Key overnight events:
- China’s industrial production and retail sales both slowed in the first 2 months of the year; year-to-date industrial production was reported at 5.4% year-on-year, lower than the previous 6.1%, while year-to-date retail sales came in at 10.2% year-on-year, down from the prior 10.7%. Both missed estimates of 5.6% and 11.0% respectively. Fixed asset investment however rose by 10.2% year-on-year, beating estimates of 9.3%.
- US jobless claims came in at 259,000, lower than the 275,000 expected and the prior figure of 277,000; this was the lowest figure in 5 months. Import prices fell 0.3% month-on-month and 6.1% year-on-year, less than the 0.7% and 6.5% declines that were expected.
- Equity markets finished the week stronger last Friday, as major European equity markets ended up over 3%, while the S&P 500 Index closed 1.6% higher at its highest level in 2016.
- WTI futures expiring in April closed 1.7% stronger at $38.50/bbl for the day, capping a 7.1% increase for the week. It briefly traded above $39/bbl as the IEA said “there are signs that prices might have bottomed out”. Iran’s Oil Minister said that the nation plans to boost crude output to 4 million barrels a day before it will consider joining other suppliers in seeking ways to rebalance the oil market.
- Japan’s core machine orders increased 15% month-on-month in January this morning, the highest incremental change since Apr 2005; the median estimate was a 1.9% increase.
- Spot 1.3727
- The key support level of 1.3728 was breached towards the session close before the weekend; a low of 1.3699 was reached, the strongest level for the Singapore dollar since 31st Jul last year.
- DBS cuts Singapore’s GDP forecast in 2016 to 1.5%, from 2.1%, citing manufacturing sector weakness and rising downside risk in the services sector. The bank’s projection implies at least 1 quarter of contraction this year.
- Spot 0.7584
- AUDUSD continued its advance, making a new high of 0.7584 towards its close before the weekend.
- Bloomberg strategist David Finnerty commented that the currency pair may extend its rally if jobs data due on Thursday beat expectations, thus reducing probability of a rate cut this year.
- Spot 1.3216
- After closing below its 200-day moving average on Friday for the second session in a row, USDCAD looks likely to resume its decline back towards the 1.3000 psychological handle.
- USDCAD closed 0.5% lower at 1.3212, spurred by stronger crude oil prices, even as a report showed Canada unexpectedly lost jobs in February. Employment data showed a 2,300 drop in payrolls, missing the 10,000-increase estimated; jobless rate came in at 7.3%, slightly worse than the 7.2% forecasted.
- Spot 6.4886
- USDCNH made a new 2016 low of 6.4719 last Friday, breaking below the key support of 6.4866 in the process.
- PBOC Governor Zhou said over the weekend that major stimulus is not needed to support growth and that policy makers will continue to stick to “prudent” monetary policy barring any major financial turmoil.
- Spot 8.4084
- USDNOK broke below the key support of 8.4465 on Friday, and currently is trading around the 200-day moving average of 8.4109.
- Finance Minister Siv Jensen said that the country still has plenty of tools to protect the economy and predicted a pickup in growth next year amid record stimulus from both the central bank and the government.
- The Norges Bank is widely expected to lower its main rate to 0.5% from 0.75% on 17th Mar, as it fights off stalling growth in its oil-export sector. At the same time, the government has tapped its US$830 billion wealth fund for the first time to cover the loss in oil revenue and declining taxes from offshore petroleum producers.