Trump to replace Rex Tillerson with CIA director; US CPI up marginally as expected; Putin enemy found dead in London home; NZD strong; UST 10yr at 2.86%; oil and gold stable; NZ$1 = 73.3 USc; TWI-5 = 74.2

Here's our summary of key events overnight that affect New Zealand, with news of further shake ups in the Trump administration. 

The US President has used Twitter to inform his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, he's being replaced by CIA director and former Tea Party congressman, Mike Pompeo. The move is yet another example of Trump removing critics from his inner circle.

Tillerson, who had reportedly called Trump a 'moron', broke from the President by saying Russia was behind the recent nerve agent attack in Britain. He also clashed heads with the administration on North Korea, with Trump tweeting he was "wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man".

New data shows US consumer prices increased marginally, in line with expectations, in February. The CPI rose 0.2% last month, after jumping 0.5% in January. In the year to February, it rose 2.2%. The latest figures reflect a drop in the price of gas and a moderation in the cost of rental accommodation. While this is the latest indication an anticipated pickup in inflation is likely to only be gradual, any sign that inflation is set to spike, will again see markets get jittery. 

British counter-terrorism police are investigating the "unexplained" death of another one of Vladimir Putin's enemies. Russian exile and close friend of the late oligarch Boris Berezovsky, Nikolai Glushkov, was found dead in his London home yesterday. British police say there's nothing to suggest the death was linked to a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter. 

The OECD, in its latest 'Interim Economic Outlook, says it expects the world economy to strengthen this year and in 2019. It sees global GDP growth rising to 3.9%, from 3.7% in 2017, yet warns tensions around trade could threaten this growth. Overall the OECD sees private investment and trade picking up on the back of strong business and household confidence. It also sees inflation rising slowly. 

In New York, the UST 10 yr yield is down slightly to 2.86%.

The gold price is unchanged at US$1,319/oz.

The US benchmark oil price is down a touch to US$60.50/bbl. The Brent benchmark is stable at US$64.50/bbl.

While the main currency theme overnight was a weaker USD on the back of further change at the White House, the NZD still outperformed. It's up to 73.3 USc and 93.3 AUc and down to 59.2 euro cents. The TWI-5 is up to 74.2.

Bitcoin has fallen by US$18 to US$9,182.

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ForTrump to be president of the USA is an example that even democracy has flaws.

... yes , but under a democracy you only have to live with your mistake for a set period of time ... and then you can vote your flaw out ... and go on to make a brand new mistake .... President Oprah !

@Gummy bear .............. not in every "democracy' ......... Russia has had to Putup with Putin for the past 20 years almost , and so have other so called democracies like Iran , DRC , Zimababwe and Venezuela where there are elections , and a veneer of democracy .

I think Winston Churchill said that democracy had its flaws , but was the best option until something better came along ............. or words to that effect

At the time it was a bit of a mystery as to who exactly put in Putin. But those particular backers are either still happy or gone. Russia is conditioned to century on century of iron grip despotic rule. The Tsars were not much better than Lenin or Stalin, some of them worse if you look at the Jewish history there. What was seen as a lightening up with Gorbachev & Yeltsin simply did not endure as hoped by the western world.Talking to a Russian taxi driver in Chicago in 2002 taking his family back to Russia because there was now a strong man back in charge.

Arguably : "Indeed it has been said that democ­ra­cy is the worst form of Gov­ern­ment except for all those oth­er forms that have been tried from time to time.…"

And supposedly : "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."

Tillerson will just be grateful that Trump is his enemy as opposed to Putin who always wants to catcg up for a good old gas..

Why would Russia use gas? the guy spent six years in a Russian jail after been caught spying for the other side, he was paid by the UK. Then he went to the UK to live just like normal people. If Putin wanted him dead he never would have left jail. Then why use an indiscriminate method like gas?

Putin is scarring the hell out of the old guard

Indeed, why would the Russians do that now? Cui bono!

Listen to what George Galloway has to say about it, quite different from what is reported in the mainly anti-Putin western press.

First 7 mins on the poisoning of Sergei Skripal.

Second half on North Korea.

Perhaps he worked on t heSteele dossier? Then he would just be another dead body.

... this crime certainly has all the hallmarks of being a " false flag " ... but , that's never stopped the politicians or the journalists from concocting a hare-brained story before ... ay Boris !

So , if the Brits come calling for friends to join them in a trade blockade of Russia ... let's remind them of 1970 , when they joined the EU , and had a tariff ridden trade blockade of New Zealand laid upon them .. ..

... and lest we forget , during the recent " beast from the east " weather storm , Britain happily imported a whole ship load of LNG from Russia !

Europe needs Russian energy. The bear is bullish. Putin is enjoying himself. Who is to stop him?

Putin is a murderer ............ anyone who crosses his path winds up dead , poisoned , shot outside his or her home , shot in a park walking to work , or simply disappears .

Lets not forget , Putin is in his 60's , he is ex KGB , he was schooled during the cold war , his only source of reference is what he has learnt and experienced in his life .

He does not care about human life , just look at what happened in Chechnya , Ukraine , and now in Syria .

That was a party political broadcast from tired old Boomersville - still stuck in the Cold War era or is it the dementia unit?

Putin is far from innocent but putting that aside why does this feel like the 70s again?

The world is full of weak leaders and Putin like many in the past is taking advantage of it.

Putin needs to be liquidated. This is KGB getting what it always wanted - US UK tension. Trump went to the middle east and the Qatar blockade broke out. Now he's going to North Korea....?

Bizarre comment.

Yeah, ok maybe "liquidated". But this is exactly what the KGB always desired, to see Western world at each others throats and divided. Thanks for your feedback