US bourses rallied off the lows in the latter stages of the session to close mixed, while the DJIA is now negative for 2018. Stocks moved to the upside but proved short lived as the potential fallout from Gary Cohn’s resignation continued to hamper investor sentiment. Falls in oil prices weighed with US crude futures settling at $61.15 (-$1.45) despite a smaller-than-expected build in US crude inventories. In currency space, the USD index posted a small gain at the close after easing back off earlier highs following comments from White House Press Secretary Sanders who said on the basis of national security, there will be potential tariff exemptions for Canada and Mexico. Both the Canadian Dollar and the Mexican Peso caught a bid on the headlines. Meanwhile, a White House official said US President Trump will hope to sign tariffs on steel and aluminium on Thursday afternoon, but could possibly happen Friday. In fixed, Treasuries closed in the green. Elsewhere, the Fed’s Beige book noted persistent tightness in the labour market across the country and prices increased in all Fed districts. On the data front, US consumer credit came in lower than expected at $13.91 Bln (f/c +$17.90 Bln) in January.
Ahead of the Asian open, New Zealand’s manufacturing sales volume climbed 1% q/q in Q4. In geopolitical news, South Korean media outlet Chosun reported that North Korea is to offer a conditional halt to its ICBM programme. Stateside, US President Trump is expected to sign steel and aluminium tariff plans on Thursday at 20:30 GMT (15:30 ET).
Looking ahead, we get Japanese GDP, BoP current account balance, trade balance BoP basis, bank lending and eco-watchers surveys. We also get Chinese trade data and Australia’s trade data. From Europe, we get UK RICS house price balance.