A US holiday overnight leaves investors with muted international leads. A lift in oil prices and drift lower in European stocks are the major takeaways. This could see today’s meeting of the Bank of Japan at the centre of Asia Pacific trading action.
Consensus expectations of no change in the BoJ’s currents stance of negative cash interest rates and a target of zero out to the ten-year maturity means the accompanying estimates are the focus. Analysts are looking to the board to lift GDP growth estimates, although anaemic inflation will likely restrain any hawks. Traders could home in on comments from Governor Kuroda on the efficacy of negative interest rate policy given the current global shift in thinking. Emerging views that negative rates do more harm than good could make monetary policy discussions a feature of 2020.
Global mining giant BHP released its quarterly activities report this morning. A 4% lift in iron ore production could please investors given spot trading near US $100 per tonne. A drop in energy production due to weather disruption offset the good news. This is new CEO Mike Henry’s first report to shareholders, but there were no reported clues as to how BHP’s “four pillars” policy may evolve under the new leadership team.
Major currency markets are steady, although crypto currencies are bid despite a slightly stronger US dollar.
Futures markets indicate a mixed start to regional trading, with Hong Kong and Tokyo looking at small falls. The Australia 200 index closed the overnight session a few points higher, but a positive view of the BHP report could see the index outperform today.