Feb. 11: Asian session
- Looking forward to Yellen's speech
- Good figures from Australia
Asian stocks rose and gold prices hit a 3-month high as investors wagered the new head of the US Federal Reserve would navigate her first testimony to Congress without rocking the boat for markets. Volumes were also light with Japan closed for a public holiday. MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 1.1%.
USD/JPY dipped to 102.07, but then rose to 102.40. Commodity currencies strengthened in the Asian trade. AUD/USD rose by more than 60 pips to the $0.9000 mark, underpinned by the upbeat Australia releases. National Australia Bank business confidence index for January rose from 6 to 8, while the house price index came at 3.4% q/q (vs. expected 3.0%). The combination of these two improvements confirms the economy is quickly picking up. “If these trends continue over the next few months the RBA may need to consider a further shift in its rates guidance, from the new neutral bias to at least a mild tightening bias”, Citigroup economists say. Note, though, that home loans declined by 1.9%. NZD/USD followed the Aussie, testing the $0.8300 mark to the upside.
EUR/USD keeps pushing higher. The pair has reached today $1.3678. GBP/USD edged a bit higher to $1.6434.