Asian equity markets are strongly higher today after China's government pledged to boost its stakes in the country's banks. In turn, the Hang Seng is up 2.7% on the day, and the Nikkei s up 2% on the day. The positive tone to Asian trading has also no doubt been helped by momentum from yesterday's strong performance from European and US stock markets, all of which has been attributed to improving sentiment about the EU debt crisis.
Greece's Finance Minister Venizelos confirmed yesterday that the troika had concluded its discussions, and an official statement on Greece's eligibility for the next instalment of bailout funds is now expected earlier than previously thought. Importantly, the assessment from the troika will now be released before the next EU summit, as that has been pushed back from 17 Oct to 23 Oct.
In other positive developments, Australian business confidence rose from last month's unsavoury -9 level to -2; suggesting that the sell-off in AUD over the past month coupled with firmer demand has had a positive impact on corporate sentiment.
There's another relatively light data calendar today, with Swedish CPI and UK industrial production taking top billing. Sweden's CPI reading for September is expected to come out at 0.7% MoM, 3.3% YoY after last month's 0.0% MoM, 3.4% YoY print. Meanwhile UK industrial production is expected to slow by -0.2% MoM, -1.1% YoY - and consequently we are seeing GBP underperforming the majors somewhat this morning. Weaker industrial production data today would bolster the arguments for more quantitative easing from the BoE (after they increased the asset purchase target last week), and put further downward pressure on the pound going forward.