It was an active post-FOMC/Powell session in Asia with plenty of news and data flow, and plenty of FX movement.

We kicked off with Q4 GDP from New Zealand, with the second consecutive quarter of contraction for the economy and thus a ‘technical’ recession. A ‘technical’ recession is a recession, commonly defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. NZD/USD dipped a little on the data release but soon bounced back as the US dollar continued its down draft after the Fed decision. More on the USD losses to come a little further down in this wrap.

Data flow from Japan was the next set of notable items. The monthly Reuters Tankan survey, which serves as a key indicator for the Bank of Japan's quarterly Tankan survey, due on April 1, showed that confidence at big Japanese companies rebounded to a three-month high in March, and the service-sector mood rose to a seven-month high.

Japanese February trade data followed soon after; exports grew for a third consecutive month on the back of shipments of vehicles. In less bright news imports missed expectations. More in the bullets above.

On the session USD/JPY fell away, below its US-time lows and to under 150.50 before seeing some sideways movement around 150.40. Later in the session we had verbal intervention comments from Finance Minister Suzuki and Chief Cabinet Secretary Hayashi. More on these in the bullets above, along with remarks from Bank of Japan Governor Ueda, who added some detail to the reasoning behind the Bank’s tightening move earlier in the week.

From Australia today was another stunning employment report. The unemployment rate plunged to 3.7% from the previous month’s 4.1% (admittedly there was a small drop in participation) with 116K jobs added. The 78,200 rise in full-time employment was the most in 11 months. The Australian dollar and bond yields jumped. Further support for AUD came from an ANZ forecast for iron ore to trade between USD 90-110/ton for the remainder of 2024.

From China we saw the People’s Bank of China injecting the least amount of funds through reverse repos in open market operations since August 11, 2023. Later was a press conference including the PBoC and State Planner (the National Development and Reform Commission of the People's Republic of China (NDRC)). Remarks from PBOC and NDRC officials were supportive and upbeat on the economy, with a PBOC Deputy Governor saying he expects around 8% nominal economic growth for China in 2024. Maybe he is overstating expectations because 8% nominal would be a huge win for China. Oil traders might like to pay attention to this also, it implies a huge demand for oil this year from China. Indeed, after dribbling lower the oil price found some stability here during the session.

Gold rose. Regional equities rose also, following the strong lead from Wall Street.

As mentioned earlier the US dollar lost further ground during the day, adding to its US-time fall.

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