HONG KONG: Most major Asian markets rose today following another positive Wall Street lead, with energy firms surging along with oil prices.
A healthy earnings season has supported global equities in recent weeks, although gains have been limited by continuing concerns about the simmering trade war between China and the US.
As investors awaited the next developments in the tariffs dispute, they moved in to pick up cheaper stocks. Hong Kong was up 1.5 percent as it built on Monday’s gains. Shanghai surged to close 2.7 percent higher, day after hitting a near two-and-a-half-year low.
Tokyo jumped 0.7 percent and Singapore 1.8 percent, while Seoul gained 0.6 percent. However, Sydney dipped 0.3 percent, while Wellington, Taipei and Manila were also lower. Mumbai was flat, having hit a record high Monday.
Energy firms soared after a rise in oil prices Monday on the back of reports that Saudi Arabia had lowered its output. PetroChina piled on more than three percent in Hong Kong and Tokyo-listed Inpex was 1.9 percent higher.
Also, the US reimposed stiff sanctions on Iran following Donald Trump’s decision to exit a multi-nation nuclear deal with the major producer. While the first round of sanctions targets the Islamic Republic’s access to US banknotes and key industries including cars and carpets, the country’s key oil sector is in line to be hit on November 5. Oil was slightly higher on Tuesday in Asia.
But the issue has fuelled geopolitical concerns, with some observers saying the White House is working towards regime change in Tehran.
Iran’s leaders have dismissed Trump’s offer of talks, saying the US was waging “psychological warfare”.
“This feels like a movie we’ve all seen before in Afghanistan and Iraq, and would appear to go counter to the approach President Trump seemed to have mapped out for the Middle East,” said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader.
“It’s a dangerous strategy given historical precedents and the entrenched Iranian regime. But, like the trade war with China and almost everything else the administration is pursuing, this too looks like a negotiating tactic.”
On currency exchanges, the pound edged up but was stuck around 11-month lows after tumbling in response to a warning from Britain’s international trade secretary Liam Fox, that the odds of leaving the EU without a deal were “60-40”.
That came on top of comments from Bank of England boss Mark Carney, who said the chance of leaving the EU without a deal was “uncomfortably high” and “highly undesirable”.
The euro was also up but still struggling to bounce back from Monday’s losses sparked by news that industrial orders in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, fell more than expected in June.
In early trade London equities rose 0.3 percent, Paris added 0.3 percent and Frankfurt was up 0.5 percent.
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.7 percent at 22,662.74 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 1.5 percent at 28,248.88 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: UP 2.7 percent at 2,779.37 (close)
London – FTSE 100: UP 0.3 percent at 7,684.91
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1570 from $1.1553 at 2100 GMT
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2961 from $1.2943
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 111.26 yen from 111.39 yen
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 28 cents at $69.29 per barrel
Oil – Brent Crude: UP 49 cents at $74.24 per barrel
New York – Dow Jones: UP 0.2 percent at 25,502.18 (close)
China’s property market stabilizing on tough curbs
BEIJING: China’s property market remains generally stable as the government continues stepping-up property curbs.
New home prices in four first-tier cities – Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou – rose 0.2 percent in July from a month ago, 0.4 percentage points lower than that in June, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed today.
New home prices in Shanghai fell while prices in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen rose 0.2 percent, 0.6 percent, and 0.5 percent, respectively.
New home prices in 31 second-tier cities rose 1.1 percent in July, 0.1 percentage points lower than June.
On a yearly basis, first-tier cities reported a 0.2-percent increase in new home prices. Existing prices rose 0.5 percent, 0.4 percentage points higher than a year earlier.
NBS senior statistician Liu Jianwei said local governments continued to step up property regulation in July and strike a balance between demand and supply to promote the healthy development of the sector.
New home prices declined year-on-year in two of the 15 “hotspot” cities where speculative home purchases are monitored, with the most significant price drop of 0.1 percent last month, with 11 cities posting growth and two staying flat.
During previous years, rocketing housing prices, especially in major cities, fueled concerns about asset bubbles. To curb speculation, the government rolled out various control measures, including restrictions on purchases and increasing minimum down payments for mortgages.
Major cities announced 260 control measures during the first seven months this year, 80 percent more than the same period last year, according to the research center of the Centaline Group.
Analysts expect more control measures to be announced as the central authority vowed to regulate the property market order and “firmly curb the rise in home prices” at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee last month.
The government will accelerate the establishment of a long-term mechanism to promote the stable and healthy development of the market, Cong Liang, spokesperson of the National Development and Reform Commission told a press conference on Wednesday.
The property market will continue adjusting amid the increasingly tightened regulation, said Liu Weimin, a researcher with the Development Research Center of the State Council.
Book of Xi’s discourses on poverty alleviation published
BEIJING: A book of extracts from the discourses on poverty alleviation by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, has been published by the Central Party Literature Press.
The book, which was compiled by the Party history and literature research institution of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, will be distributed across the country.
Tokyo’s Nikkei index jumps more than 2.2%
TOKYO: Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei index surged more than 2.2 percent Tuesday, swiftly recovering from the previous day’s losses, with investors encouraged by an apparent hiatus in the Turkey lira crisis.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which lost more than two percent on Monday, rose 2.28 percent or 498.65 points to close at 22,356.08, snapping a four-day losing streak. The broader Topix index was up 1.63 percent or 27.45 points at 1,710.95.