Asia stock markets up on Greece hopes, China rebound


HONG KONG: Most Asian markets rose for a second day on Friday after Greece submitted new debt reform plans and fears over a Chinese rout subsided as Shanghai stocks surged again.

The euro edged higher as investors bet that Athens’ new proposals will be enough to placate its creditors and get the green light at a European Union summit at the weekend.

Shanghai rallied 4.54 percent, or 168.47 points, to 3,877.80 after surging almost 6 percent Thursday as Chinese authorities beefed up measures to staunch a sell-off that has wiped trillions off mainland markets. The index ended a roller-coaster week 5.18 percent higher.

The gains came after China moved to stop “major” shareholders—those holding at least a 5-percent stake—from selling their stocks and launched a probe into short-selling in a bid to calm markets.

Short-selling is the selling of stock a trader does not own, in anticipation of a future fall in prices.

Hong Kong rose 2.08 percent, or 508.49 points, to 24,901.28, adding to a near 4 percent advance in the previous session.

Sydney added 0.38 percent, or 21.0 points, to 5,492.0 and Seoul put on 0.17 percent, or 3.36 points, to 2,031.17.

But Tokyo lost 0.38 percent, or 75.67 points, to end at 19,779.83, giving up early gains.

Traders regained some risk sentiment Friday, at the end of a week of tumult caused by a Greek referendum against austerity and a precipitous fall in China that fuelled concerns about the world’s second biggest economy.

Hopes that Greece will remain in the eurozone were boosted after the government laid out details of a new bailout plan offering a pensions overhaul and tax hikes in return for debt relief and a rescue loan.

The package closely resembled an offer put forward by creditors before talks broke down last month.

However, there was no immediate word on whether it would be enough to put an end to the five-month crisis.

Eurozone officials will now study details of the package Saturday, a day before the summit, which will come a week after Greeks overwhelmingly voted to reject a fresh bailout package offered by the country’s creditor institutions.

“Signs that the proposal Greece has put together has concessions on long-standing issues and is similar to tabled proposals is reducing risk aversion,” Sam Tuck, a senior currency strategist in Auckland at ANZ Bank New Zealand, told Bloomberg News.

Greece hopes boost euro
Currency markets welcomed the news, pushing the euro up to $1.1111 and 135.72 yen from $1.1035 and 133.88 yen in New York late Thursday.

The dollar rose to 122.17 yen from 121.34 yen.

Regional equities were also recovering from a pummelling on Tuesday and Wednesday as the Chinese sell-off spread.

Mainland Chinese markets have been in free fall since June 12 as traders pull out after a year-long rally that saw shares rise more than 150 percent.

Regulators announced a series of measures to prevent heavy selling, which provided a boost to confidence and sent regional shares surging Thursday.

“Market sentiment has definitely reversed significantly and started to stabilize, so it’s safe to say that the state’s measures have won initial success,” Phillip Securities analyst Chen Xingyu told AFP.

“However, there is still a chance for the market to see a second withdrawal (of funds) after
big rises like this, but it won’t be as lasting and as deep as earlier plunges,” he said.

The rebound also lifted commodity prices, with iron ore rebounding almost 10 percent
Thursday a day after falling by a similar amount.

The spot price of the commodity hit $48.99 a tonne after Beijing launched the measures, up from $44.59.

“Iron ore has had its largest single-day fall and gain in the space of 48 hours,” IG Markets noted on Friday.

Oil was also up. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for August delivery climbed 91 cents to $53.69 and Brent crude for August advanced 97 cents to $59.58 a barrel in afternoon trade.

Gold fetched $1,163.30 compared with $1,162.39 late Thursday.



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