Asian markets declined for the first time in the last few days, after a report showed that retail sales in the U.S. took an unexpected dive in March, while the Japanese yen strengthened again.

U.S. retail sales have a considerable influence over the Asian equity markets. Most Asian economies are export driven, while the U.S. economy is their biggest trading partner. The 1.1% decline in retail sales in March puts direct pressure on the Asian manufacturers, forcing companies to reduce the marginal revenue and thus the overall profitability. The biggest declines were seen in the electronic departments and in car sales, two of the main export markets controlled by Asian companies. 

Moreover, the yen’s strength over the last few trading sessions puts additional pressure on exporters, Trade Team notes. “Japanese exporters are being hurt by a strong currency right now. The Japanese yen advanced against a wide-range of foreign currencies, as the financial markets remain driven by risk-aversion. A strong currency usually erodes overseas sales.”

Intel, the biggest chipmaker in the world announced on Tuesday that its first quarter profit fell by 55%, on weaker sales. However, according to the company’s forecasts, things are expected to improve over the coming period. “Intel can be used as a very good gauge for the overall industry, since a staggering percentage of computers use Intel based chips.” Trade Team said.

Overnight, the Nikkei fell 86.88 points (0.98%) to 8,755.80. The Australian S&P/Asx gained 8.10 points (0.22%) to 3,761.00.

Crude oil for May delivery was recently trading at $49.05 per barrel, down by $0.30.

Gold for May delivery was recently trading up by $0.90 to $892.90.