Key overnight events:
- Initial jobless claims for last week came in 276,000, higher than the 265,000 expected. US non-farm payrolls is due tonight, and even a positive surprise might not be enough for the Fed to hike in April, after Janet Yellen this week signalled a willingness to let the economy run hotter before acting again. Tonight’s payrolls are expected to climb by 205,000, while average hourly earnings are expected to have risen 0.2% month-on-month in March.
- ISM manufacturing for March is expected to improve to 51.0, from, 49.5 previously.
- The S&P 500 Index fell 0.2% overnight, ending the first quarter of this year almost where it began after rallying in the second half of the quarter from its worst-ever start to a year.
- Crude oil futures expiring in May was almost unchanged, closing 0.05% higher to settle at $38.34/bbl. OPEC crude oil production in March rose to 33.09 million barrels/day, boosted by production from Iran, which jumped from 2.8 million barrels/day to 3.2 million barrels/day.
- Bloomberg’s dollar gauge slipped 0.1% for a fourth day of declines, capping a loss of almost 4% in March, its steepest decline since Sep 2010.
- Standard & Poor’s has cut its outlook for China’s credit rating to negative from stable, saying the nation’s economic rebalancing is likely to proceed more slowly than the ratings firm had expected.
- PBOC Governor Zhou, speaking at conference in Paris yesterday, said that SDRs could be used to denominate asset prices, including bonds.
- Spot 1.3495
- Moody’s has cut its rating outlook of 4 Singapore banks to negative from stable, predicting credit conditions for banks in Singapore to weaken against the backdrop of slower economic and trade growth.
- USDSGD reached a 9-month low last night of 1.3415, before paring declines this morning back to the 1.3500 handle.
- Spot 0.7662
- Australia’s manufacturing index in March rose to 58.1, from 53.5, the highest level since 2004.
- New home sales in February declined 5.3% month-on-month, the most in 19 months.
- AUDUSD made a higher high of 0.7723 last night for the third session in a row, but has since retreated back below 0.7700.
- Spot 1.3030
- The Canadian economy expanded 0.6% month-on-month and 1.5% year-on-year in January, comfortably surpassing the estimates of 0.3% and 1.1% respectively. Growth was driven by manufacturing, oil and gas, and utilities.
- USDCAD fell to its lowest in 8 months – 1.2858, and just shy of the key support level of 1.2832. The currency pair has since rebounded strongly back above the 1.3000 handle.
- Spot 6.4703
- 4Q current account balance came in at US$91.9 billion; the prior figure was revised downwards to US$65.5 billion.
- Manufacturing PMI for March came in at 50.2, better than the expected 49.4 and the previous reading of 49.0. Non-manufacturing PMI was upbeat as well, improving from 52.7 to 53.8.
- USDCNH climbed to 6.4776 following the release of PMI data, and looks poised to end a 4-day streak of declines.
- Spot 8.2839
- USDNOK extended its week-long decline, falling to a low of 8.2523 last night, the lowest since October last year.