• USD up against JPY due to strong job data but lose to commodity currencies nevertheless
• US Senate passed the $1.9 trillion stimulus package on Saturday
• China’s National People’s Congress meetings in focus, setting the GDP goal at 6%
USD was up against JPY on Monday session in Asia, despite still falling against currencies of major commodity exporters. The reason being that investors are increasing their bets on those countries to benefit from rising prices on oil and metals as the global economy recovers and trade resumes. However, the dollar index was near the three-month high on Friday after the non-farm payrolls released and beat the forecasts by more than twice in size. In February, the US added 379k jobs, well above the consensus of 182k and prior release at 166k. Moreover, the unemployment rate fell to 6.2% from 6.3%. Thanks to the promising economic situation, investors are also cutting down their net short position against USD to $27.80 billion, lowest since December 15, 2020.
More encouragingly, the US Senate passed the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on Saturday, expected to reach Biden’s desk before March 14. Unemployment assistance will be extended, and most Americans will receive an additional $1,400 check within this month. The expectation is that the package will boost the equity market, support household spending, and help small businesses to grow. US equities last Friday rebounded with nearly 2% gains in most indices, yet APAC equities failed to follow the upbeat tone so far despite having experienced a temporary rebound earlier in the day. So far, both Hang Seng Index and Shanghai SE Composite are having more than 2% losses at press time.
In China, the National People’s Congress is holding its annual meeting in Beijing this week, during which policy makers will set the country’s development goals for 2021 and possibly beyond. Key highlights include the GDP target at above 6%, a much more conservative goal compared with external economists’ forecast at above 8%, as well as increases on R&D spending.
This week ahead, the European Central Bank (ECB) and Bank of Canada (BoC) will have their interest rate decisions upcoming, alongside US inflation and consumer sentiment data. ECB is expected to hold the rate unchanged and BoC is expected to respond to the recent surge in housing prices and inflation.