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Asian markets mostly up on US, China stimulus hopes

September 10, 2012

HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly rose today, with weak data from China and the United States fuelling expectations for fresh moves to boost growth in the world’s two biggest economies.

The euro, which surged on Friday after the European Central Bank (ECB) announce a bond-buying plan to help under-pressure nations, eased slightly in early Asian exchanges.

Tokyo slipped 0.13% by the break, with a slightly stronger yen compounding figures showing the Japanese economy grew at a slower pace than initially thought.

Hong Kong rose 0.40%, Shanghai gained 0.30%, Seoul was 0.10% higher and Sydney was off 0.20%.

Regional markets saw big gains last Friday following the ECB announcement to buy sovereign bonds in a bid to lower borrowing costs for countries such as Spain and Italy, which are struggling under huge debts.

However, later last Friday the US Labor Department said just 96,000 jobs were added last month, convincing many that the Fed would act in its policy meeting this week to introduce another round of bond purchases, or quantitative easing.

“A lot of the buying activity we are seeing is based on the premise that we will see easing from the US this week,” said Tim Waterer, senior trader at CMC Markets in Sydney.

“Traders now think that it is not an issue of if we will see easing, but the scope of any plan,” he told Dow Jones Newswires.

The prospect of easing measures sent the dollar lower against other currencies, although the unit bounced back today.

The greenback bought 78.21 yen, unchanged from New York late Friday, while the euro was at US$1.2785 and 100.06 yen, against US$1.2811 and 100.21 yen.

On Wall Street the Dow closed up 0.11%,the S&P 500 gained 0.40 percent and the Nasdaq edged up 0.02%.

Expectations for new measures to boost growth in China were stoked after figures at the weekend showed industrial output growth weakened to 8.9% year-on-year in August, its slowest pace since May 2009.

With the economy expanding 7.6% in the second quarter of 2012 – the worst performance in three years and the sixth straight quarter of easing – economists say the government will likely act soon, possibly cutting interest rates.

China released more data today showing imports unexpectedly fell in August, showing softened demand at home and adding pressure on policymakers to act.

On oil markets New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in October, shed 14 US cents to US$96.28 a barrel while Brent North Sea crude for October delivery gained seven US cents to US$114.32.

Gold was at US$1,737.40 at 0320 GMT compared with US$1,694.85 last Friday.



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