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00:01 United Kingdom BRC Retail Sales Monitor y/y February +1.9% +0.9% +2.7%
00:30 Australia Retail sales (MoM) January -0.2% +0.4% +0.9%
00:30 Australia Retail Sales Y/Y January +2.3% +3.0%
00:30 Australia Current Account, bln Quarter IV -14.9 -15.2 -14.7
01:30 Japan Labor Cash Earnings, YoY January -1.4% -0.3% +0.7%
01:45 China HSBC Services PMI February 54.0 52.1
03:30 Australia Announcement of the RBA decision on the discount rate March 3.00% 3.00% 3.00%
03:30 Australia RBA Rate Statement March
The euro fell against the yen before data forecast to show the region’s economy shrank and as Italy edged closer to a new election after an inconclusive vote. In Rome, a top aide to Democratic Party Pier Luigi Bersani said another election may take place this year after passage of new electoral laws, while members of Beppe Grillo’s faction said they were considering a walkout aimed at breaking the gridlock. The euro area’s gross domestic product probably fell 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous three-month period, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News before the data tomorrow.
Italy, Germany and France will report monthly purchasing manager index figures for service industries today.
The yen strengthened against most major counterparts after testimony from deputy governor nominees to the Bank of Japan failed to raise expectations for expanded monetary stimulus. Kikuo Iwata, one of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s candidates for deputy governor of the BOJ, said in parliament today that the central bank must expand its monetary base and buy longer maturity bonds. He also said foreign bond purchases aren’t necessary at the moment though should remain as a policy option.
Demand for the Australian dollar was supported after the statistics bureau said retail sales climbed 0.9 percent in January, compared with the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey for a 0.4 percent gain. The nation’s Reserve Bank left its overnight cash-rate unchanged at 3 percent today.
EUR/USD: during the Asian session, the pair traded in the range of $1.3015-40.
GBP/USD: during the Asian session, the pair traded in the range of $1.5110-35.
USD/JPY: during the Asian session the pair fell to Y93.00.
UK services PMI at 0928GMT provides today's main focus, a weak showing expected to place market on a QE extension footing, though most do not expect the OE MPC to act Thursday. EZ services PMI data begins with Spain at 0813GMT through to EZ at 0858GMT and should provide the morning's action. EZ retail sales data then due at 1000GMT.
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