Asian stocks rise ahead of central bank meetings

Shares across Asia-Pacific rose and government bonds in the region slipped on Wednesday as investors embraced risk assets in anticipation of looser monetary policy and following the ousting of the US’s hawkish national security adviser.

In early trading the Topix added 0.9 per cent, extending the Japanese benchmark’s positive streak into a fifth day. South Korea’s Kospi index gained 0.6 per cent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was 0.3 per cent higher.

China’s CSI 300 of Shanghai- and Shenzhen-listed stocks nudged 0.3 per cent higher after Beijing scrapped foreign investors quotas on investing in Chinese shares. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.4 per cent. 

Investors are looking ahead to key central bank meetings. The European Central Bank is expected to cut interest rates and detail plans for stimulus measures when it concludes its meeting on Thursday. Next week, investors expect the Federal Reserve to deliver a 25 basis-point rate cut.

Meanwhile, oil rebounded during Asian trading hours after at one point falling by 2 per cent overnight after President Donald Trump’s abrupt sacking of his national security adviser John Bolton, which prompted traders to scale back bets on the likelihood of conflict with Iran. Brent, the international oil marker, was up 0.7 per cent to $62.83, while West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, rose 0.8 per cent to $57.88.

The departure of the hard-line Mr Bolton could also herald a softer approach in the US-China trade war, analysts said. 

“It won’t solve any problems between the US and China, Mr Bolton not being around. But it may mean that the two trade war combatants start playing a little nicer,” said Kyle Rodda, a market analyst at IG. 

Sovereign bonds extended their sell-off, with the yield on 10-year Australian treasuries rising 6 basis points to 1.1333 per cent, and 10-year Japanese government bonds up 1 basis point to -0.227 per cent. US 10-year yields were down 2 basis points to 1.713 per cent. 

S&P 500 futures were pointing 0.1 per cent lower for when Wall Street starts trading later on Wednesday.

Coming up

  • Malaysia industrial production
  • Germany CPI final

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Markets Briefing is a concise look at global markets, updated throughout the trading day by Financial Times journalists in Hong Kong, New York and London. Feedback? Write in the comments below or send us an email.

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