ASIA-PACIFIC

Equities in the region finished positive despite trade in the region being thin as China and others celebrate the Ching Ming festival. The ASX 200 finished up 0.7% with strong Building Permit figures (3.1% vs 2.1%) outweighing any negative effects from worse than expected Retail Sales which took a dive to 0% vs an expected 0.4%. In Japan, the Nikkei managed a slight gain of 0.2% despite the JPY strength weighing down exporters.

Data out of Australia should dictate tonight’s session with the Trade Balance (exp. -2.55B), Cash Rate (exp. 2%) and RBA Rate statement Expected. A more hawkish tone in the statement will see the AUD rise and equities drop. However, the Bank is likely to continue its dovish rhetoric and most likely state that the AUD is overvalued, seeing that it’s trading higher than it did when they last released the Rate Statement.

USA

The much awaited NFP release was made on Friday, which saw choppy trade as the prevailing bears were caught off guard by a posting of 215K vs 206K and an increase in the Average Hourly Earing m/m by 0.3% vs 0.2%. Both figures suggest that the US economy is improving as the job market is stabilizing and inflationary pressure is coming through on the back off higher wages. Despite the positive data, the USD failed to find a clear direction and trade was choppy with swings both up and down with the USD finally favoring a bullish tone. Equities in the region enjoyed the news too and closed in positive territories despite heavy losses in the energy sectors. The DJIA posted gains of 0.61%, the S&P 500 posted gains of 0.63% and the NASDAQ posted gains of 1.08%.

Today sees the release of Factory Orders m/m, expected at -1.5%, lower than last month’s 1.6%.

EUROPE

The EUR has remained firm in recent trade with Manufacturing PMI`s from all of its major counterparts, posting positive gains and a general upbeat tone out of the region as both Spain's and Germany's credit ratings were maintained and regarded as stable. Today see the release of the EU unemployment Rate, expected at 10.3%, unchanged from the previous month.

UK

The UK is expecting the Release of the Construction PMI figures, expected at 54.3, a modest improvement from last month’s 54.2. GBP bulls will be hoping for better figures as they continue to get battered after bad economic data continues to flow out of the country. Last week’s Manufacturing PMI disappointed market yet again, printing at 51 vs the expected 51.4, prompting market bets that the BOE is likely to leave interest rates lower for longer as the British economy is weighed down by global events and a possible BREXIT.

COMMODITIES

Crude oil continues to be dragged lower as it trades 5 USD off its highs on the back of an output freeze looking less likely as oil producing nations show their true stubbornness.

Gold has seen bearish trade as data out of the US shows the country to be stabilizing and the USD maintaining a slight bullish edge.