Dollar is mixed across the board, following losses after yesterday’s disappointing PPI numbers

In actuality, the Chinese yuan is topping the board (if you want to include it in) as the PBOC fixed the CNY stronger today in its daily fixing here. They set the USD/CNY rate below 6.5000 once again, and that’s enough to give markets a signal that they may be ready to let the yuan strengthen further against the greenback – though markets are still cautious. Not only that, China’s trade balance data came in with a larger surplus as well, but the devil may be in the details. I’ll elaborate more on that below.

Anyway, most major currencies are trading in a narrow range against the dollar to start off the day. The euro leads on the day, but not by much as we await US CPI data later on. Other currencies mainly traded sideways against the dollar.

Lagging behind are commodity currencies, as AUD and NZD in particular are failing to catch a bid in spite of the yuan’s strength. As I mentioned earlier, the devil is in the details. While the CNY strengthens to its best level since last September, the AUD and NZD aren’t following as the trade balance data earlier showed markedly lower imports.

A significant slowdown in China’s imports is a point of concern for growth across Asia and Australia as well (although steel and iron ore imports are still well @ +0.6% and +5.0% y/y respectively). Though this is only one month’s worth of data, but it’s the latest data point for offer heading into 2018.

As long as it’s only a hiccup, we should see the outlook for China continue to show signs of robust growth this year as well. But only time will tell. The report also shows that China has surpassed the US as the largest importer of crude oil in 2017.

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