Last night brought a positive finish to a strong calendar quarter for risk assets, albeit from much reduced levels. European shares and bonds marked time, but oil, copper and US stocks all extended gains, finishing at session highs. Forex markets remain steady, with modest pressure on haven currencies. The first day of the new trading quarter in the Asia Pacific is flavoured by important data releases.
Crude oil markets are up more than 90% over the last three months. They lead an honour roll that includes a 30% gain in the Nasdaq, a 24% increase in the German DAX and a 23% lift in the Japanese Nikkei. The SPX 500 index put in its best quarterly performance since 1998, rising by 25.5%.The Australian dollar was a top performer in currency markets, lifting by 13%.
In releases this morning New Zealand building permits jumped 35.6% in May, and a privately calculated Australian manufacturing index for June moved into expansion territory at 51.2. Tankan data from Japan is due this morning, although expectations are for further contraction in the second quarter.
Late morning sees Australian building approvals for May (forecast -7.8%, previous -1.8%) and the Caixin manufacturing PMI (forecast 50.5, previous 50.7). the better than expected reading on China activity yesterday may have set a higher bar for positive market reactions today.