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Global equity/currency market update: Asia shares gain momentum on rate cut bets; RBA seen turning hawkish

7 May 2024 8:49 am
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Mumbai, 7 May (Commoditiescontrol): Stocks in Asia surged to 15-month highs on Tuesday on renewed confidence of U.S. interest rate cuts, while traders waited on a policy meeting in Australia later in the day and had a close eye on a falling yen.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.3% in early trade. Hong Kong shares traded marginally lower, having ridden a wave of heavy buying from mainland investors to lift the Hang Seng index more than 14% higher in a 10-day winning streak, its longest since 2018.

Japan's Nikkei gained 1.3% and S&P 500 futures were steady after the cash index logged a 1% rise overnight. .N The mood was underpinned by last week's softer-than-expected U.S. jobs data and remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reiterating that the next move in rates will be lower.

Treasuries, which rallied on Friday's jobs figures, traded steady in New York overnight and 10-year yields held at 4.49% in Tokyo on Tuesday. Interest rates markets price at least one U.S. rate cut this year, in November.

Demand will be tested at a $58 billion three-year note auction on Tuesday, which is followed by $42 billion in 10-year sales on Wednesday and $25 billion of 30-year sales on Thursday.

Expectations of falling rates weighed on the dollar, except against the yen as Japanese rates are not expected to move too far above zero this year, leaving a wide gap.

The dollar rose 0.6% on the yen on Monday and a further 0.2% to 154.17 yen on Tuesday, keeping markets on edge as to whether Japanese authorities may step in again. Traders estimate Japan spent almost $60 billion defending the yen last week.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is widely expected to leave rates on hold at its policy meeting later on Tuesday, but focus will be on whether the tone or outlook shifts to explicitly include the possibility of hikes, following an inflation surprise.

The Australian dollar was steady at $0.6637 in morning trade. Swaps market pricing implies a near even chance of a rate hike later this year in Australia.

Sterling, at $1.2564, and the euro at $1.0770, held small overnight gains against the dollar.

In commodity trade, oil was a tad firmer, with Brent crude futures up 0.3% to $83.58 a barrel with a ceasefire deal in the Middle East proving elusive. Gold rose overnight and was steady at $2,325 an ounce on Tuesday.

Wheat, corn and soybean futures have surged to multi-month highs on worries about unfavourable weather in Russia – where it has been frosty and dry – and Brazil, where there are floods.

Iron ore futures have rallied on clues that China's Politburo is planning more support measures for the beleaguered property sector. Benchmark June iron ore on the Singapore Exchange has risen almost 25% in a month. German factory orders are the highlight of the European calendar on Tuesday. Disney reports earnings.

(By Commoditiescontrol Bureau: 09820130172)

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