AUSTRAL-ASIA

Asian markets traded mostly higher following Wall Street’s strong gains on Friday and a bounce back in crude, which saw the NIKKEI add 7.2% to Fridays close, largely led by financials and energy sector performance. Poor Annualised GDP figures (-1.4% vs 0.8%) could not stem the bullish fever even as Japan`s economy slows further. BOJ PM said excess volatility in FX is unwanted and will intervene when necessary.

Mainland China bucked the trend and posted losses of 1.1% as poor export data weighed on the equities.

Australia sees the release of the RBA`a Monetary Policy Meeting Minutes from their last meeting, analysts will be looking to the minutes in an attempt to analyse the RBA future plans. A more Hawkish tone will bode well for the AUD and visa versa should the current dovish tone be reiterated.

New Zealand sees the release of Inflation Expectations q/q (1.9%) which will be watched as markets try to decipher further moves by the RBNZ. An increase in inflation will see the kiwi strengthen as the recent spout of monetary policy adjustments appear to positively filter through the economy.

EUROPE

ECB President Draghi will be in the spotlight today as he testifies in Brussels today, investors will be watching for any comment regarding the current outlook of the ECB, and more so, for comments regarding the slew of rumors of late which have pegged European banks as unable to access liquidity markets. A more dovish tone by Draghi will see the EUR slide further from its recent highs.

USA

US equities finished up on Friday for the first time in six sessions after we saw risk slowly re-entering the market. The DJIA gained 1.99%, S&P 500 gained 1.94% and the NASDAQ-100 finished + 1.44%. Data out of the US on Friday were largely bullish with the Core Retail Sales, Retail Sales and Import prices posting better than expected at 0.1%, 0.2% and -1.1% respectively, with only the Prelim UoM Consumer Sentiment printing lower than expect at 90.7. US markets will be closed today in observance of Presidents Day.