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Marketmind: Taking the down under on Aussie inflation

Marketmind: Taking the down under on Aussie inflation
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People shop at the South Melbourne Market on the second day of eased coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown regulations set to curb the outbreak, in Melbourne, Australia, October 23, 2021. REUTERS/Sandra Sanders

 

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By Jamie McGeever

(Reuters) – A look at the day ahead in Asian markets from Jamie McGeever.

The global inflation focus turns to Australia’s November figures on Wednesday, and will shine a light on whether the previous month’s surprise slowdown was a one-off or not.

The annual rate of inflation unexpectedly slowed to 6.9% in October from a multi-year high of 7.3%, which is where analysts expect it to return to. Another downside surprise, however, and Asian markets could open with an added spring in their step on Wednesday.

GRAPHIC: Australian inflation (https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/byprlrlnwpe/AUDCPI.png)

The scope of inflation data this week is broad. Regionally, Australia’s numbers, punchy Tokyo data released on Tuesday and China and India’s December data on Thursday are the highlights, while the cherry on the global cake is the U.S. December report on Thursday.

U.S. and other central bankers insist they cannot let up in the fight against rising prices, despite growing evidence inflation has peaked. Among those warning against complacency is the Bank of England’s Huw Pill, who said on Monday that inflation pressures risked becoming permanent due to tight labor markets.

Consumer prices in Japan’s capital, a leading indicator of nationwide trends, rose 4.0% in December from a year earlier, the fastest pace in over 40 years and exceeding the central bank’s 2% target for a seventh month.

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s cash rate is currently 3.10% and money market pricing points to it rising to just under 4% by September. The Aussie dollar hit a four-month high of $0.6950 on Monday and unsurprisingly eased back on Tuesday ahead of the inflation figures.

Risk appetite should be pretty strong in early Asian trade on Wednesday after the three main Wall Street indexes rose between 0.5% and 1.0% on Tuesday.

World and Asia ex-Japan stocks are up 3% and 5.7% so far this year, respectively, and China’s Shanghai Composite index is up 3.8%.

Investors have clearly welcomed China’s relaxed COVID-19 policies, but the optimism may be tempered a bit by Beijing suspending the issuance of short-term visas in South Korea and Japan in retaliation against countries that required negative COVID-19 tests from Chinese travelers.

Three key developments that could provide more direction to markets on Wednesday:

– Australia inflation (December)

– South Korea unemployment (December)

– Japan leading indicator (November)

Source: Investing.com

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