Mar. 5: Asian session
Asian shares rose a second day after comments from Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled the Ukraine crisis won’t immediately escalate. MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.8%. Nikkei 225 rose by 1.3%. Chinese shares slid amid concern the country faces its first onshore corporate bond default this week. China set a growth target of 7.5% for 2014 – at the same level as last year as an annual meeting of Communist Party officials begins. The government signals it will do “whatever it takes” to maintain pace of growth and is ready to sacrifice the reforms progress in order to do that. Chinese HSBC Services PMI rose to 51.0 in February, picking from January's 2.5-year low of 50.7.
USD/JPY is little changed in the 102.17 area after gaining about 80 pips yesterday. Yen held its biggest decline in 7 weeks versus the dollar as demand for safer assets diminished.
AUD/USD jumped from the daily low of $0.8935 on upbeat Australia February services PMI (55.2 vs. prior 49.3) and a slightly better-than-expected Q4 GDP (+0.8% q/q vs. expected +0.7%). The pair found resistance at $0.9000 and retraced back $0.8960, pressured by Chinese data. NZD/USD gained some ground, but remains capped at $0.8400.
EUR/USD edged down to $1.3730 after spiking to $1.3781 yesterday. GBP/USD is trading in the $1.6670 area after spiking to $1.6717 on Tuesday.