Mar. 17: Asian session
Asian stocks mostly fell on Monday as concerns over Ukraine escalated after the Crimea referendum on Sunday. Russian exit polls show that 95.5% of Crimeans voted to break away from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Investors nervously await for the West’s response to Crimea’s vote, which has drawn international condemnation. MSCI Asia Pacific Index recovered by 0.18% in the session, while Nikkei 225 lost 0.35%. USD/JPY strengthened from the Friday's low of 101.20 to 101.65. Chinese shares rose as the yuan dropped after the government widened the currency’s trading band.
Commodity currencies are trading a bit higher. AUD/USD recovered to $0.9065. Westpac economists revised their forecasts for the RBA monetary policy: they no longer see RBA cutting rates in 2014. NZD/USD is trading around $0.8550, extending the consolidation in the $0.8520/60 range. Gold hit a fresh 6-month high in the early Asia, strengthening to $1388.
EUR/USD is trading a little lower around the $1.3900 mark. GBP/USD sitting at $1.6640.