Safe-haven yen made gains on Tuesday after weak data from Asia, which sent Asian stocks lower, with China's exports plunging nearly 25% y/y, while imports fell by about 13%. From Japan, the economy contracted 1.1% in the fourth quarter of 2015, a big slide but still better than analysts' expectations of a 1.4% drop.
Yen hit a one-week high against the dollar at 112.78, before last trading at 113.03, up 0.40% on the day, while the euro gave up 0.30% versus the Japanese currency to hover around 124.57. Sterling lost 0.37% to move to 161.25, inching back towards a 2013-low at 154.72.
Oil prices gave up ground on profit-taking, with Brent crude futures skidding 50 cents, or 1.22% to trade at $40.34 a barrel, not far from a multi-year high hit yesterday at $41.04. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures similarly shed 43 cents, or 1.13% to move around $37.47 a barrel.
Asian shares headed south on Tuesday, with Japan's Nikkei index falling 0.78%, while Australian shares retreated 0.68%. China's Shanghai index edged down just 0.20%, South Korea's KOSPI index lost 0.60%, while India's Nifty index bucked the negative trend, rising instead 0.24%.
Wall Street closed Monday with mixed results, weighed down largely by tech companies, with NASDAQ Composite down nine points, or 0.19% to end at 4,708. Dow Jones Industrial Average added 67 points, or 0.40% to 17,073. Standard and Poor's climbed two points, or 0.10% to close barely above 2,000.
Investors wait for an array of data today, with the Eurozone's revised GDP reading expected to show a 0.3% quarterly growth, same as the previous reading, while the ECB is expected to ease policy any way this week, so the euro will remain under pressure.
From Canada, building permits for January are expected to have fallen 2.2% m/m, after surging 11.3% in December, which could have some mild negative effects on the local currency today.