Mixed trading day in Asia; markets eyeing Chinese PMI data

<p>The MSCI Asia Pacific index was slightly higher going into the afternoon trading session across the Asian region. The recent cycle of positive Japanese economic […]</p>

The MSCI Asia Pacific index was slightly higher going into the afternoon trading session across the Asian region. The recent cycle of positive Japanese economic news was slightly diminished by lower than expected manufacturing numbers but the Japanese Yen still managed to post gains against the US dollar.

Japanese industrial production slid 1.2% in February from a month earlier. All eyes will be on the HSBC China PMI reading due over the weekend which will signal any changes in the economic performance over the past month as inflation eases.

In commodities, oil continues to trend slightly lower as higher prices start to bite. Gold looks vulnerable around US$1660/oz but not as much as platinum which is back below the price of gold.

Veteran traders will know this is a continuation of very unusual trading between the two metals. The price of platinum has been twice that of gold in the past, at times even higher. Platinum prices have been dogged down by a perceived surplus of supply on the market.

Norilsk Nickel’s head of marketing suggests global demand will catch up with supply as production at current prices winds down.

Elsewhere in Asia, Myanmar is set to head to the ballot box next week, the first such election since the military rejected an opposition victory in 1990. The country is geopolitically significant because of its natural resource potential and domestic market which comprises around 64 million people.

Myanmar produces around 180, 000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, of which 90% is accounted for by gas. The country is one of the world’s oldest oil producers, exporting its first barrel in 1853. The oil and gas industry was nationalized after a socialist-leaning military regime seized power in 1962

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