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Caution continues

We’ve seen a fairly quiet Asian session in FX, with just further creeping strength in the yen the only factor of note. Stocks were mixed, with China little changed and Japan down around 1.3%. The concerns regarding the fragility of the Chinese economy continue, with the latest data on Industrial Profits showing a near 9% fall in YoY terms. This is the lowest reading for more than four years and continues the run of softer data The yen continues to be the safe haven of choice in this environment, with the Swiss franc and also US dollar both seeing monetary policy factors acting as a restraint. USDJPY has been trapped in a relatively tight range over the past month, but this safe haven dynamic suggests that we could see a sustained push below the 120 level over the coming month, especially if the Fed story continues to shift towards next year.

For the coming week, we see the US jobs numbers on the Friday, which no doubt will play into the thinking on whether the Fed may push rates up come the end of the month. The fact that month end falls on the Wednesday is also reason to enact some caution on that date given the propensity for greater volatility on that day. In emerging markets, India has a rate decision tomorrow where rates are seen being eased by 25bp. Although we did see some sort of recovery on Friday, the story of weak emerging market currencies continues through most of last week, with Asia and Latam the areas under most pressure. If these trends continue, then it will make it that much harder for the Fed to consider raising rates this year, not least because the dollar appreciation will have a dampening effect on the US economy.

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