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Wall Street, Australia-China relations, currencies in focus

Stocks in Asia Pacific were set for a lower start as the S&P 500 stateside rose to a new record overnight.

Futures pointed to a lower open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 23,050 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 23,040. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 23,051.08.

Shares in Australia were also poised to decline. The SPI futures contract was at 6,062.0, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 6,123.40.

On the economic data front, Japan’s trade data for July is expected to be released at around 7:50 a.m. HK/SIN on Wednesday.

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 erased its coronavirus losses as it rose to an all-time high. The broader market index advanced 0.2% to 3,389.78, a record close. It also touched an intraday all-time high, reaching 3,395.06 earlier in the trading day stateside. The Nasdaq Composite also hit a record, gaining 0.7% to finish its trading day at 11,210.84. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 66.84 points, or 0.2%, to close at 27,778.07.

Investors will also likely continue to monitor developments in Australia-China relations. On Tuesday, China’s Ministry of Commerce said it is launching an anti-dumping investigation into some wines imported from Australia.

“Australia-China relations continue to sour, this time over wine,” Tapas Strickland, director of economics at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note.

“The investigation is widely interpreted in Australia as being symptomatic with the deteriorating Australia-China bilateral relationship,” Strickland said, though he highlighted that “wine exports to China comprised just 0.7% of total trade with China in 2019.”

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.271 after declining from levels above 92.5 earlier.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.34 per dollar after strengthening from above 105.6 against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar was at $0.7247, having risen from levels below $0.72 seen earlier this week.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

  • Japan: Trade data for July at 7:50 a.m. HK/SIN

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