There's not much news to start the second week of 2009.

Currencies dominated by commodity currency weakness and yen strength. The dollar advanced 2.6% against the Aussie dollar, 2.1% relative to the kiwi, 1.5% against sterling, 0.9% against the Canadian dollar and 0.4% against the Swiss franc. The yen is 0.4% stronger against the dollar.

Oil slumped 4.3% to $39.07 per barrel despite continuing conflict in Gaza. Gold lost 1.0% to $846.20 per ounce.

Japanese markets were closed for the Coming of Age Holiday. Elsewhere in Asia, stocks fell 3.2% in India, 2.8% in Hong Kong, 2.1% in South Korea, 1.7% in Singapore and 1.4% in Thailand. Australian share prices fell 1.4%. In Europe, the Dax is down 0.5%, and the Ftse and Cac40 are off 0.2%.

Sovereign bond yields edged higher in Germany and Britain.

A press report claims the China posted a $39 billion trade surplus in December, bringing the 2008 surplus to $295.5 billion, 12.7% wider than in 2007. Exports slid 2.8% year-on-year in December but rose 17.2% in 2008. Imports plunged 21.3% y/y in December but gained 18.5% last year. Chinese car sales fell 8% y/y in December but rose 7.3% in 2008.

Australian job ads fell 9.7% last month. Newspaper ads dropped by a record 51.8%, foreshadowing a severe turn for the worse in unemployment this year.

Another mini-devaluation of 1.3% was engineered in the Russian rouble to 35.77 against its basket. Russian consumer prices rose 0.7% last month and 13.3% in 2008.

Industrial production growth in India of 2.4% in the year to November after a dip of 0.3% in October exceeded expectations.

South Korean exports posted a 39.3% on-year drop in the first third of January.