Asia Pacific trading is off to a nervous start today. Currencies are largely unchanged from Friday’s close, and share markets indices are fluctuating around square. A full calendar of economic data this week and concerns about trade negotiations could explain the lack of commitment in trading.
Disappointing industrial production in Japan and a slide in New Zealand business confidence, both reported this morning, are also weighing. This week sees important data releases around the globe. Highlights include China PMIs, European inflation, US ISM numbers and activity readings in Italy, Germany and the UK. The week culminates in non-farm payrolls in the US on Friday night. Any divergence from forecasts could move markets.
The foremost issue for markets remains the ongoing trade negotiations between China and the US. News over the weekend that the US was considering restricting investment and finance to China raised fears of a new front in the dispute. This was somewhat offset by unofficial reports of a potential high-level meeting next week, after China returns from Golden Week holidays.
The Reserve Bank of Australia meets tomorrow. Market pricing indicates a 78% chance of a 0.25% reduction in cash rates. The Australian dollar is trading within a US cent of ten-year lows, and may break into the support if the RBA cuts.
The Australia 200 index is trading close to square. Surprising support for energy and gold stocks is countered by weakness in IT and property stocks. Shares in agricultural supplies group Nufarm are more than 30% higher after it announced a return to profit and a $1.2 billion sale of its South American unit.