Asian equities and currencies rallied on speculation that rising profit levels in US companies are signaling demand for Asian exports and that Chinese steps to control inflation won't impact growth. Better than forecast earnings data from Apple and IBM saw the US stocks moving up supporting evidence that recovery is taking place and revenues will start pouring in. The Nikkei rose 0.3%, Hang Seng rose 1%, Shanghai rose 1.7% while the MSCI Asia Pacific index rose 1.1%.
The EURUSD moved up to a five week high on rising speculation of a sluggish housing and labor market in the US will keep the Fed's decision to keep interest rates on hold. The currency moved up to 1.3484, USDJPY dropped to a two week low of 82.13 as housing starts are expected to drop 0.9% to 550,000 while building permits expected to rise 2% to 555,000. We also have the US and Chinese premiers meeting today to discuss on Yuan strength and other economic factors related to growth and we are seeing the currency moving up to a 17 year high ahead of the meet.
AUDUSD rose to a two week high to 1.0052 before tomorrow's report forecast to show economic growth in China stayed above 9% and also on speculation that inflation has been limited and isn't slowing down growth. China is expected to show inflation cooled to 4.6% from 5.1% while GDP grew 9.4% even as the nation increased interest rates and bank reserve ratios. Earlier, the currency fell as consumer confidence fell 5.7% to 104.6 to the lowest in seven months on concerns of the economic impact of flooding on the economy.
Yesterday's EU finance ministers meet ended without any agreement on how to address deficiencies in the EFSF with Belgium saying that EFSF discussions are progressing, Germany saying that there is no urgent need to expand the current 750 Billion Euro rescue fund and are looking for a March deadline to expand, if necessary, while France said that the EU banking system will undergo another round of stress tests next month. UK numbers have been positive with inflation level risings and the currency rallying on a speculative interest rate hike due sooner than forecast and attention is diverted to today's unemployment report.
Focus remains on US housing market data for today while UK releases unemployment data and the EU releases construction data.