Asian bourses climbed (NIKKEI +0.5 %, S&P/ASX +0.7 %, SHANGHAI COMPOSITE +0.4 %) after news of potential exemptions to US tariffs. Stocks climbed after the Washington Post reported that US President Trump is to offer exemptions for Canada and Mexico. Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said all sides will be harmed by a trade war, adding in the event of a trade war, China will make a necessary response. On North Korea, Wang Yi called on North Korea and the US to have talks as soon as possible, adding on the Korean peninsula, peace must prevail. Investors were also digesting Chinese trade data for February which blew past expectations, the balance surplus unexpectedly widened to $33.74 Bln (f/c -$5.7 Bln) due to a huge beat on exports, up 44.5% (f/c +11.0%) y/y, while imports rose 6.3% (f/c +8.0%) y/y. On the data front elsewhere, Japanese GDP surpassed forecasts in Q4, rising a SA +0.4% (f/c +0.2%) q/q and 1.6% (f/c +1.0%) y/y, while nominal SA rose 0.3% (f/c +0.1%) q/q and deflator up 0.1% (f/c 0.0%) y/y. Japan’s BoP current account balance and adjusted balance posted larger than expected surpluses in January of +¥607.4 Bln (f/c +¥437.4 Bln) and ¥2022.6 Bln (f/c +¥1761.9 Bln), respectively. The data prompted little reaction the Japanese Yen. Down under, Australia’s trade balance widened to A$1055 Mln (f/c +A$160 Mln) in January with imports falling 2% m/m and exports rising 4% m/m. In Europe, the UK’s RICS house price balance fell to 0% (f/c +7%) y/y in February, its joint lowest since March 2013. On the crypto front, Japan’s Financial Regulator announced punishments for cryptocurrency exchanges with the FSA ordering the suspension of business at some exchanges and issued a business improvement order to Coincheck and six alternate exchanges. On the headlines and recent volatility in the cryptocurrency, Bitcoin prices moved lower.
* Japan BoP Current Account Data (Jan)
Balance +¥607.4 Bln versus +¥437.4 Bln expected, previous +¥797.2 Bln
Adjusted Balance +¥2022.6 Bln versus +¥1761.9 Bln expected, previous +¥1497.6 Bln
* Japan GDP Data (Q4)
SA Q/Q +0.4% versus +0.2% expected, previous +0.1%
Annualised SA Y/Y +1.6% versus +1.0% expected, previous +0.5%
Nominal SA Q/Q +0.3% versus +0.1% expected, previous 0.0%
Deflator Y/Y +0.1% versus 0.0% expected, previous 0.0%
* Japan Bank Lending Data Y/Y (Jan)
Inc. Trusts +2.1% versus +2.3% expected, previous +2.3%Exc. Trusts +2.1%, previous +2.3%
* UK RICS House Price Balance (Feb) 0% versus +7% expected, previous +8% – Joint lowest since March 2013
* Australia Trade Data (Jan)
Balance +A$1055 Mln versus +A$160 Mln expected, previous -A$1358 Mln
Imports M/M -2%, previous +6%
Exports M/M +4%, previous +2%
* Axios Reporter Jonathan Swan reported that US President Trump’s steel and aluminium tariff plan will be postponed as lawyers are still working on it
* The PBoC set the yuan mid-point at 6.3239 against the Dollar and skipped OMOs today
* WaPo: Trump to offer temporary tariff exemption for Canada and Mexico
President Trump is planning to offer Canada and Mexico a temporary exemption from new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, reversing his original insistence that the measures apply to U.S. allies as well as nations like China, administration officials said Wednesday.
* Japan’s Financial Regulator announced punishments for cryptocurrency exchanges
FSA has ordered the suspension of business at some exchanges.
Issued a business improvement order to Coincheck and six alternate exchanges.
* China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on North Korea and the US to have talks as soon as possible, adding on the Korean peninsula, peace must prevail. Wang Yi stated China and the US do not have to be rivals but should strive to be partner, adding there is no intention to displace the US. He said cooperation and dialogue is the right thing to do, there can be no alternatives. He mentioned all sides will be harmed by a trade war, adding in the event of a trade war, China will make a necessary response.
* China Trade Data (Feb)
Balance +$33.74 Bln versus -$5.7 Bln expected, previous +$20.35 Bln
Imports Y/Y +6.3% versus +8.0% expected, previous +36.8%
Exports Y/Y +44.5% versus +11.0% expected, previous +11.1%