Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Markets in Asia were mostly lower in overnight trading, with the Nikkei dropping 2.1 per cent and the Shanghai Composite falling 0.1 per cent. European markets are mostly higher with the exception of Italy, currently down 0.1 per cent. In the United States, futures point to a flat open.
- Japan’s Tankan survey of business conditions for manufacturers rose to -8 in the first quarter from -12 in Q4 2012, but economists had expected an advance to -7. Similarly, the outlook for manufacturers rose to -1 from -10, but fell short of expectations of a +1 index reading. For the services sector, the current conditions index rose to 6 from 4, short of expectations of an 8 reading, while the outlook index rose to 9 from 3, missing expectations of an advance to 11.
- China’s official manufacturing PMI rose to 50.9 from 50.1 last month, short of expectations of a rebound to 51.2 on the index. HSBC’s China manufacturing PMI rose to 51.6 from 50.4, matching expectations.
- South Korean exports, known as the “economic canary in the coalmine” because of their dependence on China and Japan, rose 0.4 per cent in March, well short of the 1.4 per cent gain expected by economists. However, South Korea PMI rose to 52.0 in March from 50.9 in February, indicating an accelerating pace of expansion in manufacturing activity.
- Greece PMI tumbled to 42.1 in March from 43.0 in February, indicating an accelerating pace of an already-severe contraction in manufacturing activity there. Tomorrow, we get PMI data for the rest of the euro zone, and economists mostly expect lower or unchanged readings from last month.
- After significant sales by emerging market central banks in 2012, the euro’s share of global currency reserves fell to 24 per cent, the lowest level since 2002 and well below the 2009 peak of 31 per cent, according to new data from the IMF.
- Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard is expected to propose a plan for direct convertibility between the Australian dollar and the Chinese yuan – thus bypassing the U.S. dollar in trade between the two countries – during a trip to China this weekend.
- Markit’s final March reading of U.S. PMI is due out at 8:58 AM ET. Economists predict the index will edge up to 55.0 from the 54.9 flash estimate published by Markit earlier this month. In February, the index was at 54.3.
- The U.S. ISM manufacturing index for the month of March is released at 10 AM ET. Economists expect the index to moderate to 54.0 from 54.2 last month, indicating a slowing yet robust pace of expansion in American manufacturing activity.
- Also out at 10 AM ET are February construction spending data. Economists predict construction spending grew 1 per cent after falling 2.1 per cent in January. Follow all of the data LIVE on Business Insider >
- BONUS: Lindsay Lohan says she will agree to rehab as long as she can still take her Adderall, TMZ reports.
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