U.S. Dollar Edges Up as Trade Optimism Fades; All Eyes on Fed Meeting
The U.S. dollar edged up on Wednesday in Asia as Sino-U.S. trade optimism faded following reports that U.S. officials are concerned Beijing might refuse to accept U.S. demands in trade talks.
The U.S. dollar index that measures the greenback against a basket of other currencies edged up 0.1% to 95.920 by 12:23 AM ET (04:23 GMT).
Some U.S. officials fear that China is reneging on certain trade concessions, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday afternoon.
Other reports said Beijing could walk away from talks amid growing mistrust the U.S. will not lift its tariffs imposed last year on Chinese exports to the United States.
The news came after the Chinese state-owned Xinhua news agency reported last Friday that the two sides are moving closer toward a deal.
Meanwhile, traders are closely monitoring the Federal Reserve policy meeting that is due later in the day.
With many market participants betting on an unchanged interest rate decision from the Federal Reserve, the central bank’s summary of economic projections are expected to garner the bulk of attention. Traders will also likely focus on whether the central bank would affirm its commitment to “patient” monetary policy.
GBP/USD: Pressure builds around 1.3250, UK CPI, FOMC in spotlight
- The US Dollar (USD) gains meet disturbing Brexit headlines to drag GBP/USD down
- The UK CPI and the FOMC meeting will be the key while news concerning Brexit deadline extension request could direct intermediate moves
The GBP/USD pair trades near the intra-day low of 1.3250 ahead of London open on Wednesday. The pair recently weakened as the US Dollar (USD) registered gains across the board ahead of the Fed meeting whereas Brexit headlines maintained pressure on the British Pound (GBP). Traders are also waiting for the February month inflation numbers from the UK.
Having witnessed rejection to propose the third Brexit deal in the UK parliament, the British PM Theresa May is finding it difficult to please domestic lawmakers. The latest reports from ITV mentioned that some of them are revolting over the delay in Brexit. News reports were also on round conveying that PM May will send a mail requesting an extension of Article 50 date from March 29 to the EU policymakers soon and the regional board is less likely to approve the same unless getting details of how the requested will be spent.
Investors remained cautious during early-day as they await key data/events from the UK and the US. Among them, British consumer price index (CPI) will be the first to be released at 09:30 GMT followed by the monetary policy meeting result from the US Federal Reserve at 18:00 GMT.
The UK CPI isn’t expected to deviate from 1.8% (YoY) during February but may register an improvement to +0.5% from -0.8% if observing monthly data.
The US Fed is likely not to alter the present monetary policy with 2.5% Fed rate. However, recent weakness in headline data might push the central bank towards cutting its quarterly economic projections. Additionally, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) might trim their 2019 rate hike forecasts from 2 in the December to only one rate-lift for the year 2019.
It should be noted that the EU summit will also take place on Thursday and PM May might try to send a written request for the deadline extension today in order to avoid further delay.
GBP/USD Technical Analysis
A decisive break of 1.3250 support-line stretched since March 12 can drag prices to 1.3215 and then to 1.3190 rest-points whereas 1.3150 and 1.3110 can entertain sellers then after.
Given that the buyers take control, 1.3310 and 1.3360 may become their nearby favorites while 1.3385 and 1.3410 flashing on their radars afterward.
Stock Market News
Shares of Sony and Nintendo tumble as Google unveils video game ambitions
- Shares of Nintendo and Sony took a hit following Google’s unveiling of its game streaming platform
- Google’s entrance into the console gaming sector has raised questions over the future of companies such as Sony and Nintendo, which have long dominated the space along with Microsoft
- One analyst, however, said the markets are “overreacting” to the news as “gaming is a very tough nut to crack”
Shares of Japanese video gaming heavyweights Nintendo and Sony tumbled on Wednesday following Google’s unveiling on Tuesday of its game streaming platform.
Nintendo, the storied game maker behind popular franchises such as “Pokemon” and “Super Mario,” saw its stock drop 3.21 percent on the day. Meanwhile, Japanese shares of PlayStation-maker Sony also fell 3.38 percent.
On Tuesday stateside, Google showed off its new game streaming platform, Stadia, which it claimed would allow people to play high-end games without shelling out hundreds of dollars for consoles or computers. Instead, all of the legwork to render those games will be handled by Google’s cloud, the company said.
Google’s entrance into the gaming sector has raised questions about the future of companies such as Sony and Nintendo, which have long dominated the space along with Microsoft. In particular, Sony and Microsoft are expected to announce more details about their next generation consoles in the coming months, with their current generation of consoles approaching the six-year-old mark.
The console gaming sector “remains a large and significant part” of the overall gaming market, Piers Harding-Rolls, director of research and analysis director of games at IHS Markit, said in a note following Stadia’s unveiling.
Citing IHS Markit data, Harding-Rolls said console content and services spend took up 25 percent of the $128 billion market in 2018. Global consumer spending on console hardware also reached $14.7 billion, bringing the overall console market opportunity to $47 billion.
Google’s foray into cloud gaming is unlikely to “dramatically impact the next cycle of console sales,” he said, though it might “start to pick up some users that are not ready to spend $400 on a new console at launch.”
Another analyst characterized today’s market moves in Tokyo as an “overreaction.”
“Google is a powerhouse and Stadia looks very promising, but gaming is a very tough nut to crack,” Serkan Toto, CEO of game industry consultancy firm Kantan Games, told CNBC in an email.
Questions also remained about issues such as Stadia’s cost, its availability and the cost of development and operations for game studios, he added.
“It’s not so easy to create a Playstation 2.0, even for Google,” Toto said.
FedEx cuts profit forecast again on economy, Express woes
FedEx Corp on Tuesday cut its 2019 profit forecast for the second time in three months, sending its shares down more than 5 percent and fueling fresh worries it is losing ground to delivery rivals such as United Parcel Service Inc and Deutsche Post DHL Group.
The profit warning and weak quarterly results were another blow to FedEx, which slashed its forecast in December citing a sharp downturn in worldwide trade.
The package delivery industry is widely seen as a bellwether for the global economy.
“Slowing international macroeconomic conditions and weaker global trade growth trends continue,” FedEx Chief Financial Officer Alan Graf said in a statement on Tuesday.
Executives also blamed the results on the cost of launching year-round, six-days-per-week operations at FedEx Ground in the United States and continued weakness in its international Express business, which includes former Dutch delivery company TNT Express.
FedEx bought that struggling business in 2016 for $4.8 billion and has had difficulties integrating it into its own network.
FedEx expects integration costs to exceed $1.5 billion and said in a regulatory filing that it will complete a project allowing packages to flow between the FedEx Express and TNT Express networks by the end of 2020, more than four years after acquiring the Dutch delivery company.
Adding to those challenges, a 2017 cyberattack on TNT’s European technology systems cost FedEx some $300 million to fix and sent a number of high-value, time-sensitive customers into the arms of stronger operators in Europe.
“It’s cutthroat over there,” said Cathy Morrow Roberson, founder of consulting firm Logistics Trends & Insights. “FedEx Express has some serious problems.”
Germany’s Deutsche Post DHL earlier this month said it saw no noticeable signs of a slowdown on the horizon, adding that its broad geographic and operational base would make it resilient even if global economic growth weakened. [L5N20U0TC]
Atlanta-based UPS has less international exposure than FedEx and said in January that U.S. results helped buffer the impact of global economic softening. [L3N1ZV4LF]
FedEx has shaken up management, including at its Express division, offered voluntary buyouts and limited discretionary spending to stem declines.
Profit for the fiscal third quarter that included FedEx’s peak holiday shipping and gift return season fell to $797 million, or $3.03 per diluted share, below analysts’ average estimate of $3.11 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
“It looks like UPS had a better holiday season,” said Morrow Roberson, who added that FedEx also pinned weakness in the quarter on costs related to leasing additional vehicles to handle volume spikes.
FedEx now expects to earn $15.10 to $15.90 for the 2019 fiscal year ended May 31. Analysts had predicted full-year fiscal 2019 earnings per share of $15.97, on average.
In after-market trading, FedEx shares were down 5.5 percent at $171.36.
Major Cryptocurrencies See Slight Gains, Palladium Hits $1,600 for The First Time
Cryptocurrency markets are mostly trading in the green zone, with Bitcoin (BTC) hovering above the $4,000 mark.
During the day, BTC has been trading in a narrow corridor between $4,031 and $4,082. At press time, the leading coin is trading at around $4,059, up around 0.62 percent on the day.
Today, major cryptocurrency exchange Binance announced that its new service “Binance Lite” will enable the exchange’s Australian customers to purchase Bitcoin with fiat currency from supported newsagents.
The second largest crypto by market capitalization, Ethereum (ETH), is trading at $139.88, having gained 0.19 percent on the day at press time. Today, the altcoin dipped to its lowest price point of the week at $139.15, following an intraweek high of $144.43 on March 16.
Ripple (XRP) is currently trading at $0.318, seeing slight growth in price during the day by 1.10 percent. The coin began the day at $0.314, while its highest price mark on the day was $0.319.
Stellar Lumens (XLM) — which was today added by major United States-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase — is trading at around $0.1138 at press time. The altcoin has dropped by 1.79 percent on the day.
On the health scale recently introduced by CoinMarketCap, XLM is sitting at the 725 points at press time.
Binance Coin (BNB), the native token of major crypto exchange Binance, has lost around 0.70 percent over the past 24 hours, and is trading at $15.53 at press time.
Earlier today, Binance Launchpad, Binance’s token launch platform, completed a $4 million sale of Celer Network tokens (CELR). The tokens sale was completed in 17 minutes and 35 seconds, with all 597,014,925 CELR tokens sold in a single session.
The total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is currently around $140 billion, down by around $1 billion from its weekly high of $141.5 billion.
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