Mostly flat trading day in Asia; Aussie dollar holds onto gains

<p>Asian stocks were mostly flat in early afternoon trading with both the MSCI Asia Pacific Index and S&P500 index futures mostly flat. In currencies, the […]</p>

Asian stocks were mostly flat in early afternoon trading with both the MSCI Asia Pacific Index and S&P500 index futures mostly flat.

In currencies, the Australian dollar managed to continue consolidating recent gains. It last traded at 1.0775 against the US dollar and 0.8015 against the Euro, rising back above 0.80 overnight.

The Euro meanwhile continues to remain solid against the US dollar, last seen trading at 1.3431. The dollar’s rise against the Yen remains intact, for now, last buying 80.28 but down on the intraday high of 80.63.

In commodities, gold last traded at US$1769/oz while silver remained steady at US$35.43.

Energy prices were down slightly with Nymex crude last trading at US$108/barrel.

In regional equities, lenders in Hong Kong were mostly higher after reports that Chinese regulators had allowed banks to continue lending to local governments for specific projects and perhaps further easing of lending to come.

Official Chinese PMI numbers to be released on Thursday will be a good read into output and manufacturing sentiment. Next week will see the all important Chinese CPI figures released, due on 9th March, with a rate below 4.5% expected to pave the way for more easing.

In other regional economic news, Japan’s retail sales exceed market consensus estimate in January, rising by 1.9% on the same period last year and following on from a 2.5% rise in December.

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