Another lackluster start to the trading day as the majors dithered about in tight ranges. New Zealand's Retail sales for the second quarter rose +1.7% exceeding both estimates of +1.4% and last quarter's reading of +0.5%. Furthermore, core retail sales also beat expectations coming in at +2.3%. Though the RBNZ has all but promised to keep rates at their current levels for the remainder of 2013, the spate of stronger than expected economic data might force them to reconsider their stance. The market is beginning to price in a small chance of a rate hike as soon as this December but the more probable timetable is sometime in the first quarter of 2014.
Australia's Westpac Consumer Sentiment index for August rose by +3.5% to 105.7 as the combination of the latest rate cut and stabilization in the Aussie appears to have had a postive impact on sentiment.
Australia's hourly Wage Cost index for the second quarter came in as expected at +0.7% while the annualized reading was slightly weaker at +2.9% indicating that inflation is not an issue should the RBA decide to ease further.