Asian share markets traded mixed as caution gripped investors in a week in which the Federal Reserve is likely to hike U.S. interest rates and perhaps signal that as many as three more lie in store for the rest of the year.
Jerome Powell heads for his first interest rate increase. The new chairman’s overriding concern will be to sustain one of the longest U.S. recoveries for as long as possible, according to conversations with Fed officials and analysts. But given signs that the economy’s potential has strengthened, that might mean a policy-tightening cycle that lasts longer, with rates going a bit higher than earlier thought. Powell was widely seen as a choice of continuity when President Donald Trump picked him. He served as one of the Fed governors during the central bank’s transition from crisis-era stimulus to a more balanced approach that led to three rate increases last year in response to steady growth and falling unemployment.
In the currency market, the dollar was a fraction firmer against a basket of currencies. EURUSD eased 0.2% to 1.2264. The cautious mood was evident in demand for the safe-haven Japanese yen which was climbing against a raft of currencies, including the euro and Australian dollar. USDJPY was 0.3% off at 105.70 near to its recent trough 105.25.
In commodities the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates slipped the precious metal by 0.8 percent last week and currently is traded at 1311 per ounce. Oil prices eased after ending last week with a solid bounce. Brent futures were down 40 cents at 65.81 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures for April, which expire on Tuesday, dipped 36 cents to 61.98 a barrel.
The economic calendar comes with major economic event with high impact which should provide moderate to high volatility. Data coming from the global policy-making body (G20 Meetings ) operating at the highest level, and their initiatives and policies can impact the currency markets.