US stocks steadily gained strength through their trading day sending positive momentum toward today’s Asia Pacific session. The afternoon release of FOMC minutes included a clear signal that we could see interest rate liftoff in December boosted interest in stocks and USD. The minutes indicated FOMC members felt that while leaving their options open, December is a live meeting for a rate change decision as long as there are no big shocks before then with global market sentiment improving (read China fears fading) and the US labour market improving. Earlier in the day a number of FOMC regional Presidents came out with relatively hawkish statements indicating the potential for a rate hike. The comments from NY Fed President Dudley appear to be the most clearly reflected in today’s market action. New York Dudley (voter) decision to tighten is a show of confidence in the economy, he’s looking forward to day Fed can raise rates, liftoff will not be a surprise Atlanta Lockhart (voter) comfortable with moving off zero interest rate soon, won’t predict outcome of Dec meeting. Neutral rate likely lower than in the past. Employment criteria for liftoff has been met. Richmond Lacker (voter) no change in opinion from Sept and Oct when he dissented to hawkish side Cleveland Mester (non-voter) economy can handle a 0.25% rate hike Dallas Kaplan (non-voter) accommodative Fed does not mean zero interest rates which can create distortions if kept too long. Decision to hold last 2 meetings was prudent NZD has picked up a bit today after New Zealand producer prices jumped, a sign of easing deflation risks. This suggests that some of the pressure on the RBNZ to keep cutting interest rates may be easing somewhat. Today is a big day for news from Japan, which could see both the Nikkei and JPY pairs active. In addition to a number of middle tier economic figures, the Bank of Japan is meeting again. Having decided to stay the course with its QQE program at its last meeting when change was expected, traders are not expecting any changes this time around either. Since the last meeting, comments out of the central bank have been indicating it still expects to hit its inflation target eventually and Governor Kuroda seems to favour getting the government to do more on the fiscal side rather than increasing monetary stimulus. A dovish move or statement could crush JPY especially relative to USD while a neutral or hawkish leaning could boost JPY relative to EUR. Corporate News NetApp $0.61 vs street $0.57 Keurig Green Mountain $0.85 vs street $0.70, 13% dividend increase L Brands $0.55 vs street $0.52, raised jan 16 year guidance to $3.69-$3.79 from $3.58-$3.73. Economic News Significant announcements released overnight include: NZ producer input prices 1.6% vs previous (0.3%) NZ producer output prices 1.3% vs previous (0.2%) US housing starts 1,160K as expected US building permits 1,150K vs street 1,147K US DOE crude oil inventories 0.25 mmbbls vs street 2.0 mmbbls US DOE gasoline inventories 1.0 mmbbls vs street (1.5 mmbbls) US DOE implied oil demand 16,114 mmbbls vs previous 15,959 mmbbls Switzerland ZEW expectations 0 vs previous 18 Poland employment 1.1% vs street 1.0% Poland wages 3.3% vs street 3.6% Upcoming significant economic announcements include: (Note: 11:30 am in Sydney/Melbourne is currently 1:30 pm in Auckland, 4:30 pm in Vancouver, 7:30 pm in Toronto/Montréal, 12:30 am in London and 8:30 am in Singapore) 10:50 am AEDT Japan trade balance street (¥246B) 10:50 am AEDT Japan exports street (2.0%) 10:50 am AEDT Japan imports street (8.6%) TBA Japan interest rate and QQE decision no change expected 4:30 pm AEDT Japan department store sales previous 1.8% 5:00 pm AEDT Japan machine tool orders previous (23.1%) 8:30 am GMT Sweden unemployment rate street 6.7% 9:30 am GMT UK retail sales street 4.5% vs previous 6.5% 9:30 am GMT UK retail ex auto & fuel street 3.9% vs previous 5.9% 11:00 am GMT UK CBI total orders street (10) vs previous (18) 11:00 am GMT UK CBI selling prices street (6) vs previous (7) 12:00 pm GMT Sweden Riksbank Ingves speaking 12:30 pm GMT ECB meeting minutes 1:00 pm GMT Poland central bank minutes 1:00 pm GMT Poland industrial output street 2.5% 1:00 pm GMT Poland construction output street (1.3%) 1:00 pm GMT Poland producer prices street (2.5%) 1:00 pm GMT Poland retail sales street 0.4% 8:30 am EST Canada wholesale sales street 0.2% 8:30 am EST US jobless claims street 270K 8:30 am EST US Philadelphia Fed street (0.3) 9:45 am EST US Bloomberg consumer comfort previous 41.6 9:45 am EST US Bloomberg economic expectations previous 42.0 10:00 am EST US leading index street 0.5% 10:30 am EST US natural gas street 19 BCF 12:30 pm EST FOMC Lockhart speaking 4:45 pm EST FOMC Fischer speaking