Key overnight events:
- The preliminary April figure for the Markit US manufacturing PMI came in at 50.8, worse than the expected 52.0 and down for the prior reading of 51.5.
- The S&P 500 Index ended little changed on Friday, capping a 0.5% weekly advance. Banks and energy producers led gainers, while Alphabet Inc. and Microsoft Corp. tumbled following disappointing earnings results.
- Crude oil futures expiring in June rose 1.3% to settle at $43.73/bbl on Friday, but dropped by as much as 1.8% this morning to 42.95/bbl. The number of active US rigs fell for the fifth consecutive week, by 8 to 343. China’s crude imports in March increased 21.6% year-on-year to about 7.7 million bpd, the second-highest on record. Saudi Arabia will complete an expansion of its Shaybah oilfield by end May, allowing the nation to maintain total capacity at 12 million bpd.
- The yen slipped 1.9% on Friday against the US dollar to its weakest close this month, as Bloomberg reported the BOJ may consider helping banks lend by offering a negative rate on some loans. The BOJ meets on April 27 – 28.
- The pound rose 0.2% after Obama bolstered his warning against “Brexit”, saying it could take as long as 10 years before the UK and the US negotiated a new trade agreement.
- The Fed’s April policy decision is scheduled for release on Thursday, prior to Asian markets’ open. Economists and strategists widely expect the Fed to hold and refrain from signalling a June hike, Bloomberg reports.
- Spot 1.3539
- USDSGD ended Friday 0.6% higher, capping a 0.2% weekly decline.
- Singapore’s CPI, due for release later today, is expected to drop deeper into negative territory in March, to -1.0% year-on-year from -0.8% the previous month.
- Spot 0.7700
- AUDUSD pared gains on Friday, sliding 1.3% for the day to cap a 0.2%-weekly decline.
- 1Q inflation data is due for release on Wednesday, and is estimated to have eased off slightly from the previous quarter, although most economists predict it would not be enough to force a cut to the cash rate by the RBA. CPI is expected have risen 0.2% quarter-on-quarter, down from the 0.4% increase in 4Q 2015.
- Spot 1.2688
- USCAD slipped 1.2% for the week, and fell as low as 1.2593 in the process.
- Retail sales in February surprised positively, registering a 0.4% month-on-month; a 0.8% drop was expected.
- CPI in March rose by 1.3% year-on-year, beating estimates of a 1.2%-increase.
- Spot 6.5124
- USDCNH climbed 0.3% for the week ended last Friday, and extended gains by as much as 0.2% this morning to 6.5169, the highest since Mar 30th.
- USDCNH is currently headed for its longest losing streak in a month after the PBOC cut its reference rate to the lowest since Mar 28th, amidst speculation that authorities are growing comfortable with greater currency weakness.
- Spot 8.2451
- USDNOK rallied 1.5% on Friday, erasing most of its declines made earlier in the week and ending essentially unchanged for the week.