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Yen Rally Accelerates as Shocking China Export Contraction Adds to ECB Misery

The impact of dovish ECB quickly spread to the whole world. Following weakness in the US and Europe, Asian stocks tumble broadly today. Adding to the misery, China’s February trade data were shockingly terrible, recording -20.7% yoy contraction in exports. Weak export outlook adds to the case of “tough struggle” as described by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang earlier this week. Difficult export environment is a primary reason for lowering growth target to 6.0-6.5%, which lower bound is the slowest in three decades.

Stocks are additionally weighed down after Citic Securities surprisingly advised clients to sell shares of People’s Insurance Company of China saying it’s “significantly overvalued”. Some speculate that such a sell rating must be have greenlight from regulators. That is, the Chinese government could be seeing recent surge in stocks as overheating and prefer to cool it down into a slow bull market. China Shanghai SSE is currently down -4.19% as selloff as selloff accelerates. 3000 handle is lost.

In the currency markets, Yen is naturally the strongest one for today and the week. It boosted by both selloff in stocks as well as treasury yield. Acceleration is seen today entering into European session. Germany 10-year yield at 0.067 is now just 1/3 of this week’s high at 0.21. US 10-year yield also lost 2.7 handle. Swiss Franc follows as second strongest. Australian and Dollar are weakest ones.

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For the week, after ECB’s all-round dovish turn, Euro is undoubtedly the weakest one. Canadian Dollar follows as second worst after BoC dropped tightening bias. Yen and Dollar are the strongest.

Technically, EUR/USD took out 1.1215 to resume down trend from 1.2555. Focus is now on 1.1186 fibonacci level. USD/JPY broke 1.0098 resistance and is set to test 1.0128 key resistance. The most important developments to watch are in Yen crosses. EUR/JPY is now close to 124.23 support and break will confirm completion of whole rebound from 118.62 and turn outlook bearish. Both USD/JPY and GBP/JPY break near term trend line support already. Focus will be on 110.35 in USD/JPY and 144.84 in GBP/JPY.

In Asia, Nikkei closed down 02.01%. Hong Kong HSI is down -1.61%. China Shanghai SSE is down -4.40%. Singapore Strait Times is down -0.86%. Japan 10-year JGB yield is down -0.0266 at 0.036. Overnight, DOW dropped -0.78%. S&P 500 dropped -0.81%. NASDAQ dropped 01.13%. 10-year yield dropped -0.056 to 2.636. 30-year yield dropped -0.046 to 3.025, still above 3.0 handle

Here are some suggested readings on ECB in case you missed what happened:

China trade surplus shrank to $4.1B in Feb, US imports tumbled -35% yoy ytd

China’s February trade balance data is rather terrible. Trade surplus shrank sharply to USD 4.1B, well below expectation of USD 27.2B. That’s primarily due to steep contraction in exports by -20.7% yoy, largest decline since February 2016. The data could be distorted by the timing of the New Year. But January and February combined, exports still dropped -4.6% yoy while imports dropped -3.1% yoy.

Looking at some January and February combined details, trade with the US continued to deteriorate drastically . Total trade with US dropped -19.9% yoy, exports dropped -14.1% yoy but imports dropped -35.1% yoy. Trade with EU wasn’t too bad, still recorded 3.7% yoy growth in total trade, 2.4% yoy rise in exports and 5.7% rise in imports. One interesting point to note is that imports from Brazil jumped 33.5% yoy while imports from Canada rose 34.9% yoy.

Here are more details.

Japan Q4 GDP finalized at 0.5%, modest recovery with external risks

Japan Q4 GDP growth was finalized at 0.5% qoq, revised up from 0.3% qoq and beat expectation of 0.4%. GDP deflator was finalized at -0.3% yoy, unrevised. In January, overall household spending rose 2.0% yoy, beat expectation of -0.6% fall. Current account surplus widened to JPY 1.8T.

Japan Economy Minister Toshimitsu said Q4’s data showed modest recovery but weak external demand warranted attention. He sounded confident that steady recovery has been confirmed. However, the government is watching overseas risks including slowdown in China.

Vice Finance Minister for International Affairs Masatsugu Asakawa also sounded cautious regarding China. He noted that it’s “inevitable for Chinese economy to slow, with its potential growth lowering as a trend:. Though, he also noted that “it is unlikely to falter greatly as there’s room for authorities’ stimulus measures.”

EU Malmstrom urges US to do an industrial trade agreement to rebuild trust first

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom s