Shares slumped and commodities tumbled overnight as the US dollar responded to more Fed speak of imminent rate rises. Sentiment snapped despite data that shows higher consumer confidence and a tightening job market in the US, and resurgent inflation in Germany.
Comments from Fed governor Brainard citing strengthening employment and diminished global risks as reasons to hike are all the more remarkable in light of her previous dovishness. Although Chair Yellen will speak tonight, the cavalcade of hawkish Fed spokespeople this week has already convinced traders. Short term interest rate markets are now reflecting a 90% chance of a lift in rates at the next Fed meeting on March 15.
Futures markets are suggesting opening falls of around 0.5% for most Asia Pacific markets. However, a stronger USD affects regional bourses differently. A lower yen could spur the Nikkei higher, but weakening commodity prices may see Australian investors extend the losses over the session. This latter dynamic is potentially exacerbated by the strength of resources stocks during trading yesterday.