Dec. 16: Asian session
MSCI Asian Pacific Index of shares outside of Japan declined by 0.5%. Japanese Nikkei lost 1.2% despite a generally upbeat survey of the country’s business sector.
USD/JPY declined to 102.70 after peaking to 103.90 on Friday. Yen strengthened as investors assess US economic data to see when the Fed will start to taper monetary stimulus. Although QE tapering this week seems quite possible, most of the analysts expect the central bank to keep interest rates close to 0 during the next year.
AUD and NZD dipped early in the Asian trade as HSBC China manufacturing PMI fell to a 3-month low of 50.5 in December (expected 51.0, November reading revised up to 50.8). However, the index remains above 50 for the 5th month in a row. AUD/USD dipped to $0.8920 on the news, but later in the session has recovered some ground. Note the pair holds above the Friday’s low at $0.8910 – it is the lowest level since the end of August. NZD/USD has followed the Aussie and is trading around $0.8275 as of writing. New Zealand Westpac consumer confidence rose from 115.4 to 120.1 in Q4.
EUR/USD rose to $1.3760. GBP/USD is consolidating in the $1.6300 area.