Traders scratching for a living in the current low volatility environment face better prospects over the next 36 hours. An ECB rate decision, the UK election and crucial testimony to a US senate committee may see markets making major adjustments. Additionally the Asia Pacific has its own potential market drivers today in the form of important economic data in China, Japan and Australia.

Imports and exports in China are expected to show double digit growth in constant currency terms. In USD terms forecasts centre around both growing by 7-8%. The read comes at a consequential time for industrial commodities. Oil tanked overnight and iron ore prices fell to yearly lows. Both were affected by evidence of increasing stockpiles. Strength in China trade may ease the pressure. GDP data in Japan may also steady markets if it meets estimates of an annual growth rate around 2.4%.

This may come too late for Australian investors. Despite gains in US stocks, futures markets are indicating an opening fall for the Australia 200 index. Weak commodity prices hurt, as does a stronger AUD. Recent underperformance by Australian stocks may continue, although a private equity bid for Vocus Communications could see aggressive short sellers pause for thought.