Asian markets rise with eyes on China, Fed speech

Asian markets rise with eyes on China, Fed speech

All eyes are on US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell's speech at the Jackson Hole symposium
All eyes are on US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell's speech at the Jackson Hole symposium. Photo: MANDEL NGAN / AFP/File
Source: AFP

Asian markets rose Thursday after China unveiled fresh measures to boost its economy, while investors awaited a speech by the Fed chair that may hold clues about future rate hikes.

Central bankers are meeting in Jackson Hole in the US state of Wyoming, and all eyes are on Federal Reserve boss Jerome Powell's Friday speech for clues about its plans to tame inflation.

Market sentiment was also boosted by the Chinese government's Wednesday announcement of new policies to help sustain the recovery in the world's second-largest economy.

Asian traders on Thursday followed a positive lead from Wall Street, where the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 all closed higher.

Tokyo, Sydney, Shanghai and Singapore were up in morning trade. Taipei and Seoul also rose.

Hong Kong markets will hold a shortened session starting at 1 pm (0500 GMT), the city's stock exchange announced, after Typhoon Ma-On forced a delay.

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There are concerns that the Fed's fight against soaring inflation could lead to a recession in the United States, which could, in turn, hit a global economy still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.

"A slower global growth environment is not going away anytime soon and now we are clearly seeing broader signs of weakness for the US economy," OANDA's Edward Moya said in a note.

"Powell's fight against inflation might send the US economy into a recession late next year, but for now he needs to stick to the hawkish script and leave all options of tightening on the table."

China stimulus

Central banks around the world are trying to find a delicate balance between curbing inflation and avoiding recessions.

The challenge has been compounded this year by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has sent energy and food prices skyrocketing.

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Traders are also keeping an eye on how China will repair the economic damage from its strict Covid controls, a crisis in its property sector and power shortages caused by a record-breaking heatwave.

Fresh measures to shore up the economy were announced by China's State Council on Wednesday, including steps to encourage lending, consumption and investment, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

They also included support for electricity producers and agriculture, two sectors hit especially hard by the heatwave, though Xinhua's readout of the State Council meeting did not mention the extreme weather.

Crude traded higher Thursday with concerns building about global supplies after key exporter Saudi Arabia teased the possibility of production cuts and with talks ongoing about the resurrection of the Iran nuclear deal.

Key figures at 0300 GMT

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.6 percent at 28,471.61

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: Shortened session to begin at 0500 GMT

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Most Asian markets down as traders eye key Powell speech

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.1 percent at 3,218.19

Euro/dollar: UP at 0.9984 from 0.9967 on Wednesday

Pound/dollar: UP at 1.1817 from 1.1797

Euro/pound: UP at 84.50 pence from 84.49 pence

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 136.81 yen from 137.06 yen

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.6 percent at $5.45 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.7 percent at $101.93

New York - Dow: UP 0.2 percent at 32,969.23 points (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.2 percent at 7,471.51 (close)

Source: AFP

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