Before the open - 08/08

The Nikkei erased early gains late last night after the Japanese Cabinet Office’s Eco Watchers Survey revealed a bleaker-than-expected view of the economy and its outlook.

The survey came in at 52.3 for the current view of the economy and 53.6 for the short-term outlook – below the respective 53.5 and 54.1 predictions. Markets were more or less unaffected by the widely expected decision by the Bank of Japan to maintain a massive monetary stimulus.

This was not enough to offset gains on Chinese indices, however, as copper hit a seven-week high thanks to the country reporting a 5.1 per cent boost in exports and a 10.9 per cent boost in imports in June following unexpected falls in both. This helped push the Australian dollar up 0.7 per cent to around 91 cents, given that China is the country’s biggest export market.

Chinese stocks would also almost certainly have been buoyed by signs of recovery from elsewhere in the world, notably the US and Germany.

South Korea’s central bank also decided to hold interest rates at 2.5 per cent for a third consecutive month as expected.

The FTSE is expected to open up this morning.

Key events today:

European Central Bank monthly report at 09:00.

US initial jobless claims for week ending 3 August at 13:30. A rise from 326,000 to 336,000 expected.

US continuing jobless claims for the week ending 27 July at 13:30. A fall from 2.951m to 2.950m expected.