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BOJ Holds Rates Steady, Sets Path for Further Stimulus

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Bank of Japan holds fire, markets are down, and it's another big day on the campaign trail. Here are some of things people in markets are talking about today.

Bank of Japan

The Bank of Japan kicked off a big week for central banks by holding policy unchanged while promising to add more stimulus if needed in its statement this morning. The yen strengthened in the aftermath of the decision, rising 0.6 percent to 113.10 per dollar at 9:50 a.m. London time. 

Markets are down

Markets in Asia dropped following the Bank of Japan decision with the MSCI Asia-Pacific Index down 0.8 percent while stocks in Europe fell from a two-month high and were 0.9 percent lower at 9:40 a.m. London time, with miners leading the declines. S&P 500 futures were 0.5 percent lower.

Another Super Tuesday

Donald Trump could take a huge step towards the Republican nomination today as five states including Florida and Ohio vote in primaries. Polling shows Trump is tied with John Kasich in his home state of Ohio and holds a sizeable lead over Senator Marco Rubio in his home state of Florida. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is expected to extend her already sizeable lead over Bernie Sanders. 

Commodities lower

Brent crude futures have followed yesterday's 2.1 percent drop with a fall of 2.8 percent by 10:00 a.m. London time this morning, with Iran's promise to expand production the main driver of the weakness. A median estimate of analysts in a Bloomberg survey suggests oil will struggle to get higher than $50 a barrel this year as U.S. shale drillers, which have increased efficiency, are in a position to quickly respond to higher prices with increased production. Industrial metals are also declining with copper down 1.1 percent while lead and aluminum fell. Gold is down

Coming up...

Ahead of tomorrow's Federal Reserve meeting there is plenty of data coming out in the U.S. At 8.30 a.m. ET the Commerce Department is due to release retail sales data for February with economists expecting a decline from January's numbers. Also at 8:30 a.m. we get the latest U.S. Producer Price Index and Empire State manufacturing for March.

What we've been reading 

This is what's caught our eye over the last 24 hours.

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