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22 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Asian markets rise as focus turns to release of Fed minutes

AFP
Asian markets rise as focus turns 
to release of Fed minutes
Hong Kong led Asian markets higher yesterday as traders brushed off a retreat on Wall Street. AFP Photo

AFP, HONG KONG: Hong Kong led Asian markets higher yesterday as traders brushed off a retreat on Wall Street, with attention turning to the release later in the day of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s most recent policy meeting.

Trading floors have calmed down since the wild volatility that greeted the start of February, which was caused by concerns about the impact of higher US interest rates and Treasury bond yields.

While New York’s three main indexes ended in negative territory on Tuesday, Asian dealers were in upbeat mood, helping the dollar recover from recent losses against the yen, euro and pound.

Hong Kong surged 1.8 percent, boosted by energy firms after a recent run-up in oil prices, and further chipping away at the more than nine per cent losses during a torrid week earlier in February. It is now just over three per cent down from the levels touched before that sell-off.

Tokyo’s Nikkei ended 0.2 per cent higher.

Sydney gained 0.1 percent, Singapore put on 1.1 per cent and Seoul was up 0.6 percent. Wellington climbed 1.3 per cent and Taipei returned from a week-long Lunar New Year break to jump 2.8 percent.

Shanghai remained closed for the holidays.

The Fed minutes will be closely pored over for clues about the views of policy board members as US inflation edges up, wages improve and Donald Trump’s tax cuts come into play.

Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at OANDA, said: “US equity markets fell overnight on the back of higher US Treasury yields which are providing investors with more income than dividends on the S&P 500 Index.”

However, “while the prospect of higher interest rates will keep investors on edge, it’s not like we’re returning to double-digit levels.”

He added that even a rise in key US 10-year yields to 3.25 per cent is “unlikely to kill the equity market rally as the benefits from fiscal stimulus should continue to feed through the markets. Investors are banking on much higher returns from equities than bonds again in 2018.”

On oil markets both main contracts edged down on Wednesday after a recent series of gains as the dollar edges higher, while analysts say the output cap led by OPEC and Russia is helping to mop up the global glut that hammered prices in previous years.

Dealers are awaiting the release of stockpiles data from industry group American Petroleum Institute (API) later in the day.

“Should API release report on a fourth-week build-up in crude oil inventories, we can expect for a halt in the build-up of prices,” warned Avtar Sandhu of Phillip Futures.

In early European trade London dipped 0.1 per cent, Paris shed 0.3 per cent and Frankfurt gave up 0.2 per cent.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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