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Market Update – Asian Session: Australia Jobs Gains At 16-Month Highs

Asia Mid-Session Market Update: China Trade rebounds from last month's deficit; Australia jobs gains at 16-month highs; Bank of Korea on hold with higher target for growth and inflation

US Session Highlights

(US) MAR IMPORT PRICE INDEX M/M: -0.2% V -0.2%E (driven by lower fuel import prices); Y/Y: 4.2% V 4.0%E

(CA) BANK OF CANADA (BOC) LEAVES INTEREST RATES UNCHANGED AT 0.50%; AS EXPECTED; too early to conclude economy is on a sustainable growth path

(CA) Bank of Canada (BoC) Gov Poloz: given the data in the last few months, a rate cut is not currently on the table

(MX) Mexico Central Bank (Banxico) Mar Minutes: all board members agreed there was a certain margin for smaller hike

(US) Fed’s Kaplan (moderate, voter): can start trimming balance sheet as soon as later on this year; balance sheet runoff will have some tightening impact

(US) DOE CRUDE: -2.2M V 0ME; GASOLINE: -3.0M V -1.5ME; DISTILLATE: -2.2M V -1ME; Cushing crude stocks +0.3M at 69.4M bbl

President Trump in a press interview said that a strong dollar will ultimately hurt the US and that he prefers low interest rate policy. He also reversed his position on China, saying he will not label the Asian nation a currency manipulator. In another reversal, he said he likes and respects Fed Chair Yellen and that it’s too soon to comment on whether he might re-nominate her at the end of her term in 2018.

US markets on close: Dow -0.3%, S&P500 -0.4%, Nasdaq -0.5%

Best Sector in S&P500: Real Estate

Worst Sector in S&P500: Technology

Biggest gainers: HPQ +2.7%; TSN +2.2%; WFM +1.7%

Biggest losers: TSCO -8.3%; FAST -8.1%; FCX -5.4%

At the close: VIX 15.8 (+0.7pts); Treasuries: 2-yr 1.21% (-3bps), 10-yr 2.30% (flat), 30-yr 2.93% (flat)

US movers afterhours

AAOI: Raises Q1 $1.00-1.02 v $0.83e, R$96.2M v $89.5Me (guided $0.80-0.88, R$87-91M prior); +19.9% afterhours

HBI: Reports prelim Q1 adj EPS $0.28-0.29 v $0.28e, R$1.38B v $1.38Be; affirms FY17 financial guidance; CFO Moss to retire at end of 2017; +6.1% afterhours

PIR: Reports Q4 $0.34 v $0.33e, R$528.4M v $531Me; Guides Q1 -$0.07 to -$0.03 v -$0.02e; -3.7% afterhours

Politics

(US) Pres Trump: US dollar is getting too strong; Will not label China a currency manipulator – press interview

(US) Pres Trump: Will work to enhance the NATO partnership; NATO members must meet their financial obligations, pay their fair share – press conf with NATO Sec Gen

Key economic data

(BR) BRAZIL CENTRAL BANK (BCB) CUTS SELIC TARGET RATE BY 100BPS TO 11.25%; AS EXPECTED

(KR) BANK OF KOREA (BOK) LEAVES 7-DAY REPO RATE UNCHANGED AT 1.25%; AS EXPECTED

(CN) CHINA MAR TRADE BALANCE (CNY TERMS): +164B V +76BE

(CN) CHINA MAR TRADE BALANCE (USD TERMS): +$23.9B V +$12.5BE

(AU) AUSTRALIA MAR EMPLOYMENT CHANGE: +60.9K (16-month high) V +20.0KE; UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 5.9% V 5.9%E

(AU) AUSTRALIA APR CONSUMER INFLATION EXPECTATION: 4.1% V 4.0% PRIOR

(AU) AUSTRALIA Q1 CBA/HIA HOUSE AFFORDABILITY: 81.4 V 79.9 PRIOR

(NZ) New Zealand Mar Business Manufacturing PMI: 57.8 v 55.7 prior; 14-month high

Asia Session Notable Observations, Speakers and Press

Asian equity markets are mixed even as volatility continues to pick up dramatically on geopolitical worries and US President Trump’s policy adjustments. In late US hours, USD sold off sharply after Trump confirmed that China will not be labeled a currency manipulator but rather it was the US dollar that has gotten too strong. Moreover, Trump said he favored a low interest rate policy and offered praises to Fed Chair Yellen whom he previously attacked on the campaign trail for politicizing Fed monetary stance. Nikkei225 fell by over 1% as USD/JPY crumbled to 5-month lows below ¥109, Gold spiked up on inflationary implications of lower USD, while Treasuries rose at the expense of Financials. In other USD majors, AUD/USD has gained a full cent on Trump’s comments and strong Aussie jobs data, while MXN saw its best levels since mid-November.

China Trade Balance rebounded to a surplus after last month’s surprise deficit, sending Shanghai Composite into positive territory. Exports in CNY terms were well above consensus at 22.3% v 8.0%e, Imports also beat at 26.3% v 15.0%e, and even Crude Oil prices saw an atypical bounce on China trade with a 20c rise as Mar imports of 9.24M bpd registered a record high. China Customs noted that trade is improving as global demand recovers, but also warned that import growth may slow in Q2. Also of note in China, PBoC has resumed its open market operations after a 2-week pause with a CNY110B injection.

Australia employment data also reversed last month’s negative surprise. Although unemployment rate remained at 5.9%, net jobs gains was a 16-month high at 60.9K while participation rate also rose to an 8-month high of 64.8% v 64.6%e.

In a trifecta of central bank rate decisions, Brazil cut by 100bps to 11.25% as widely expected and said the accelerating pace of easing is appropriate with favorable trend of reduced inflation. Singapore Central Bank also preserved its SGD appreciation policy at zero and kept its inflation targets at 0.5-1.5% for this year. South Korea stood pat at 1.25% but raises its 2017 GDP and CPI forecasts by a decimal to 2.6% and 1.9% respectively, citing trend of improvement in exports and expectations of a rebound in consumption. South Korea did concede increasing uncertainty related to the threat from the North, just as analysts speculated that Pyongyang may be preparing to conduct its 6th nuclear test as soon as Apr 15th to commemorate the birthday of Kim Il-sung.

China

(CN) China NDRC: Q1 power consumption 1.45T KWH, 6.9% y/y; March 513.9B KWH, +7.9% y/y

(CN) China Dalian Commodity Exchange to cut transaction fees on iron ore, coking coal, coke, PP futures – Chinese press

Japan

(JP) Japan PM Abe: Japan and China agree on a peaceful resolution for North Korea issue

(JP) Japan Fin Min Aso: Wage increases have been inadequate relative to corporate profit increases – press

Australia/New Zealand

(AU) ACCC has issued a draft determination proposing to allow the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy, along with 24 other South Australian businesses, to establish a joint electricity purchasing group

(AU) RBA issues financial stability review: outlook for the global economy has improved over the past six months

Korea

(KR) US govt and other officials warned that North Korea reportedly placed a nuclear device in a tunnel and it may be detonated this Saturday Apr 15th

(KR) Trump administration is looking at North Korea strategy, including tougher economic sanctions, possibly including and oil embargo, banning its airline, intercepting cargo ships and punishing Chinese banks doing business with North Korea – financial press

(KR) South Korea Foreign Min Yun: Belives US will consult with South Korea before pre-emptive strike on North Korea

Asian Equity Indices/Futures (00:30ET)

Nikkei -1.0%, Hang Seng -0.1%, Shanghai Composite +0.1%, ASX200 -0.9%, Kospi +0.4%

Equity Futures: S&P500 -0.1%; Nasdaq flat, Dax flat, FTSE100 +0.1%

FX ranges/Commodities/Fixed Income (00:30ET

EUR 1.0660-1.0680; JPY 108.70-109.10; AUD 0.7520-0.7585; NZD 0.696-0.7000

June Gold +0.8% at 1,288/oz; May Crude Oil flat at $53.09/brl; May Copper +1.1% at $2.57/lb

(CN) China raises retail gasoline and diesel prices for the 3rd time this year – press

(CN) PBoC resumes open market operations after 13th consecutive skips by injecting CNY110B combined in 7, 14, and 28-day reverse repos

(CN) PBOC SETS YUAN MID POINT AT 6.8651 V 6.8940 PRIOR; strongest yuan setting since Feb 7th

(JP) Japan MoF sells ¥723.4B in 0.8% (0.8% prior) 30-yr bonds; Avg yield: 0.795% v 0.821% prior; Bid to cover: 3.08x v 3.14x prior

Asia equities / Notables / movers

Australia

WHC.AU Whitehaven Coal -6.1% (Q3 result)

FMG.AU Fortescue -7.0%, BHP.AU BHP Billiton -4.0%, RIO.AU Rio Tinto -4.6% (iron ore price declines)

WHC.AU Whitehaven -6.1% (production report)

NST.AU Northern Star +7.1%, EVN.AU Evolution +2.9% (gold price higher)

GXY.AU Galaxy Resources +2.4% (Macquarie upgrades)

AZJ.AU Aurizon Holdings -2.1% (Goldman Sachs downgrades)

Japan

2651.JP Lawson Inc -5.1% (annual result)

8267.JP Aeon Co -4.3% (annual result)

6502.JP Toshiba -4.6% (narrows potential bidders)

8086.JP Nipro Corp +5.4% (Morgan Stanley upgrades)

9101.JP Nippon Yusen -1.3% (earnings speculation)

South Korea

012630.KR Hyundai Development Co +2.3% (new contract)

047040.KR Daewoo Engineering & Constr -3.9% (share sale)

Hong Kong

285.HK BYD Electronic International +3.3% (guidance)

1929.HK Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group +5.8% (Q1 result)

1668.HK China South City Holdings +1.3% (annual result)

1109.HK China Resources Land +0.2% (Q1 result)

921.HK Hisense Kelon Electrical Holdings Co +4.6% (Q1 guidance)

1913.HK Prada -1.7% (annual result)

China

600376.CN Beijing Capital Development Co +3.2%, 601668.CN China State Construction Engineering -2.5% (annual result)

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