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Global equity/currency market update: Asian shares subdued as China trade eyed, yen steadies after recent falls

9 May 2024 9:06 am
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Mumbai, 9 May (Commoditiescontrol): Asian shares were subdued on Thursday as investors awaited China trade data to gauge the health of the Chinese economy, while the yen steadied after three days of declines as Japan talked up a potential currency intervention.

Later in the day, the Bank of England (BoE) will decide its interest rate policy, with all eyes on the prospects of a June rate cut following the overnight move by Sweden's Riksbank to cut rates, which underlined Europe's divergence from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.1%, hovering not far from a 15-month high hit earlier in the week after Fed Chair Jerome Powell reiterated a stance for policy easing later this year.

Investors will be focusing on the U.S. consumer inflation data for April due next Wednesday after three straight prints of upside surprises for a better sense of the direction of the Fed's policy.

Chinese bluechips rose 0.6% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 0.7% thanks to a 2% bounce in technology shares and a recovery in Chinese property developers. The CSI real estate index rose 0.9%, recouping some of the large losses a day earlier.

Japan's Nikkei rose 0.3%. Nasdaq stock futures eased 0.1%, dragged lower by Uber, which fell 5.7% overnight as the ride-sharing company issued a downbeat forecast after a surprise quarterly loss.

The Japanese yen steadied at 155.56 per dollar after falling for three sessions. It rose more than 3% last week after Japanese authorities likely intervened in the market twice to stem its fast declines. On Thursday, the top currency diplomat Masato Kanda said there is no limit for reserves in currency intervention, keeping traders on edge, while minutes from the Bank of Japan's April meeting showed policymakers turned overwhelmingly hawkish, helping the yen steady.

However, Japan's real wages in March fell 2.5% from a year earlier, marking declines for two years, an argument for policymakers to not hike aggressively.

In the Treasuries market, yields were little changed after edging up the day before, with movements likely to be muted ahead of the U.S. inflation report next week. Two-year yields held at 4.8449%, while the 10-year yield was at 4.4963%, having risen 3 basis points overnight.

Oil prices were slightly higher on Thursday, having bounced off two-month lows the previous session. Brent futures rose 0.2% to $83.76 a barrel, while U.S. crude gained 0.3% to $79.24 a barrel. Gold prices were 0.1% higher at $2,311.23 per ounce.

(By Commoditiescontrol Bureau: 09820130172)

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