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Global equity/currency market update: Asian Stocks Dip, Dollar Strengthens Amid Strong US Economic Indicators

24 May 2024 8:20 am
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Mumbai, 24 May (Commoditiescontrol): Asian stocks fell on Friday and the dollar gained strength as strong U.S. economic data supported expectations of persistently high interest rates, dampening investor appetite for riskier assets. The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped by 0.5%, heading towards a 1% loss for the week and ending a four-week rally. Japan’s Nikkei index decreased by 1.45%.

In China, stock movements were minimal with blue-chip stocks slightly down by 0.05%, coinciding with the second day of military exercises around Taiwan. The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong fell by 0.33%.

U.S. economic reports on Thursday indicated a drop in jobless claims and a faster than expected expansion in business activity for May, according to S&P Global's Flash PMI survey. Following these reports and the hawkish tone of the Federal Reserve’s recent meeting minutes, traders scaled back their expectations for rate cuts this year. The market now anticipates only 35 basis points of easing in 2024, a significant revision from the 150 basis points expected at the beginning of the year.

According to the CME FedWatch tool, a rate cut in December is fully priced into the market, with a possible cut in September now seeming less certain. Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic noted that the Fed might have to delay rate cuts until signs of weakening in the labor market appear, which are not evident currently.

The dollar has benefited from these shifting rate expectations, with the dollar index rising nearly 0.6% for the week to 105.06, marking its biggest weekly gain since mid-April. This rise put pressure on the yen, which neared a three-week low.

In Japan, core inflation slowed for a second consecutive month in April, yet remained above the central bank's 2% target. Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda indicated that the economy is poised for a moderate recovery, which might lead to an interest rate increase in the coming months.

Sterling remained subdued, and commodity prices were stable, with Brent crude at $81.39 a barrel and gold prices slightly up at $2334.16 per ounce, although set for a 3.3% weekly drop.

(By Commoditiescontrol Bureau: 09820130172)


       
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