A degree of normality returned to the Asian session with smaller ranges for most major FX but a hefty one for yen. USD/JPY recorded lows for the session circa 133.05 before moving higher to approach, but not quite reach, 134.00. There was little to point to as a fresh smoking gun for the yen weakness.

Elsewhere the USD gained against EUR, AUD, GBP but in more limited ranges. Again, fresh news of much substance was absent.

On the data front the focus was the Australian February Business Survey from National Australia Bank. Confidence dipped back into net pessimism (below zero) but business conditions remained very solid indeed, down just a point from the January reading at a still strong 17. We had lower-tier data from Australia also, weekly and monthly consumer confidence readings. Both remained very weak. The monthly is stumbling along close to 30-year lows.

Traders are awaiting US inflation data due later today, 8.30 am US Eastern time.

Yields continued to slip, Australian, New Zealand and Japanese all lower again during the session. Yields on the 2-year UST rose a touch, albeit after its huge plunge Monday.

Asian equity markets:

  • Japan’s Nikkei 225 -1.9%

  • China’s Shanghai Composite -0.9%

  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng -1.9%

  • South Korea’s KOSPI -1.9%

  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 -1.5%