U.S.-China tensions, RBA rate decision, currencies in focus

Stocks in Asia Pacific were set to open higher on Tuesday as tensions between the U.S. and China continue to linger.

Futures pointed to a higher open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 22,135 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 22,210. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 22,062.39.

Shares in Australia were also set to edge higher, with the SPI futures contract at 5,837, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 5,819.20. The Reserve Bank of Australia is set to announce its interest rate decision at 12:30 p.m. HK/SIN.

Developments on recent tensions between the U.S. and China will likely continue to be watched by investors on Tuesday.

Reuters reported Monday, citing sources, that China has told state-owned firms to pause on purchases of soybeans and pork from the U.S. That came on the back of U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent announcement that he would begin taking action to eliminate Hong Kong’s special treatment, following China’s approval of a controversial new national security bill for the city.

Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 91.91 points, or 0.4%, to close at 25.475.02. The S&P 500 added 0.4% to close at 3,055.73 while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.7% to end the session at 9,552.05. The S&P 500 closed at its highest level since early March while the Nasdaq ended the session at levels not seen since late February. 

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.830 after slipping from levels above 98 seen earlier.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.54 per dollar after weakening from levels around 107.4 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6787 after seeing levels below $0.657 last week.

What’s on tap for Tuesday:

  • Australia: Reserve Bank of Australia interest rate decision at 12:30 a.m. HK/SIN

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