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Asian shares to digest Fed minutes as political turmoil weighs on the dollar

A rally in the dollar was halted on political turbulence stateside while investors digested the Wednesday release of the Federal Reserve’s minutes ahead of the Asia market open on Thursday.

President Donald Trump unexpectedly said on Wednesday he was disbanding two advisory councils comprising prominent business executives.

The move came after several members of Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum and Manufacturing Jobs Initiative councils stepped down following the president’s Tuesday press conference in which the president blamed “both sides” for violence at a white nationalist rally in Virginia.

The dollar fell against a basket of rival currencies following the latest political developments, with the dollar index standing at 93.541 at 6:56 a.m. HK/SIN after climbing as high as 94.145 in the overnight session. The greenback also weakened against the Japanese currency, fetching 110.08 yen compared to an overnight high of 110.23.

Minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s July meeting released on Wednesday also supported the move lower in the greenback. While some Fed members said they were worried over the tightening labor market, others voiced their concern over low inflation rates in the U.S.

In Asia, futures tipped a moderately lower open for Japanese equities. Nikkei futures traded in Chicago were down 0.12 percent at 19,705 and Osaka futures were off 0.05 percent at 19,720. Both were a tad below the Nikkei 225’s previous close of 19,729.28.

Australian SPI futures were 0.47 percent lower at 5,758 compared to the benchmark index’s last close of 5,785.102.

Indonesia markets are closed for a public holiday.

Equities on Wall Street closed slightly higher on Wednesday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.12 percent, or 25.88 points, to close at 22,024.87, the S&P 500 gained 0.14 percent, or 3.50 points, to end at 2,468.11 and the Nasdaq advanced 0.19 percent, or 12.10 points, to close at 6,345.11.

In corporate news, airline Cathay Pacific announced a first-half loss of HK$2.05 billion ($262.07 million). The company attributed its poor performance in the first half of the year to increased competition and higher fuel prices. Cathay Pacific also added in its release that it didn’t expect the operating environment to “improve materially” in the second half of the year.

Meanwhile, telecommunications operator China Unicom will raise almost $12 billion from investors such as Alibaba and Baidu as part of a push for mixed ownership reform. Shares of the company’s Hong Kong-listed unit were halted from trade Wednesday and will resume Thursday.

Shares of Tencent could also be set for moves during the trading day after the company’s second-quarter profit grew 70 percent to 18.23 billion yuan ($2.72 billion). Tencent is the company behind popular mobile game “Honour of Kings.”

Here’s the economic calendar for Thursday (all times in HK/SIN):

  • 7:50 a.m.: Japan July trade data
  • 8:30 a.m.: Singapore July trade data
  • 9:30 a.m.: Australia July employment
  • 10:00 a.m.: Philippines second-quarter GDP
  • 4:30 p.m.: Hong Kong July unemployment rate

Source: cnbc china
Asian shares to digest Fed minutes as political turmoil weighs on the dollar

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