China data, dollar moves in focus


Asia Pacific markets started off the trading week mixed: Australian stocks advanced Monday morning while South Korean shares stumbled. The market in Japan is closed for a public holiday.

Australia’s benchmark ASX 200 was up 0.25 percent in morning trade, with most sectors advancing — the heavily-weighted financial subindex rose 0.63 percent, boosted by gains from the country’s so-called Big Four banks.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar traded at $0.7207 as of 8:14 a.m. HK/SIN, advancing from levels near $0.7120 in the previous week.

In South Korea, the Kospi declined nearly 0.2 percent in early trade as tech names in the country declined.

Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest smartphone maker, fell 1.23 percent while its chip-making rival SK Hynix declined 2.76 percent.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of its peers, traded at 95.666 while the Japanese yen, considered a safe haven asset, was at 108.46 to the dollar.

Concerns over an ongoing U.S. government shutdown and worries about an economic slowdown in China could dampen a relatively positive sentiments seen in markets last week.

Sentiment was buoyed by “soothing words” from Fed officials and rising optimism that Beijing and Washington would resolve some of their trade differences before a 90-day moratorium on further U.S. tariff action kicks in, Ray Attrill, head of foreign-exchange strategy at the National Australia Bank, wrote in a morning note.

The “expectation that the Fed is now on hold for the foreseeable future is firmly entrenched in markets,” analysts at ANZ Research also said in a Monday note.

On the data front, China is expected to reveal export and import numbers, which could provide investors further insight on the state of the Chinese economy. Recent economic data have all pointed to a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.

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