• Very quiet session in Asia ahead of Chinese New Year celebrations which start on Monday next
  • HSBC China flash PMI 48.8, compared with revised 48.7 last month (any number below 50 indicates contarction in the manufacturing industry)
  • Nikkei rises 1.25%; other regional bourses +0.5% on average
  • Gold $1656/oz; Oil $100.50/bbl
  • USD/CNY mid-rate 6.3138

The Asian market gave up the trading week a day early, with nothing of note happening. The upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations encouraged many to take an extra day off.

EUR/USD has traded in a tight 20 pip range between 1.2952/72. Option expiries at 1.2950 and 1.3000 (large) later tonight are encouraging tight ranges. The Indian central bank remains a big seller of EUR/USD on rallies as they rebalance reserves following intervention. There is talk of monstrous EUR/CHF stops below 1.2000 so care is warranted heading into the weekend.

AUD/USD has also been quiet although modest selling has been noted after the slightly disappointing flash PMI. Solid offers are noted near 1.0450 and buyers are also solid near 1.0350, implying we may get a few more sessions of stalemate. Ranges: 1.0397/1.0423

USD/JPY 77.03/20; EUR/CHF 1.2076/89; Cable 1.5474/95