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Asia Pacific caution ahead of data

Asia Pacific caution ahead of data

Regional markets are steady ahead of important China data due later today. A stronger US dollar continues to resonate in currency markets, and stocks are mixed. Oil markets are giving back some of their overnight gains, but industrial metals are generally higher. Iron ore is a stand out, up more than 3%, as lower Chinese inventories continue to support spot prices.

Local investors have little to trade off. Modestly positive moves in European and US stocks are unsupported by the data. German and US inflation were bang in line. Market focus turns to China industrial production (forecast up 5.4%) and retail sales (+8.1%), due late today. Despite ongoing fear about the economic impact of trade disruption, consensus forecasts are towards steady rates of growth in manufacturing and consumer behaviour. Any divergence could see markets swing sharply.

AMP shares are under renewed pressure after the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority imposed further conditions on its wealth management division. Financials are down on concerns Australian banks may have to raise additional capital. However most sectors are in the green, unsurprisingly led by Materials given its weighting towards mining.

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