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China data drop dominates

Calm overnight trading across asset classes sets the Asia Pacific session towards key data from Beijing today. The global growth outlook remains the key driver of markets and today’s GDP, industrial production and retail sales numbers, due mid-session, have the capacity to change the course of trading.

China GDP is expected to show a 6.3% year-on-year expansion in the first quarter of 2019. This consensus forecast sits in the middle of the official 6.0% to 6.5% range. A variation of just 0.2% either way could bring stronger market moves. Traders expect focus on the March retail sales data as an indicator of domestic strength.

Weakening European sentiment and modestly positive US earnings provide the backdrop to today’s numbers. The Euro slid on reports that a majority of ECB board members think European economic estimates are still too optimistic. However, the US dollar also dropped on weaker industrial production in March. Despite the weak read, US share market indices rose as twelve from twelve S&P500 companies beat on earnings. Netflix and Progressive Corp recorded better than 30% profit growth.

Futures markets are pointing to an opening lift in Hong Kong and Tokyo, but weaker industrial and precious metals prices may explain the twenty-three point slide overnight in Australia 200 index futures.

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