Asia markets build on gains as stimulus talk swirls

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HONG KONG: Asian markets rose again on Wednesday on hopes that authorities will unveil fresh stimulus to counter the effects of Britain’s shock vote to leave the European Union.

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After Friday’s battering, regional investors have this week led a return to global equities and higher-yielding currencies.

However, analysts warned there would likely be a period of volatility as Britain and its EU partners try to hammer out an exit agreement.

Wednesday’s gains built on the previous day’s advance after South Korea unveiled a $17 billion plan to support its already fragile economy and news emerged that Japan was considering a similar move.

Before the Tokyo bourse opened, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Finance Minister Taro Aso and Bank of Japan chief Haruhiko Kuroda held talks on containing the Brexit crisis.

Japan’s Nikkei ended 1.6 percent higher and Shanghai gained 0.7 percent by the close.
Hong Kong finished up 1.3 percent and Sydney was 0.8 percent higher. Seoul, Singapore, Wellington, Manila and Jakarta each put on more than 1 percent.

The advances followed sharp gains Tuesday in New York and Europe. In early European trade Wednesday London jumped 1.6 percent and Paris and Frankfurt each added 1.2 percent.

And the British pound rose to $1.3390 from $1.3340, after plunging to Monday’s 31-year-low of $1.3121.

In a sign that traders have calmed, higher-yielding and riskier currencies mostly rose—Malaysia’s ringgit gained 0.7 percent and the South Korean won was 1 percent higher, while the Indonesian rupiah and Indian rupee also strengthened.

Oil also built on the previous day’s strong gains, with West Texas Intermediate gaining 0.9 percent and Brent 0.7 percent.

‘Unnerving calm’
Stephen Innes, senior trader at OANDA Asia Pacific, said in a note: “The fiscal stimulus rumors saw risk appetite back on cue.”

But he warned: “This relative calm is unnerving, given how fragile investor sentiment is, and the likelihood of renewed [pound]volatility. As a result, FX markets should remain a hot spot for the foreseeable future. Liquidity is gradually improving and appears to have weathered the initial Brexit sell-off.”

Attention is now on how Britain negotiates its way out of the EU after four decades of partnership.

Adding to the uncertainty is the fact Prime Minister David Cameron will stand down in the autumn, leaving his successor to hammer out the deal.

Meeting in Brussels, impatient EU leaders Tuesday called on Cameron to speed up the split and warned Britain cannot expect special treatment outside the bloc.

AFP

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