Asian stocks find footing but prevailing jitters keep dollar firm

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HONG KONG (Businesshala) – Asian stocks managed to recover some of this week’s heavy losses on Thursday, but were headed for their worst quarter since the pandemic hit, while the dollar hit a one-year high. was nearby, helping drive widespread safe-haven demand. and prospects for US rate hikes.

FILE PHOTO: Passers-by wearing protective masks are reflected on an electronic board displaying stock prices outside a brokerage, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan September 29, 2021. REUTERS/Issei Kato

US and European stock futures were also higher, with the S&P 500 E-minis up 0.8%, pan-region Euro Stoxx 50 futures up 0.76% and FTSE futures 0.54%.

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MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.33% but was still set for a 4.4% monthly decline and a 9.3% loss in the quarter.

It will be the benchmark’s worst quarter since the first three months of 2020, as COVID-19 raged across Southeast Asia and investors worried about slowing global growth, with China a particular concern. China’s economy has been hit by regulatory restrictions in the tech and asset sectors and is now facing power shortages.

China’s factory activity unexpectedly shrank in September, data published Thursday showed, but services expanded as the COVID-19 outbreak subsided.

However, analysts say the slow growth rate will put pressure on officials to relax the policy. It provided some relief to Chinese markets, with blue chips rising 0.6% and the Shanghai Composite Index up 0.7%.

“We believe China is on the cusp of a more cyclical policy easing amid a rapid growth slowdown,” Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a note.

Elsewhere, Hong Kong benchmarks fell 0.3%, hurt by declines in Chinese tech names, while Australia’s KOSPI rose 1.9% and Korea’s KOSPI 0.3%.

The other main pressure on investor sentiment in Greater China was developer China Evergrande, whose shares swing back and forth, and were down 4.2% in the past.

The company missed paying bond interest due on Wednesday, two bondholders said, missing its second offshore loan payment in a week, though the cash-strapped company is scrambling to meet its obligation in its domestic market. .

Nikkei lost 0.31% a day after Japan’s ruling party elected soft-spoken consensus-maker Fumio Kishida as its new leader and the country’s new prime minister.

dollar surge

In currency markets, the dollar was on strong gains recently in Asian hours with the index – which measures the US currency against six major currencies – at 94.304, from a one-year high hit overnight.

“The (dollar) is breaking out of key levels and there was no real resistance to the break, which lets you know there was real underlying strength,” said Chris Weston, head of research at Melbourne brokerage Pepperstone.

“Sometimes, it can turn out to be somewhat of a magic currency,” he said, pointing to the fact that it was backed by security-seeking global investors and that the Fed was trying to reduce its heavy asset purchases. was approaching.

“Furthermore, “the current US debt limit deadlock could increase financial market panic and support the USD in the near term,” CBA analysts said in a note.

US lawmakers continue to struggle to fund the government but face a Friday deadline to prevent a shutdown, something that also limited overnight gains in US equities.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury notes stood at 1.5167%, having changed little on the day, having risen sharply earlier in the week.

Oil prices eased, after official data showed an unexpected rise in US inventories, reversing a run of recent gains, widened losses.

Brent crude was down 0.5% at $78.25 a barrel while US crude was down 0.24% at $74.65. [O/R]

Spot gold was trading at $1,731.99 an ounce, crossing its seven-week low, but was still hampered by a strong dollar.

Editing by Sam Holmes

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