Headlines/Economic Data

General Trend:

Asian equity markets generally pare losses

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Financials continue to be weighed down by decline in bond yields

Cathay Pacific Airways [293.HK] rises over 9% in the aftermath of FY17 earnings

South Korea sold more than indicated amount of 50-year bonds

New Zealand Q4 GDP misses ests: Stats Bureau notes impact of hot summer on agricultural sector

There are concerns that Moritomo scandal could delay approval of BoJ Deputy Gov candidates (Japan Press)

Foreign investors have continued to sell Japanese equities, according to weekly data

USD/JPY falls below 106, at the same time Nikkei 225 hit fresh low, while S&P futures weakened

Japan

Nikkei 225 opened -0.3%; closed +0.1%

TOPIX Real Estate Index +0.7%; Securities -1%

Mega-banks track weakness in US financials

(JP) BoJ said to start to worry that political scandal could leave two deputy gov seats vacant – Japanese Press

(JP) Nikkei looks at Spring wage increase in Japan, noting most have offered a modest increase, lower than PM Abe’s target of 3%

(JP) BoJ may have declined to issue conditions for yield-curve control (YCC) target adjustment in order to give it flexibility in policy decisions – Japanese Press

(JP) Japan Govt will change drug approval regulations to give approvals without human testing if it has enough data to back up efficacy – press

(JP) There is renewed press speculation that Finance Min Aso will not attend G20 – Japanese Press

(JP) Japan MoF sells ¥1.0T v ¥1.0T indicated in 0.50% (prior 0.60%) 20-yr bonds; avg yield 0.5430% v 0.5610% prior; bid to cover 4.47x v 4.44x prior

(JP) BoJ Gov Kuroda: Japan has been implementing strong QE; inflation has been steadily rising in the last 2-yrs

(JP) Japan Fin Min Aso: Have to make use of low interest rate environment

(JP) Japan ruling party Diet affairs official: Fin Min Aso to skip G20 finance chief meeting next week. Aso is scheduled to participate in a session of the Budget Committee of the House of Councillors on Monday to answer questions from lawmakers.

(JP) Japan Parliament Lower House to vote on BOJ nominees tomorrow

Korea

Kospi opened flat

(KR) South Korea and China to hold FTA service and investment talks on March 22-23

(KR) Bank of Korea (BoK) Gov Lee: Reiterates inappropriate to link policy and governor reappointment

(KR) South Korea sells KRW325B v KRW300B indicated in 50-year bonds at 2.64%

China/Hong Kong

Hang Seng opened -0.8%, Shanghai Composite -0.4%

Hang Seng Property/Construction Index +0.4%; Energy -1.1%

(CN) China regulators considering reform of airline fuel surcharge

(CN) PBOC sets yuan reference rate at 6.3141 v 6.3205 prior

(CN) China PBoC Open Market Operation (OMO): Injects CNY40B v CNY50B prior in 7 and 28-day reverse repos; Net injection CNY40B v CNY50B prior

Australia/New Zealand

ASX 200 opened flat; closed -0.2%

ASX 200 Financials Index -0.9%, Energy -0.7%

(NZ) NEW ZEALAND Q4 GDP Q/Q: 0.6% V 0.8%E; Y/Y: 2.9% V 3.1%E

(AU) Australia ACCC released its Interim Report into residential mortgage products: Mortgage pricing in Australia is not strongly competitive

Aurizon, AZJ.AU Australia ACCC raises concerns about Pacific National’s proposal to acquire intermodal assets

(AU) Australia Mar consumer Inflation Expectation: 3.7% v 3.6% prior

(AU) Australia Feb RBA Govt FX Transactions (A$): -438M v -634M prior

Looking Ahead: RBA Assistant Gov Debelle due to speak on Friday

Other Asia

(ID) Indonesia reported 3rd consecutive trade deficit in Feb; exports missed expectations

(TW) Taiwan Central Bank Gov Yang Chin-Long: No need to set inflation target; FX market less predictable since US President Trump

North America

US equities ended lower, Dow and S&P closed down for 3rd straight session: Dow -1%, S&P500 -0.6%, Nasdaq -0.2%, Russell 2000 -0.5%

S&P500 Materials -1.2%, Financials -1.1%, Industrials -1.1%; Utilities +1%

(US) White House confirms Larry Kudlow has accepted the position of NEC chairman

(US) Incoming White House economic advisor Kudlow: would like to see the dollar “a wee bit stronger”; No one has ever devalued their currency into prosperity – CNBC interview

(US) Commerce Sec Ross: Will soon publish rules on tariff exemptions

(US) Sources say Pres Trump has discussed a plan to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions – Vanity Fair

(US) DOE CRUDE: +5.0M V +2.5ME

Europe

(EU) EU said to consider 3% tax on the revenues of technology companies – US financial press

(EU) ECB’s Coeure (France): Euro area growth relies too much on monetary support; ECB stimulus will add one third of a percentage point to 2018 GDP growth this year

(UK) CEOs from some of UK’s leading corporations to meet with UK PM May on Thurs to discuss concerns about Brexit – Sky News

Looking Ahead: Swiss National Bank (SNB) due to hold rate decision, IEA expected to release monthly report

Levels as of 01:00ET

Hang Seng -0.1%; Shanghai Composite -0.5%; Kospi +0.3%

Equity Futures: S&P500 +0.1%; Nasdaq100 +0.1%, Dax +0.2%; FTSE100 +0.1%

EUR 1.2383-1.2365; JPY 106.36-105.78; AUD 0.7885-0.7863;NZD 0.73-0.73

Apr Gold +0.1% at $1,326/oz; Apr Crude Oil 0.0% at $60.97/brl; May Copper -0.2% at $3.14/lb

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