Feb. 17: Asian session
Asian stocks rose after China’s new credit increased to a record in January boosting optimism the world’s second-largest economy can maintain its growth momentum. MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.7%. Japanese Nikkei is up by 0.5%.
US dollar fell versus its main counterparts as traders weighed whether weaker US economic data will spur the Fed to consider a slower pace in tapering stimulus.
USD/JPY hit 101.38. Yen rose after Japan’s economic growth unexpectedly slowed (0.3% vs. 0.8%) and demand for the national currency as safe haven increased. AUD/USD opened with a gap up at $0.9060 and touched a one-month high on positive news from China, but is now trading a bit on the downside as Australian new motor vehicle sales contracted by 3.5%. NZD/USD rose to $0.8390 before weakening by 20 pips. New Zealand’s retail sales came lower than expected (1.2% vs. 1.7%)
EUR/USD rose to $1.3724. GBP/USD reached $1.6822. British pound reached the highest since November 2009 after a report showed UK house prices rose the most since October 2012.