens -0.1% at 7,337.
– (AU) AUSTRALIA MAR EMPLOYMENT CHANGE: +53.0K V +20.0KE ; UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 3.5% V 3.6%E.
– (AU) Tropical Cyclone Ilsa has been upgraded to Category 4 storm; Northwest Australia [iron ore export hub] may be impacted by the strongest cyclone in 10 years – press (Note: Port Hedland is one of the largest iron ore loading ports in the world and the largest in Australia).
– (AU) Australia Mar Consumer Inflation Expectation Survey: 4.6% v 5.0% prior [matches the lowest level since Feb 2022].
– (AU) RBA rate pause fuels speculation the housing slump is over – AFR [update].
– (NZ) New Zealand sells NZ$400M v NZ$400M indicated in 2028, 2033 and 2051 bonds.
– (NZ) New Zealand Govt announces replacement to “Three Waters” water policy: To establish 10 new public water entities as part of “affordable water reforms”.
– (CN) Shanghai Composite opens -0.2% at 3,321.
– (HK) Hang Seng opens flat at 20,481.
– (HK) Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) buys HK$9.05B to defend currency peg (third time in last 8 days).
– (HK) Hong Kong Mar Foreign Reserves: $430.7B v $429.1B prior.
– (CN) CHINA Q1 TRADE BALANCE (CNY): 1.41T V 1.04T y/y.
– (CN) CHINA MAR TRADE BALANCE: $88.2B V $39.2BE.
– (CN) CHINA MAR TRADE BALANCE (CNY-DENOMINATED): 601.0B.
– (CN) China Customs: China trade showed resilience in Q1; but trade development will face greater difficulties and challenges later this year .
– (CN) China PBOC Open Market Operation (OMO): Sells CNY9.0B v CNY7.0B prior in 7-day reverse repos: Net injects CNY1.0B v injects CNY7.0B prior.
– (CN) China PBOC sets Yuan reference rate: 6.8658 v 6.8854 prior.
– (CN) China banks may leave LPR unchanged in Apr [loan prime rate settings are expected on Apr 20th (Thurs)] – China Press.
– (CN) Large US Bank says China PBOC may lower policy rates [reverse repo and MLF rates] by 10bps in Apr – US financial press.
– Guanzhou Auto (2238.HK) China President Xi said to have visited Co.’s NEV unit today – China press.
– (JP) Nikkei 225 opens -0.5% at 27,952.
– (JP) Bank of Japan (BOJ) offers to buy 5-10 year JGBs at fixed rate of 50bps; Opens window to buy unlimited amount of 10-year JGBs at 0.50% [as expected].
– (JP) Japan releases weekly flows data [period ended Apr 7th]: Japan buying of foreign bonds -¥789B; Foreign buying of Japan stocks: +¥2.4T (all time record for weekly buying).
– (JP) Japan Feb M2 Money Supply Y/Y: 2.6% v 2.6% prior; M3 Money Supply Y/Y: 2.1% v 2.2% prior.
– (KR) North Korea fires ballistic missile towards East Sea, according to Korea Joint Chiefs of Staff; Japan said to warn residents to shelter from the North Korea missile threat; Japan later lifted the evacuation alert for Hokkaido Island.
– (JP) New Bank of Japan (BOJ) Gov Ueda: Told G7 peers today that BOJ will continue with monetary easing until the price target is stably and sustainably achieved.
– (JP) Japan Fin Min Suzuki: Global stability has been restored, for the time being.
– (KR) Korea Kospi opens -0.6% to 2,534.
– (KR) Follow Up: Bank of Korea (BOK) in talks to form FX Swap with National Pension Fund – Korea press; Will be for a maximum of $35.0B, to be in place by end of 2023.
– (KR) South Korea March Import Price Index M/M: 0.8% v 1.9% prior; Y/Y: -6.9% v -0.7% prior.
– (KR) South Korea may raise electricity and gas charges in Q2 – Korea Press.
– (KR) North Korea believed to have fired multiple projectiles that may be ballistic missiles [New development over earlier story of missile being fired into East Sea].
– (KR) South Korea: To increase monitoring of North Korea missile and nuclear facilities.
– (TW) US Congressional delegation to visit Taiwan Apr 13-15 – press.
– (CN) China reportedly backtracks on no-fly zone north of Taiwan April 16-18 – FT.
– (TW) Taiwan Economy Min: Willing to talk to China on trade issues if needed.
– Apple triples iPhone output in India to $7B; Exported 7% of iPhones from India for around $5B in 2022/23 – financial press.
– (TH) Apple said to be in talks to manufacture Macbooks in Thailand – Japanese press.
– (SG) Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Chair Tharman: Bank stands ready to provide liquidity for financial stability.
– (US) MAR CPI M/M: 0.1% V 0.2%E; Y/Y: 5.0% V 5.1%E (lowest annual pace since May 2021); Core CPI Y/Y records 1st acceleration in 7 months.
– (CA) BANK OF CANADA (BOC) LEAVES INTEREST RATES UNCHANGED AT 4.50%; (as expected).
– (US) FOMC MAR MINUTES: CONSIDERED WHETHER TO PAUSE AT MARCH MEETING; Some officials would have considered half point hike absent of bank problems.
– (US) Fed’s Daly (non-voter): There is good reason to believe US economy slows without more rate moves; Recent data show lending decline in several sectors.
– (US) Fed’s Barkin (non-voter): After seeing today’s CPI numbers, there is still more work to do to get core inflation down; Today’s data was pretty much as expected.
– (US) Goldman Sachs still expects 25bps Fed hike in May but no longer expects another 25bps in June.
– Warren Buffett: We are not through with bank failures; I think Fed Chairman Powell has been terrific and a hero for acting as he did during the pandemic – CNBC.
– (UK) Chancellor of the Exchequer (Fin Min) Hunt: UK will do better than the IMF GDP forecasts, a lot of positivity at IMF for UK.
– (EU) ECB’s Holzmann (Austria): Reiterates ECB should hike rates by 50bps in May.
– (US) White House Senior Advisor Sloat: Pres Biden and UK PM Sunak to discuss latest developments in Ukraine.
Levels as of 01:20 ET
– ASX200 -0.4%; Hang Seng -0.4%; Shanghai Composite -0.1%; Nikkei 225 +0.2%; Kospi -0.1%.
– Equity S&P500 Futures +0.1%; Nasdaq100 +0.2%, DAX +0.1%; FTSE100 +0.5%.
– EUR 1.0984 – 1.1005 ; JPY 132.95 – 133.32 ; AUD 0.6685 – 0.6721 ; NZD 0.6203 – 0.6221.
– Gold +0.4% at $2,032/oz; Crude Oil -0.3% at $83.02/brl; Copper -0.2% at $4.0598/lb.