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90 seconds at 9 am: Risk off as commodities weaken; oil inventories rise; gold falls; AUD falls; US durable goods orders rise
Here's our summary of the key news overnight in 90 seconds at 9 am, including news that commodity prices fell in overnight trading as risk was shunned by markets.
Our dollar fell 50 bps to US$0.8160, but the falls were sharper for the Aussie and Canadian dollars. The change in fortunes in Australia has them worrying about whether they can actually record a budget surplus this year.
Gold was down US$30/ounce, and oil also took a tumble. In fact, the latest release of oil inventory data show strong rises in the US and France, and a slew of countries are considering releasing stocks from their strategic supplies.
Stocks fell in the US, down sharply by almost 1% to just over the 13,070 level in late trading. But that was despite a relatively positive durable goods orders report in the US - up 2.2% in February and a sharp recovery from a weak January result.
Meanwhile, in a move that underscores the changing fortunes of the world order, China has said it is keen to contribute to a fund to bail out the euro zone, and showing a growing interest in playing a bigger role in the global economy as its financial strength grows. Europe requires a bailout package of US$1 trillion, for which the international community needs to pitch in with US$500 billion. Russia and Brazil have also signalled they will help, and New Zealand will likely participate through the IMF.
Today we get the latest readings on business confidence, and we will be reading the tea leaves on the latest results from the world-wide operations of NZ richest man - or is that, NZ's most indebted man - Graeme Hart and his Reynolds and Pactiv operations, and how they are handling their enormous debt load of junk bond funding.