Asia stocks rebound from 3.5-month lows as trade fears ease

An investor looks at computer screens showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai May 6, 2019. — Reuters pic
An investor looks at computer screens showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai May 6, 2019. — Reuters pic

TOKYO, May 15 — Asian stocks rebounded from a 3-1/2-month low today as a slight softening in rhetoric from US President Donald Trump eased worries about the US- tariff war, and on expectations that Beijing could unveil more economic stimulus.

In Europe, the pan-region Euro Stoxx 50 futures rose 0.24 per cent in early trade, Germany’s DAX futures gained 0.25 per cent and FTSE futures were up 0.3 per cent.

Shares in Asia were led by strong gains in equities, which rebounded after two days of losses.

“Chinese stocks are mounting a rebound as they had been oversold in recent sessions. Sentiment is also better as President Trump seems to be desiring a compromise,” said Kota Hirayama, senior emerging markets economist at SMBC Nikko Securities in Tokyo.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia- shares outside Japan gained 0.6 per cent. The index had fallen to its lowest level since the end of the previous day as the Sino-US trade conflict intensified. Beijing on Monday imposed a tariff hike on US goods following Washington’s decision last week to hike its levies on Chinese imports.

However, Trump yesterday said he had a “very good” dialogue with China and insisted talks between the world’s two largest had not collapsed. shares were able to bounce overnight in wake of Trump’s comments.

The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 1.4 per cent, shrugging off concerns about economic growth following weaker-than-expected Chinese data released today.

China today reported surprisingly weaker growth in retail sales and industrial output for April, adding pressure on Beijing to roll out more stimulus as the trade war with the United States escalates.

“The latest data shows that the Chinese economy still needs stimulus. Its stock markets could sustain its recovery if the government indicates it will continue to keep supporting the economy,” Hirayama at SMBC Nikko Securities said.

Australian stocks added 0.8 per cent, South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.6 per cent and Japan’s Nikkei climbed 0.5 per cent.

The Chinese yuan was a shade firmer at 6.9028 per dollar in offshore trade, having edged away from a five-month trough of 6.9200 set yesterday.

The was steady at 109.650 yen, having pulled away from a three-month low of 109.020 plumbed on Monday when trade war worries boosted investor demand for the safe-haven Japanese currency.

The euro was unchanged at US$1.1207. The common currency had dipped nearly 0.2 per cent the previous day after Italy’s deputy prime minister said the country is ready to break European Union budget rules on debt levels if necessary to spur employment.

The US dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was nearly flat at 97.524 after gaining 0.2 per cent the previous day.

The Australian dollar brushed a 4-1/2-month low of US$0.6922 after today’s data showed domestic wage growth stalling in the first quarter, adding to the case for an interest rate cut. The underwhelming Chinese economic indicators also weighed on the Aussie, which is seen as a proxy of China-related trades.

In commodities, US crude futures were down 0.76 per cent at US$61.31 (RM255.52) per barrel after the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a bigger-than-expected build in crude oil inventory.

rose by 8.6 million barrels in the week to May 10 to 477.8 million, compared with analysts’ expectations for a decrease of 800,000 barrels.

crude lost 0.45 per cent to US$70.92 per barrel.

Brent and US crude futures had surged the previous day after top exporter Saudi Arabia said explosive-laden drones launched by a Yemeni-armed movement aligned to Iran had attacked facilities belonging to state oil company Aramco. — Reuters

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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