Spot values at a glance:
Asian equities retreated, trimming a fourth straight monthly gain for the regional benchmark index, as geopolitical concerns continue to linger. The US is set to report Q1 GDP growth tonight, and as such market activity today has so far been fairly light. Gold maintained near 1-month lows.
- Durable goods orders in March rose 0.7%, slowing from February 2.3% gain and less than the consensus estimate of 1.3%.
- Wholesale inventories underperformed as well, slipping 0.1% from a month, poorer than the 0.2% gain predicted.
- Initial jobless claims for the week ended Apr. 15 rose by 14,000 to 257,000, higher than the 245,000 expected.
- US GDP for last quarter is due for release tonight, it’s projected to show the economy expanded at a 1% annualized rate, the weakest pace in a year.
- President Trump said he sees the chance of a “major, major conflict” with North Korea over its nuclear program, though he prefers a diplomatic solution, in an interview with Reuters. Trump spoke as US national security leaders emphasized sanctions and diplomacy to persuade North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program.
- The US dollar held onto previous day’s gains, with the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index ending largely unchanged in New York last night.
- Treasuries rallied, led by shorter maturities, as investors weighed the prospect of a limited federal government shutdown when funding expires Friday and a higher-than-expected demand at last night’s auction of 7-year Treasury notes. The benchmark 10yr yield ended 1bp lower in New York and slipped another 1bp in Asia trade today to 2.285%.
- The S&P 500 Index eked out a 0.1% gain to close near all-time highs, with better-than-expected earnings results from Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc. lifting technology stocks.
- President Trump was set to announce Saturday that he was withdrawing from NAFTA, the Washington Post reported, before Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and other officials cautioned Trump not to do so. However, Trump has maintained he’s still ready to pull out of the agreement if he can’t renegotiate better terms for the US.
- ECB President Mario Draghi showed growing enthusiasm about the state of the euro-area economy, while cautioning that inflationary pressures remain too weak to contemplate paring back stimulus.
- CPI excluding fresh food, the nation’s core measure for inflation, rose 0.2% year-on-year in March, matching expectations and estimates. Headline CPI gained 0.2% as well over the same period, slowing from a 0.3% rise in the month prior and less than the consensus estimate of a 0.3% gain.
- The jobless rate last month held steady at 2.8%, slightly lower than the 2.9% expected.
- Retail sales in March advanced 0.2% from a month ago and 2.1% from a year before, surpassing expectations of -0.3% and 1.5% respectively.
- Industrial production, however underwhelmed, falling 2.1% month-on-month and rising 3.3% year-on-year, less than their respective estimates of -0.8% and 3.9%.
- PPI last quarter rose 0.5% from a quarter ago and 1.3% from a year before, with the latter significantly accelerating from the prior gain of 0.7%; no estimates were provided.
- The Monetary Authority of Singapore said a slack labor market, falling business rents and weak economic sentiment in Singapore point to restrained inflationary pressures, and forecasts continued modest and uneven economic growth this year at around 1-3%.
- According to the central bank’s bi-annual Macroeconomic Review, inflation is set to average 0.5-1.5% this year, with higher water costs estimated to boost prices by 0.1 percentage points this year.
- Spot gold seemed to have found some footing around the $1,260/Oz handle, with the precious metal rebounding off the handle overnight, and trading 0.2% higher up to $1,267.19/Oz earlier today.
- Gold has declined in 8 of its past 9 sessions, and is on track for its biggest weekly decline in 7 weeks.
- The yellow metal looks set to continue consolidating above its 200-day moving average of $1,254.09/Oz; to the upside, the psychological resistance at $1,300/Oz remains.
- Silver for immediate delivery continues to slide, declining by as much as 1.1% to $17.2429/Oz earlier today.
- Crude oil futures expiring in June pared declines from a 1-month low overnight to close 1.3% lower at $48.97/bbl. US government data showed yesterday output rose a tenth week to its highest level since August 2015, countering OPEC supply-led cuts.
- OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said global stockpiles increased by less than average during the first quarter this year as compliance to supply cuts amounted to 98% in March.
- Spot 1.3961
- USDSGD pared overnight gains and was 0.1% lower at 1.3955 earlier today.
- The currency pair continues to struggle to maintain above its 200-day moving average, closing below it for the fourth straight day yesterday.
- To the downside, Tuesday’s low of 1.3907 marks a key support level.
- Spot 0.7471
- AUDUSD fell earlier by as much as 0.5% to 0.7440 overnight, before erasing most of its decline earlier today.
- The Australian dollar has turned into this month’s second-worst G10 currency, after beating all of its peers last quarter, as investors shunned the currency following oversupply warnings for iron ore.
- Spot 1.3647
- USDCAD recorded fresh highs despite the White House issuing a statement a day before saying that NAFTA would not be terminated. Weakening crude oil prices is another factor that has been contributing to Canadian dollar weakness.
- USDCAD soared past previous day’s high, gaining 0.7% to 1.3671 – its highest level in more than a year.
- Spot 6.8939
- The PBOC earlier weakened its reference rate by 0.05% to 6.8931 to the US dollar, from 6.8896 yesterday.
- USDCNH reverted back below the 6.9000 handle earlier, retreating 0.2% to 6.8935.
- Spot 111.18
- Following 8 straight days of gains, USDJPY looks poised for a pullback, with the pair falling 0.3% to 111.05 in earlier trade this morning.
- Immediate resistance can be found at 111.60 – a previous support which held for 4 months until it was broken last month.
- Spot 1.2913
- GBPUSD continues to remain strongly bid, with the pair currently 0.1% higher at 1.2915 and threatening to make a new 7-month high.
- Polls released this week showed Conservatives maintaining a healthy lead with 49% support. The market is already seeing a Theresa May win as a sure thing and is implying it will improve her negotiating position.
- The momentum continues to remain to the upside for the currency pair, with the 1.3000 psychological level providing some short-term resistance; over the longer-term, the key level to watch is 1.3500.