Mixed leads from international markets and a full economic data agenda this week may combine to suppress activity and movement in Asia Pacific markets today. The threat of trade wars darkens the positive picture painted by recently concluded corporate reporting around the globe. Central bank interest rate decisions and accompanying statements are also in focus.
European shares slumped by around 2% on Friday night as signs of an increasingly protectionist White House echoed through markets. Industrial stocks fared worst as investors considered the impact on global activity and productivity. However the US dollar weakened over the American trading session, lifting commodity prices and reversing early losses for the S&P 500 index. Opening sentiments in the region is likely mildly positive but fragile.
The Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank and the Reserve Bank of Australia all decide on interest rates this week. None are expected to move but statement language will face the usual close scrutiny for any indication of future action.
A major data release comes around mid-session today when the China Caixin services PMI is forecast to show ongoing expansion with a reading close to 54.3. Australian building approvals will drop first, with consensus looking for a 5% increase in January. Later in the week US durable goods, factory orders and trade balance all come ahead of the non-farm payrolls read on Friday. China releases trade and lending this week. Japan has trade and GDP numbers, and Europe releases retail sales and continent wide GDP data. With so many data reads speaking directly to economic activity there is potentially a busy week for investors ahead.