Asian stocks rise, dollar eases as markets weigh US rate outlook


SINGAPORE: Asian stocks rose on Thursday, with the Nikkei breaching a new 34-year peak, while the dollar took a breather near a three-month high as markets assess when the Federal Reserve is likely to start its easing cycle after a run of strong economic data.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.7%, with the IT index surging more than 2%.

Taiwan stocks spiked 2.6% higher, with chipmaker TSMC up nearly 8%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index eased 0.67% in early trading. China’s markets are closed for the week due to the Lunar New Year holidays.

On Wednesday, Wall Street ended sharply higher as ride-hailing platforms Lyft and Uber rallied, while Nvidia displaced Alphabet as the US stock market’s third-most valuable company.

Japan’s Nikkei remains on the charge and rose in early trading to 38,127, its highest since January 1990 and was inching closer to surpass its record high.

The yen edged higher but traded near the psychologically important 150 per dollar level.

The yen was last at 150.26 per dollar.

Asia stocks edge down; dollar rides Treasury yields higher

The 150 level on the pair has been seen in the past as a potential catalyst for intervention by Japanese monetary authorities.

It was just past this level that led them to intervene to shore up the yen in late 2022.

Data on Thursday showed Japan’s economy slipped into recession as it unexpectedly shrank for a second straight quarter on weak domestic demand, raising uncertainty about the central bank’s plans to exit its ultra-easy policy this year.

The market’s expectations for a March/April rate hike will likely die down, according to ING economists, who maintained their Bank of Japan call for a June rate hike but with the growing possibility of delay to the third quarter of 2024.

“Inflation is also slowly easing, which, combined with another year of solid wage growth means that private consumption is likely to rebound. If so, we continue to believe that the BOJ will deliver its first rate hike in June.”



Business Recorder – Latest News Asian stocks rise dollar

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Abu Hamza is member of Business Bee Staff

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