Lackluster US economy dampens investor enthusiasm
The US stockmarket weakened, with a decline in the oil price and disappointing US economic data weighing on investor sentiment.
The Dow and the Nasdaq fell 0.2% and the S&P 500 eased 0.1%.
Softer investor sentiment boosted demand for safe haven US government bonds, pushing yields lower.
The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell 4 basis points to 1.75% and the yield on 2-year bonds fell 3 basis points to 0.73%. Chicago Fed President Evans (a dove) said a shallow rate-hike path is warranted, pencilling only modest increases this year.
He's looking for more evidence that core PCE inflation will reach the 2% target (it is currently running at 1.7% for the year to February).
Australian government bond yields (implied by futures) fell on Friday night, tracking the move in US government bond yields.
The US dollar index drifted lower. The Euro strengthened against the US dollar. EUR/USD rose from 1.1246 on Friday evening, to trade at 1.1296 at the time of writing.
Sterling also gained ground against the US dollar. The US dollar depreciated versus the Yen, which was boosted by safe haven flows. USD/JPY fell from 109.73 on Friday morning, to a 17-month low of 107.77 before edging back up to currently trade around 108.17.
The Aussie dollar weakened against the US dollar and the other major currencies on commodity price weakness and dampened risk appetites.
The oil price fell ahead of the weekend's producer meeting to freeze output. Disappointingly, no agreement on limiting supply was reached at the oil producer's meeting, which could further weigh on the oil price and investor sentiment today.
There was no data released locally on Friday.
The Chinese economy grew 6.7% in the year to March according to its National Bureau of Statistics.
This was down from 6.8% in the year to the December quarter and its slowest pace since March 2009. That said, an economy the size of China, growing at over 6%, remains a powerful force for global growth.
The IMF recently upgraded its forecasts for Chinese economic growth in 2016 and 2017. In other economic data, China's industrial production rose 6.8% in the year to March while retail sales were up 10.5%.
The trade surplus narrowed to €20.2bn in February, from an upwardly revised €22.8bn in January (previously reported as a surplus of €21.2bn).
Industrial production in Japan fell 1.2% in the year to February. This was marginally better than the 1.5% decline in the year to January. In the month of February, industrial production fell 5.2%.
Consumer sentiment fell to 89.7 in April, from 91.0 in March, according to the University of Michigan measure.
This was the fourth consecutive monthly decline, leaving consumer sentiment at its lowest since September.
Industrial production was weaker than expected, falling 0.6% in March, after declining 0.6% in February.
The New York Fed's Empire manufacturing index jumped to 9.56 in April, from 0.62 in March. This was the highest reading on the index since January 2015.