The USD saw a pretty much across-the-board bout of weakness. EUR, AUD, GBP, CAD, even yen all gained albeit in small ranges. The move came after Chinese economic data for February were announced. These were a little mixed compared to expectations but did come in better than previous.

NZD/USD had joined in the bounce but lost bids on the news that S&P said the country’s ratings could be pressured by NZ’s poor external imbalance. Earlier in the session the Q4 current account was published, much worse than expected.

The People’s Bank of China announced a one-year injection of funds via its regular Medium-term Lending Facility (MLF) operation. The rate was unchanged from the February MLF injection and is a heads up to an expected unchanged rate on one- and five-year Loan Prime Rates that’ll be set on March 20.

On the crypto front, Coinbase announced that says customers in Singapore can now transfer funds to and from their Coinbase accounts using any bank in Singapore. Standard Chartered will facilitate the transfers.

We had the private survey of oil inventory after the US close. Also in the news on oil were remarks from Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman vowing to keep the cartel’s oil output cuts in place until the end of this year. Oil recovered some ground after its Tuesday slump.

Banking related stocks were generally firmer across the region as contagion fears from the US bank collapses receded.

Asian equity markets:

  • Japan’s Nikkei 225 +0.3%

  • China’s Shanghai Composite +0.7%

  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng +1.4%

  • South Korea’s KOSPI +1.7%

  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 +0.6%


oil opec wrap 15 March 2023