Crude oil resumes weakness after briefly recovering to 77.5 as strong data from the Eurozone eased concerns over economic slowdown. We believe oil price will remain directionless and hover around recent trading range for some time. Gold price is also a tad higher after Tuesday's selloff. Upside may be capped below 1180 and yield another leg of decline as near-term outlook remains fragile.
Germany's unemployment dropped -20K for a second month in July, compared with market expectations of a milder decline of -15K. Jobless rate fell to 7.6% during the month from 7.7% in the prior month. Economic confidence in the Eurozone improved to 101.3, the highest level since March 2008, in July from an upwardly revised 99 in June. Other indices, including consumer confidence, industrial confidence and services confidence, also improved from a month ago. Positive news triggered European bourses to move higher.
In Asia, stock markets struggled as the Fed indicated slowdown in US growth. While the MSCI Asia Pacific edged higher by +0.3%, Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index and South Korea's Kospi Index slipped.
The RBNZ raised the OCR by +25 bps to 3%. While the central bank noted global economic recovery, it stressed the outlook remained fragile. Domestically, demand was subdued with weakness shown in household spending, housing market and business investment. The central bank noted while GST hike will push headline inflation about 3%, there will be no direct impact on monetary policy. Moreover, the RBNZ explicitly stated that 'the pace and extent of further OCR increases is likely to be more moderate than was projected in the June statement'. This erased investors' hopes on further aggressive tightening in coming months.