- Asia's Central Banks Brace for Fed Rate Hike. Asia’s central banks are bracing for the Federal Reserve to lift interest rates this month for only the third time in a decade. Higher U.S. borrowing costs ripple through Asia by driving up bond yields, reducing the region’s appeal to foreign investors and thereby pressuring local currencies. In response, some Asian central banks historically have faced pressure to shield their economies with rate hikes of their own.
- Japan's Fourth-Quarter Economic Growth Revised Up to 1.2%. Gross domestic product expanded 1.2 percent on an annualized basis from the previous quarter in the three months through December, according to data released by the Cabinet Office on Wednesday (preliminary figure was +1%; median estimate of economists +1.5%).
- Japanese Stocks Follow Weak U.S. Trading Session. The Topix index retreated even as data showed Japan’s economy expanded more than initially reported in the fourth quarter. Australia’s equity benchmark index fell while South Korean shares gained for a third day. The S&P 500 is about 1 percent off the record high it reached on March 1 with the Federal Reserve all but certain to raise borrowing costs next week. The yield on 10-year Treasury notes was steady at 2.51 percent, while the dollar was little changed. The yen rose less than 0.1 percent to 113.93 per dollar as of 9:35 a.m. in Tokyo. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed on Tuesday. Japan’s Topix index fell 0.3 percent, dropping for the third time in four days. The S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 0.1 percent and South Korea’s Kospi index added 0.1 percent.
Wall Street Journal:
- Central Banks Ratchet Up Reserves. ‘External reserves are a form of insurance for sovereigns against crisis and defaults,’ says an analyst.
Earnings of Note
8:15 am EST
- Wikileaks Unveils 'Vault 7': "The Largest Ever Publication Of Confidential CIA Documents"; Another Snowden Emerges.
- Mexico's criminal and political worlds are shifting, and 2017 is off to the most violent start on record.
- Asian equity indices are -.25% to unch. on average.
- Asia Ex-Japan Investment Grade CDS Index 95.25 -.25 basis point.
- Asia Pacific Sovereign CDS Index 27.0 -.5 basis point
- Bloomberg Emerging Markets Currency Index 71.24 unch.
- S&P 500 futures -.19%.
- NASDAQ 100 futures -.19%.
Earnings of Note
8:15 am EST
- The ADP Employment Change for February is estimated to fall to 189K versus 246K in January.
- Final 4Q Non-Farm Productivity is estimated to rise +1.5% versus a prior estimate of a +1.3% .
- Final 4Q Unit Labor Costs are estimated to rise +1.6% versus a prior estimate of a +1.7% gain.
- Bloomberg consensus estimates call for a weekly crude oil inventory build of +1,148,500 barrels versus a +1,501,000 barrel gain the prior week. Gasoline supplies are estimated to fall by -1,560,880 barrels versus a -546,000 barrel decline the prior week. Distillate inventories are estimated to fall by -955,630 barrels versus a -925,00 barrel decline the prior week. Finally, Refinery Utilization is estimated to rise by +.11% versus a +1.7% gain the prior week.
- None of note
- The China Exports report, China CPI report, $20B 10Y T-Note auction, weekly MBA Mortgage Applications report, UBS Consumer/Retail Conference, (AXP) investor day and the (SWFT) Mid-Quarter Conference Call could also impact trading today.