Key overnight events:
- The Fed’s Chairwoman Janet Yellen adopted a considerably dovish stance in her speech last night, saying that the FOMC will “proceed cautiously” in raising rates as the global economy presents heightened risks and adding that the central bank “would still have considerable scope” to easy policy.
- Citing global growth, oil prices and China as risks, Yellen demonstrated that despite improving labor market and housing activity conditions, as well as firming inflation, other external elements aside from domestic economic factors would have to be taken in consideration as well when deciding upon the Fed’s projected path for interest rates.
- The S&P 500 Index jumped 0.9%, the most in 2 weeks, to close at a 2016 high; the index has surged 6.4% in March and is poised for its first monthly gain of the year.
- The dollar broadly weakened as the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index sank 0.8% and is headed for a drop of 3.4% in March, its steepest monthly loss since Apr 2011.
- Crude oil futures expiring in May fell 2.8% to settle at $38.28/bbl, as weekly US government data is forecasted to show increasing crude stockpiles kept supplies at the highest level in more than 80 years.
- According to Fed Funds futures on Bloomberg, the implied probability of a rate hike in April is now zero.
- Japan’s Prime Minister Abe has defied speculation he would announce a supplementary budget and instead vowed to front-load spending of the existing budget.
- Spot 1.3560
- USDSGD slumped overnight by as much as 1.1% lower to 1.3525 this morning, following Yellen’s comments.
- The 2016-low of 1.3480 looks likely to be tested in the near term.
- Spot 0.7625
- AUDUSD soared as much as 1.8% to 0.7648 earlier today.
- 0.7800 looks a likely target should AUD bulls take over the 0.7650 level.
- Spot 1.3074
- USDCAD resumed its downtrend, falling 0.8% overnight and 1.5% over the past 3 days back towards the 1.3000 handle, despite a pullback in WTI prices over the same period.
- Canada’s GDP is due for release tomorrow night, and is expected to have expanded 0.3% month-on-month and 1.1% year-on-year in January, better than the prior figures of 0.2% and 0.5% respectively.
- Spot 6.4899
- Onshore yuan rose to its highest in a week after the PBOC raised its reference rate the most since Mar 18th. USDCNH fell back below the 6.5000 handle.
- PBOC Governor Zhou and other G-20 finance chiefs and central bankers will meet on Thursday in Paris to discuss how to retool the world’s financial plumbing to prepare for the next crisis.
- The Asian Development Bank has projected growth in China to slow to 6.5% in 2016, and to 6.3% in 2017.
- Spot 8.3891
- Prime Minister Solberg said that struggles for the oil and gas industry are clear but the overall economy is doing okay.
- Bloomberg reported that explorers in Norway have had their leanest drilling spell in almost a decade. Companies searching off Norway found less than 5 million of barrels of oil and gas for every exploration well drilled last year, the lowest ratio since 2006, based on data from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate. This compares with a 27 million- barrel average over the past 25 years.
- USDNOK, despite oil’s recent pullback, fell overnight by as much as 1.0% to 8.3812.