Economy

Asia extends global stock recovery as bond markets stabilise | Business and Economy News

A halt in the recent bond market sell-off eased investor nerves although concerns about Chinese demand weighed on oil.

Asia extended the global rally in stocks on Tuesday as a halt in a recent bond market sell-off eased investor nerves, although oil prices dipped amid concerns about demand in China where latest data showed sluggish factory activity.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan firmed 0.97 percent while Japan’s Nikkei was slightly down 0.12 percent.

Australian shares continued their climb on Tuesday, with the S&P/ASX 200 index rising as much as 1.05 percent, its highest since February 19, as the United States rolled out a further COVID-19 vaccine and optimism over a coronavirus relief package boosted hopes for a quicker global economic recovery.

Chinese blue-chips gained 0.58 percent in early trade while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.9 percent, helped by steady and robust demand from investors in mainland China.

The mainland will begin its annual session of parliament on Friday in Beijing, which is expected to chart a course for economic recovery.

US stocks rallied overnight, with the S&P 500 posting its best day in nearly nine months, as bond markets calmed after a month-long sell-off.

At its monthly policy meeting on Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia said it would hold key rates at a historic low at 0.1 percent and emphasised that its targets for employment and inflation were not likely to be met until 2024 at the earliest.

“There’s everything to like about the rally in EU and US equity markets,” said Chris Weston, the head of research at Pepperstone Group Ltd in Australia. “Financials outperformed, with 95 percent of stocks in the S&P 500 gaining on the day,” he said, adding that “clearly investors are seeing the world in a new light”.

Treasuries pushed

US stocks were roiled last week when a sell-off in Treasuries pushed the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield to a one-year high of 1.614 percent. The 10-year yield was edging lower in early trade at 1.4204 percent.

The US dollar index gained 0.14 percent in early trade against a basket of currencies to stand at 91.142, within sight of a three-week high hit overnight.

A stronger dollar weighed on gold, and the precious metal was on the defensive at $1,711.4100 an ounce early Tuesday.

Oil prices, meanwhile, fell more than 1 percent overnight after data showed China’s factory activity growth at its slowest in nine months in February, owing in part to disruptions over the Lunar New Year holiday. There were also fears among energy investors that OPEC may increase global supply following a meeting this week.

Brent crude fell 1.27 percent to $62.88 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude lost 1.3 percent to $59.85.



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