Asian markets extend Wall Street rally as China eases curbs
HONG KONG – Asian markets rose Monday as investors rediscovered some verve after the release of healthy US data and as China eases some of its strict Covid curbs in Shanghai and Beijing, lifting hopes for the world’s number two economy.
The gains extended a positive end to last week for global equities with some commentators saying there was a growing hope that the months-long sell-off may have run its course.
Wall Street provided a strong lead and snapped a series of weekly losses, with Friday’s rally supported by data showing an easing of the key personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index.
Markets have been pummelled this year as soaring prices — caused by the Ukraine war, supply chain snags and China’s lockdowns among other things — forced central banks to hike interest rates and warn of more to come.
The US reading lent hope that the worst of the inflation surge may have passed and could allow the Federal Reserve to ease back from its hawkish rate hike drive later in the year.
May jobs data — due for release on Friday — should provide a fresh snapshot of the economy and possibly provide an idea about the Fed’s next policy moves.
Asian investors followed the lead from their US counterparts.
Hong Kong put on more than two percent after a strong Friday performance fuelled by a rally in tech firms, while Tokyo, Sydney, Shanghai, Seoul, Taipei, Manila and Wellington were also well up.
An easing of long-running lockdown measures in Shanghai provided a much-needed lift to sentiment, with China’s biggest city seeing a drop in Covid cases, while some curbs were also being lifted in Beijing.
Officials have also announced measures to ease the impact on the world’s number two economy, which has been hammered by the restrictions.
The possibility that the measures could be gradually removed helped oil prices rise, with Brent topping $120 for the first time in two months as traders bet on a pick-up in demand.
That comes as European leaders are said to be edging towards a deal to impose sanctions on imports of crude from Russia in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine.
Still, while optimism is higher on trading floors at the moment, it remains at a premium with inflation still elevated and borrowing costs expected to rise further, while the war in Ukraine and China’s still-struggling economy continue to drag.
“We are in the middle of a bear market rally,” Mahjabeen Zaman, of Citigroup Australia, told Bloomberg Television. “I think the market is going to be trading range bound trying to figure out how soon is that recession coming or how quickly is inflation going down.”
Key figures at around 0240 GMT
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 2.0 percent at 27,309.35 (break)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: UP 2.1 percent at 21,124.09
Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.5 percent at 3,147.15
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0750 from $1.0739 on Friday
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2649 from $1.2631
Euro/pound: DOWN at 84.97 pence from 84.99 pence
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 127.00 yen from 127.09 yen
Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.8 percent at $120.36 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.0 percent at $116.20 per barrel
New York – Dow: UP 1.8 percent at 33,212.96 (close)
London – FTSE 100: UP 0.3 percent at 7,585.46 (close)
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.