Asian shares rise as US, China data eases worries

TOKYO Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:08am IST

1 of 2. A man using a mobile phone is reflected on an electronic monitor displaying share prices at a brokerage in Tokyo September 7, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Issei Kato/Files

Related Topics

Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers ride their camels as they rehearse for the "Beating the Retreat" ceremony in New Delhi January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

"Beating The Retreat" Rehearsals

Rehearsals are on for "Beating the Retreat" ceremony which symbolises retreat after a day on the battlefield, and marks the official end of the Republic Day celebrations.  Slideshow 

TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian shares struck a seven-month high on Thursday as worries about a sharper slowdown in global growth eased after a slew of Chinese data signalled stabilisation in the world's second largest economy, and the U.S. produced positive economic news.

China's third-quarter gross domestic product grew 7.4 percent from a year earlier, the slowest pace since the first quarter of 2009 and the seventh straight quarter of slower growth, but matching expectations.

Other Chinese data such as fixed asset investment, retail sales and industrial output slightly exceeded forecasts.

"This is within expectations, the economy is showing signs of stabilising, that is good news," said Dong Tai, economist at Credit Suisse in Hong Kong. "We think that with rebounding property markets, stabilizing export orders, resuming consumption, we probably have seen the bottom of the economy."

The MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.5 percent, rising for a third day in a row, with its energy and materials leading the increase.

Hong Kong shares rose 0.7 percent and Shanghai shares advanced 1.2 percent. Australian shares were up 0.7 percent at a 15-month high, supported by the resources sectors which drew strength from signs the slowdown is drawing to an end in China, Australia's largest export market.

"Investors are adding more risk to their portfolio right now, with funds trying to improve their performance as the year comes to a close," said Alan Lam, Julius Baer's Greater China equity analyst.

European shares will likely edge higher, with financial spreadbetters expecting London's FTSE 100, Paris's CAC-40 and Frankfurt's DAX to open 0.2 percent higher. U.S. stock futures were steady.

The commodities-sensitive Australian dollar touched a two-week high of $1.0397 after the Chinese data, and last traded at $1.0380.

The benchmark Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index has recovered less than one-third of its drop from its recent peak in September, offering more scope on the upside.

"The data for September suggests China's economy likely bottomed in July-August and is set to recover, and this will help ease fears about further downside risks to the Chinese economy," said Hirokazu Yuihama, a senior strategist at Daiwa Securities. "There aren't clear signs that demand from China is picking up but sentiment for commodities is improving and this should eventually support growth-sensitive assets," he said.

Japan's Nikkei average jumped 2 percent to its highest in nearly three weeks on a weaker yen.


The dollar rose to a one-month high of 79.22 yen, with traders keen to see if it will test its 200-day moving average, which stands around 79.40.

"The broad USD is battling between its use as a funding currency to invest in emerging markets, and a rise in its value linked to higher yields and growth expectations," Societe Generale said in a research note.

"For now this translates into a higher USD/JPY as the most yield sensitive currency," the note said, explaining the dollar's advance against the yen

While both the yen and the dollar tend to weaken when the tone for risk assets brightens, the yen's fall against other currencies such as the Australian dollar and the euro helped deepen the Japanese currency's loss against the greenback.

Osamu Takashima, chief FX strategist at Citibank in Tokyo, said the yen's weakness is also related to concerns that Japan's exports may suffer due to a sharp fall in sales in China following after a territorial row between the two countries.

The dollar's appeal increased as benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields jumped to a one-month high of 1.81 percent on Wednesday for its biggest two-day rise since late July, after data showing U.S. housing starts surged 15 percent in September, the fastest pace in over four years.

The housing report followed a fall in the U.S. jobless rate and strong retail sales, lifting Wall Street despite concerns that sluggish world economic growth would curtail corporate America's year-long streak of profit growth.

The euro inched down 0.2 percent to $1.3096, after reaching a one-month high of $1.3140 on Wednesday.

While hopes for highly-indebted Spain to ask for aid remain intact, investors were cautious ahead of a meeting of European leaders in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, eyeing possible discussions over bailouts for struggling Spain and Greece.

European leaders will try to bridge deep differences over plans for a banking union at the summit, but no substantial decisions are expected, reviving concerns about complacency in tackling the three-year-old debt crisis.

Clear decisions on helping Cyprus, Greece and Spain may also only come at a finance ministers' meeting next month, officials say.

Asian credit markets firmed, tightening the spread on the iTraxx Asia ex-Japan investment-grade index by 4 basis points.

U.S. crude futures were steady at $92.14 a barrel while Brent inched up 0.3 percent to $113.56.

(Additional reporting by Hideyuki Sano in Tokyo and Clement Tan in Hong Kong; Editing by Richard Borsuk)


After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

Reuters Showcase

Vodafone Ruling

Vodafone Ruling

Government will not appeal Vodafone tax ruling   Full Article 

Indian Railways

Indian Railways

Private refiners compete with state firm to sell diesel to railways   Full Article 

Ranbaxy Results

Ranbaxy Results

Dec-quarter net loss widens on forex loss  Full Article 

Market Eye

Market Eye

Sensex, Nifty retreat from record highs on profit-taking.  Full Article 

Tech Talk

Tech Talk

Apple takes high road in China smartphone standoff with Xiaomi.  Full Article 

Business Strategy

Business Strategy

Uber scraps commissions for its New Delhi taxis.  Full Article 

Job Cuts

Job Cuts

Sony to cut 1,000 jobs in smartphone business - sources.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage