Asia markets on course to end upbeat week with losses

A passerby looks at a panel displaying the falling Hang Seng Index in response to British exit from the European Union, in Hong Kong, China June 24, 2016. — Reuters pic
A passerby looks at a panel displaying the falling Hang Seng Index in response to British exit from the European Union, in Hong Kong, June 24, 2016. — Reuters pic

HONG KONG, Aug 10 — Most Asian markets dipped today after a broadly positive week as traders await the latest developments in the China-US trade row, while the dollar retained its strength ahead of a key report.

After last week’s turmoil, the past five days have seen investors a little more positive as they took in stride tit-for-tat threats of tariffs from the world’s top two , though the fears of an all-out trade war are keeping everyone on their toes.

In morning trade Hong Kong was up 0.1 per cent, extending gains into a fifth straight day, while Shanghai gained 0.2 per cent. Wellington and Jakarta were also higher.

But Tokyo shed 0.5 per cent by the break despite data showing the Japanese economy grew more than expected in the second quarter. The outlook was dimmed by concerns about a trade war with the United States.

Sydney was down 0.1 per cent, shed 1.3 per cent and Seoul dropped 0.6 per cent.

The tepid performance followed a broadly negative lead from .

With few major catalysts in the trade stand-off, focus is now on the release later in the day of US consumer price index data for July, which will give an idea about price pressures across the country and help guide the Federal Reserve in its interest rate plans.

‘Doves are hawkish’

The is tipped to lift borrowing costs twice more this year, having already hiked two times so far as Donald Trump’s massive tax cuts kick in and the economy continues to hum along.

Expectations for further hikes have sent the dollar rallying and the unit maintained its strength today after a top Fed official usually considered dovish indicated he would back more increases.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans backed “somewhat restrictive” rate levels to offset the fiscal stimulus, citing the possibility of inflation hitting 2.2 per cent. Evans had previously voted against hikes on concerns that inflation would not hit the Fed’s two per cent target.

“When doves are hawkish we have to take a little notice,” said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader.

While the dollar was struggling against the safe haven yen owing to the trade uncertainty, it was up or holding gains against most other units. The South Korean won and Australian dollar were 0.6 per cent down while Indonesia’s rupiah and the Mexican peso were also well off.

The Russian ruble tumbled again and is now five per cent down since the US on Wednesday hit Russia with new sanctions over its alleged involvement in a nerve agent attack in Britain.

And the lira was almost four per cent down around on tensions between Ankara and Washington over the detention of a US pastor.

Key figures at 0230 GMT

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.5 per cent at 22,494.33 (break)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.1 per cent at 28,628.07

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.2 per cent at 2,800.96

Euro/dollar: UP at US$1.1531 (RM4.70) from US$1.1529 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at US$1.2833 from US$1.2826

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 110.89 yen from 111.09 yen

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN seven cents at US$66.74 per barrel

Oil – Crude: DOWN 13 cents at US$71.94 per barrel

New York – Dow Jones: DOWN 0.2 per cent 25,509.23 (close)

London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.5 per cent at 7,741.77 (close). — AFP

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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