Shanghai led a broad rally across Asian stock markets yesterday on hopes China will unveil fresh economy-boosting measures, while the dollar’s early strength waned through the day.
Chinese growth has levelled out this year after a painful slowdown, but there are hopes officials will push on with spending measures and reforms, particularly of giant state-owned firms.
“Stabilisation in (China’s) third-quarter economic data has provided support to the broader market,” Wang Zheng, Shanghai-based chief investment officer at Jingxi Investment Management, told Bloomberg News.
“Some big state-owned enterprises are doing well as there is speculation that the government will accelerate their consolidation to improve efficiency and boost infrastructure spending to further bolster economic growth.”
The upbeat outlook helped push Shanghai up 1.2% by the close, while Hong Kong was 1% higher.
Tokyo ended up 0.3%, Seoul gained 0.7% and Singapore was 0.7% higher in late trade.
However, Sydney dipped 0.4%.
In early European trade, London gained 0.4% while Frankfurt and Paris each increased 0.3%.
On currency markets the dollar retreated after a promising start that was fuelled by growing expectations of a US interest rate rise by year-end.
With the US economy showing increasing signs of recovery, experts say a Federal Reserve increase in December is all but certain. However, traders cashed in after the greenback’s morning gains.
In afternoon Asian trade the dollar was well down from the ¥104 levels flirted with earlier, while the pound climbed back above $1.22.
The euro edged up but was also struggling after Friday’s sell-off fuelled by speculation the European Central Bank would unveil fresh stimulus measures in December.
The US unit was also down against most high-yielding and riskier currencies, having been up in the morning.
The Australian dollar, South Korean won and Malaysian ringgit all rebounded healthily.
But the yuan fell to a six-year low against the dollar.
Speeches by several Fed officials later in the week will be pored over for more clues about the bank’s plans for rates, particularly the pace of any further rises next year.
Dealers are also keeping an eye on the upcoming US presidential election.
While market favourite Hillary Clinton is well ahead in most opinion polls, Stephen Innes, a senior trader at OANDA, warned of an equity rout if they are wrong and her firebrand opponent Donald Trump wins on November 8.
On oil markets both main contracts were virtually flat.
Iraq’s oil minister said that it should be exempted from Opec’s planned output cut because it is waging a war with militants. However, that was weighed by comments by Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, that the current cycle of falling prices is close to an end as market fundamentals improve.
In Seoul troubled shipping company Hanjin collapsed almost 14% at one point after it said it would close its European business.
The firm said it had applied for court approval to close all of its European units in more than 10 countries including Germany, where it has its regional headquarters.
It finally closed down 11.8%.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 up 0.3% at 17,234.42 points; Hong Kong — Hang Seng up 1.0% at 23,604.08 points and Shanghai — Composite up 1.2% at 3,128.25 points at the close yesterday.
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