Asian markets follow Wall St higher as US inflation eases

Asian markets follow Wall St higher as US inflation eases

Investors will closely following Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's trip to China this week, with ties between the two countries strained by a number of key issues
Investors will closely following Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's trip to China this week, with ties between the two countries strained by a number of key issues. Photo: STEFANO RELLANDINI / AFP
Source: AFP

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Data showing inflation easing further boosted Asian markets Monday, fuelled by hopes central banks could be nearing the end of their interest rate hiking cycle.

All three main indexes on Wall Street rallied Friday -- with Apple ending above the $3 trillion capitalisation mark for the first time -- on the report, setting up a positive start to the week for Asian investors.

News that the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index -- the Federal Reserve's favoured gauge -- had dropped sharply provided some relief for traders after a series of forecast-beating indicators suggested the economy remained in rude health.

A strong read on economic growth and a fall in jobless claims had fanned expectations the Fed would have to keep hiking borrowing costs in order to get a grip on prices.

The PCE figure came along with news that eurozone inflation had also eased, thanks to a drop in energy costs.

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Markets swing as US data is tempered by rate hike worries

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq chalked up big gains to end a strong first half of the year, even after a series of rate hikes as well as a regional banking crisis.

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Among the best performers were tech firms, and Friday's close saw Apple become the first firm to end above $3 trillion market capitalisation.

The strong performance filtered through to Asia, where tech was also a big winner.

Hong Kong and Seoul rose more than one percent, while Shanghai, Sydney, Taipei, Manila and Jakarta were also on the front foot.

Tokyo was also sharply higher as the Bank of Japan's closely watched Tankan survey of confidence among the country's largest manufacturers rose for the first time in seven quarters.

However, analysts warned that the PCE figure was welcomed on trading floors but Fed officials would not likely be swayed by one reading, and the bank is tipped to resume hiking this month after pausing in June.

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Most markets rise as traders weigh central bank rate plans

"Whilst the data is seemingly travelling in the right direction (lower inflation), it is too soon for the Fed to ring the bell and claim a job well done," said National Australia Bank's Rodrigo Catril.

This week sees the release of US jobs creation as well as a visit to China by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

She is expected to talk about the importance for both sides "to responsibly manage our relationship, communicate directly about areas of concern, and work together to address global challenges", the Treasury Department said.

The July 6-9 trip comes just weeks after Secretary of State Antony Blinken met China's top leader President Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Qin Gang in Beijing in June.

Key figures around 0230 GMT

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.6 percent at 33,704.73 (break)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 1.1 percent at 19,117.54

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.6 percent at 3,221.98

Read also

Markets mixed as upbeat US data plays against rates outlook

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0909 from $1.0912 on Friday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2699 from $1.2696

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.90 pence from 85.92 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 144.59 yen from 144.33 yen

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.1 percent at $70.55 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.1 percent at $75.36 per barrel

New York - Dow: UP 0.8 percent at 34,407.60 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.8 percent at 7,531.53 (close)

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Source: AFP

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