Most markets in the US were closed for President’s Day in a quiet opening session to the week. US equity futures ended the session in the red off the back of the lower close in Europe, while the USD index closed above the flat line. We also saw remarks from BoE Governor Carney, who said Bitcoin has failed pretty much as a store of value or median of exchange. Carney stated Brexit is what moves Sterling, not the speculation about any trade deal with the US in the future. Meanwhile, Eurogroup Head Centeno said Greece has on 2 prior outstanding actions before disbursement of fresh loans, adding technical work on debt relief measures for Greece has already begun. Lastly, Euro Zone Finance Ministers support their bailout fund becoming a backstop for bank resolution fund.
Before the open in Asia, RBA’s Bullock said mortgage stress is still low in Australia, adding household debt levels are elevated in Australia. She stated they will need to continue to monitor developments and prudent lending standards are important. Data wise, New Zealand PPI input rose 0.9% q/q in Q4 and output rose 1.0% q/q. Meanwhile, Australia’s weekly consumer confidence index dropped to 115.3.
Asian cash equity markets fell as the US Dollar firmed, while markets China and Taiwan remained shut for the Lunar New Year holiday. The USD was making gains across the board in the Asian session, pulling away from three-month lows against a basket of currencies. During the session, the RBA released its February meeting minutes which failed to provide any real surprises, the RBA said further progress on inflation is likely to be gradual. On the Aussie Dollar, the RBA repeated that a rising AUD would impede the pick-up in growth economically, adding the AUD trade-weighted index remains within a narrow range of the past couple of years. The RBA mentioned wage growth remained subdued, adding a pick-up in household incomes are needed to support consumption and risks to the downside. Also stating high household debt levels still warrant careful attention, adding housing market conditions had generally eased. The Aussie Dollar was largely unchanged on the release. Elsewhere, Japanese Economy Minister Motegi said the country will be out of deflation situation soon, while Finance Minister Aso said he expects the BoJ to continue to work with the government to achieve 2% price goal, adding they have escaped from economic depression associated with asset price deflation more or less. Aso stated hitting 2% inflation is a way to prove Japan has escaped deflation.
Looking ahead, at 07:00 GMT, we get German PPI, Danish consumer confidence, Switzerland’s trade balance, Turkish consumer confidence and Japanese convenience store sales, followed by Swedish CPI at 08:30 GMT. Next at 09:00 GMT, we get Spain’s trade balance, followed by Germany and Euro Zone ZEW surveys at 10:00 GMT. Then at 10:30 GMT, we get the ECB MRO result, followed by UK CBI trends at 11:00 GMT. Also of note, Germany sells €5.0 Bln 2020 bonds at 10:30 GMT, followed by possible comments from Riksbank’s Floden at 11:30 GMT.