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Pre-Fed pressure

Overnight trading displayed a general risk off mode, pointing to a cautious start for Asia Pacific trading today. Investors supported the yen, gold and bonds, expressing a clear preference for safety. The US dollar edged lower, and commodity currencies came under pressure. Oil prices tanked, dropping 8%. Shares across Europe fell, although US indices finished positively after an indecisive session. The looming US Federal Reserve interest rate decision due early Thursday morning may see a subdued session.

Japanese trade data and UK inflation numbers could have muted impacts ahead of the Fed’s statement. While an interest rate rise is expected, the accompanying commentary is key. Any indication of a stronger than expected outlook, or on the other hand an acknowledgement of rising external risks, could see a sharp market reaction. Bulls will hope for a circuit breaker after recent stock pressures.

The ANZ Bank and the National Australia Bank hold AGMs today. Recent pressure from the Royal Commission inquiry into the financial sector and concerns about house prices are likely on both agendas. Perhaps less welcome will be votes on executive remuneration, a sore point at last week’s Westpac AGM. Given the importance of major banks to the local index the statements from bank management may determine today’s broader market outcome.

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