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Asia-Pacific: Economic Data and Central Bank Speeches in Focus

Asia Pacific economic data Central Bank

Stay updated on Asia-Pacific markets with insights into economic data, central bank activities, and currency movements.

In the wake of robust industrial production figures in the United States and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s cautious remarks on inflation, the Asian markets are bracing for potential shifts in currencies and commodities as they open for the day. Here’s a breakdown of key indicators and central bank activities shaping the Asia session:

United States Economic Outlook

  • US industrial production expanded by 0.4% month-on-month in March, aligning with market expectations. Notably, manufacturing output, a significant component, surged by 0.5%, buoyed by a robust increase in motor vehicles and parts.
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell signaled a nuanced stance on inflation, indicating that persistent inflationary pressures might delay interest rate adjustments.

Asia-Pacific: Economic Data and Central Bank Speeches in Focus

Asia-Pacific Currencies

  • New Zealand Dollar (NZD): Inflation in New Zealand slightly increased in the first quarter of 2024, lifting the Kiwi against major currencies. The NZD found support and then rose above 0.5900 against the US dollar.
  • Australian Dollar (AUD): Following New Zealand’s inflation data, the Aussie strengthened, hovering above 0.6420. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) kept the cash rate target unchanged, maintaining a medium bullish outlook.
  • Japanese Yen (JPY): The USD/JPY pair surged to a 34-year high, indicating significant weakness in the Japanese yen. Concerns over possible intervention by the Bank of Japan persist.
  • Euro (EUR): Eurozone inflationary pressures eased, leading to a depressed Euro. ECB President Christine Lagarde’s speech at the International Monetary Fund/World Bank Spring meetings could provide further insights.

Central Bank Activities

  • Federal Reserve (FOMC): Anticipate speeches from FOMC members Loretta Mester and Michelle Bowman. Following Chairman Powell’s cautious tone, their remarks could influence market sentiment.
  • Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ): The RBNZ maintained the Official Cash Rate (OCR) for the sixth consecutive meeting, citing persistent inflation concerns.
  • Bank of Japan (BOJ): The BOJ reaffirmed its monetary policy stance, emphasizing its role in achieving price stability. Concerns over the weakening yen persist.
  • Bank of England (BoE): BoE Governor Andrew Bailey’s speech might offer insights into future monetary policy directions amid high inflation in the UK.

Commodities and Oil

  • Gold (XAU): Gold prices could be influenced by Fed policymakers’ speeches, potentially capping gains amid a bullish dollar.
  • Oil: Increased crude oil inventories in the US suggest weakening demand, exerting downward pressure on oil prices.

As Asian markets open, investors will remain attentive to economic indicators and central bank activities, likely to shape the region’s trading patterns.

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