Holidays in the US (President’s Day) and Canada (Family Day) kept activity muted, with the regional currencies/economies taking the focus, for a change.
Thai growth beats forecast
Thai economy grows faster than expected in the fourth quarter, gaining 0.8% quarter-by-quarter and 3.7% from a year earlier. This compared with forecasts of +0.7% and +3.6%, respectively. Thailand’s exports, for a long time the pillar of economic growth, suffered amid the US-China trade wars and a global slowdown, but this was compensated by a pickup in domestic demand. Growth for the full year was confirmed at +4.1% y/y.
The Thai baht appreciated to near its highest level in 10 months versus the US dollar and has risen 3.44% since the start of the year.
USD/THB Daily Chart
The local currency may struggle to maintain the recent momentum as the country approaches uncertain times as a general election is due to be held next month for the first time since the military took over in 2014.
All quiet on the Eastern front
It was a slow, lackluster day’s trading in Asia, with investors and traders keeping one eye on the US holiday later today, with the volume and liquidity concerns associated with it. The risk mood was generally bullish, with the Aussie eking out small gains versus the US dollar, but seemingly lacking the momentum to convincingly test the 55- and 100-day moving averages at 0.7157 and 0.7164, respectively.
AUD/USD Daily Chart
The yen fell marginally versus the US dollar and equity indices traded mostly in the black. China shares rebounded 1.1% after Friday’s 1.3% fall, while the US30 index climbed 0.13% higher.
The only data release during the Asian session was Japan’s machinery orders for December. They fell 0.1% m/m, well below economists’ estimates of a 3.5% gain and the first decline in three months.
UK house prices on tap.
The only other data release for the rest of the day is the UK’s Rightmove house price index for February, which is expected to rise 0.7% from a month earlier and 0.2% y/y.
The full MarketPulse data calendar can be viewed at https://www.marketpulse.com/economic-events/
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