Off The Wire
Investors eye Aussie jobs data, digest Fed minutes
Aug 17 (Reuters) - A look at the day ahead in Asian markets from Jamie McGeever
An insight into health of Australia's labor market is the main focal point for markets in Asia on Thursday, with an otherwise light regional macro and corporate calendar allowing investors to digest the latest incoming signals from the United States.
Wall Street ended in the red on Wednesday, but stocks initially pared losses after minutes from the Federal Reserve's July meeting were published.
There is always something for everyone in these releases, but investors' initial take tilted towards the dovish side.
Will Asia's interpretation be the same?
The most immediate issue for markets is whether the Fed raises rates next month by 75 basis points for a third straight meeting, or by 50 bps. At the U.S. close on Wednesday, the CME's "Fedwatch" tool showed around a 60% chance of 50 bps, and 40% chance of 75 bps.
That was little changed from 24 hours earlier.
Meanwhile, investors await Australia's employment figures for July. They are expected to show the unemployment rate holding steady at 3.5% and a ninth straight month of job creation.
The Aussie dollar could be poised for a decent bounce if the numbers beat forecasts. It has fallen 2.5% this week, following a 3% surge the week before. It is on track for its biggest decline since January, and a soft jobs report could easily push it towards its worst week in a year.
China is scheduled to release July's foreign direct investment data this week, so that could come on Thursday.
Later in the U.S. session on Thursday, investors may get some clarity on the Fed minutes from Kansas City and Minneapolis Fed presidents Esther George and Neel Kashkari, who are scheduled to speak at separate events.
Key developments that should provide more direction to markets on Thursday:
Australia employment data (July)
Fed's George and Kashkari speak